Alabama is home to Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, the USS Alabama in Mobile, and the US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, but did you know that the Heart of Dixie is also home to some of the most affordable places in the country?
The experts say that the cost of living is on the rise, so HomeSnacks thought it would be a great idea to give Alabamans one of the best life hacks: we compiled a list of the most affordable places to live in Alabama for 2022.
How did we determine the most affordable places to live in Alabama for 2022? We consulted the latest Census data on cost of living.
It simple economics, folks. The folks in our most affordable Alabama places know that the less they spend on their cost of living, the more they have to spend on the fun things that Alabama has to offer. Like, swamp boat tours in Spanish Fort, the Birmingham Zoo, or Alabama Adventure & Splash Adventure in Bessemer. you know, great, affordable Alabama staycations. Do we think it’s a coincidence that several of our top ten best places in Alabama to retire are also on our most affordable list? Absolutely not. The good ‘ol Alabamans that live in these places know the value of the Alabama dollar.
So, want to know where you can find a safe, affordable Alabama home? Keep reading.
The 10 Most Affordable Places To Live In Alabama
To produce a comprehensive list of the most affordable places in Alabama for 2022, we took a look at the things that matter: low cost of living, blue ribbon schools, and an above average employment rate to name a few.
The cheapest place to live in Alabama? Drum roll… the number one most affordable place to live in Alabama is Attalla.
If you’re already in one of the most affordable Alabama places we’re about to highlight, odds are you don’t want to go anywhere. You should, however, scroll on down and see how your city compared.
And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about Alabama and the cheapest places in the country:
The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Alabama For 2022
Alabama’s most affordable place to live for 2022 is Attalla. Also, fun fact, Attalla is one of the city’s that made this list that is located closest to an airport.
Why is that a fun fact? Because when you save a bunch of money on your home purchase, you can use that money to purchase a private jet and leave it at the The Northeast Alabama Regional Airport.
Attalla is the third cheapest place to buy a home relative to its median income in the state and offers an oveall cost of living well below the national, and state, average.
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.2x (3rd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 79.4x (47th cheapest)
More On Attalla: Real Estate | Cost Of Living
Where Alabama’s HWY 43 crosses HWY 24 is the second cheapest place to live in The Yellowhammer State. The beauty of Russellville is that it is the fifth most affordable place to buy a home or rent based on the median income at $44,674 for this area. So, if you’re not sure if buying a home, let alone living, in this little city in Franklin County, you can try it out with a rental.
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.2x (5th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 72.2x (38th cheapest)
More On Russellville: Real Estate | Cost Of Living
Brewton is a city in Escambia County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census, the population was 5,408. The city is the county seat of Escambia County. Brewton is located in south central Alabama, just north of the Florida Panhandle. Brewton has been voted one of the 100 best small towns in America.
Rank Last Year: 18 (Up 15)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.5x (27th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 79.5x (77th cheapest)
More On Brewton: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
As an official town, Valley has only existed for a relatively short period of time. It was first incorporated in 1980, a merger of a set of smaller communities. The area has gained a major distinction in its short time: it ranks as the number 4 most affordable city in the state.
Valley sits along the Chattahoochee River, right at the border with Georgia. This gives residents access to loads of scenic outdoors activities around nearby West Point Lake. With a population of 9,195 residents, Valley exists in a relatively rural part of the state. It takes more than an hour to get either to the state capital of Montgomery or to Atlanta, the nearest major metropolis.
This small-town, outdoorsy charm helps to keep expenses in the community under control. The median income in the area only comes in at $50,445. But those dollars go a long way. The median home value is an affordable $91,300, while the median rent hovers at $821 per month. Meanwhile, the overall cost of living is only about 80% of the national average.
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.8x (most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 61.4x (23rd cheapest)
More On Valley: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
Oxford is a city in Calhoun and Talladega counties in the State of Alabama. The population was 21,348 at the 2010 census, an increase of 46.3% since the 2000 Census. Oxford is one of two principal cities of and included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Rank Last Year: 28 (Up 23)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.2x (9th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 78.3x (27th cheapest)
More On Oxford: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
For many, Hamilton’s claim to fame is that they are the home to the former Minnesota Vikings lineman Bookie Bolin; but, for HomeSnacks, this city of 6,662 in Marion County is the sixth best place in Alabama if you are looking for affordable living.
Yes, the median income in Hamilton is $38,613 and the median home price is $101,400; so, for all of the economically savvy out there, we’re pretty sure we can agree that this a Hamilton win.
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.6x (38th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 77.8x (4cheapest)
More On Hamilton: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
Satsuma is a city in Mobile County, Alabama, United States. At the 2000 census the population was 5,687. Known prior to 1915 as Fig Tree Island, the city was named after the Satsuma orange, which was successfully cultivated and grown in Alabama starting in 1878, a gift from Emperor Meiji of Japan. Satsuma is a part of the Mobile metropolitan statistical area.
Rank Last Year: 26 (Up 19)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.9x (2nd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 86.8x (59th cheapest)
More On Satsuma: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
Boaz is a city in Etowah and Marshall counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. It is part of the Gadsden, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 9,551. Boaz is known mainly for its outlet shops.
Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 9)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.6x (33rd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 75.8x (3rd cheapest)
More On Boaz: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
You won’t have to sacrifice class for affordability if you choose to live in Alabama’s ninth most affordable place, Lincoln. Matter of fact, you won’t have to sacrifice anything. Lincoln is the 11th best place to buy a home based on home price to income ratio; and economically speaking, the less you have to spend on your home, the more money you will for the fun things to do in the place that wants you to “Come Grow With Them.” Like, catching a NASCAR race at the famous Talladega SuperSpeedway.
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 5)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.3x (11th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 74.1x (76th cheapest)
More On Lincoln: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
Albertville is a city in Marshall County, Alabama, United States, and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 21,160.
Rank Last Year: 22 (Up 12)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.5x (23rd most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 74.7x (18th cheapest)
More On Albertville: Real Estate | Crime Rate | Cost Of Living
Cheapest Places To Live In Alabama FAQs
What county in Alabama has the lowest cost of living?
The county in Alabama with the lowest cost of living is DeKalb County. The average living wage in DeKalb County is $74,765 according to MIT data. DeKalb County has the lowest cost of living because it has relatively less expensive childcare and housing costs compared to Alabama as a whole. Childcare costs $8,562 a year in DeKalb County for two children compared to the Alabama average of $11,652. Housing costs, defined as a blend of the average rent and average mortgage payment, are $7,608 per year in DeKalb County compared to $9,794 on average in Alabama.
What is the cost of living in Alabama?
The cost of living in Alabama is 10.0% lower than the US average. According to MIT, the required living wage for a family of four with two working parents in Alabama is $80,777 vs the national average for a family of four with two working parents of $89,744. The median income of a Alabama household is $52,035.
What is the cheapest housing market in Alabama?
The cheapest housing market in Alabama is Prichard. The average home value in Prichard is $66,100, the lowest in the state. The average home value in Alabama is $149,600, almost 2.3 times higher than Prichard.
Methodology: How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Heart of Dixie For 2022
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 2016-2020 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 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 103 places in Alabama that have more than 5,000 people.
The place with the lowest cost of living in Alabama according to the data is Attalla. You can download the data here.
Summary: There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Alabama Cheapskate
If you’re looking at the cost of living numbers in Alabama, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in Alabama for 2022.
Here’s a look at the most expensive cities in Alabama according to the data:
- Gulf Shores
For more Alabama reading, check out:
The Most Affordable Places To Live In Alabama