Top 12 Affordable Counties in Tennessee: Lowest Cost of Living

What's the cheapest place to live in Tennessee? The numbers are in, and Perry County comes out on top. Come see which other counties made our list.

Top 12 Affordable Counties in Tennessee: Lowest Cost of Living Close
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Top 12 Affordable Counties in Tennessee: Lowest Cost of Living

Posted by Gary Ashton on Thursday, May 9th, 2024 at 8:16am.

Cheapest Counties to Live in Tennessee

The most affordable counties in Tennessee are a variety of hidden gems where affordability meets Southern charm. The cost of living in Tennessee is one of the most affordable in the country. Even people living in Nashville are likely to find that their dollar stretches farther that it would elsewhere. But if you're looking for the absolute cheapest places to live, these counties should be at the top of your list. Explore the most affordable counties in Tennessee and bring yourself one step closer to finding your dream home.

Perry County

Key Stats:

  • Population: 8,432
  • Median Home Value: $229,900
  • Median Rent: $699
  • Median Household Income: $55,978

Perry County takes the crown for affordability! It boasts meager housing costs compared to the national average. Living in Perry County, Tennessee, offers a tranquil and picturesque lifestyle, enveloped by natural beauty and a strong sense of community. With its gently rolling hills and lush greenery, the county is perfect for those seeking a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. Key towns such as Linden—the county seat—and Lobelville are charming, with quaint downtown areas that host local businesses and community events. Schools in Perry County include two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school.

Residents enjoy outdoor activities like fishing and boating on the Buffalo River, which meanders through the county, providing scenic views and ample recreational opportunities. Life here moves at a slower pace, where neighbors know each other and traditions hold a special place in the community's heart.

Polk County

Key Stats:

  • Population: 17,620
  • Median Home Value: $280,000
  • Median Rent: $678
  • Median Household Income: $53,775

Polk County maintains affordability while offering a slightly larger population than Perry County. Proximity to Chattanooga, Tennessee, opens doors to more job opportunities.

Nestled in the southeastern corner of Tennessee, Polk County is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. With the stunning Cherokee National Forest and the rushing Ocoee River—famous for whitewater rafting—residents enjoy a life filled with adventure and natural beauty. Copperhill and Ducktown serve as gateways to these outdoor activities, supporting a community where nature's playground is right at your doorstep.

Wayne County

Key Stats:

  • Population: 16,325
  • Median Home Value: $180,000
  • Median Rent: $606
  • Median Household Income: $49,360

Wayne County is a quiet and peaceful area characterized by its rolling hills and fertile lands. Waynesboro, the county seat, epitomizes small-town charm with historic sites and local shops. The county's rural setting is perfect for farming and leisurely days spent exploring the great outdoors, making it a favored spot for those who appreciate a slower pace of life. Located about 80 miles from the city of Spring Hill, the county offers affordable homes with decent access to the Nashville Metro Area.

Fentress County

Key Stats:

  • Population: 18,642
  • Median Home Value: $250,000
  • Median Rent: $645
  • Median Household Income: $47,884

Fentress County is a go-to recommendation for folks seeking the most affordable towns in Tennessee. It's slightly closer to larger towns like Knoxville, opening up more possibilities!

Known for the Alvin C. York Historic Park, Fentress County in northern Tennessee offers a blend of history and natural beauty. Jamestown, the county seat, is the hub for community gatherings and serves as the starting point for exploring the expansive forests and parklands. The area is popular among those who enjoy hunting, hiking, and a close-knit community vibe.

Decatur County

Key Stats:

  • Population: 11,483
  • Median Home Value: $205,600
  • Median Rent: $705
  • Median Household Income: $48,466

Decatur County offers a great value proposition, blending low median home prices with high-income potential. One unique advantage is its proximity to the Tennessee River, which provides recreational opportunities and a scenic touch. It's also situated between Memphis and Nashville, providing easy access to both cities.

Decatur County offers picturesque waterfront views and a laid-back lifestyle. Decaturville, the county seat, along with Parsons, provides residents with a peaceful rural environment, boating, and fishing opportunities, and a friendly atmosphere where everyone feels like family.

Carroll County

Carroll County Tennessee Has Very Affordable Homes

Key Stats:

  • Population: 28,381
  • Median Home Value: $267,450
  • Median Rent: $723
  • Median Household Income: $49,700

Carroll County presents an intriguing balance—it boasts very affordable housing and a larger population base than some of the previous counties. Depending on the specific location within the county, this can translate into broader amenities and a slightly more "suburban" feel.

With a mix of agriculture and small-town commerce, Carroll County provides a genuine rural Tennessee experience. Huntingdon and McKenzie are great cities to live in where community events and local sports are the heart of social life. The county's landscape of fields and woodlands makes it ideal for those seeking a serene country life.

Van Buren County

Key Stats:

  • Population: 6,182
  • Median Home Value: $324,700
  • Median Rent: $658
  • Median Household Income: $44,730

Van Buren County is a hidden gem for those seeking a tranquil and affordable lifestyle. Its stunning natural beauty makes it a haven for outdoor lovers. High atop the Cumberland Plateau, Van Buren County offers breathtaking views and a secluded mountain lifestyle. Spencer, the county seat, acts as a quiet retreat for those looking to escape the fast pace of modern life. The area is renowned for its hiking trails, particularly in the Fall Creek Falls State Park, offering some of the best natural attractions in the state.

Lake County

Key Stats:

  • Population: 6,898
  • Median Home Value: $111,900
  • Median Rent: $432
  • Median Household Income: $32,064

As the name suggests, Lake County is defined by its proximity to Reelfoot Lake, one of the best lakes in Tennessee. Tiptonville, near the lake, offers unique wildlife viewing and fishing opportunities in a serene setting, ideal for those who cherish a life close to water and nature.

McNairy County

Key Stats:

  • Population: 25,895
  • Median Home Value: $175,400
  • Median Rent: $706
  • Median Household Income: $46,920

McNairy County is a fantastic option if you prefer a greater population density with great affordability, which can mean more amenities and potential for local jobs. This county blends history with a vibrant cultural life. Selmer, the county seat, hosts a variety of festivals and events that celebrate the area's musical and artistic heritage. The close-knit communities here enjoy a life that combines the ease of rural living with cultural activities.

Obion County

Key Stats:

  • Population: 30,670
  • Median Home Value: $199,500
  • Median Rent: $732
  • Median Household Income: $50,638

Known for its agricultural roots, Obion County is home to Union City, the commercial hub, which offers a mix of cultural institutions like museums and theaters. The area is deeply community-oriented, with frequent social gatherings, and is surrounded by fertile farmlands that underscore its economy.

Maury County

Key Stats:

  • Population: 108,159
  • Median Home Value: $370,000
  • Median Rent: $450
  • Median Household Income: $34,055

Combining historical richness with modern growth, Maury County and its principal city, Columbia, are a blend of old and new. The region's vineyards, historic sites, and vibrant downtown areas attract both tourists and residents. Maury County is located in the farthest outskirts of the Nashville Metro Area. As such, homes for sale in Columbia offer cheaper living options near top employers.

Montgomery County

Clarksville, TN is in One of the Cheapest Counties in Tennessee

Key Stats:

  • Population: 235,201
  • Median Home Value: $309,418
  • Median Rent: $926
  • Median Household Income: $37,091

Montgomery County, Tennessee, epitomizes a dynamic blend of growth and tradition. The allure of living in Clarksville has made it the fifth-largest city in the state and the county seat. Home to the Austin Peay State University, the area thrives with educational pursuits and cultural richness, featuring theaters, art galleries, and historic sites like the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center.

The proximity to Fort Campbell military base fosters a supportive community, where annual festivals and community events enhance the strong sense of unity. With its lush parks and the scenic Cumberland River, homes in Montgomery County offer both the hustle of city life and the tranquility of nature, making it a compelling place to call home.

The Tennessee Affordability Dream: It's Closer Than You Think

Whether you crave a quiet country cottage, a lively small-town atmosphere, or simply the satisfaction of owning your home without moving to one of the most expensive cities, Tennessee holds the key. At the same time, while these counties shine in affordability, they're about more than just low price tags. These are places to put down roots, enjoy the state's beauty, and build a fulfilling life in Tennessee.

Ready to move to the great state of Tennessee? Call The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage with Nashville's MLS at (615) 603-3602 to talk with a real estate agent who can help you find your dream Tennessee home.


Gary Ashton

The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage

The #1 RE/MAX team in the World!

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