Most Expensive Places To Live In Alabama For 2020


We used science and data to determine which cities in Alabama that will put a big dent in your wallet.

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

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Everyone wants a home that mixes affordability with comfort and Alabama does this very well. Families love the Heart Of Dixie's beaches, midlands, and mountains as tourists before moving here and calling it home.

But before you decide to relocate, you have to do some research into the exact cost of living around the state -- and that's how we're going to help you.

These are the places in Alabama that cost a pretty penny -- the most expensive cities in the state.

After we saved up for months and could finally afford it, we landed on this list of the ten most expensive cities in Alabama for 2020.

So where is the most expensive place to live in Alabama? That would be Gulf Shores.
the 2014-2018 American Community Survey for the 103 places in Alabama with more than 5,000 people.

What's the most expensive place to live in Alabama? Well, HomeSnacks crunched the numbers and discovered that Gulf Shores is the most expensive place to live in Alabama.

So hopefully Lincoln (the cheapest place to live in Alabama) can show these guys how to live on a budget in the coming years. Read on for how these places had costs rise faster than inflation.

And if you already knew these places were expensive, check out some more reading about Alabama and the most expensive cities in the country:

The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In Alabama For 2020

Gulf Shores, AL

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 12,033
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.8x (3rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 48.1x (11th most expensive)
More on Gulf Shores: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Gulf Shores comes in at $50,306 and the median home value is $242,400 for 2020.

Auburn, AL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 62,996
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.6x (1st most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 51.4x (16th most expensive)
More on Auburn: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Auburn is a city in Lee County, Alabama, United States. It is the largest city in eastern Alabama with a 2016 population of 63,118. It is a principal city of the Auburn-Opelika Metropolitan Area. The Auburn-Opelika, AL MSA with a population of 158,991, along with the Columbus, GA-AL MSA and Tuskegee, Alabama, comprises the greater Columbus-Auburn-Opelika, GA-AL CSA, a region home to 501,649 residents.

The median income in Auburn comes in at $44,654 and the median home value is $251,000 for 2020.

Tuscaloosa, AL

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 98,881
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.9x (8th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 52.3x (20th most expensive)
More on Tuscaloosa: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Tuscaloosa is a city in and the seat of Tuscaloosa County in west central Alabama. Located on the Black Warrior River at the Atlantic Seaboard fall line of the Piedmont, it is the fifth-largest city in Alabama, with an estimated population of 99,543 in 2016.

The median income in Tuscaloosa comes in at $44,120 and the median home value is $173,900 for 2020.

Troy, AL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 19,141
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 5.2x (2nd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 46.7x (10th most expensive)
More on Troy: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Troy is a city in Pike County, Alabama, United States. The city is the county seat of Pike County. It was formally incorporated on February 4, 1843.

The median income in Troy comes in at $29,406 and the median home value is $152,300 for 2020.

Foley, AL

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 17,818
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.7x (13th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 57.1x (31st most expensive)
More on Foley: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Foley is a city in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States. The 2010 census lists the population of the city as 14,618. Foley is a principal city of the Daphne-Fairhope-Foley Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Baldwin County.

The median income in Foley comes in at $46,221 and the median home value is $170,300 for 2020.

Fairhope, AL

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 20,327
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.6x (14th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 64.2x (54th most expensive)
More on Fairhope: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Fairhope is a city in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States, on a sloping plateau, along the cliffs and shoreline of Mobile Bay. The 2010 census lists the population of the city as 15,326. Fairhope is a principal city of the Daphne-Fairhope-Foley micropolitan area, which includes all of Baldwin County. In 2016, Fairhope was named the best small town in the South by Southern Living magazine.

The median income in Fairhope comes in at $70,330 and the median home value is $256,400 for 2020.

Montevallo, AL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 6,654
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.7x (9th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 58.4x (34th most expensive)
More on Montevallo: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Montevallo is a city in Shelby County, Alabama, United States. A college town, it is the home of the University of Montevallo, a public liberal arts university with approximately 3,000 students. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city of Montevallo is 6,323. Hollie Campbell Cost, a professor in the College of Education at the University of Montevallo, serves as Mayor.

The median income in Montevallo comes in at $41,720 and the median home value is $155,400 for 2020.

Homewood, AL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 25,595
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.3x (5th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 70.9x (77th most expensive)
More on Homewood: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Homewood is a city in southeastern Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. It is a suburb of Birmingham, located on the other side of Red Mountain due south of the city center. Its estimated 2015 population is 25,708.

The median income in Homewood comes in at $77,269 and the median home value is $333,600 for 2020.

Pell City, AL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 13,593
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.5x (20th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 61.6x (46th most expensive)
More on Pell City: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Pell City is a city in St. Clair County, Alabama, United States. The city is the county seat of St. Clair County along with Ashville. At the 2000 census the population was 9,565. At the 2010 census, the city-limit population jumped to 12,695.

The median income in Pell City comes in at $48,921 and the median home value is $171,200 for 2020.

Spanish Fort, AL

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 8,324
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.3x (26th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 66.3x (62nd most expensive)
More on Spanish Fort: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Spanish Fort is a city in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States, located on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. The 2010 census lists the population of the city as 6,798. It is a suburb of Mobile and is part of the Daphne-Fairhope-Foley micropolitan area.

The median income in Spanish Fort comes in at $77,075 and the median home value is $254,600 for 2020.

How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Heart of Dixie For 2020

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Alabama
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 Alabama to figure out which is the most 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 103 places in Alabama that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the highest cost of living in Alabama according to the data is Gulf Shores. You can download the data here.

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In Alabama For 2020

Well there you have it, the places in Alabama that have the highest cost of living, with Gulf Shores ranking as the most expensive city in the Heart of Dixie.

Here's a look at the most affordable cities in Alabama according to the data:

  1. Lincoln
  2. Tuscumbia
  3. Russellville

For more Alabama reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In Alabama

Rank City ExpensiveScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Gulf Shores 8.33 12,033 4.8x 48.1x
2 Auburn 8.67 62,996 5.6x 51.4x
3 Tuscaloosa 15.67 98,881 3.9x 52.3x
4 Troy 16.0 19,141 5.2x 46.7x
5 Foley 22.67 17,818 3.7x 57.1x
6 Fairhope 25.0 20,327 3.6x 64.2x
7 Montevallo 25.0 6,654 3.7x 58.4x
8 Homewood 28.33 25,595 4.3x 70.9x
9 Pell City 29.0 13,593 3.5x 61.6x
10 Spanish Fort 32.0 8,324 3.3x 66.3x
11 Opelika 32.33 29,798 3.6x 60.6x
12 Demopolis 32.67 6,918 4.5x 58.8x
13 Oneonta 34.0 6,575 3.6x 64.5x
14 Eufaula 35.33 12,289 3.7x 57.8x
15 Atmore 35.67 9,746 3.7x 44.8x
16 Orange Beach 36.33 5,927 3.6x 73.9x
17 Robertsdale 36.67 6,521 3.3x 55.6x
18 Guntersville 36.67 8,377 4.3x 74.4x
19 Huntsville 36.67 193,663 3.3x 67.0x
20 Selma 37.0 18,804 3.6x 41.2x
21 Phenix City 37.0 36,641 3.1x 48.7x
22 Mountain Brook 37.33 20,466 4.2x 111.8x
23 Jacksonville 38.33 12,654 3.7x 67.2x
24 Rainbow City 39.0 9,581 3.2x 64.8x
25 Mobile 39.67 191,485 3.0x 48.6x
26 Daphne 39.67 25,361 2.8x 63.0x
27 Florence 40.0 40,104 3.5x 60.5x
28 Dothan 41.33 67,872 3.2x 62.2x
29 Vestavia Hills 41.33 34,163 3.5x 93.5x
30 Hoover 41.33 84,480 3.3x 76.4x
31 Alexander City 43.33 14,621 3.3x 52.6x
32 Smiths Station 43.33 5,349 2.8x 58.7x
33 Prattville 44.33 35,657 2.6x 59.1x
34 Wetumpka 44.67 8,117 2.8x 54.9x
35 Bay Minette 46.17 9,089 3.5x 64.5x
36 Chelsea 46.33 12,643 2.3x 60.6x
37 Enterprise 47.33 27,859 2.9x 69.0x
38 Irondale 47.33 12,474 2.6x 53.5x
39 Northport 47.33 25,457 2.9x 70.9x
40 Andalusia 48.67 8,864 3.0x 54.4x
41 Monroeville 49.0 6,011 3.6x 68.2x
42 Talladega 49.67 15,609 3.1x 51.7x
43 Trussville 50.0 21,721 2.7x 72.6x
44 Tuskegee 50.33 8,699 2.9x 44.6x
45 Cullman 51.67 15,558 3.2x 70.0x
46 Arab 52.0 8,234 3.4x 75.7x
47 Montgomery 52.33 200,156 2.6x 53.0x
48 Lanett 53.17 6,318 2.9x 56.4x
49 Anniston 53.33 21,924 2.9x 53.4x
50 Bessemer 54.0 26,759 2.6x 41.7x
51 Pleasant Grove 54.0 10,185 2.2x 59.8x
52 Sylacauga 54.33 12,397 3.2x 66.8x
53 Jasper 54.67 13,727 3.2x 74.9x
54 Scottsboro 54.67 14,527 3.0x 65.9x
55 Clanton 55.0 8,724 2.9x 61.8x
56 Pike Road 55.33 8,884 2.6x 91.2x
57 Greenville 55.33 7,714 3.0x 62.7x
58 Athens 55.33 25,176 3.1x 76.8x
59 Rainsville 55.33 5,018 3.2x 65.3x
60 Fairfield 56.0 10,790 2.6x 51.8x
61 Madison 56.0 48,275 2.7x 100.9x
62 Fultondale 57.0 9,097 2.4x 61.1x
63 Calera 57.33 13,557 2.2x 59.8x
64 Tarrant 57.33 6,212 2.5x 39.1x
65 Birmingham 57.33 212,021 2.5x 44.3x
66 Prichard 57.33 21,927 2.6x 34.8x
67 Decatur 58.0 54,617 3.0x 69.8x
68 Albertville 58.0 21,460 2.8x 61.7x
69 Sheffield 58.0 8,986 2.6x 52.8x
70 Pelham 58.67 23,242 2.4x 71.5x
71 Oxford 59.0 21,208 2.5x 64.4x
72 Leeds 59.67 12,348 2.6x 73.2x
73 Fort Payne 59.67 14,006 3.0x 67.8x
74 Gardendale 60.0 13,875 2.5x 71.3x
75 Brewton 60.67 5,263 2.9x 65.8x
76 Millbrook 60.67 15,160 2.5x 69.2x
77 Center Point 61.5 16,460 2.3x 51.2x
78 Chickasaw 62.33 5,837 2.3x 36.6x
79 Ozark 62.67 14,456 2.7x 63.5x
80 Daleville 63.0 5,113 2.5x 56.9x
81 Moody 63.0 12,752 2.5x 73.4x
82 Helena 63.33 17,861 2.2x 71.2x
83 Muscle Shoals 63.67 13,874 2.5x 70.7x
84 Hueytown 65.33 15,583 2.2x 57.7x
85 Satsuma 67.0 6,151 2.4x 72.9x
86 Boaz 68.67 9,553 2.7x 67.6x
87 Midfield 69.33 5,158 2.0x 41.7x
88 Valley 69.33 9,305 2.1x 50.4x
89 Alabaster 70.0 32,878 2.2x 75.9x
90 Saraland 70.67 14,268 2.2x 68.8x
91 Gadsden 71.0 35,624 2.2x 51.6x
92 Opp 72.0 6,520 2.4x 60.1x
93 Southside 73.33 8,788 2.2x 81.4x
94 Glencoe 76.33 5,120 2.4x 105.4x
95 Pinson 76.5 7,121 2.0x 68.1x
96 Clay 78.67 9,653 2.2x 83.1x
97 Hartselle 78.67 14,405 2.3x 89.6x
98 Hamilton 81.33 6,664 2.5x 73.1x
99 Attalla 82.67 5,847 1.7x 60.5x
100 Roanoke 83.0 5,941 2.1x 63.6x

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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.