cheapest places to live in ohio

The Cheapest Places to Live in Ohio in 2024

Known for its abundant natural resources and hard-working people, Ohio is also home to some of the most affordable towns in the United States.

Whether you’re a recent grad, an established family or a retiree looking to live it up without breaking the bank, Ohio’s most cost-effective towns provide plenty of options for anyone seeking a more budget-friendly lifestyle without sacrificing the comforts and conveniences of city living.

Lace up your boots, put on a smile and get ready to explore some of the top economic enclaves Ohio has to offer in this current real estate market.

Ohio’s average rent prices

Even though average rent prices in Ohio, for a one-bedroom apartment, rose by 1.3 percent over last year, the entire state is pretty affordable. Throughout, monthly rent for a one-bed averages out at $1,395, but the cheapest places to live in Ohio all come in well below this number.

The cheapest cities in Ohio for renters

Friendly people, and a connection to history, give the cheapest places to live in Ohio a central theme. Many sit around major cities but offer up their own fun list of things to do that make you want to stay put. These special places make living in Ohio enjoyable and affordable.

1. Springfield

Springfield is an ideal destination for those seeking a cost-effective lifestyle. As one of the many hidden treasures of the Buckeye State, Springfield stands out with its significantly lower living costs compared to other parts of Ohio. The housing market here is especially attractive, offering everything from quaint, historic homes to modern apartments, all at prices that are a fraction of those in Ohio’s larger cities.

Springfield is not just about affordability; it’s a city steeped in history and unique in culture. The city boasts a stellar arts scene, exemplified by the Springfield Museum of Art and a lively downtown area that hosts events throughout the year. The Heritage Center Museum offers a glimpse into the region’s fascinating history, while the picturesque Wittenberg University campus adds a touch of collegiate energy to the city. Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate Springfield’s parks and bike paths, particularly the scenic views along the Little Miami Scenic Trail.

2. Youngstown

In the heart of the Mahoning Valley, Youngstown stands as a testament to affordability and quality living. Once an industrial hub, Youngstown has transformed itself into a haven of affordability, with a cost of living that is significantly lower than the national average. This is particularly evident in the housing market, where renters and buyers alike can find incredible value. The median home cost in Youngstown is markedly lower than that of larger Ohio cities, offering spacious living options at a fraction of the price.

Youngstown’s revitalized downtown area brims with eclectic eateries, local breweries and small shops. Youngstown also prides itself on its green spaces, like the expansive Mill Creek Park, which offers a peaceful retreat with its beautiful gardens, walking trails and rec facilities. The city offers quality education options for families and a friendly, tight-knit community atmosphere, making it an ideal place to raise children.

3. Lorain

Known as “International City” due to its cultural diversity, Lorain is a true gem in Ohio’s real estate market. The housing market in Lorain is particularly appealing, with a range of options from lakeside properties to cozy, suburban homes, all at surprisingly affordable prices.

Beyond its cost-effectiveness, Lorain is a city with a strong character and an unbreakable sense of community. The city’s waterfront is not just a beautiful backdrop but also a hub of activity, with the Black River Landing hosting Rockin’ on the River in the warmer months.

Lorain’s diversity is celebrated in its variety of international restaurants and community events, offering residents a taste of global cultures right at their doorstep. This blend of affordable living and picturesque natural surroundings makes Lorain an attractive and practical choice for a lot of people.

4. Akron

Akron’s cost of living is notably lower than the national average, making it a standout choice for budget-conscious renters and homebuyers. Housing in Akron is particularly affordable, offering an array of options from charming historic homes to modern apartments, all at prices that are significantly more attainable than in Ohio’s larger cities.

Akron boasts a lively culture, with attractions like the Akron Art Museum and the E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall, which regularly hosts a variety of concerts and events. The city’s growing downtown area is an epicenter of innovation and entertainment, complete with family-owned restaurants and shops. Akron is also home to the University of Akron, which only adds to its appeal as a dynamic and progressive city.

5. Canton

Canton stands out in the Ohio real estate market for its exceptionally low cost of living, especially in terms of housing. Whether it’s renting an apartment or purchasing a home, residents find that their housing dollars stretch much further in Canton compared to other Ohio cities.

Canton is steeped in history, offering residents a unique collection of experiences. From the ever-growing arts scene, including the Canton Museum of Art, to the historical sites like the William McKinley Presidential Library & Museum, there is always something to explore and discover.

6. Toledo

Home of the University of Toledo Rockets, Toledo is a stellar spot to settle down on a budget. Renters and homeowners in Toledo enjoy prices that are substantially lower than the national average, allowing for a more comfortable lifestyle without the financial strain typically associated with city living.

Beyond its economic advantages, Toledo is renowned for its art scene, exemplified by the world-class Toledo Museum of Art. For those who love the outdoors, the Maumee River provides a scenic backdrop for a range of activities, from fishing to boating, while the nearby Metroparks of the Toledo Area offer miles of trails for hiking and biking.

7. Dayton

Celebrated for its aviation history and innovative spirit, Dayton is a city where affordability meets quality living. Housing stands out as particularly affordable, with a variety of options ranging from charming historic neighborhoods to modern developments, all available at prices well below those in larger Ohio cities.

Dayton is a city brimming with culture and community. Dayton is blessed with a solid arts scene, anchored by institutions like the Dayton Art Institute and the Schuster Performing Arts Center. The city is also home to more than a few parks and green spaces, including the extensive Five Rivers MetroParks system, providing residents with ample opportunities to kick back and relax under the Western Ohio sun.

8. Elyria

The affordability in Elyria is a major draw, with a variety of housing options available at prices that are much more accessible than in many other parts of Ohio. Residents enjoy the benefits of lower expenses not only in housing but also in everyday costs like groceries, utilities and healthcare, ensuring a cost-effective yet comfortable living experience.

Elyria’s appeal is further enhanced by its strong sense of community and natural beauty. The city boasts well-maintained parks and rec areas, including the stunning Cascade Park with its waterfalls and scenic trails, offering residents a peaceful retreat from urban life. Elyria’s downtown area is actively undergoing revitalization and, as a result, quickly becoming a desirable spot for local businesses and community events.

9. Middletown

As the name implies, Middletown is conveniently located smack-dab in the middle of Cincinnati and Dayton. This city stands out for its significantly lower cost of living, particularly in the housing market where both renters and buyers can find exceptional value.

Middletown boasts a killer arts scene, highlighted by the Middletown Arts Center and a variety of local galleries, fostering a strong sense of creativity and community. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the city’s parks and open areas, including the scenic Great Miami Riverway, perfect for biking, hiking and more.

10. Cleveland

Cleveland is one of the most affordable large cities in the country. The housing market in Cleveland is particularly appealing, with a wide array of affordable options ranging from downtown apartments to spacious homes, catering to a variety of lifestyles and budgets.

Beyond its economic advantages, Cleveland boasts an array of attractions and amenities that enrich its residents’ lives. The city is renowned for its arts and music scene, home to the prestigious Cleveland Orchestra and the Cleveland Museum of Art. For sports enthusiasts, Cleveland is home to some stellar pro sports teams as well, with organizations like the Browns, Guardians and Cavaliers.

Find an affordable spot in Ohio

The affordable Ohio cities featured above all offer a remarkable variety of affordable living options, each with a unique appeal. From the entertainment value in Cleveland and Dayton to the peaceful, community-focused atmospheres of Elyria and Middletown, Ohio, is a case study of the fact that economic living can still offer a fulfilling life.

These cities demonstrate that choosing an affordable place to live doesn’t mean compromising on quality, culture or community. Whether you’re drawn to the scenic beauty of Toledo, the historic charm of Springfield or the urban vibrancy of Akron, Ohio’s most cost-effective cities are ready to welcome you with open arms and a promise of a life well-lived within your means.


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