1. Milwaukee

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA downtown city skyline on Lake Michigan at twilight.
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

Yes, winters are long in Milwaukee, and the transition from mild to cold weather can be challenging.

That said, a decent single-family home can he bought for $190,000, and the Wisconsin cost of living is cheaper than 79% of cities in the U.S according to Numbeo.

With Lake Michigan within site, water is plentiful and cheap, and many companies are bringing high-tech jobs to the city on the water, perfect for millennial job seekers. With a median millennial income of over $61,000, Milwaukee is a solid option.

2. Indianapolis

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA skyline over Soliders' and Sailors' Monument at dusk.
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

We’re staying in the Midwest for our number two pick, and in fact, Indianapolis bills itself as “The Gateway to the Midwest.”

Median home prices are well below $150,000, and the millennial median income there is nearing $55,000.

The downtown area is hip, with an array of music venues. Even though Indianapolis can look provincial, downtown is very sleek and modern. The climate is warmer than Milwaukee, and the vibe is mellow.

3. Minneapolis

Minneapolis downtown skyline in Minnesota, USA at sunset
f11photo / Shutterstock

Median home prices in Minneapolis are a lot higher compared to Milwaukee and Indianapolis, but with millennial salaries at almost $84,000, a $284,000 home can be affordable.

Winter is nasty, but downtown Minneapolis has a series of walkways that make it unnecessary to go outside during the winter. The city has a Seattle-like cosmopolitan feel that is atypical of most Midwestern towns.

4. Cleveland

Cleveland, Ohio, near sunset, viewed from out on Lake Erie
Kenneth Sponsler / Shutterstock

Cleveland was considered a rust-belt wasteland for many years, but since the construction of the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, this city has its attributes.

One Important plus is the median $164,000 single-family home price.

Millennial salaries average $56,000, so housing is certainly affordable here. And the University Circle Area along with The Museum of Contemporary Art adds to the friendliness of this on-the-rise locale.

5. Pittsburgh

Evening view of Pittsburgh from the top of the Duquesne Incline in Mount Washington, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
ESB Professional / Shutterstock

A nice single-family home for under $140,000? That’s what Pittsburgh has to offer, along with affordable rent prices.

Median millennial earnings are close to $65,000 here, a steal on the East Coast. And millennials love Pittsburgh because of “the list of plusses: affordability; decent transit; beautiful green spaces; stunning architecture; historic housing stock; (and) alluring topography,” according to a recent Atlantic article.

6. Chicago

Photo of the Millenium Park at the blue hour time
Luis Boucault / Shutterstock

Why are we mentioning Chicago? First of all, for a big city, the median home price of $215,000 is quite reasonable.

Next, median income is above $64,000. Again, that ratio makes millennial housing here an attractive option.

Tech and data job growth has allowed Chicago to get back to being the global city that it once was, Crain’s Chicago Business reports.

Add to that a vibrant old-school downtown, a great blues and alternative music scene, numerous pro sports franchises, iconic restaurants, hip areas like Lincoln Park, and you have a recipe for happiness. Sure, it can be cold in the winter, but summers are beautiful. What is Ying without Yang?

7. Kansas City, Missouri

The Scout overlooking(108 years old statue) in downtown Kansas City. It was conceived in 1910
f11photo / Shutterstock

We are traveling a little further south to the Great Plains. Okay, it’s in tornado alley, but Kansas City is temperate, and you can buy a nice single-family home for only $225,000.

Average millennial salary is high at over $71,000, and the Kansas City Zoo and many art museums make it a great place for friends to visit. Unlike places like Austin, TX where housing prices and traffic are both pretty insane, Kansas City can be a cool place to start your career with all of this in mind for the future.

8. Omaha, Nebraska

Downtown Omaha Nebraska Water Fountain and American Flags
Scruggelgreen / Shutterstock

Why would you ever want to go to Omaha?

  • $180,000 median home price.
  • $59,000 median millennial salary
  • Great Midwestern feel.

Check out what Livability has to say about the food:

“Ask any of the leading chefs in Nebraska’s largest city and you’ll hear that Omaha is having a moment right now. In the last 10 or so years, there’s been an infusion of energy and talent — often homegrown — into the Omaha dining scene, which locals and visitors alike benefit from.”

So that’s it — the nine best-kept secrets for millennials in search of affordable homeownership.

Bonus: How to set yourself up for an easy home financing experience

Now that you have an idea of where to look for reasonable housing, make sure that you have everything in order before you start to look for a mortgage.

  • Check your credit score first and then look at your credit report. If there are errors, dispute them so that your credit score is as high as possible.

  • Ensure that your student loans are in order — whether you are in repayment, deferment or forbearance, you need to have these loans up to date and under control.

  • Mortgage brokers are sometimes a good choice, and they can help you to get a great rate. Just make sure that you aren’t paying a commission directly to them if they find you the appropriate lender.

While housing prices have been on a tear in many parts of the country prior to COVID-19, these nine cities are a great way to start your search. And hey, you might even purchase a home via someone selling on Facebook during these crazy times.

Of course, the trend has been that warm-weather areas and big cities will cost you more, but with some minor compromises, you can find a great place to live without breaking your personal bank.

About the Author

Sam Radbil

Sam Radbil

ABODO Author

Sam Radbil is an author at ABODO apartments, an online apartment marketplace that helps renters find apartments all across the country. ABODO reports on rent rates, the changing of real estate markets and trends within the real estate industry.

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