The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In Tennessee For 2021


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

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Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the most expensive places to live in Tennessee.

Everyone wants a home that mixes affordability with comfort and Tennessee does this very well. Families love the Volunteer State'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 Tennessee 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 Tennessee for 2021.

So where is the most expensive place to live in Tennessee? That would be Athens.
the 2015-2019 American Community Survey for the 97 places in Tennessee with more than 5,000 people.

Here are the 10 most expensive places to live in Tennessee for 2021:

  1. Athens
  2. Nashville
  3. Cookeville
  4. Sevierville
  5. Crossville
  6. Goodlettsville
  7. Johnson City
  8. Chattanooga
  9. Lebanon
  10. Murfreesboro

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

So hopefully Milan (the cheapest place to live in Tennessee) 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 Tennessee and the most expensive cities in the country:

The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In Tennessee For 2021

1. AthensAthens, TN

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 13,851
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.7x (most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 45.1x (3rd most expensive)
More on Athens: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Athens comes in at $31,913 and the median home value is $148,800 for 2021.

2. NashvilleNashville, TN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 663,750
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.0x (9th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 54.4x (3most expensive)
More on Nashville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Nashville comes in at $59,828 and the median home value is $239,000 for 2021.

3. CookevilleCookeville, TN

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 33,454
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.4x (2nd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 52.4x (20th most expensive)
More on Cookeville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Cookeville comes in at $38,256 and the median home value is $166,700 for 2021.

4. SeviervilleSevierville, TN

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 16,743
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.4x (3rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 56.0x (39th most expensive)
More on Sevierville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Sevierville comes in at $43,233 and the median home value is $188,300 for 2021.

5. CrossvilleCrossville, TN

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 11,545
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.3x (4th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 50.9x (19th most expensive)
More on Crossville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Crossville comes in at $34,113 and the median home value is $147,000 for 2021.

6. Goodlettsville

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 16,870
Rank Last Year: 16 (Up 9)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.6x (2most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 55.2x (34th most expensive)
More on Goodlettsville: Real Estate | Data

The median income in Goodlettsville comes in at $60,268 and the median home value is $218,800 for 2021.

7. Johnson CityJohnson City, TN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 66,515
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.0x (8th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 55.2x (33rd most expensive)
More on Johnson City: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Johnson City comes in at $41,682 and the median home value is $167,500 for 2021.

8. ChattanoogaChattanooga, TN

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 179,690
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.7x (19th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 53.0x (23rd most expensive)
More on Chattanooga: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Chattanooga comes in at $45,527 and the median home value is $167,500 for 2021.

9. LebanonLebanon, TN

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 33,159
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.1x (6th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 59.6x (56th most expensive)
More on Lebanon: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Lebanon comes in at $54,228 and the median home value is $223,600 for 2021.

10. MurfreesboroMurfreesboro, TN

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 136,366
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.8x (14th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 58.9x (53rd most expensive)
More on Murfreesboro: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Murfreesboro comes in at $62,003 and the median home value is $238,000 for 2021.

How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Volunteer State For 2021

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In Tennessee
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 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 Tennessee 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 97 places in Tennessee that have more than 5,000 people.

The place with the highest cost of living in Tennessee according to the data is Athens. You can download the data here.

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In Tennessee For 2021

Well there you have it, the places in Tennessee that have the highest cost of living, with Athens ranking as the most expensive city in the Volunteer State.

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

  1. Milan
  2. Lewisburg
  3. Manchester

For more Tennessee reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In Tennessee

Rank City ExpensiveScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Athens 17.33 13,851 4.7x 45.1x
2 Nashville 17.67 663,750 4.0x 54.4x
3 Cookeville 19.67 33,454 4.4x 52.4x
4 Sevierville 22.33 16,743 4.4x 56.0x
5 Crossville 24.0 11,545 4.3x 50.9x
6 Goodlettsville 25.0 16,870 3.6x 55.2x
7 Johnson City 25.5 66,515 4.0x 55.2x
8 Chattanooga 25.83 179,690 3.7x 53.0x
9 Lebanon 26.67 33,159 4.1x 59.6x
10 Murfreesboro 27.33 136,366 3.8x 58.9x
11 Martin 28.0 10,635 4.0x 48.7x
12 Collegedale 28.67 11,275 3.9x 59.9x
13 Nolensville 28.67 8,390 3.4x 59.5x
14 Franklin 29.67 77,939 4.2x 66.3x
15 Signal Mountain 30.67 8,539 3.1x 56.7x
16 Cleveland 31.0 44,595 3.8x 58.1x
17 Knoxville 31.33 186,173 3.4x 47.7x
18 Morristown 31.67 29,782 3.6x 44.0x
19 Hendersonville 32.33 57,083 3.7x 61.8x
20 Red Bank 34.0 11,745 3.5x 55.1x
21 Pigeon Forge 34.67 6,229 3.8x 60.5x
22 Gallatin 34.67 38,156 3.7x 62.1x
23 Covington 35.0 8,857 3.4x 46.3x
24 Brentwood 35.0 42,407 3.9x 80.9x
25 Springfield 39.0 17,092 3.3x 56.2x
26 Lenoir City 39.33 9,162 3.1x 48.7x
27 Clinton 41.0 9,964 3.8x 62.9x
28 Jackson 41.33 66,870 3.1x 49.7x
29 Newport 41.67 6,848 3.7x 49.8x
30 Spring Hill 42.0 39,711 3.2x 64.8x
31 Farragut 43.0 22,631 3.4x 96.9x
32 Fairview 43.0 8,762 3.3x 64.5x
33 Union City 43.0 10,424 3.4x 48.9x
34 Oakland 44.67 7,893 2.5x 50.1x
35 Mount Juliet 45.33 34,377 3.0x 64.1x
36 Lexington 45.33 7,848 3.3x 54.4x
37 Pulaski 45.5 7,643 3.2x 50.2x
38 Smyrna 45.67 49,552 3.0x 60.6x
39 Lafayette 45.67 5,171 3.1x 43.7x
40 Maryville 46.0 28,974 3.3x 69.7x
41 Columbia 46.67 38,380 3.1x 57.0x
42 Greenbrier 47.0 6,818 3.1x 60.8x
43 Jonesborough 47.67 5,427 3.0x 59.4x
44 Clarksville 48.67 152,934 2.9x 55.8x
45 Paris 48.67 10,043 3.1x 48.1x
46 Elizabethton 49.0 13,577 3.4x 57.5x
47 Erwin 49.0 5,921 3.1x 53.7x
48 Arlington 50.33 11,697 2.3x 56.7x
49 Jefferson City 50.67 8,237 3.3x 58.9x
50 La Vergne 51.0 35,411 2.5x 53.6x
51 Shelbyville 51.33 21,591 3.0x 54.3x
52 Greeneville 52.5 14,942 3.5x 63.2x
53 Kingsport 52.5 53,376 3.4x 65.4x
54 Dickson 54.67 15,447 3.1x 67.0x
55 Bristol 55.33 26,852 3.2x 63.1x
56 Harriman 55.33 6,126 3.2x 57.4x
57 Fayetteville 55.67 7,034 2.9x 53.3x
58 Loudon 56.67 5,747 2.9x 56.3x
59 Mckenzie 56.67 5,328 2.9x 48.9x
60 East Ridge 57.33 21,168 2.8x 55.7x
61 Bolivar 57.67 5,031 2.9x 52.7x
62 Germantown 58.0 39,193 2.8x 85.2x
63 Millersville 58.67 6,350 2.9x 69.1x
64 Collierville 59.0 50,086 2.8x 85.6x
65 Memphis 59.17 651,932 2.5x 45.8x
66 Lawrenceburg 59.33 10,877 3.0x 55.6x
67 Soddy-Daisy 59.83 13,398 3.0x 64.4x
68 Tullahoma 60.33 19,852 3.0x 64.3x
69 Humboldt 60.33 8,169 2.6x 45.6x
70 White House 61.0 11,843 2.8x 75.8x
71 Savannah 61.33 6,947 3.1x 62.4x
72 Sweetwater 62.0 5,873 3.0x 60.8x
73 Kingston 62.67 5,927 2.9x 78.8x
74 Bartlett 62.67 59,102 2.2x 61.2x
75 Ripley 63.0 7,947 2.6x 48.2x
76 Dayton 63.33 7,344 2.7x 53.7x
77 Church Hill 63.33 6,667 3.1x 77.6x
78 Alcoa 63.33 9,561 2.8x 61.2x
79 Millington 64.17 10,645 2.5x 55.9x
80 Oak Ridge 64.67 29,037 2.8x 68.5x
81 Lakeland 65.33 12,606 2.5x 85.9x
82 Brownsville 65.67 9,647 2.6x 52.8x
83 Hartsville/trousdale County 67.33 10,231 2.8x 71.6x
84 Mount Carmel 67.67 5,293 2.8x 78.1x
85 La Follette 68.0 6,857 2.5x 50.3x
86 Mcminnville 68.33 13,695 2.7x 56.4x
87 Winchester 68.67 8,706 2.9x 79.5x
88 Dyersburg 69.0 16,476 2.7x 58.2x
89 Atoka 69.67 9,241 2.1x 77.3x
90 Henderson 70.0 6,289 2.8x 61.4x
91 Rockwood 70.0 5,423 2.6x 54.3x
92 Portland 72.0 12,729 2.6x 65.6x
93 Dunlap 72.67 5,103 2.6x 59.7x
94 Munford 74.0 6,034 2.3x 80.9x
95 Manchester 76.0 10,721 2.6x 70.5x
96 Lewisburg 78.0 11,910 2.3x 58.4x
97 Milan 81.33 7,672 2.4x 64.2x

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.