Cheapest Places To Live In Nevada For 2020


We used data and science to determine which places in Nevada 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 Nevada.

There's a reason millions of people flock to Burning Man in Black Rock City and the casinos in Las Vegas and end up staying, Nevada has some of the most affordable places in the country to live.

So, if you're reading this, you've definitely played your cards right today. HomeSnacks has researched where your slot machine winnings will go the furthest: we've created a list of the top ten most affordable places to live in Nevada for 2020.

How did we determine the most affordable places in Nevada? We took a look at the US Census and the cost of living data for the Silver State. We were especially interested in home and rental prices in places with more than 1,000 residents.

We discovered that whether it's hip millennial cities like Reno, family oriented cities like Sparks, or great places to retire to like Henderson, Nevada has plenty of affordable places to live for every stage of life and every budget. And that's a good thing, because the less you spend on your cost of living, the more you'll have to spend on the fun things to do and see in the Sagebrush State. Like, scoring a ticket to the Area 51 party in Groom Lake or spending a night at the Clown Motel in Tonopah.

So, want to know where you won't have to beat the blackjack dealer to live in one of the most affordable places in Nevada? Keep reading.

Now, just because these places in Nevada are affordable, doesn't mean they're not nice. Many of the cities on Nevada's most affordable list are also on its safest list. It's not rocket science, folks. When you save money on your cost of living, you're usually in a better place to invest in your community.

So, what's the cheapest place to live in Nevada? The place where you can truly live like high roller on a blue collar budget would be Caliente, the cheapest place in Nevada..

To see how your city compared, take a look below.

And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about Nevada and the cheapest places in the country:

The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Nevada For 2020

Caliente, NV

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,135
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.1x (2nd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 95.5x (2nd cheapest)
More On Caliente: Real Estate

Coming in hot as the cheapest place to live in Nevada is Caliente, the smallest city in the state. Homes in Caliente go for a median price of $118,300, the fourth cheapest in the state. The median rent in Caliente is also staggeringly low at only $599, less than half the average rent in Nevada. For both renters and buyers, Caliente has the second best housing to income ratio in the state. And if you're worried about moving out into the desert, Kershaw-Ryan State Park is a rugged oasis with plenty of verdant beauty on display.

The median household income in Caliente comes in at $57,218 and the median home value is $118,300 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 14.3%.

Carlin, NV

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 2,023
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.5x (1st most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 75.7x (5th cheapest)
More On Carlin: Real Estate | Crime Rate

Known as the place "where the train stops and the Gold Rush begins," Carlin is the second most affordable place to live in Nevada. From ghost towns to nature areas replete with fishing, biking, and camping opportunities, you'll always have plenty to do in Carlin if you know where to look. While the rent is quite steep in Carlin at $1,053, the city has some of the cheapest homes on the market in Nevada at $118,100. Even more importantly, Carlin's residents are the best-paid populace on this list, with a median income of $79,740. That means folks pay the smallest proportion of their income on homes statewide, so the mortgage gets paid off in Carlin before the new paint has time to dry.

The median household income in Carlin comes in at $79,740 and the median home value is $118,100 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 9.0%.

Lovelock, NV

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 1,806
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.2x (3rd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 63.3x (8th cheapest)
More On Lovelock: Real Estate

Located 90 miles northeast of Reno, Lovelock ranks as the third cheapest place in Nevada. Lovelock got its name from the tradition of securing locks to a chain to signify unending love, so kind of makes sense that we named it one of the best cities for singles in Nevada. If you find someone special in this super-affordable city, definitely add a lock to the collection at Lover's Lock Plaza. And when it's time to really settle down, know that Lovelock has the cheapest homes for sale in Nevada, so you and your lock-mate won't have to break the bank to buy a place together.

The median household income in Lovelock comes in at $41,696 and the median home value is $90,000 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 9.4%.

Ely, NV

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 4,063
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.4x (4th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 89.4x (3rd cheapest)
More On Ely: Real Estate

Located in east-central Nevada, Ely is far from any big cities. But don't let that fool you into thinking there's nothing to do here. Between a railway museum, a historic state park, a renaissance village, and a gambling hall, we're not exaggerating when we say there's something for everyone in Ely. And at rock-bottom prices, no less. The median rent in Ely is $651, the second lowest you'll see on this list. Combined with a median income of $58,200, and Ely has the third best rent to income ratio in Nevada.

The median household income in Ely comes in at $58,200 and the median home value is $139,100 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 4.9%.

West Wendover, NV

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 4,320
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.4x (5th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 76.3x (4th cheapest)
More On West Wendover: Real Estate | Crime Rate

When you come to West Wendover, you'll immediately feel a sense of welcome. Maybe it's the friendly locals or the relaxed atmosphere...or maybe it's Wendover Will, the 63-foot tall neon cowboy that greets people entering the city. In any case, West Wendover has the fifth cheapest homes in Nevada, at a median price of $135,500. And with a median rent of $734, West Wendover is safely in the top 5 for housing to income ratios, regardless of if you're buying or renting.

West Wendover is located in northeastern Nevada, on the border of Utah.

The median household income in West Wendover comes in at $56,029 and the median home value is $135,500 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 1.4%.

Winnemucca, NV

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 7,798
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.7x (8th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 95.6x (1st cheapest)
More On Winnemucca: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

Winnemucca ranks as the sixth most affordable place to live in Nevada. Homes are a bit pricier in Winnemucca than the preceding cities on this list, with a median price tag of $195,300. However, because Winnemucca is the richest place in Nevada, with a median income of $71,518, residents have an easy time getting their mortgages paid. And for such an affluent place, the median rent of $748 is crazy cheap. In fact, Winnemucca enjoys the best rent to income ratio in Nevada. Winnemucca is home to the Winnemucca Sand Dunes, the largest dunes in Nevada and a prime spot for ATVing.

The median household income in Winnemucca comes in at $71,518 and the median home value is $195,300 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 4.8%.

Wells, NV

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,150
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.6x (6th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 74.1x (7th cheapest)
More On Wells: Real Estate

Located in northeastern Nevada at the junction of I-80 and Route 93, Wells comes in as the seventh least expensive place in the state. Don't bother getting a hot tub if you're living in Wells, because you've got 12 Mile Hot Springs right in your backyard. Now that's savings. Wells has low prices on housing, with a median home price of $140,700 and a median rent of $736. Regardless of your housing situation, Wells is safely in the top ten statewide for housing to income ratio.

The median household income in Wells comes in at $54,545 and the median home value is $140,700 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 2.5%.

Yerington, NV

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 3,103
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.7x (7th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 54.8x (16th cheapest)
More On Yerington: Real Estate

Located an hour and a half southeast of Reno, Yerington ranks as the eighth cheapest place to call home in Nevada. Yerington has the second least expensive homes for sale statewide, with a median price of $98,400. Yerington residents also pay the seventh smallest percentage of their salaries on homes statewide. Which leaves plenty of money left over to take advantage of all the charming things to do in Yerington. On the downside, Yerington is the least affordable place for renters on this list.

The median household income in Yerington comes in at $36,047 and the median home value is $98,400 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 12.6%.

Elko, NV

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 20,247
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.0x (10th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 75.4x (6th cheapest)
More On Elko: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living

With a population of 20247, Elko is the largest city to make this list. And with that size comes plenty to do on a budget; from learning about Western history at the California Trail Center or Northeastern Nevada Museum or experiencing the natural beauty at Humboldt National Forest, there's plenty to keep you occupied in Elko. Maybe that's why we named it the best place to raise a family in Nevada.

Elko's economy is heavily tied to gold mining, which means there's always a risk of getting caught in the wrong end of a boom/bust cycle living here. In any case, Elko stands out with as having the second best-paid population on this list, with a median income of $77,011. This contributes to Elko having the sixth most affordable rent in Nevada, even with a median rent over $1,000/month.

The median household income in Elko comes in at $77,011 and the median home value is $228,900 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 5.5%.

Fernley, NV

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 19,573
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.9x (9th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 57.9x (12th cheapest)
More On Fernley: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

Rounding out our list of cheapest places to live in Nevada is Fernley, a city located a half hour east of Reno. Fernley has the most expensive median rent on this list at $1,104, but that's still well below the statewide average. And Fernley makes up for it by having the ninth cheapest homes in Nevada, with a median price tag of $187,200. And with countless casinos nearby, you'll never lack for entertainment options in Fernley.

The median household income in Fernley comes in at $63,880 and the median home value is $187,200 for 2020. The unemployment rate sits at 8.2%.

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

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Nevada
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 Nevada 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 19 places in Nevada that have more than 1,000 people.

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

There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Nevada Cheapskate

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

Here's a look at the most expensive cities in Nevada according to the data:

  1. Reno
  2. Las Vegas
  3. Sparks

For more Nevada reading, check out:

The Most Affordable Places To Live In Nevada

Rank City CheapScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Caliente 2.67 1,135 2.1x 95.5x
2 Carlin 3.0 2,023 1.5x 75.7x
3 Lovelock 4.0 1,806 2.2x 63.3x
4 Ely 4.33 4,063 2.4x 89.4x
5 West Wendover 4.67 4,320 2.4x 76.3x
6 Winnemucca 6.33 7,798 2.7x 95.6x
7 Wells 6.67 1,150 2.6x 74.1x
8 Yerington 8.33 3,103 2.7x 54.8x
9 Elko 9.67 20,247 3.0x 75.4x
10 Fernley 10.0 19,573 2.9x 57.9x
11 Fallon 12.0 8,330 3.4x 52.1x
12 Mesquite 12.0 17,904 4.3x 59.6x
13 Boulder City 13.67 15,680 4.4x 61.4x
14 North Las Vegas 14.0 236,986 3.6x 49.4x
15 Carson City 14.67 54,467 4.7x 58.1x
16 Henderson 15.0 291,346 4.2x 57.0x
17 Sparks 15.67 98,524 4.5x 57.5x
18 Las Vegas 15.67 626,637 4.3x 51.7x
19 Reno 17.67 242,633 5.5x 56.8x

How Is The Area In ?

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.