Right now, home-ownership might seem like a tall order for some of America’s 75 million millennials. More than 25 percent of them still live with their parents in Miami, Los Angeles, and New York, say experts. Many in that group barely have enough for an emergency. 

That is on the surface, anyway. Underneath, the mood among these young Americans is upbeat and hopeful. Some 84 percent of millennials believe owning a home is part of the “American Dream.” In fact, a growing number have already started buying.

Affordability is a key consideration, of course. For this reason, millennials looking to buy a home should probably avoid buying in the West Coast. The cost of living in key cities of the region could prove excessive because of the high demand for housing.

Researchers have nevertheless found other cities that are helping to keep the American Dream alive for young would-be homeowners.

Using a metric based on job opportunity, home affordability, livability, and housing market forecasts, they have compiled a list of cities that offer affordable living for millenials.

The researchers have underscored “livability” and “home affordability” over “job opportunity” and “housing market forecast.”  

Given the youthful target demographic, they wanted to emphasize cities that would allow an inexpensive but fun lifestyle. 

Below is a list of the fun, affordable places for millennials across the US.

#1 Rochester, NY

With a population of just over a million residents, Rochester, New York, is first on the list.  This urban center is the third most populous city in New York State. Several of the region’s universities — including the University of Rochester and the Rochester Institute of Technology — have renowned research programs. 

The city offers affordable living, great accessibility, and a supportive hospitality industry.

Rochester is home to over a million people.
Rochester offers affordable living, great accessibility and a supportive hospitality industry. (Photo: Sam Kolde from Pixabay)
  • Home affordability: 88
  • Livability: 79
  • Median hourly wage: $US18.86
  • Median home value: $US146,600

#2 Des Moines, IA

Nearly 570,000 people live in Desmoines, Iowa, which ranks second on the list. The city is a major center of the U.S. insurance industry, and has sizable financial services and publishing business base. These enterprises drive innovation in agriculture biotechnology. 

Des Moines’ workforce enjoys one of the shortest average commute times in the country.  The city also offers an interesting range of affordable housing options.

Des Moines, IA
Des Moines’ workforce enjoys one of the shortest average commute times in the country (Photo: Tony Walker from Pixabay)
  • Home affordability: 75
  • Livability: 79
  • Median hourly wage: $US19.69
  • Median home value: $US188,800

#3 Omaha, NE

Omaha, Nebraska, is the center of the eight-county, bi-state Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area. The region is the 59th largest in the country. The city is a bustling, modern American city that celebrates its past.

While ranchers continue to raise cattle on the sprawling prairies surrounding the region, Omaha proper has begun to attract a number of budding new tech startups. Omaha is already home to a handful of young tech companies.

Affordability and a robust economy attract new business and millennials to this busy urban center. 

More than 800,000 people live in Omaha City.

Omaha is a bustling metropolis that celebrates its past.
While ranchers continue to raise cattle on the sprawling prairies surrounding the region, Omaha City has begun to attract a number of budding new tech startups. (Photo: Scott Peack from Pixabay)
  • Home affordability: 78
  • Livability: 63
  • Median hourly wage: $US18.46
  • Median home value: $US177,200

#4 Dayton, OH

Close to 800,000 people live in Dayton, Ohio, which ranks fourth in the list. This vibrant urban hub hosts significant research and development efforts in fields like industry, aeronautics and space engineering. 

Dayton offers both a revamped downtown area and suburbs that provide close-knit communities. You will find big-city amenities with Midwestern charm and affordability in this metropolis.

The city has a strong association with aviation. Dayton is home to the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, the largest and oldest aviation museum in the country.

Dayton, OH
Dayton, Ohio offers both a revamped downtown area and suburbs that provide close-knit communities (Photo: Wikimedia)
  • Home affordability: 98
  • Livability: 59
  • Median hourly wage: $US18.28
  • Median home value: $US124,100

#5 Grand Rapids, MI

Grand Rapids is the largest city in West Michigan. The city on the Grand River is about 30 miles east of Lake Michigan. Nearly a million people live in this city.

A number of industries drive economic growth in Grand Rapids. These include the health care, information technology, automotive, aviation, and consumer goods manufacturing industries, among others.

Grand Rapids, Michigan
The Grand Rapids Museum is among the most recognized landmarks in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The city ranks 5th on the list. Nearly a million people live in Grand Rapids. (Photo: Wikimedia)
  • Home affordability: 64
  • Livability: 79
  • Median hourly wage: $US17.33
  • Median home value: $US194,100

#6 Syracuse, NY

Syracuse, New York, is the fifth-most populous city in the state of New York. The city is the economic and educational hub of Central New York and offers a number of popular convention sites.

Syracuse is home to Syracuse University, a major research center, and Le Moyne College, a well-recognized liberal arts college. The city offers affordable living than other major metro areas, making it a popular place for young families and retirees. 

Some 662,620 people live and work in Syracuse.

Syracuse is home to Syracuse University, a major research center, and Le Moyne College,
Syracuse is home to Syracuse University, a major research center, and Le Moyne College, a well-recognized liberal arts college. (Photo: Wikimedia)
  • Home affordability: 96
  • Livability: 80
  • Median hourly wage: $US19.10
  • Median home value: $US135,000

#7 Akron, OH

The economy of Akron, Ohio, thrives on manufacturing, education, healthcare, and biomedical research. Leading corporations such as Gojo Industries, First Energy, Industries, Huntington Bank, and Charter Spectrum have established operations in this city.

Akron has a population of 703,203.

Akron thrives on its manufacturing, education, healthcare, and biomedical research industries. (Photo: Wikimedia)
Akron, Ohio, home to more than 700,000 people, is 7th on the list. The city thrives on its manufacturing, education, healthcare, and biomedical research industries. (Photo: Wikimedia)
  • Home affordability: 91
  • Livability: 67
  • Median hourly wage: $US18.03
  • Median home value: $US141,900

#8 Columbus, OH

Columbus, Ohio, is among the fastest growing large cities in the nation. The city comes in at number eight on the list and is home to nearly two million people.

Education, government, insurance, banking, defense, aviation, food, clothes, logistics, steel, energy, medical research, health care, hospitality, retail, and technology are the main engines of Columbus’ economy.

Columbus, Ohio, is among the fastest growing cities in the US.(Photo: David Mark for Pexels)
Columbus, Ohio, is among the fastest growing large cities in the nation.(Photo: David Mark for Pexels)
  • Home affordability: 67
  • Livability: 56
  • Median hourly wage: $US18.89
  • Median home value: $US192,000

#9 Harrisburg, PA

The Harrisburg metropolitan area, in Pennsylvania, has more of a small-town atmosphere than many of the East Coast’s larger metro areas. The city offers among the most affordable housing in the country. With a population of around 550,000 people, the city is at ninth place on the list. 

Harrisburg is the anchor of the Susquehanna Valley metropolitan area and provides an urban atmosphere with a manageable price tag.

The Harrisburg metropolitan area, in Pennsylvania, has more of a small-town atmosphere.
The Harrisburg metropolitan area, in Pennsylvania, has more of a small-town atmosphere than many of the East Coast’s larger metro areas. (Photo: Abedj from Pixaabay)
  • Home affordability: 77
  • Livability: 75
  • Median hourly wage: $US18.90
  • Median home value: $US177,300

#10 Cincinnati, OH

Cincinnati, Ohio, is well on its way to becoming one of the country’s centers for opportunity and innovation. The city is among the fastest growing economic hubs in the Midwest. Over two million people call this urban center home.

Cincinnati has excellent public and private schools, and a quite number of Montessori schools. The city likewise boasts of a wealth of amenities, including museums, professional sports teams and a wide selection of restaurants.

Cinncinati, Ohio, is among the fastest growing economic hubs in Midwest.
Cinncinati, Ohio, is among the fastest growing economic hubs in the Midwest. Over two million people call
this urban center home. (Photo: Johannes Plenio from Pixabay)
  • Home affordability: 78
  • Livability: 48
  • Median hourly wage: $US18.45
  • Median home value: $US169,900

Millennials Want to Buy Homes

Yes, millennials do want to own homes someday — despite the many obstacles posed by student debt and the real estate market. In fact, millennials currently comprise the largest share of home-buyers in the US, according to the National Association of Realtors.   

While it is true that many are delaying home purchases, evidence suggests home-ownership is not beyond reach. Even better, by the time many millennials do buy homes, they have also had more time to build wealth. This means they might be able to afford higher-end homes.

Under the right economic conditions, today’s twenty- and thirty-year olds will start buying.  This is especially true as they start families.

Are you looking to buy a home for your young family?  If so then you might want do some more reading here