Where Can You Live on $60,000/Year?

Jessica Martin April 19, 2018

Here’s a crazy stat: there are only 44 resale homes currently on the market in Seattle, a metro area with over 80,000 residents.  When you factor in the inventory versus demand, it causes home prices to skyrocket.  We’re seeing this in the DC Metro Area, but, thankfully, not to that extent.  As Eric Stewart mentioned in today’s Real Estate Minute on WMAL, in case you find yourself tired of the stress and strain markets like these can cause, did you know there are cities where it only costs $60,000 a year to live comfortably? 


At the Eric Stewart Group, we like to bring you information we think you will find interesting and informative.  Based on an article on, and soon to be discussed on Real Estate Now on Podcast and WMAL, we’ve put together a list of ten places you can live in for less than $60,000 a year and what makes them special. 

10. Indianapolis, Ind.

  • Cost of necessities: $29,213
  • Income needed to live comfortably: $58,426
  • Median income$43,101

Indianapolis is typically referred to as “the racing capital of the world” due to the Indy 500, which is the largest attended sporting event in the US.  Indianapolis rates a 6.6 on the US News Scorecard – landing 8/10 for Value, 7/10 for Job Market, and 6/10 for desirability.  If you’re a sports fan, this is the place to be and they play a huge part on the city’s economy

9. Tulsa, Okla.

  • Cost of necessities: $28,993
  • Income needed to live comfortably: $57,986
  • Median income: $43,045

Get ready to be welcomed with some southern Hospitality!  One of my good friends is from Tulsa, and when she married her husband, I had the opportunity to spend a little time in Tulsa. It was cozy, quiet, and inviting.  At a stop sign on a two lane road, my friend turned around and apologized for rush hour traffic – there were only 4 cars in front of us!  It was a shock for those of us in the car (one from Vancouver, another from Chicago, and me, from Washington, DC) that this is their version of rush hour traffic.  Tulsa offers a better value of living and a solid job market if you don’t mind peace and quiet!

8. Memphis, Tenn.

  • Cost of necessities: $28,716
  • Income needed to live comfortably: $57,433
  • Median income: $36,975

Memphis is a town that has landed on Forbes’ lists for a few different reasons, including Happiest Cities to Work in Right Now.  The downtown area is booming!  Many new businesses are filling the once abandoned office and apartment buildings.  The city stays on the Cost of Living index, coming in at 91.8, which takes into consideration income, home prices, and prices of dinner and necessities.  Don’t forget – the food is amazing, too.

7. Louisville, Ky.

  • Cost of necessities: $28,643
  • Income needed to live comfortably: $57,285
  • Median income: $46,881

Speaking of food… National Geographic recently named Louisville #1 on the list of Top 10 Food Cities in the World!  If you like the outdoors, you’ll be interested to know that the same gentleman who planned Central Park in NYC, Frederick Law Olmsted, planned Louisville’s park system.  Bourbon and food aren’t the only reasons people love Louisville, though.  The city is filled with music, hosting a slew of festivals every year and bringing in internationally acclaimed artists featuring many different genres. 

6. Las Vegas, NV.

  • Cost of necessities: $28,304
  • Income needed to live comfortably: $56,609
  • Median income: $50,822

With a brand new hockey team (currently in the second round of the NHL playoffs), Las Vegas is putting itself on the map for more than casinos and gambling.  The cost of living here is on the lower end, though that might soon change as many tech start ups are beginning to migrate to the city.  There’s one strip of casinos but surrounding the city are miles of parks and canyons to hike and photograph, landing it on this list for where you can comfortably live for $60,000 a year or less. 

5. Tucson, Ariz.

  • Cost of necessities: $27,689
  • Income needed to live comfortably: $55,379
  • Median income: $37,973

If you love the mountains, look to Tucson, as it’s “surrounded” by five minor ranges of mountains: the Santa Catalina Mountains and the Tortolita Mountains to the north, the Santa Rita Mountains to the south, the Rincon Mountains to the east, and the Tucson Mountains to the west.  Hiking, running, and biking trails are easy to find.  In fact,  the Travel Channel has said that Tucson has “more bicycle infrastructure than any city in the United States.”  The pristine weather offers those who live there the opportunity for 350+ days of sunshine and adventure weather, giving you the chance to snap gorgeous sunset and sunrise photos daily while you bike to and from work.  So eco-conscious!  

4. Wichita, Kan.

  • Cost of necessities: $27,672
  • Income needed to live comfortably: $55,345
  • Median income: $46,775

Wichita – do you mean, the “Air Capital of the World”?  Wichita gets this name from its major role in the progression of aviation in the twentieth century.  In addition to this name, you’ll find countless museums and historical trails to learn the history of Wichita.  It’s grown to be a booming town for the younger generations, being able to afford more of the housing.  The Old Town neighborhood has been transformed into a hub of lights, exposed brick, theaters, museums, and hotels. 

3. Albuquerque, N.M.

  • Cost of necessities: $26,692
  • Income needed to live comfortably: $55,384
  • Median income: $48,127

 The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta lights up the skies with hot air balloons.  You won’t find this many balloons anywhere else in the country.  Imagine seeing this with the Sandias mountains in as your skyline.  It’s one of the least polluted cities in the country (ranked ninth for cleanest air).   You have an average of 310 days of sun per year here, be sure to pack the sunscreen!  Enjoy a big city life with small town vibes!

2. Detroit

  • Cost of necessities: $26,050
  • Income needed to live comfortably: $52,100
  • Median income: $26,249

 In the last 3 years, the amount of jobs in Detroit has increased by 50%.  It’s innovative, in fact 75% of automotive R&D investment is located here.  Speaking of the automotive industry, commute times for this city average 11% less than the national average and spend the least amount of time in traffic during peak times!  The US World  News Report  claims Detroit is one of the most underrated cities for art lovers, noting that 14 million people attend arts and culture events in this city yearly. 

1. El Paso, Texas

  • Cost of necessities: $25,075
  • Income needed to live comfortably: $50,150
  • Median income: $43,322

Number one on the list is El Paso, Texas.  El Paso’s Museum of Art and Museum of History celebrate the city’s vibrant multicultural heritage dating back to the 16th century.   An awesome part of El Paso?  The Wyler Aerial Tramway.  This is a winding road to the top of the Franklin Mountains takes you to 4,692 feet. From there, catch a Swiss-made gondola, which smoothly pulls you to the top of Ranger Peak, 5,632 miles high.  There is a metro population of 837,073 and a median age of 31.6.  Unemployment is at a low of 4.7% and the median home price costs $137,842, with reasonable rental prices.  The cost of living is well below other major metro areas, including Houston and Austin. 

So there you have it!  The 10 most affordable places to live based on average income and cost of living.  What do you think?  Can you see yourself packing up a suitcase and moving to the land of the sun in the South West?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments! 

Don’t forget to take a look at our Market Ready Guide – you’ll need someone to help sell your home fast and for the most money when you decide to move on out to these up and coming metro areas! 

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