50 affordable places to buy a retirement home in 2016

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3 Great Places to Retire on a Budget

Downsizing into a smaller and more affordable home can give a quick yet significant boost to your nest egg. Your retirement savings will stretch further if you relocate to a place with less expensive housing. Consider these 50 places with low homeownership costs for retirees.

Wheeling, West Virginia

This northern West Virginia town is among the most affordable metro areas in the country. Homeowners ages 65 and older pay a median of just $779 per month for housing costs with a mortgage, according to Census Bureau data, and $305 monthly if they have paid off their mortgage.

Muncie, Indiana

The home of Ball State University provides low-cost housing to retirees. Older homeowners pay a median of $781 per month with a mortgage and $347 per month if they own their home mortgage-free.

Weirton-Steubenville, West Virginia-Ohio

This metro area includes the cities of Weirton, West Virginia, and Steubenville, Ohio. The median home costs for retirees total $799 per month for people making mortgage payments. Older homeowners who have paid off their mortgages pay a median of $324 for monthly housing expenses.

Beckley, West Virginia

Beckley is best known for its artisan shopping center, Tamarack, as well as the Exhibition Coal Mine. Retirees might want to stay in town for the low housing prices. Retirees pay a median of $805 per month with a mortgage and just $275 monthly without one.

Dothan, Alabama

This southern Alabama city is famous for its peanut crop and hosts the annual National Peanut Festival each fall. Housing prices are among the lowest in the country, costing retires a median of $836 with a mortgage, and that further drops to $296 among seniors who have paid off their home.

Terre Haute, Indiana

Terre Haute is a college town with over 13,000 students at Indiana State University. The area's low costs will also appeal to retirees, who pay a median of $339 per month in housing costs if they own a paid-off home and $836 monthly if they are continuing to make mortgage payments at age 65 or older.

Charleston, West Virginia

West Virginia's state capital and largest city has many benefits for retirees. Housing costs a median of $837 per month for homeowners age 65 and older with a mortgage. Retirees who have paid off their mortgages have median housing costs of only $300 per month.

Owensboro, Kentucky

Owensboro is located along the Ohio River and offers retirees scenic beauty along with low-cost housing. Homeowners ages 65 and older have median housing costs of $839 per month if they have a mortgage. Monthly housing expenses drop to a median of $315 among retirees who have paid off their home.

Huntington, West Virginia

The Huntington metro area, which also includes Ashland, Kentucky, is the home of Marshall University, a municipal rose garden and the Huntington Museum of Art. Yet, housing near these amenities remains affordable, costing retirees a median of $851 with a mortgage and $297 without one.

Kokomo, Indiana

Named after Chief Kokomo of the Miami tribe, the city of Kokomo is located 50 miles north of Indianapolis in central Indiana. Housing costs people age 65 and older a median of $853 per month with a mortgage but declines to $319 for seniors who are mortgage-free.

Parkersburg-Vienna, West Virginia

This metro area includes the West Virginia cities of Parkersburg and Vienna, as well as Marietta, Ohio. Retirees with a paid-off house have a median of just $276 in monthly housing costs. Housing expenses for people age 65 and older with a mortgage are a median of $857 per month.

Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Missouri residents age 65 and older are eligible to take classes at a significantly discounted tuition rate at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau. And that isn't the only bargain in town. Retirees pay a median of $861 in monthly housing costs with a mortgage and $350 per month without one.

Fort Smith, Arkansas

Retirees age 65 and older who have a mortgage pay a median of $863 in monthly housing costs in Fort Smith. Older residents who have paid off their mortgages have a median of $315 in monthly housing costs.

Lake Charles, Louisiana

Living up to its name, Lake Charles has lakes, rivers, marshes and is a short drive from the Gulf of Mexico. The scenic beauty is nicely paired with affordable housing costs. Retirees age 65 and older pay a median of $867 monthly with a mortgage, which drops to just $287 among seniors without a mortgage.

Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Pine Bluff is located along the Arkansas River, about 44 miles south of Little Rock. Older homeowners spend a median of $872 per month on mortgage payments and other housing costs. Retirees who have paid off their mortgages have just $328 in median monthly housing costs.

Fort Wayne, Indiana

The Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Science Central, History Center and Fort Wayne Children's Zoo all provide discounted admission to retirees. Retirees aren't overcharged for housing either. People age 65 and older who own their home without a mortgage have a median of $334 in monthly housing expenses. Retirees who are still making mortgage payments have a median of $878 in monthly housing costs.

McAllen, Texas

The McAllen, Texas, metro area also includes the cities of Edinburg and Mission and is located at the southern tip of Texas. Retirees pay a median of $885 per month for housing, including their mortgage payments. People age 65 and older without a mortgage pay a median of just $319 per month for housing.

Altoona, Pennsylvania

The Altoona Area School District's Mansion Park Stadium attracts many sporting and musical events to the area. Retirees who have paid off their mortgages pay a median $395 in monthly housing costs. Older homeowners with mortgages pay median of $886 per month to live in Altoona.

Hickory, North Carolina

The Hickory metro area also includes the cities of Lenoir and Morganton. Housing costs retirees a median of $886 per month, including their mortgage payments. People age 65 and older without a mortgage have other housing costs that total a median of $303 per month.

Morgantown, West Virginia

Morgantown is the home of West Virginia University and an affordable electric Personal Rapid Transit system that costs just 50 cents per trip. People age 65 and older have a median of $895 in monthly housing costs. Once retirees pay off their mortgage, their housing costs drop to a median of just $295 per month.

Dalton, Georgia

Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Dalton is best known for the production of carpets and other floor coverings. Retiree homeowners pay a median of $903 per month for their homes, but monthly payments decline to $314 monthly among those who have paid off their mortgages.

Sioux City, Iowa

The Sioux City area is filled with parks, golf courses and green spaces, including Stone State Park, which offers plenty of opportunities for relaxation and recreation. Housing costs for people age 65 and older are a median of $903 per month with a mortgage or $400 among retirees who are mortgage-free.

Joplin, Missouri

Joplin is located in the southwestern corner of Missouri. Retirees age 65 and older pay a median of $907 per month for their homes. People who have paid off their mortgages pay $352 monthly for other housing costs.

Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana

The Red River separates the cities of Shreveport and Bossier City, but they have many common ties. The metro area's housing costs for retirees are $910 per month with a mortgage and $306 monthly without one.

El Paso, Texas

Located in the westernmost corner of Texas, El Paso borders Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and New Mexico. Mortgage-free seniors pay a median of $319 per month for housing in El Paso. Retirees making mortgage payments face median housing costs of $911 per month.

Florence, Alabama

The Florence metro area, which includes the city of Muscle Shoals, is located along the Tennessee River. Older homeowners have median housing costs that total $912 per month. Housing expenses fall to $344 monthly among retirees with paid-off homes.

Sumter, South Carolina

Retirees in Sumter can check out the eight species of swans and colorful flowers at the Swan Lake Iris Gardens and take in a show at the Sumter Opera House. Living near these amenities isn't overly expensive either. People age 65 and older pay a median of $914 in monthly housing costs, and that declines to just $324 per month among retirees without a mortgage.

Odessa, Texas

Odessa has several unique features, including a giant meteor crater and a replica of Stonehenge. Retiree homeowners pay a median of $915 per month with a mortgage and $372 monthly without one. An added bonus: There's no state income tax in Texas.

Spartanburg, South Carolina

The University of South Carolina Upstate is located in Spartanburg, and it's affordable for both students and retirees. A house with a mortgage costs retiree homeowners age 65 and older a median of $916 per month. Mortgage-free retirees pay just $296 monthly for housing costs.

Texarkana, Texas

Texarkana is in northeastern Texas near the Arkansas border. Housing prices are a median of $916 per month for people age 65 and older. Retirees without mortgages pay a median of $346 per month for housing.

Alexandria, Louisiana

Alexandria is located along the Red River in central Louisiana near the Kisatchie National Forest. Older homeowners pay a median of $918 per month, but that price declines to $296 among retirees who have paid off their houses.

Sebring, Florida

Housing costs $920 per month for retirees age 65 and older in the inland Florida city of Sebring. Those who don't need to make mortgage payment pay even less, just $330 per month. There's also no state income tax in Florida.

Springfield, Missouri

Springfield is the home of Missouri State University, but this college town is also welcoming to retirees. Homeowner costs are as low as $342 per month for people age 65 and older who have paid off their mortgages. Retirees with mortgages pay a median of $920 per month in housing costs.

Danville, Illinois

Danville is a small city that has affordable housing prices for retirees. People age 65 and older have median housing costs of $922 per month. Retirees who have paid off their home have $374 in monthly housing expenses.

Johnstown, Pennsylvania

This Laurel Mountain town is about 67 miles east of Pittsburgh. Retirees can enjoy the scenic mountain lifestyle for a median of $407 per month if they own a paid-off house and $922 per month with a mortgage.

Bowling Green, Kentucky

Bowling Green's affordable housing prices make life easier for retirees. Seniors pay a median of $924 in monthly housing costs with a mortgage and $328 without one. Retirees who enjoy college sports will be able to catch a game at Western Kentucky University.

Decatur, Alabama

Located along the Tennessee River, Decatur is about 25 miles from Huntsville, Alabama. People age 65 and older pay a median of $927 per month for homes in Decatur, but that drops to $322 monthly if it's a mortgage-free property.

Lafayette, Indiana

Housing costs a median of $928 per month for retirees in the Lafayette metro area, which includes West Lafayette. Retirees without a mortgage pay just $345 for housing each month. Indiana resident retirees age 60 and over could qualify for a tuition exemption at Purdue University.

Cleveland, Tennessee

The nearby Cherokee National Forest brings many people to Cleveland. The low housing prices will make you want to stay. Retiree homeowners pay a median of $929 per month to live in Cleveland. That amount drops to $334 monthly among retirees who are mortgage-free.

Jonesboro, Arkansas

Housing prices are low in Jonesboro, costing people age 65 and older a median of $929 per month with a mortgage and $334 monthly for a mortgage-free home. Sports fans can cheer on the Red Wolves at Arkansas State University.

Youngstown, Ohio

Housing in the Youngstown metro area, which also includes the Ohio cities of Warren and Boardman and parts of Pennsylvania, costs a median of $929 per month for retirees. People age 65 and older who have paid off their mortgage have housing costs totaling a median of $378 monthly in the Youngstown area.

Mansfield, Ohio

Mansfield is located about halfway between Columbus and Cleveland. Residents age 65 and older face $930 per month in homeowner expenses. Retirees who have paid off their mortgages have a median of $362 in monthly housing costs.

Pocatello, Idaho

This college town is the home of Idaho State University, where Idaho residents age 60 and older can attend classes for the significantly reduced rate of just $20 per semester and $5 per credit hour. Living expenses are also affordable, with people age 65 and older paying a median of $930 per month for housing, or $358 monthly if they have paid off their mortgage.

Johnson City, Tennessee

You could spend your retirement years strolling along the more than 600 miles of trails in the Cherokee National Forest. Living nearby in Johnson City costs retirees age 65 and older a median of $933 monthly with a mortgage and only $325 per month without one.

Lima, Ohio

The Ottawa River flows through the center of Lima, and a nearby Lima Rotary Riverwalk connects many of the city's parks. Housing costs for people age 65 and older are a median of $934 monthly for retirees with a mortgage and $393 for those with no housing debt.

Yuma, Arizona

Yuma is one of the sunniest, driest and least humid places in the country. This reliably good weather, coupled with low housing costs, makes it a popular retirement spot. A retirement home in Yuma costs a median of $934 per month with a mortgage and just $293 without one.

South Bend, Indiana

The South Bend metro area, which includes Mishawaka, is the home of the University of Notre Dame. Housing costs for retirees are a median of $936 per month, including mortgage payments. Homeownership costs drop to $338 among retirees who have paid off their home.

Evansville, Indiana

Housing for retirees costs a median of $937 per month in the metro area that includes Evansville and some parts of Kentucky. Among retirees who have paid off their mortgage, homeownership costs drop to a median of $381 per month. For that price, the area has many cultural attractions, including the Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Garden, Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra and the Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science.

St. Joseph, Missouri

St. Joseph is located along the Missouri River and is the home of Missouri Western State University. Retirees with no housing debt pay a median of $387 per month to live in the St. Joseph metro area, which includes parts of Kansas. Seniors making mortgage payments have median housing costs of $937 per month.

Valdosta, Georgia

Valdosta is nicknamed the Azalea City because of the prolific bushes all over town. A retirement home in this scenic city costs a median of $938 per month for seniors making mortgage payments and $345 for retirees with paid-off homes.

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