Most Affordable Places To Live In Idaho For 2020

We used data and science to determine which places in Idaho go easy on your wallet.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the cheapest places to live in Idaho.

Idaho is known for producing the most potatoes, its super cool ski towns, some pretty nice people, and some of the most affordable places to live in the country.

What does the most affordable place to live in Idaho look like? Well, after crunching data from the US Census and looking at affordable housing, median income, and overall cost of living statistics for cities with over 5,000 residents, HomeSnacks has uncovered the top ten most affordable places in Idaho for 2020. Idaho is way below the national unemployment rate at a whopping 2.9%. So it’s not lost on us that they are also one of the fastest growing states in the country. The Gem State has strong companies that are keeping the state employed and affordable. For instance, Boise is home to Albertsons and we can thank Owyhee for the Idaho Candy Company.

More importantly, if you choose to live in one of Idaho’s most affordable places, you will save money for the fun things that the ‘Gem of the Mountains’ has to offer. Like, a date night at South Boise’s Big Idaho Potato Hotel or a powder day in Ketchum’s Bald Mountain. So, want to know where you can get the most bang for your buck in Idaho? Keep reading as we unravel Idaho’s most affordable places to live.

The 10 Most Affordable Places To Live In Idaho For 2020

1. PayettePayette, ID

Population: 7,394
Median Household Income: $50,655

If you’re a sucker for a good deal, there’s nowhere better in Idaho than Payette, a little city an hour northwest of Boise. Payette boasts the second cheapest homes statewide, with a median price of $108,300. And with a median income of $50,655, Payette residents pay the smallest percentage of their salaries on homes anywhere in Idaho. On top of that, folks in Payette enjoy the tenth best rent to income ratio in the state. If you do decide to settle down in Payette, be sure to mark the annual week-long Apple Blossom Festival on your calendar.

2. BlackfootBlackfoot, ID

Population: 11,854
Median Household Income: $42,606

Located between Idaho Falls and Pocatello, Blackfoot ranks as the second least expensive place to call home in the Gem State. Rent in Blackfoot is absurdly cheap, with a median price of $598; that’s less than half the average rent in Idaho. Even more importantly, with a median income of $42,606, Blackfoot residents get the sixth best deal on rent statewide. If you decide you like Blackfoot enough to settle down for good, a home will set you back about $124,100.

But if you’re just visiting Blackfoot, be sure to take advantage of the “free taters for out of staters” deal at the Idaho Potato Museum.

3. RupertRupert, ID

Population: 5,782
Median Household Income: $36,405

You’d find it nearly impossible to find a lower price on homes than in Rupert, our third cheapest city in Idaho. That’s because, at a median price of $97,400, Rupert has the first least expensive homes in the state. Even better, Rupert enjoys the second best home price to income ratio in Idaho. Rupert is also one of the best cities for families in Idaho, you if you’re just starting a new family without much in the way of excess funds, Rupert’s got you covered. And don’t worry about being bored here; we promise that there are loads of things to do on a budget in Rupert.

Rupert is located in southern Idaho, between Pocatello and Twin Falls.

4. BurleyBurley, ID

Source: Public domain

Population: 10,373
Median Household Income: $41,773

We’ll take a short drive southwest from Rupert to arrive at our fourth most affordable place in Idaho, Burley. Burley is located on the south bank of Snake River, one of the premier spots to waterski, windsurf, and fish in southern Idaho.

Buying a home in Burley will set you back about $118,300, the fifth lowest price in Idaho. The median income in Burley is $41,773, giving the city the sixth best home price to income ratio in Idaho.

5. ChubbuckChubbuck, ID

Population: 14,728
Median Household Income: $59,148

As an affluent suburb of Pocatello, the cost of housing in Chubbuck is a bit pricier than the preceding cities on this list. To give you an idea, the median home price in Chubbuck is $160,700 and the median rent is $847. However, Chubbuck’s residents are also among the best-paid on this list, with a median income of $59,148. That gives Chubbuck the third best home price to income and seventh best rent to income ratio in Idaho.

If you’re worried that there won’t be enough free things to do in your free time, consider that Chubbuck has over 20 parks, so you (and your dog) will never be bored.

6. Mountain HomeMountain Home, ID

Population: 13,998
Median Household Income: $48,615

Located 45 minutes southeast of Boise, Mountain Home ranks as the sixth most affordable city in Idaho. You’re best off coming to Mountain Home in a celebratory spirit, because this city hosts both the Airforce Appreciation Day Parade and the Endless Summer of Beer Festival every summer. If you want to make your home in Mountain Home, it will cost you about $135,400, the eighth cheapest price in the state. Mountain Home also ranks among the top five statewide for home price to income ratio.

7. PrestonPreston, ID

Population: 5,311
Median Household Income: $48,113

Known as the city where Napoleon Dynamite was shot, Preston ranks as the seventh least expensive place in Idaho. Preston makes this list by virtue of its rock-bottom median rent of $655/month. Combine that with a median income of $48,113, and Preston has the second best rent to income ratio in Idaho. And don’t worry about the paying extra for self-defense classes, because Preston is one of the safest cities in Idaho.

Preston is located in southeastern Idaho, near the Utah border.

8. AmmonAmmon, ID

Population: 15,403
Median Household Income: $65,019

At first glance, Ammon’s inclusion on this list may be a bit confusing. After all, Ammon does have the most expensive homes ($189,900) and rent ($889) on this list. But when you remember that Ammon is one of the richest places in Idaho, everything makes sense. With the highest median income on this list at $65,019, Ammon is in the top ten statewide in housing to income ratios, both for renters and buyers. But be sure to get in quick; the word is out that Ammon is one of the best places to live in Idaho, which helps account for the city’s rapid growth in recent years.

Ammon is located just east of Idaho Falls.

9. PocatelloPocatello, ID

Source: Public domain

Population: 55,162
Median Household Income: $44,171

As one of the biggest cities in Idaho, Pocatello proves that you can have all the convenience of a large place without paying a large price. Pocatello is home to the Idaho Museum of Natural History, but if you’re looking for a more unique historical perspective, the Museum of Clean is a great place to spend the day. Homes in Pocatello are the 11th cheapest in Idaho, with a median price of $142,200. Pocatello residents also pay the eighth smallest percentage of their income on rent in Idaho.

10. Idaho FallsIdaho Falls, ID

Population: 60,147
Median Household Income: $50,482

Welcome to Idaho Falls, the last stop on our tour of uber-affordable spots in Idaho. Idaho Falls ia a happening city that scored an 8/10 on our overall SnackAbility scale, with an emphasis on a great market for jobs and homes, short commutes, and great amenities — all for some of the lowest prices in the state.

We also named Idaho Falls one of the best cities for singles in Idaho, thanks to fabulous date night options like catching a Chukars game at Melaleuca Field or just wandering down the Idaho Falls River Walk. The median rent in Idaho Falls is $748 and the median home price is $153,600.

How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Gem State For 2020

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Idaho
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. 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 Idaho 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 33 places in Idaho that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the lowest cost of living in Idaho according to the data is Payette. You can download the data here.

There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Idaho Cheapskate

If you’re looking at the cost of living numbers in Idaho, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in Idaho for 2020.

Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in Idaho according to the data:

  1. Star
  2. Sandpoint
  3. Rexburg

For more Idaho reading, check out:

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.