We’ve all heard the real estate mantra: location, location, location. As far as price is concerned, where a house is located is typically more important than the actual features of the home. That’s why you can buy a sprawling six-bedroom, six-bath house for less than $250,000 in some markets and pay close to $1 million for a tiny one-bedroom condo in New York City.

Beyond real estate values, location also affects the overall cost of living – what you pay not just for housing, but also for food, transportation, healthcare and other everyday expenses. Salaries, of course, play an important role: A smaller salary goes further in places with a lower cost of living, while a large salary might be barely enough to get by on in an expensive city. (See also: 5 U.S. Cities with High Paychecks and a Low Cost of Living).

Top 25 Cities Where You Can Live Large on $70K a Year

With this in mind, job-hunting site Glassdoor recently came up with a cost-of-living ratio – calculated by taking a city’s median base salary and dividing it by its median home value – to find cities in the U.S. where your pay will go the furthest. Here it is: a countdown of the top 25 cities where you can live like a king or queen on less than $70K a year, along with each city’s cost of living ratio (a higher ratio number is better), median base salary, median home value and number of open jobs.

25. Raleigh, N.C.

Cost-of-living ratio: 30%

Median base salary: $62,000

Median home value: $209,400

Number of open jobs: 22,339

24. Minneapolis-St. Paul

Cost-of-living ratio: 30%

Median base salary: $65,000

Median home value: $219,400

Number of open jobs: 64,026

23. Jacksonville, Fla.

Cost-of-living ratio: 30%

Median base salary: $50,000

Median home value: $165,900

Number of open jobs: 18,205

22. Richmond, Va.

Cost-of-living ratio: 31%

Median base salary: $59,800

Median home value: $191,500

Number of open jobs: 21,454

21. Hartford, Conn.

Cost-of-living ratio: 32%

Median base salary: $68,000

Median home value: $215,800

Number of open jobs: 19,025

20. Tampa, Fla.

Cost-of-living ratio: 32%

Median base salary: $52,000

Median home value: $163,600

Number of open jobs: 40,830

19. Chicago

Cost-of-living ratio: 33%

Median base salary: $63,000

Median home value: $193,800

Number of open jobs: 155,173

18. Dallas-Fort Worth

Cost-of-living ratio: 33%

Median base salary: $61,000

Median home value: $182,100

Number of open jobs: 121,241

17. Charlotte, N.C.

Cost-of-living ratio: 36%

Median base salary: $58,000

Median home value: $159,800

Number of open jobs: 37,180

16. San Antonio

Cost-of-living ratio: 37%

Median base salary: $55,000

Median home value: $150,200

Number of open jobs: 28,378

15. Atlanta

Cost-of-living ratio: 37%

Median base salary: $60,000

Median home value: $163,000

Number of open jobs: 90,739

14. Columbus, Ohio

Cost-of-living ratio: 37%

Median base salary: $57,000

Median home value: $154,600

Number of open jobs: 30,728

13. Oklahoma City

Cost-of-living ratio: 38%

Median base salary: $50,000

Median home value: $132,500

Number of open jobs: 16,388

12. Houston

Cost-of-living ratio: 38%

Median base salary: $65,000

Median home value: $172,100

Number of open jobs: 72,033

11. Buffalo, N.Y.

Cost-of-living ratio: 39%

Median base salary: $50,000

Median home value: $128,100

Number of open jobs: 13,599

10. Louisville, Ky.

Cost-of-living ratio: 39%

Median base salary: $54,000

Median home value: $137,500

Number of open jobs: 22,693

9. Kansas City, Mo.

Cost-of-living ratio: 39%

Median base salary: $58,000

Median home value: $147,500

Number of open jobs: 35,639

8. Birmingham

Cost-of-living ratio: 40%

Median base salary: $50,800

Median home value: $128,00

Number of open jobs: 15,299

7. Cincinnati, Ohio

Cost-of-living ratio: 40%

Median base salary: $57,179

Median home value: $143,400

Number of open jobs: 32,605

6. St. Louis

Cost of living ratio: 40%

Median base salary: $56,896

Median home value: $141,900

Number of open jobs: 35,300

5. Indianapolis

Cost-of-living ratio: 43%

Median base salary: $56,000

Median home value: $130,200

Number of open jobs: 33,090

4. Cleveland

Cost-of-living ratio: 44%

Median base salary: $55,000

Median home value: $125,500

Number of open jobs: 29,304

3. Pittsburgh

Cost-of-living ratio: 45%

Median base salary: $56,896

Median home value: $126,700

Number of open jobs: 46,379

2. Memphis, Tenn.

Cost-of-living ratio: 46%

Median base salary: $52,000

Median home value: $112,100

Number of open jobs: 17,892

1. Detroit

Cost-of-living ratio: 50%

Median base salary: $61,500

Median home value: $123,100

Number of open jobs: 54,808

The Bottom Line

These are the American cities that will give you the best shot at living luxuriously on a relatively modest income. If you are thinking of making a move to one of the above-mentioned cities, make your money stretch even further by researching the interest rates available from the lenders in the area. Taking the time to secure a low interest rate can save you thousands of dollars in the long-run and allow you to live even more lavishly.

 

 

Alternatively, if you haven't got $70k coming in every year and you still want to live large – or you're just adventurous – you might consider joining the growing number of expatriates who have moved overseas to enjoy new experiences and cultures, along with a lower cost of living. It’s said that you can live comfortably in Thailand, for example, on about $2,000 a month (that’s for a couple – it’s even cheaper on your own).

There are plenty of affordable countries around the world: You can also live well in Costa Rica, Ecuador and Spain, to name a few, at a fraction of the cost of living in the U.S. (See also: 5 Cheapest Countries to Retire To and 8 Countries Where $200K in Retirement Savings Will Last 30 Years.)

Still, most people opt to stay relatively close to home due to work, family, friends and other commitments. If that’s the case for you, one of these 25 cities may be a great place to start your next home search. Needless to say, a more modest income will also go pretty far in these cities. 

 

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