Seeking Affordable Living in the Southern United States
Are you considering retirement or simply looking for a more affordable place to live in the Southern United States? In this video, we’ll explore towns in the Southern U.S. where you can comfortably manage your expenses with a monthly budget of $1,658.
Changing Economic Landscape
Previously, we conducted a similar series with a budget of $1,500 a month, which was roughly equivalent to the average Social Security payment and half of the average military retirement or pension. However, prices have risen across the board, affecting real estate, insurance, and even everyday items like Rice Krispie Treats. Therefore, in this video, we’ve adjusted the budget to $1,658 per month to reflect the changing economic landscape.
Southern States Included
Our focus in this video is on towns in the Southern United States. This includes states like Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Louisiana, and Kentucky. While some regional maps might include Virginia and West Virginia in the South, we’ve treated them as North Atlantic states for this presentation to ensure a broad representation of states.
Defining a Comfortable Life
When we refer to a “comfortable life” in this context, we mean a life where you don’t have to worry about essentials like food, housing, or utilities being cut off. These statistics are based on an average scenario, and it’s important to note that individual financial situations can vary greatly due to factors like health issues, divorce, or dependency. The figures provided are a baseline for an average person.
Top 10 Affordable Places to Live
Now, let’s explore the top 10 affordable places to live in the Southern United States:
10. McRae-Helena, Georgia
McRae-Helena is a small town with a population of under 7,000 residents, situated between Savannah and Columbus in Georgia. The town is known for its prison, which provides employment for many residents. McRae-Helena was formed by merging two separate towns in 2015. Notably, it boasts a crime rate that is 64% lower than the national average, possibly due to its strong focus on prisons and corrections.
Stay tuned to this video as we continue to explore more affordable places to live in the Southern United States.
Affordable Living in McRae-Helena, Georgia
Rarely does one find a town that combines affordability with a lower crime rate, but McRae-Helena, Georgia, accomplishes just that. The median rental price in this town is approximately $560 per month, which is 41% lower than the national average. While there aren’t an abundance of rental options, the median listing price for a home stands at around $58,000, a whopping 68% lower than the national average.
For those interested in purchasing a home that’s move-in ready but slightly older, the price typically hovers around $200,000. If you’re willing to go up to $350,000, there’s even a property with a plantation-style appearance, although it’s on a smaller scale compared to traditional plantations.
McRae-Helena boasts a livability score of 75, and the estimated average monthly expenditure here is approximately $1,280. The town’s strong focus on prisons and corrections helps maintain a crime rate that is 64% lower than the national average.
9. Discovering Taylors, South Carolina
Taylors, South Carolina, serves as a suburb of Greenville, located on the north side of the city. Housing prices in Taylors offer significant savings compared to Greenville, with a price difference of approximately $100,000, according to a local real estate agent. You can find decent older homes for under $240,000, making it a reasonably affordable option.
The real estate market in Taylors is approximately 23% lower than the national average, making it more budget-friendly. If you’re considering renting, the median rental price is roughly $800, which is 16% lower than the national average. Taylors does experience slightly higher crime rates, about 40% above the national average, but it’s still manageable.
With a livability score of 78, Taylors presents a decent living environment. However, it’s worth noting that the town is currently undergoing significant construction and development, which may lead to increased housing costs in the future. Therefore, if Taylors piques your interest, it’s wise to explore it sooner rather than later. The estimated average monthly expenditure for Taylors residents is $1,595.
8. Corbin, Kentucky: A Serene Living Option
Corbin, Kentucky, offers a serene living environment with impressive statistics, including a notably low crime rate. Positioned near the Laurel River Lake, it provides ample outdoor activities. Corbin is conveniently located on Interstate 75, approximately halfway between Knoxville, Tennessee, and Lexington, Kentucky. The town’s history dates back to the mid-1800s, initially named Lynn Camp Station and later Cummins, before finally adopting the name Corbin in 1885.
While Corbin’s employment opportunities are limited, it excels in various other aspects, particularly its low crime rate, cost of living, and housing. The crime rate here is 17% lower than the national average, making it a safe place to reside.
Housing affordability in Corbin is impressive. Renting a home costs around $550 per month, which is 41% lower than the national average. If you’re interested in buying a house, the median listing price is $91,400, representing a 51% reduction compared to the national average. Realistically, a home purchase in Corbin usually falls around $200,000.
Corbin is bestowed with a livability score of 77. The average monthly expenditure for residents here amounts to approximately $1,575, making it an appealing option for those seeking affordable living.
7. Red Bank, Tennessee: Affordable Chattanooga Living
Situated entirely within the city limits of Chattanooga, Red Bank, Tennessee, offers an affordable living option within the Chattanooga metro area. Despite its proximity to a growing and vibrant city like Chattanooga, Red Bank remains a budget-friendly choice. While it does experience some crime, it’s only 22% above the national average, which is manageable for most residents. What sets Red Bank apart is its cost of living and housing affordability. The cost of living here is 13% lower than the national average and 3% lower than the Tennessee average, making it an economical choice despite being part of a major Tennessee city.
Interestingly, Red Bank had to undergo a name change in its history. Originally known as Pleasant Hill, the town had to change its name when it was discovered that another place in Tennessee shared the same name. The postmaster’s wife, who could see a red clay ridge outside her window, suggested the name “Red Bank.” Eventually, in 1966, the town incorporated with a neighboring town called White Oak, but they later dropped the “White Oak” and retained the name Red Bank.
In terms of real estate, Red Bank boasts a median listing price of $126,000, which is 31% lower than the national average. Rental prices are around $719, making it affordable for those who prefer renting. Homebuyers will find a wide range of options, with $250,000 likely to secure a decent property. There is even a house available for $45,000, although it requires extensive renovation, and the lot is narrow but long.
Red Bank enjoys a livability score of 79, signifying a comfortable living environment despite its affordability. The average monthly expenditure for residents here is approximately $1,467.
6. Hartselle, Alabama: A City of Southern Hospitality
Located north of Birmingham and south of Decatur, Alabama, Hartselle is a charming town known as the “City of Southern Hospitality.” This welcoming community boasts a delightful downtown area with numerous antique shops and cozy cafes, featuring Main Street as its centerpiece. Hartselle prides itself on its southern charm and friendly atmosphere, making it an appealing place to live.
In terms of crime, Hartselle experiences rates that are only 15% above the national average, which, considering its smaller size with about 14,000 residents, is relatively manageable. The town offers an array of housing options with a median listing price of approximately $132,000, representing a 29% reduction compared to the national average. Rental costs are estimated at around $600, although one-bedroom and two-bedroom rentals may command higher prices, ranging from over $700 to $800.
For those considering settling in Hartselle, the affordability of real estate makes buying a home an attractive option. Homes priced at around $100,000 may require some renovation, but for move-in-ready options, $150,000 to $200,000 should suffice.
Hartselle boasts a livability score of 72, reflecting a decent living environment. The average monthly expenditure for residents is approximately $1,489, making it an affordable choice for those seeking a friendly and welcoming community in the southern United States.
5. Grenada, Mississippi: A Budget-Friendly Haven in the South
Discovering a place with favorable statistics in Mississippi can be quite a challenge. While the state as a whole offers a low cost of living and affordable housing, it’s not always easy to find a locale that combines these benefits with other positive factors. Grenada, however, stands out in Mississippi, offering a population of just over 13,000 residents. Nestled between Jackson, Mississippi, and Memphis, Tennessee, it occupies a midway point between these cities. Grenada boasts a picturesque setting, with Grenada Lake located just outside of town and a river running through the area, making it an ideal destination for those who enjoy outdoor activities.
One of Grenada’s shining attributes is its real estate affordability. The median listing price for homes in Grenada is a mere $98,000, which is an impressive 47% lower than the national average. Given the affordability of housing, renting may not be the most practical choice, as owning a home in Grenada is remarkably accessible. There are homes available for as little as $50,000, albeit requiring some renovation and effort. The town has a Walmart supercenter and offers a cost of living that allows residents to comfortably manage their expenses.
Grenada earns a livability score of 76, indicating a reasonably pleasant living environment, especially when considering its budget-friendly attributes. The average monthly expenditure for residents here is approximately $1,205, making Grenada an affordable option for retirees seeking an economical yet pleasant place to call home.
4. Thomasville, North Carolina: Small-Town Comfort Near Healthcare Hubs
Thomasville, North Carolina, is a charming town located just south of Winston-Salem and conveniently close to Greensboro. This strategic location provides residents with the best of both worlds: the small-town ambiance of Thomasville and the accessibility of larger cities when needed, especially when it comes to healthcare. Winston-Salem boasts exceptional medical facilities, making it an excellent choice for retirees with medical concerns.
The real estate market in Thomasville is another standout feature. With a median listing price of $109,900, which is 40% lower than the national average, the town offers affordable homeownership opportunities. For those preferring to rent, the median rent price is approximately $647, representing a 32% reduction compared to the national average. While a decent rental property may cost around $750, the affordability of housing makes buying a home an attractive option.
Prospective homebuyers can find properties priced below $100,000, typically requiring minor updates but offering affordable homeownership. Houses in decent condition from a couple of decades ago range between $170,000 to $200,000. For those willing to invest around $250,000, newer houses on larger lots become attainable.
Thomasville is renowned for its “big chair,” a unique local attraction situated in the downtown area. The town features a clean and charming downtown, complete with train tracks running through it. With a livability score of 72, Thomasville offers a comfortable living environment, and the average monthly expenditure for residents is approximately $1,481, making it an appealing choice for retirees seeking a small-town feel with proximity to healthcare resources.
3. Middleburg, Florida: A Southern Gem Near Jacksonville
In the search for affordable places in Florida, Middleburg stands out as a budget-friendly option. It’s increasingly challenging to find cost-effective locations in the Sunshine State, as affordability often comes at the expense of safety. Nevertheless, Middleburg, situated just south of Jacksonville, emerges as a noteworthy candidate. While not officially classified as a town or city, Middleburg is designated as a census-designated area. This status has its advantages, such as reasonably priced homes and a relatively manageable crime rate, making it a desirable choice for those in need of proximity to medical facilities in Jacksonville.
While Middleburg experiences some level of crime, it remains relatively low, with a rate only 11% higher than the national average—a commendable statistic considering its affordability. The town’s median listing price for homes is $121,000, which is a noteworthy 34% below the national average. Rental costs also offer savings, with the median rent price around $900, or realistically closer to $1,000 for a two-bedroom, one-bathroom rental. Homebuyers can anticipate prices ranging from $200,000 to $250,000 for a comfortable and livable residence, although higher-end options are available between $350,000 and $450,000.
Middleburg holds a livability score of 75, reflecting a pleasant living environment for residents. The town’s average monthly expenditure is approximately $1,521, making it an attractive destination for those seeking affordability and convenience in Florida.
2. Springhill, Louisiana: A Tranquil Haven with Affordable Land
Situated on the northern border of Louisiana near Arkansas, Springhill offers a serene living experience surrounded by abundant water bodies, including lakes, creeks, rivers, and ponds. If you enjoy fishing and seek a peaceful retirement, Springhill may be an ideal choice. While homes are available for purchase, the town primarily features expansive plots of land, making it an excellent destination for those looking to place a mobile home while constructing their permanent residence.
What makes Springhill especially appealing is its affordable land. The town offers half-acre lots for as little as $25,000, and some include older houses in need of renovation for just $18,000. The median listing price for homes in Springhill is $73,900, making it an exceptionally budget-friendly option. The median rental price is also notably lower, sitting at 46% less than the national average, or around $513 per month, although realistic rental costs for a two-bedroom, one-bathroom unit might reach about $650.
The cost of living in Springhill is 25% lower than the national average, making it an economically favorable choice. Crime rates in the town are 41% lower than the national average, and employment prospects are relatively reasonable, with an unemployment rate 46% lower than the national average. Springhill’s population hovers just under 5,000 residents, and while it may be a small town, it provides essential amenities and a cost-effective lifestyle.
Springhill garners a livability score of 72, indicating a pleasant living environment. Residents can expect an average monthly expenditure of around $1,435, making it an excellent option for those looking to retire on a budget or build their dream home amidst the tranquility of Louisiana.
1. Mountain Home, Arkansas: Arkansas’ Hidden Gem for Affordable Living
Mountain Home, located in northern Arkansas near the state’s border, offers a compelling option for retirees seeking an affordable yet comfortable life. While finding budget-friendly destinations in Arkansas can be challenging, especially outside the northwest corner, Mountain Home presents a pleasant exception. The town wasn’t always known as Mountain Home; its origins trace back to the early 1830s when it was called Rapp’s Barren. The area, like many in the South, was inhabited by extended families who lived in close proximity. Simeon Talburt, known as Rapp, constructed the first home here. Many of Rapp’s family members are buried in the Indian Creek subdivision of Mountain Home.
Mountain Home boasts the Baxter Regional Medical Center, a sizable medical facility that provides residents with access to quality healthcare. For those who love fishing and outdoor activities, Norfolk Lake and Bull Shoals Lake are nearby, offering opportunities for recreation amidst the area’s beautiful lakes, creeks, and rivers.
The real estate market in Mountain Home is particularly appealing, with a median listing price of $116,000—37% lower than the national average. While the median rent price is 33% below the national average at $635 for a one-bedroom, realistically, renters may expect to pay around $700 or $725 for a suitable unit. The town’s cost of living is 25% lower than the national average.
Mountain Home benefits from a crime rate that is 41% lower than the national average, and its employment situation is also relatively favorable, with an unemployment rate 46% lower than the national average. While a small town with a population of around 5,000, Mountain Home boasts a Main Street and a Church Street, typical features of Southern towns.
Mountain Home’s livability score is 70, indicating a comfortable living environment. The average monthly expenditure for residents in Mountain Home is approximately $1,488, making it an excellent choice for those who appreciate the natural beauty and outdoor activities that Arkansas has to offer.
As found on YouTubeFlorida RetirementPosted in Retire Wealthy, Retirement PlanningTagged alabama vs georgia, Arkansas, Best Cities, best places to retire, Best States, florida real estate, Georgia, Home buying, Kentucky, Lists, louisiana real estate, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ranked, real estate, Relocate, relocation, Retirement planning, South Carolina, Southern United States, states, Tennessee, top 10, Top Ten Lists, Travel Education, United States, US States, usa, where to live in America, world according to Briggs