Arkansas is known for its great BBQ, fried catfish, some pretty nice people, and super great, super affordable places to live.
What does the most affordable place to live in Arkansas look like? Well, after crunching data from the US Census in terms of median housing costs, median income, and overall cost of living for cities with over 5,000 residents, HomeSnacks has uncovered the top ten most affordable places in Arkansas for 2019.
Word on the street is that Arkansans don’t know what unemployment is. Arkansas is below the national unemployment rate at 3.7%. They have six Fortune 500 companies that help keep the Natural State employed and affordable. For instance, Bentonville is home to Walmart and we can thank Springdale for Tyson Chicken Nuggets. And if you know anything about economics, good jobs increase median incomes which translates to most people being able to live in most of Arkansas’ cities. That’s a good thing because Arkansas has a lot to offer. They have hip millennial cities like Bentonville and cool college cities like Fayetteville.
More importantly, if you choose to live in one of Arkansas’ most affordable places, you will save money for the fun things that this southern gem has to offer. Like, scoring tickets to Fayetteville’s Bikes, Brews and BBQ Festival or a day trip to Hot Springs Garvan Woodland Gardens.
Want to know more? Keep reading as we unravel Arkansas’ most affordable places to live.
The 10 Most Affordable Places To Live In Arkansas For 2020
If you’re already living in Walnut Ridge, kudos on your financial prowess, because you’re living in the most affordable place in Arkansas for 2020. Walnut Ridge is located along “Rock n’ Roll” Highway 67, and honors its ties to the music’s history with the outdoor guitar walk park and the annual Beatles at the Ridge music festival.
So if you’re a Rock n’ Roll enthusiast who’s also into getting the best deal, Walnut Ridge might be the place for you. The city has the sixth best home price to income ratio in Arkansas.
The cultural and business center of south-central Arkansas, El Dorado ranks as the second cheapest city to live in the state.
El Dorado might not be a land of untold riches like in the legends, but if you’re a lover of the arts, this city is as good as gold. Between MusicFest every year and the Murphy Arts District throughout the year, you’ll never have to wait long to catch a show in El Dorado. In any case, you’ll have plenty of money left over for tickets if you’re living in El Dorado, because residents pay the fifth smallest proportion of their income on homes statewide.
While the top two cities on this list have the affordability-edge for home-buyers, bronze-medalist Berryville stands out as one of the premium places to rent in Arkansas. At a median rent of $548/month, rent in Berryville is roughly half as expensive as the average rent in Arkansas. It’s also the lowest price on rent you’ll see on this list. Combined with a median income of $43,903, and Berryville has the sixth best rent to income ratio in Arkansas. Berryville is also home to Cosmic Cavern, one of the must-see natural sights of northwestern Arkansas.
Located in eastern Arkansas, Wynne ranks as the fourth least expensive place to live in the state. Folks in Wynne pay the second smallest proportion of their income on homes statewide, thanks to a median home price of $85,600 and a median income of $42,864. And if you’re into outdoors activities, there’s no shortage of cheap or free things to do at Village Creek State Park. Heck, if your commute takes you along Crowley’s Ridge Scenic Parkway, you won’t even have to leave the car to take in all the natural beauty on offer in Wynne.
You’ll have no trouble believing you’re living in one of the states with the lowest rent in America when you rent in De Queen. Not when you can snag a place for just $592/month. De Queen is about equally affordable for those looking to buy a home, with a median price tag of $84,400. You’ll also never lack for sweet fishing and hunting oppotunities with Pond Creek right in your backyard.
De Queen is located in southwestern Arkansas, near the Oklahoma border.
A suburb of Jonesboro, Trumann ranks as the sixth most affordable city to live in Arkansas. Folks in Trumann pay the tenth smallest percentage of their income on homes statewide, so you’ll have plenty of cash left over to take advantage of all there is to do in Trumann. At $631/month, Trumann also has quite affordable rent, but remains slightly more attractive for those buying a home.
If you’re looking for the cheapest homes on the market in Arkansas, look no further than Forrest City. You can buy a home in Forrest City for a measly $63,200. Even more importantly, residents of Forrest City enjoy the best home price to income ratio in Arkansas, so you won’t have to fork over half your paycheck just to live somewhere decent. On the flip side, Forrest City is the least affordable place to rent on this list, which keeps it from a higher ranking here. In any case, you’ll never lack for things to do on a budget in Forrest City.
Forrest City is located 45 minutes west of Memphis, Tennessee.
A suburb of Fort Smith, Greenwood ranks as the eighth cheapest place in Arkansas. Civil War buffs will be delighted to have the Devil’s Backbone Battlefield in their neighborhood. But don’t let the battlefield scare you; Greenwood is actually one of the safest places to live in Arkansas. On top of that, with a median rent of $722 and a median home price of $130,800, Greenwood is safely in the top ten for housing to income ratios, both for renters and buyers.
With a median home price of $139,400 and a median rent of $879, White Hall has the most expensive housing on this list. So why’s it here? Well, White Hall is also among the richest places in Arkansas, with residents earning a median income of $67,148. Regardless of if you’re buying or renting, White Hall is in the top ten statewide in terms of housing to income ratio. And don’t worry that you’re paying high prices for nothing; White Hall scored an 8.5/10 on our overall Snackability score and was named one of the best places to live in Arkansas.
White Hall is about a half hour south of Little Rock.
It turns out that Pocahontas is more than just my favorite Disney princess; it’s also the tenth most affordable place to live in Arkansas. Pocahontas has the ninth cheapest homes for sale in the state, with a median price of $77,900. Rent is also quite affordable at $629, but it’s still a bit more affordable if you’re buying instead. And whether you’re a fan of history or just getting outdoors; at Davidsonville Historic State Park you can learn about the region’s first settlers or just go fishing on the Black River.
How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Natural State For 2020
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:
- How much do money do I make?
- How much do I have spend to live there?
You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.
For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it’s actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.
With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2014-2018 around incomes and costs. They are:
- Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
- Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
- Median Home Price
We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).
You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in Arkansas to figure out which is the least expensive.
What you are left with is a “Cost of Living Index” by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.
So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 63 places in Arkansas that have more than 5,000 people.
The place with the lowest cost of living in Arkansas according to the data is Walnut Ridge. You can download the data here.
There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Arkansas Cheapskate
If you’re looking at the cost of living numbers in Arkansas, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in Arkansas for 2020.
Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in Arkansas according to the data:
- North Little Rock
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