THE 10 MOST AFFORDABLE Places To Live In Oregon For 2020


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

When you think of affordable, does it take you back to your college days?

Eating ramen noodles by the gallons and checking the couch cushions for extra coinage are just a few of the survival strategies that made life more affordable, then. Yes, learning the value of the dollar is important, but you don't want to stress about it daily when looking for a great place to live, good food, and low cost of living.

Well, you don't have to look any further if you choose Oregon to plant your roots. The Beaver State is one of the most affordable in the country.

Most people think that Oregon cities are filled with a bunch of fancy vegan restaurants, snobby Portlanders, and a plethora of wealthy outdoor enthusiasts. While all this might be true for some Oregon cities, the hippies and health nuts of this Pacific Northwestern state would beg to differ. Oregon's cities have a lot to offer to all income levels; and surprisingly, there are cities in millenial-land that are actually extremely affordable.

If you ask any Oregonian, they will say hands down that The Beaver State is the best state in the country. Heck, there's a reason Oregon is the 26th most populous state in the US of A. And, yes, we think it has a little something to do with the great weather and mountains. But, to the economically savvy, to truly be the best, the state must have the nicest, most affordable places to call home. #TheMostBangForYourBuck

So, grab yourself a vegan spinach smoothie and some tree bark, and read on.

It's simple economics, folks. The less you have to spend on bills and taxes, the more you will have to spend on things that matter: like your home, good food, and just overall good fun.

What does the cheapest city to live in Oregon look like? Well, after crunching data from the US Census in terms of median housing costs, median income, and overall cost of living, Umatilla is the cheapest place to live in Oregon.

If you care about home values, cost of living, and high quality of life, take a look at the list below to find the most affordable places in Oregon, where, yes, you can have it all.

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

The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Oregon For 2020

Umatilla, OR

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 7,114
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.8x (1st most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 66.1x (12th cheapest)
More On Umatilla: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Umatilla is a city in Umatilla County, Oregon, United States. It is named for the Umatilla River, which enters the Columbia River on the side of the city. The river is named after the Umatilla Tribe. The city is on the south side of the Columbia River along U.S. Route 730 and I-82.

The median income in Umatilla comes in at $41,707 and the median home value is $117,200 for 2020.

Hermiston, OR

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 17,346
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.0x (4th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 70.5x (5th cheapest)
More On Hermiston: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Hermiston is a city in Umatilla County, Oregon, United States. The population of 17,985 makes it the largest city in Eastern Oregon. Hermiston is the largest, and fastest-growing, city in the Hermiston-Pendleton Micropolitan Statistical Area, the eighth largest Core Based Statistical Area in Oregon with a combined population of 87,062 at the 2010 census. Hermiston sits near the junction of I-82 and I-84, & is 7 miles south of the Columbia River, Lake Wallula, and the McNary Dam. The Hermiston area has become a transportation and logistics hub due to the proximity of the I-82 and I-84 interchange, and central location between the major Pacific Northwest metropolitan areas. The city is also known for its watermelons, which are part of its branding.

The median income in Hermiston comes in at $51,923 and the median home value is $156,500 for 2020.

Pendleton, OR

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 16,713
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.1x (5th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 68.5x (8th cheapest)
More On Pendleton: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Pendleton is a city in Umatilla County, Oregon, United States. Developed along the Umatilla River, Pendleton was named in 1868 by the county commissioners for George H. Pendleton, Democratic candidate for vice-president in the 1864 presidential campaign. The population was 16,612 at the 2010 census, which includes approximately 1,600 inmates incarcerated at Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution. The city is the county seat of Umatilla County.

The median income in Pendleton comes in at $49,671 and the median home value is $155,100 for 2020.

Milton-Freewater, OR

Source: Wikipedia
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 7,035
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.9x (2nd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 63.3x (17th cheapest)
More On Milton-Freewater: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Milton-Freewater is a city in Umatilla County, Oregon, United States. The city received its current name in 1951 when the neighboring rival cities of Milton and Freewater voted to merge. The population was 7,050 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Pendleton-Hermiston Micropolitan Statistical Area. Milton-Freewater is home to a growing wine industry.

The median income in Milton-Freewater comes in at $41,354 and the median home value is $118,400 for 2020.

Baker City, OR

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 9,738
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.0x (3rd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 65.3x (15th cheapest)
More On Baker City: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Baker City is a city in and the county seat of Baker County, Oregon, United States. It was named after Edward D. Baker, the only U.S. Senator ever killed in military combat. The population was 9,828 at the 2010 census.

The median income in Baker City comes in at $42,881 and the median home value is $128,700 for 2020.

Dallas, OR

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 15,805
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.6x (12th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 70.8x (3rd cheapest)
More On Dallas: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

The city of Dallas is the county seat of Polk County, Oregon, United States. The population was 14,583 at the 2010 census.

The median income in Dallas comes in at $56,169 and the median home value is $205,000 for 2020.

Creswell, OR

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 5,291
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.4x (9th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 63.1x (19th cheapest)
More On Creswell: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Creswell is a city in the Willamette Valley of Lane County, Oregon, United States. The population at the 2010 census was 5,031.

The median income in Creswell comes in at $58,279 and the median home value is $199,700 for 2020.

North Bend, OR

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 9,615
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.7x (14th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 62.6x (23rd cheapest)
More On North Bend: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

North Bend is a city in Coos County, Oregon, United States with a population of 9,695 as of the 2010 census. North Bend is surrounded on three sides by Coos Bay, an S-shaped water inlet and estuary where the Coos River enters Coos Bay and borders the city of Coos Bay to the south. North Bend became an incorporated city in 1903.

The median income in North Bend comes in at $49,935 and the median home value is $184,700 for 2020.

Ontario, OR

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 10,997
Rank Last Year: 19 (Up 10)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.3x (7th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 52.5x (51st cheapest)
More On Ontario: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Ontario is the largest city in Malheur County, Oregon, United States. It lies along the Snake River at the Idaho border. The population was 11,366 at the 2010 census. The city is the largest community in the region of far eastern Oregon, also known as the Western Treasure Valley.

The median income in Ontario comes in at $34,940 and the median home value is $114,800 for 2020.

Sheridan, OR

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 6,106
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.4x (8th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 54.9x (36th cheapest)
More On Sheridan: Homes For Sale | Data | Photos

Sheridan is a city in Yamhill County, Oregon, United States. Platted in the 1860s when it received a post office, the city was incorporated in 1880. A major fire burned much of the city in 1913, and a flood covered much of the city in 1964. The population of the city as of the 2010 Census was 6,127, an increase from 3,570 at the 2000 census. However, the 2000 Census count failed to include those incarcerated at the federal prison in the city, while the newer count did include those inmates.

The median income in Sheridan comes in at $48,449 and the median home value is $165,900 for 2020.

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

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Oregon
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 Oregon 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 76 places in Oregon that have more than 5,000 people.

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

There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Oregon Cheapskate

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

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

  1. Hood River
  2. Ashland
  3. Seaside

For more Oregon reading, check out:

Where Are The Most Affordable Places To Live In Oregon?

Rank City CheapScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Umatilla 5.0 7,114 2.8x 66.1x
2 Hermiston 6.33 17,346 3.0x 70.5x
3 Pendleton 7.0 16,713 3.1x 68.5x
4 Milton-Freewater 7.33 7,035 2.9x 63.3x
5 Baker City 7.33 9,738 3.0x 65.3x
6 Dallas 14.33 15,805 3.6x 70.8x
7 Creswell 18.0 5,291 3.4x 63.1x
8 North Bend 19.33 9,615 3.7x 62.6x
9 Ontario 19.67 10,997 3.3x 52.5x
10 Sheridan 19.67 6,106 3.4x 54.9x

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.