12 Most Affordable Places to Live in Illinois

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From Chicago’s iconic skyline and world-class museums to historic landmarks like Abraham Lincoln’s home and the picturesque Starved Rock State Park, there are plenty of reasons to consider moving to Illinois. If Illinois sounds like the state for you, then you may also be curious about what cities fit into your budget. For example, the median home sale price in Illinois is $319,999 as of July. 

Don’t worry if that price doesn’t fit in your budget – we’ve got options to help you find a home or apartment that does. Redfin has rounded up a list of 12 of the most affordable places to live in Illinois – and they all have a median home sale price under $319,999. Let’s find out which cities made the list.

building and green space in peoria illinois

#1: Decatur

Median home price: $112,000 
Average sale price per square foot: $70 
Median household income: $45,404 
Nearest major metro: Springfield (40 miles)
Decatur, IL homes for sale
Decatur, IL apartments for rent

With a median home sale price of $112,000, Decatur comes in at number one on our list of most affordable places to live in Illinois. There are about 70,500 residents living in this mid-sized city.  If you’re considering moving to this area make sure to visit Nelson Park where you’ll find a restaurant, amphitheater, and views of Lake Decatur, check out Rock Springs Conservation Area, and stroll along the trails at Fairview Park.

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#2: Peoria

Median home price: $160,000 
Average sale price per square foot: $93 
Average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $675 
Median household income: $51,736 
Nearest major metro: Chicago (160 miles)
Peoria, IL homes for sale
Peoria, IL apartments for rent

Coming in as the second most affordable city to live in Illinois is Peoria. When living in this city of 113,100 people, you can explore Laura Bradley Park and the Forest Park Nature Center, check out the riverfront and downtown Peoria, and visit museums like the Peoria Riverfront Museum.

#3: Springfield

Median home price: $169,000 
Average sale price per square foot: $104 
Average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $725 
Median household income: $54,164 
Nearest major metro: St. Louis (96 miles)
Springfield, IL homes for sale
Springfield, IL apartments for rent

About 114,400 people reside in Springfield, located in central Illinois. The median home sale price is $169,000 which is about $150K less than the median home sale price in Illinois. Make sure to visit the Illinois State Capitol building and check out historic sites like Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, and Dana-Thomas House State Historic Site. You can also spend the day at Lake Springfield if you move to the third most affordable city.

snow on the university of illinois urbana-champaign campus

#4: Champaign

Median home price: $219,000 
Average sale price per square foot: $138 
Average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $876 
Median household income: $51,736 
Nearest major metro: Springfield (86 miles)
Champaign, IL homes for sale
Champaign, IL apartments for rent

Only slightly more expensive than Springfield is Champaign, the next city on our list. With roughly 88,300 residents in Champaign, make sure to check out one of the parks like Kaufman Lake, explore downtown Champaign, and visit the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus.

#5: Normal

Median home price: $245,500 
Average sale price per square foot: $106 
Average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $1,100 
Median household income: $51,736 
Nearest major metro: Peoria (38 miles)
Normal, IL homes for sale
Normal, IL apartments for rent

Consider adding Normal to your list of cities to check out to if you’re looking for an affordable place to live in Illinois. With 52,700 people living in this affordable town, you can check out the Illinois State University campus, and visit some of the historic spots and parks in town.

#6: Bloomington

Median home price: $258,750 
Average sale price per square foot: $106 
Average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $890
Median household income: $66,861 
Nearest major metro: Peoria (38 miles)
Bloomington, IL homes for sale
Bloomington, IL apartments for rent

Another noteworthy city is Bloomington, where you’ll find the home prices are about $60K less than the state’s average. Bloomington has about 78,700 residents and is a great city to consider buying a home this year. There are lots of activities to do in this city. You can visit the museums and historic spots like the McLean County Museum of History and David Davis Mansion, check out Miller Park and the Miller Park Zoo, and golf at one of the courses, among many other local favorites.

autumn leaves in a park in illinois

#7: Oak Lawn

Median home price: $267,500 
Average sale price per square foot: $174 
Median household income: $69,352 
Nearest major metro: Chicago (25 miles)
Oak Lawn, IL homes for sale
Oak Lawn, IL apartments for rent

Next on our list of affordable places to live in Illinois is Oak Lawn. With a population of close to 58,400, Oak Lawn is a great area to live in that’s not nearly as big as the major metropolitan cities in Illinois. It’s also conveniently located just southwest of Chicago. So, if you find yourself moving to this city make sure to explore the Wolfe Wildlife Park where you’ll find trails and nature preserves, and check out the local restaurants.

#8: Cicero

Median home price: $283,750 
Average sale price per square foot: $172 
Median household income: $53,726 
Nearest major metro: Chicago, IL (9 miles)
Cicero, IL homes for sale
Cicero, IL apartments for rent

If you’ve lived in Illinois for a while, chances are you know of Cicero. This affordable city is home to roughly 85,300 residents and is only 9 miles west of Chicago. Living in Cicero, make sure to relax at Cicero Community Park, and check out the local shops and restaurants

#9: Joliet

Median home price: $277,500 
Average sale price per square foot: $164 
Average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $1,005 
Median household income: $72,871 
Nearest major metro: Chicago (48 miles)
Joliet, IL homes for sale
Joliet, IL apartments for rent

About 48 miles southwest of Chicago is Joliet. The population is about 150,400 and the area is a great place to consider moving to in Illinois. Some attractions in Joliet include visiting the Joliet Area Historical Museum, stopping by the Rialto Square Theatre, and checking out Historic Route 66.

park with lake and trees in illinois

#10: Aurora

Median home price: $287,500 
Average sale price per square foot: $185 
Average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $1,400 
Median household income: $74,659 
Nearest major metro: Chicago (42 miles)
Aurora, IL homes for sale
Aurora, IL apartments for rent

Claiming the 10th spot on our list of affordable places to live in Illinois is Aurora. This city has a population of 180,500 and you can visit the Aurora Regional Fire Museum, relax at Phillips Park Zoo, check out Aurora West Forest Preserve, or take in the riverfront views at McCullough Park. You’ll have plenty of activities to explore during your free time living in Aurora.

#11: Tinley Park

Median home price: $300,000
Average sale price per square foot: $163 
Median household income: $82,163 
Nearest major metro: Chicago (30 miles)
Tinley Park, IL homes for sale
Tinley Park, IL apartments for rent

The median home sale price in Tinley Park is $300,000, making it another great city to consider moving to this year. There are about 55,900 people living in this city, giving Tinley Park a city-like feel without the hustle and bustle. If Tinley Park is the city for you, be sure to see a concert at Credit Union 1 Amphitheatre, check out Centennial Park, and explore St. Mihiel Woods.

#12: Elgin

Median home price: $301,000 
Average sale price per square foot: $176 
Average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $1,800 
Median household income: $72,999 
Nearest major metro: Chicago (30 miles)
Elgin, IL homes for sale
Elgin, IL apartments for rent

In the 12th and final spot is the city of Elgin where the median home sale price is $301,00. If you’re looking to visit the nearest major city, Chicago is about 30 miles away from Elgin. There is plenty to do in Elgin like exploring the 160-acre Bluff Spring Fen nature preserve, checking out Walton Island Park, and visiting downtown Elgin and the riverfront area.

Methodology: All cities must have over 50,000 residents per the US Census and have a median home sale price under the average median home sale price in Illinois. Median home sale price and median sale price per square foot from the Redfin Data Center during July 2023. Average rental data from Rent.com July 2023. Population and median household income data sourced from the United States Census Bureau.

If you are represented by an agent, this is not a solicitation of your business. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional advice from a medical provider, licensed attorney, financial advisor, or tax professional. Consumers should independently verify any agency or service mentioned will meet their needs. Learn more about our Editorial Guidelines here.
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Alison Bentley

Alison is part of the content marketing team and enjoys writing about housing affordability and home interior design ideas. Her dream home is a cottage-style house with a chef’s kitchen and a cozy room to store and play vinyl records.

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