4 Most Expensive (and 4 Cheapest) States to Live in the U.S.

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Home is where the heart is — but it’s also where you spend most of your money.

Where you live has a huge impact on your personal finances. If you find a cheap place to live, you’re liable to have more money leftover than if you lived in a big city. Consider that the median cost of a house in Hawaii, for instance, is easily five times the cost of one in Mississippi, according to pricing data from Zillow.

When you compare cost of living by state, you notice stark differences throughout the country. Nowhere is the difference greater than in the list below.

These are the four most expensive states in the country based on home prices and rent, followed by the four cheapest. How does your state stack up?

Most expensive states in the U.S.

Here are the four states that consistently rise to the top for having the most expensive houses, apartment rentals, and other living expenses.

1. Hawaii

If you want to own a home in the Aloha State, you might need to be a member of the millionaire’s club. The Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) found that the average cost of a home in Hawaii was just over $1 million. Just renting a one-bedroom apartment in Honolulu could set you back $1,800 per month, according to Zumper.

Your living expenses will also be high, considering most goods need to be imported to this island state. Even your energy costs will be sky-high, with C2ER estimating a monthly average cost of $455 per month. Although Hawaii might make you think of paradise, living here could be hell on your bank account.

2. New York

New York typically falls second on the list when you compare cost of living by state. Although small towns in New York are not especially expensive, prices are high for the 8.5 million residents of New York City.

Zumper estimates the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in NYC is $2,800 per month. If you want to buy a home in the city, you’ll need a cool $1.6 million on average, found C2ER.

That being said, you could house hunt outside of the hustle and bustle of the city. The average home price in Rochester, for instance, is a more manageable $287,000.

But you still might have to pay as much as 8.82 percent of your paycheck toward state income taxes, found the Federation of Tax Administrators. You might be better off moving to a state with no income tax.

3. California

If you compare the cost of living of California with New York, you’ll find it’s not much lower. For one thing, California poses some of the highest state income taxes in the country. What’s more, the average cost of a home in the Bay Area is above $1 million, according to C2ER.

In fact, Zumper reported that San Francisco rent is even more expensive than New York rent, with a one-bedroom apartment averaging $3,480 per month. San Jose, San Diego, and Los Angeles also rank among the most expensive cities to live in.

There is one silver lining to living in the Golden State. Even though the overall cost of living is high, you’ll find affordable prices on fresh fruits and vegetables.

4. Massachusetts

You don’t need to be a millionaire to buy a home in Massachusetts, but you should be ready to spend $634,233 — that’s the average cost of a home in this state, according to C2ER.

If you think renting will be cheaper, you’re out of luck. The average two-bedroom costs $2,668 per month in Boston. In nearby Cambridge, your energy bill will be an additional $288. After all, staying warm during the snowy New England winters can rack up quite the heating bill.

Cheapest states in the U.S.

Though these next four states are in the same country, they seem like they’re a world away when you compare cost of living. Here are the four least expensive states, based on the average cost of a home, rent, and other common expenses.

1. Mississippi

C2ER found Mississippi to have the lowest cost of living in the country — but there’s a catch.

Though the average cost of a home fell to $199,028, the median income in Mississippi falls more than $15,000 below the national median. Even though the cost of living is low, it might not be low enough to offset the challenges of slow income growth.

2. Indiana

Next on the list is Indiana, where the average home costs $270,204. According to Zumper, rent for a one-bedroom in Indianapolis averages just $570 per month. Overall, Indiana is the second-cheapest state in C2ER’s study comparing cost of living.

3. Michigan

If gas prices are driving you crazy, save money by moving to Michigan. While gas prices exceeded $3 per gallon elsewhere, they stayed closer to $2 in Michigan, home of the auto industry, found C2ER.

Homes are relatively affordable as well, with the average house going for $274,355. Meanwhile, renting a one-bedroom in Detroit will set you back just $550 per month, reported Zumper. A two-bedroom isn’t much more at $650.

Despite its turbulent past, Michigan’s economy is rebounding. In the meantime, real estate prices remain low, making Michigan affordable when you compare cost of living by state.

4. Arkansas

You can buy a home in the Natural State for just $301,128, according to C2ER. And according to Apartment List, the median cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Little Rock goes for $710 per month. A two-bedroom is an affordable $860 per month. That’s around $2,000 cheaper per month compared to the average cost of a one-bedroom in NYC.

Balance cost of living with job availability and other factors

Where you decide to live will have a big impact on your budget, but a low cost of living doesn’t always mean you’ll save more money. You also need to consider the employment opportunities in each state.

Other factors you can consider when choosing where you live include:

  • Quality of education
  • Cultural events and activities
  • Climate
  • State tax laws
  • Commute time
  • Proximity to friends and family

Ultimately, you need to choose the state that’s right for you. But by looking closely at cost of living, you can create a budget that works for your money. Plus, you can feel confident you’ve chosen a state that helps you reach your financial goals.

Interested in a personal loan?

Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
LenderRates (APR)Loan Amount 
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Personal LoansFixed rates from 6.325% APR to 15.615% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.275% APR to 14.70% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of July 3, 2018 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 6.275% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.10% plus 4.175% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  • Personal Loan Rate DisclosureFixed interest rates from 6.49% – 19.49% (6.49% – 19.49% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 5.99%-18.99% (5.99%-18.99% APR), are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  1. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  2. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.

* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.

Upgrade Bank Disclosures

  • Personal Loan Rate DisclosureFixed interest rates from 6.49% – 19.49% (6.49% – 19.49% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 5.99%-18.99% (5.99%-18.99% APR), are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  1. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  2. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
7.73% – 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
6.28% – 15.62%1$5,000 - $100,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
6.87% – 35.97%*$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upgrade
8.00% – 25.00%$5,000 - $35,000
Check rate nowon SLH's secure site
4.99% – 29.99%$10,000 - $35,000Visit FreedomPlus
5.99% – 18.99%2$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
15.49% – 34.49%$2,000 - $25,000Visit LendingPoint
5.99% – 35.89%$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
5.49% – 18.24%$5,000 - $75,000Visit Earnest
9.95% – 35.99%$2,000 - $35,000Visit Avant
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.