ILLINOIS (WMBD) – When choosing a place to live, affordability is a top concern for most people, and a new ranking from U.S. News and World Report may help narrow the search for a cheaper home.

The study looked at what metro areas across the nation were the most affordable to live in. In that 2023 study, two Illinois areas ranked among the cheapest places to live in the country.

As part of the study, the group assessed how much of a household’s annual income went toward the average cost of owning or renting a home, including utilities and taxes, as well as price parity, which compares the cost of goods and services nationwide.

Additionally, because affordability was a top concern for residents, the company used it as a key metric to calculate its Best Places to Live ranking.

What are the top 10 most affordable places to live?

These are the 10 metro areas that made the list:

  1. Hickory, North Carolina
  2. Youngstown, Ohio
  3. Huntington, West Virginia, and Ashland, Kentucky
  4. Huntsville, Alabama
  5. Fort Wayne, Indiana
  6. Beaumont, Texas
  7. Peoria, Illinois
  8. Green Bay, Wisconsin
  9. Quad Cities – Davenport-Bettendorf, Iowa, and Moline-Rock Island, Illinois
  10. Knoxville, Tennessee

Although ranking seventh in the list, data shows Peoria’s rental market rose slightly in the last year. Apartments in Peoria are expected to rent between $822 to $1,390 on average in 2023. It costs about $822 per month to rent a studio apartment in Peoria. One-bedroom apartments in Peoria rent for approximately $1,140 a month on average, while the average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment is $1,390.

Additionally, Peoria’s housing market has dipped in the last three years, according to data from Redfin, a real estate brokerage. Peoria home prices fell 4.5% from a year ago, selling for a median price of $115,000 in April.

Meanwhile, Rock Island’s rental market rose heavily in 2023. data shows apartments in the area typically rent for anywhere between $550 and $1,000, while a studio apartment rents for $550 on average. One-bedroom apartments in Rock Island rent for $550 on average, while a two-bedroom apartment typically rents for $1,000.

Furthermore, Redfin data shows Rock Island’s housing market also skyrocketed in 2023. A median price of $143,000 was recorded for Rock Island homes in April, an increase of 40.9% from last year.

Interestingly enough, Green Bay, Wisconsin also ranked in another study from U.S. News and World Report as the best place to live in the country. However, a recent ranking of safest cities showed not a single city in Wisconsin cracked the top ten. 

Curious to see if your metro area made the top 25 list? Check out the full rankings by clicking here.