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Although a budget of $275,000 will exclude you from finding decent — read, move-in ready — houses in many cities and towns in the northeast and on the west coast, it will open up options for great houses across the country. And now may be a better time to buy overall. According to Zillow, July was the first month since 2012 that housing prices dipped. (You can see the best mortgage rates you may get now here.) Below, we list some great cities where you can currently buy a home for less than $275,000.
Because it was the first place where basketball was ever played — the game was invented by a graduate student at Springfield College — and the first place in the United States where a gas-powered automobile was ever driven, Springfield is known as the city of firsts. Another fun fact: It’s the birthplace of Theodor Geisel, otherwise known as Doctor Seuss.
The city is determined to reinvent itself after falling into decline at the end of the 20th century. In 2017, it opened the MGM Springfield, a $1 billion casino, and in 2018, a commuter rail was launched that travels between Springfield and New Haven, Connecticut — the home of Yale University, among other attractions.
The recent boom in business, as well as a thriving cultural district that hosts myriad exhibitions and performances, make Springfield an attractive place to settle. Add to that the allure of the Berkshires — a mountainous area in Western Massachusetts that offers plenty of state parks, hiking trails, fishing spots; quaint towns such as Lenox and Great Barrington; and cultural institutions including Mass MOCA, a world-class center for contemporary art. Although Springfield is not a foodie destination, there are decent options for dining, including live music and soul food at Theodores Booze Blues & BBQ, and elevated Italian at bnapoli Italian. With a budget of $275,000, you can buy this extraordinary 19th century eight-bedroom home — use the money left over for renovations — or this newly renovated four-bedroom.
Typical home value: $257,628
Population: 154,789
Average cost of living: 10.3% lower than the U.S. average
Sources: Zillow and Sperling’s Best Places
You can see the best mortgage rates you may get now here.
Famously preserved as a Christmas gift from General Sherman to then President Abraham Lincoln at the end of the Civil War — some say due to its beauty —Savannah is a walkable city full of live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, 19th-century mansions and manicured town squares that serve as communal gardens. Along with housing the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), the city is home to the fourth busiest port in the United States, as well as the Savannah Bananas, an exposition baseball team that a writer for the New York Times recently declared “the most watchable team in baseball.”
The Enmarket Arena, a 9,500-seat stadium that will host live music events and games by the Savannah Ghost Pirates recently opened and Hyundai recently anounced that they will open an electric vehicle factory in nearby Bryan County.
Enjoy a meal at an outdoor restaurant in the new Plant Riverside district on the Savannah River, or some of the city’s classic soul food at Sweet Potato or Sandfly BBQ. A budget of $275,000 will buy you a fully renovated bungalow near the downtown area, or a three-bedroom ranch with a carport and a generous yard on the south side of the city.
Typical home value: $278,598
Population: 147,088
Average cost of living: 16.8% lower than the U.S. average
Located around the confluence of the Mississippi, Minnesota and St. Croix rivers, St. Paul — the capital of Minnesota — forms the “Twin Cities” with neighboring Minneapolis. With the two cities in proximity, as well as hundreds of nearby lakes — Minnesota has over 14,000 lakes within its border — offering opportunities for outdoor recreation, you’ll find plenty to do. St. Paul is especially known for being family-friendly, and offers attractions including the Science Museum of Minnesota, the admission-free Como Park Zoo & Conservancy, and the nearby Mall of America, which hosts over 400 events every year.
The city also has an outstanding food scene, with restaurants including Handsome Hog run by Top Chef contestant Justin Sutherland, and Restaurant Alma, which was a semifinalist for the 2020 James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Restaurant Award. A budget of $275,000 will give you plenty of options, including this light-filled two-bedroom bungalow and this family-friendly four-bedroom with a gracious backyard.
Typical home value: $292,905
Population: 307,193
Average cost of living: 0.3% lower than the U.S. average
You can see the best mortgage rates you may get now here.
The home of the Alamo, the famous site where 189 soldiers held off a siege by the Mexican army in 1836, thereby sparking Texas’s fight for independence, San Antonio offers plenty to do. Known for attractions including the River Walk — a 15-mile-long urban waterway dotted with restaurants, shops and live music venues that hosts events throughout the year — San Antonio also has multiple performing arts venues including Majestic Theatre, which is part of the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.
Residents enjoy a fusion of culture with Mexican, Spanish and Old West traditions merging to produce a cuisine rich in tex-mex and BBQ. Enjoy a broad range of options from the food trucks in Southtown, which is known as the arts district, or for fine dining, try one of San Antonio’s many James Beard nominated restaurants, including Mixtli, which serves progressive Mexican cuisine. A budget of $275,000 will buy you this spacious and light-filled three-bedroom home, or this three-bedroom with a working fireplace and an expansive covered patio in the backyard.  
Typical home value: $300,929
Population: 1,451,853
Average cost of living: 10.3% lower than the U.S. average
Ripe with natural beauty, Klamath Falls is located just north of Oregon’s border with California, on the banks of Upper Klamath Lake, a shallow freshwater lake approximately 25 miles long. Klamath Falls, which has multiple community parks as well as a farmers market and breweries, prides itself on supporting the well-being of its residents. Community initiatives include a collaboration with the Blue Zones Project, which uses vetted research to optimize urban environments and build social networks for residents. 
The city offers restaurant options typical of a close-knit town, including the Daily Bagel and the Black Bear Diner. Klamath Falls is one of the few cities on the west coast where you can find plenty of housing options for $275,000 or less, including this two-bedroom farmhouse built in 1929 and this move-in ready three-bedroom home.
Typical home value: $298,496
Population: 22,062
Average cost of living: 16.5% lower than the U.S. average
The advice, recommendations or rankings expressed in this article are those of MarketWatch Picks, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by our commercial partners.
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