When you think of affordable states in America, what usually comes to mind? The Southern states, of course. From Virginia to Louisiana, these states are known to be beautiful. and cheap.
In Georgia, you have famous cities like Savannah, where you can drink a beer in public while walking down the riverfront and see fireworks set off across the water. You can take a quick drive to South Carolina on your way to Hilton Head and eat some good BBQ in Bluffton. Hilton Head has a unique boardwalk with willow trees hanging low along the edges of the beach. In the winter, you can come to walk along isolated portions of the beach, making a quiet getaway.
If you are missing the hustle and bustle of the city, Atlanta is full of nightlife, business, and research institutions like Emory.
Loving Georgia already like we do? Wherever you live, you will probably find that an apartment in Georgia is cheaper than New York City or San Francisco. Living in the South has some major perks and the low cost of living is one of them. (Don’t forget the great hospitality, charm, and food). Let’s take a look at what cities in Georgia are the most affordable in a state that is so affordable, to begin with.
The 10 Most Affordable Places To Live In Georgia For 2020
Median Household Income: $36,594
Eatonton is a great town for those who don’t want high rent prices to eat up all of your hard earned savings. Eatonton is located between Augusta, Macon, and Atlanta so you can have a peaceful weekday refuge after a weekend out at the larger cities.
Eatonton is also nestled up against the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, so you can also take beautiful hikes in your free time.
Median Household Income: $54,769
On the ‘morrow, you could move to Morrow, Georgia, and save a killing. Morrow ranks second in our list of top affordable places in Georgia and for good reason: it is incredibly cheap. Morrow is located a quick drive from Atlanta so you can have a quiet small town life with the hustle and bustle of a large city when you crave it.
Median Household Income: $48,836
Ranking third on our list comes Commerce, Georgia. Commerce is a small town between Atlanta and Greenville, so it is a perfect location for anyone wanting to be close to cities with a lot of nightlife. Commerce is known as the hometown for country singer Bill Anderson and baseball player Chris Beck.
Median Household Income: $35,465
Love trees and mountains? Then Toccoa might be the perfect place for you to move. Toccoa is nestled up by the Nantahala and Chattahoochee National Forests. You can live in a beautiful town that is also super cheap.
In addition to that, you can easily visit top locations like Asheville, North Carolina, and Greenville, South Carolina.
Median Household Income: $50,954
Warner Robins is a city just outside of Macon, Georgia, that is the perfect destination for anyone wanted to live cheaply in Georgia. Unlike the others on this list, Warner Robins is not a very small town. In fact, Warner Robins has over 66,000 residents.
It also comes up on other rankings as one of the best places to live in Georgia.
Median Household Income: $53,683
Auburn, Georgia, not to be confused with Auburn, Alabama, comes up next on our most affordable places in Georgia list. Just an hour outside of Atlanta, Auburn has everything a money-conscious person could ask for: cheap rent and proximity to a large city. So if you are looking for a small town feel with a flare of Atlanta, Auburn might just be the place for you.
Median Household Income: $29,465
If you’re looking to buy a home in Georgia, you won’t find many cheaper places than Waycross. The median home price in Waycross is only $72,700, so if you’re moving to Waycross with a nest egg, you’re in luck. Folks in Waycross earn a median income of $29,465, giving Waycross the 17th best home price to income ratio in the state. The income to rent ratio isn’t nearly as impressive, so we’d suggest buying if you’re trying to take full advantage of Waycross’s affordability.
You can save even more money if you stick to hobbies like hiking around Okefenokee Swamp Park. Just watch out for alligators!
Median Household Income: $77,216
A suburb of Savannah, Port Wentworth ranks as the eighth most affordable city in Georgia.
At first glance of the home and rent prices, Port Wentworth might look quite expensive. But the job market in Port Wentworth is solid and residents earn a median income of $77,216, so they can well afford the pricier housing. The home price to income ratio is the fifth best statewide, even with a median home price of $161,400. Even though the median rent in Port Wentworth is higher than most places on this list at $1,178/month, it’s still well below Georgia’s statewide average.
Median Household Income: $45,524
Located just across the Tennessee border from Chattanooga, Fort Oglethorpe is the ninth cheapest place to live in Georgia. Fort Oglethorpe is ideal for renters, having the 19th ratio in the state. As far as buying goes, the median home price of $127,600 is a bit on the steep side considering the city’s median income is $45,524.
So if you want to check out Georgia without committing to a mortgage, consider moving to Fort Oglethorpe as a way to do that on a budget. As a bonus, Civil War buffs will have no shortage of free entertainment at Chickamauga National Military Park.
Median Household Income: $46,875
Rounding out our list of cheapest places to live in Georgia is Hapeville, a suburb of Atlanta.
The median rent in Hapeville is $895 and the median income is 46,875, so Hapeville doesn’t stand out in terms of income to rent ratio. But with a median home price of $113,100, it’s an attractive place to buy a home. Especially considering that, from an investment angle, Georgia is among the fastest growing states in America, and the Atlanta area has been the nexus of that growth.
How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Peach 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 Georgia 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 127 places in Georgia that have more than 5,000 people.
The place with the lowest cost of living in Georgia according to the data is Eatonton. You can download the data here.
There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Georgia Cheapskate
If you’re looking at the cost of living numbers in Georgia, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in Georgia for 2020.
Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in Georgia according to the data:
- College Park
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