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If you've never visited Carhenge in Alliance or caught an astronomy show at the Strategic Air and Space Museum in Ashland, then you've not witnessed what 1.9 million Nebraskans already know; they have some of the most affordable fun to be had in America.
Coincidentally, Nebraska has some of the most affordable places to live in the country as well, and HomeSnacks is here to unravel where you can live in Nebraska on a budget for 2021.
How did we create the ultimate guide to maneuvering Nebraska's most affordable places to live? We took a look at the US Census and the cost of living data for the Cornhusker State. We were especially interested in home and rental prices. Our conclusion, Nebraska should be one of our fastest growing states based on the amount of work available and its higher than normal wages, but housing is currently difficult to find.
Now, don't let the housing shortage deter you: they are working on it. More importantly, when you do decide to take the Nebraska plunge, you're going to need to know where your money will go the furthest.
The places on our most affordable Nebraska list boast great home prices, safe neighborhoods, and lots to do. Any one of these cheaper Nebraska places would be a great place to enjoy life while saving money. Want to know more? We suggest you crank some Maroon 5, grab a basket of Nebraska's famous Rocky Mountain oysters, and keep reading.
There are definitely some affordable Nebraska places on our list that will surprise you, however, there can be only one number most affordable for 2021. What's the cheapest place to live in Nebraska? If you want to get the most bang for your Nebraska buck, you're going to want to choose Schuyler, the cheapest place in the Cornhusker State.
To see how your favorite Nebraska city compared, take a look below. If you don't see it there, head to the bottom.
And if you already knew these places were cheap, check out some more reading about Nebraska and the cheapest places in the country:
The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Nebraska For 2021
If you're looking for the absolute cheapest place to live in Nebraska, look no further than Schuyler, a city an hour north of Lincoln. What makes Schuyler so affordable? Well, Schuyler has the third least expensive homes for sale in Nebraska, with a median price tag of $102,800. Even more importantly, with a median income of $63,625, Schuyler has the best home price to income ratio in the state. If you're looking to lock down a job before making the move, the Cargill beef processing plant is the city's largest employer.
Alliance ranks as the second most affordable place to live in Nebraska. It's also home to Carhenge, a quirky roadside stop on the western edge of the Sandhills of Nebraska that replicates Stonehenge. If you decide to move to Alliance, a home will set you back about $105,600 or rent will cost you around $664/month. Whether you're renting or buying, know that you'll be enjoying the sixth best housing to income ratio in Nebraska.
Alliance is located centrally in the Nebraska Panhandle.
Located along Route 30 in southern Nebraska, Lexington ranks as the third most affordable city in the state. You'd be hard-pressed to find anywhere in Nebraska that has cheaper homes for sale, because Lexington has the lowest home prices statewide, with a median price of $92,400. And with a median income of $52,885, Lexington residents enjoy the second best home price to income ratio in Nebraska. Military buffs will be delighted to have the Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles right in the neighborhood. And don't worry that this inexpensive place with lots of weaponry on display is dangerous; we named Lexington among the safest places in Nebraska.
Ranking as our fourth most affordable place to live in Nebraska is McCook, a small city in the southwestern part of the state. McCook scored an 8/10 on our overall Snackability score, so you know they've got you covered on low unemployment, good schools, short commutes, and awesome amenities like the Heritage Hills Golf Course. And the great news doesn't stop there; you can get a home in McCook for $109,000, the sixth cheapest price in Nebraska. And with a median income of $48,133, McCook has the tenth lowest home price to income ratio in the state.
Located in the Nebraska Panhandle just north of the Colorado border, Sidney comes in as the fifth cheapest place to live in the state. The median home price in Sidney is $111,000 and the median income is $55,346. That means that Sidney's population pays the third smallest proportion of their income on homes statewide. At $782/month, the rent in Sidney is also super affordable. Those looking to learn more about the city's ties to the rugged frontier days on the late 19th century will definitely want to pay a visit to the Fort Sidney Museum.
Coming in as the sixth cheapest place to call home in Nebraska for 2021 is North Platte, the ninth biggest city in the state. The overall cost of living in North Platte is 17% lower than the national average, so you'll pay less for stuff like utilities, transportation, and services here.
But the real secret sauce to North Platte's affordability is its low housing costs - 21% cheaper than the average in Nebraska. Homes in North Platte have a median price of $118,900. Combine that with a median household income of $54,357, and you've got a recipe for some very manageable mortgage payments.
But the best part about North Platte is that it's exciting - from all the outdoor recreation opportunities around like Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park, no true outdoorsman or woman could be bored for very long in North Platte.
And the annual NebraskaLand Days draws visitors from all over who want to enjoy some rodeo action, big-name concerts, parades, food, beer, and more.
Located between Lincoln and Grand Island, York ranks as the seventh least expensive place to call home in Nebraska. York is another city that makes this list thanks to it's affordable rent. While the median rent of $714 is slightly higher than Holdrege, York's median income of $57,755 is also slightly higher. Overall, York has the sixth best rent to income ratio in Nebraska. And if you're into quirky novelty museums, Lee's Legendary Marbles and Collectibles makes a great day out on a budget.
While other cities higher up on this list may have cheaper homes, they don't hold a candle to Holdrege when it comes to affordable rent. The median rent in Holdrege is a measly $653, about half the average rent in Nebraska. And with a median income of $54,167, Holdrege residents pay the 16th smallest proportion of their income on rent statewide.
Holdrege is also home to the Nebraska Prairie Museum, where you can learn about the WWII German POW Camp Atlanta.
Situated about 40 miles south of Lincoln, Beatrice ranks as the ninth most affordable place in Nebraska. Visitors come from far and wide to enjoy Beatrice's Homestead National Monument, but those who stick around find there's a lot more here to do here.
If you want to try Beatrice out without too much commitment, you're in luck because it has the second cheapest median rent in Nebraska at $629. Homes are also quite inexpensive, with a median price of $106,600 - that's the fifth lowest anywhere in the state.
For someone who likes the quiet and life and the great outdoors, Beatrice offers a high quality of life for a low cost of living.
South Sioux City is more than just a sibilant-heavy tongue-twister; it's also the tenth least expensive place in Nebraska. Homes in South Sioux City are the fourth most affordable statewide, with a median price of $116,200. Renters also get the 23rd best deal in Nebraska. If you do decide to settle down here, we recommend visiting Siouxland Freedom Park for relaxing picnic beside the Missouri River.
South Sioux City is located just south of Sioux City, Iowa.
How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Cornhusker State For 2021
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 2015-2019 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 Nebraska 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 32 places in Nebraska that have more than 5,000 people.
The place with the lowest cost of living in Nebraska according to the data is Schuyler. You can download the data here.
There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. Nebraska Cheapskate
If you're looking at the cost of living numbers in Nebraska, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in Nebraska for 2021.
Here's a look at the most expensive cities in Nebraska according to the data:
For more Nebraska reading, check out:
The Most Affordable Places To Live In Nebraska
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