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With lots, labor, and materials more expensive and harder to come by, new home prices have shot up like a rocket during the pandemic.

In January 2020, the national median sales price for a newly built home was $328,900. Two years and a hot mess of inflation later, the median new home is selling for nearly $100,000 more.

But the US housing market isn’t a monolith – it’s made up of thousands of unique markets, each subject to local factors. For new home construction, those factors include building regulations, available land, and labor costs. Because of these factors, the cost to build, or buy, a new home varies from place to place.

An analysis of new homes sales data from 500 metro areas by Realtor.com revealed the 10 cheapest to buy a new home. The data includes costs for single-family homes, condos, and townhomes in the main city and surrounding suburbs and towns.

Home affordability calculator: See how much home you can afford

10 least costly metros to buy a new home

The list has a little of everything: beach towns, urban areas, mountain getaways, and hidden heartland gems. They are largely concentrated in the South and Midwest where building costs are lower.

Keep in mind, the new home prices are from December 2021 and have likely increased since then. We’ve included the median price for all homes in each market as a measuring stick.

First off, two Jacksonville's in the top 10? What are the odds of that?

But the biggest takeaway is that in 6 of the 10 metros, new homes are cheaper than the national median price of existing homes (which are typically 39 years old). So the idea of moving to Cincinnati may not thrill you, but you can buy a brand-spankin’ new home for around $25,000 less than an existing home in a typical US market.

And with more people working remotely and jumping on the Great Resignation bandwagon, it’s not out of the question to move to a metro just to score a new turnkey home.

Trying to time the housing market has never been a wise strategy, and it’s certainly not now as home prices and mortgage rates are expected to continue rising this year. However, seeking out affordable markets is quite savvy, and homebuyers have never been freer to do it.

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