Look in Other Neighborhoods/Cities
Whether you're renting or buying, you're going to be able to find cheaper housing in less popular neighborhoods [source: Pendola]. So be ready to shop around. Hot neighborhoods like the Mission in San Francisco and the Village in Manhattan should get crossed off the cheap housing list. Instead, try more affordable areas like Fresno or the outer boroughs of New York [source: Pendola].
You can also save huge amounts of money if you're willing to completely relocate. To say that Manhattan and Dubuque, Iowa have very different real estate markets and cost of living expenses is an understatement. Nationally, the South and the Midwest are the cheapest regions to live; the average home price in the South is $147,000 and it's $132,000 in the Midwest. Compare those to $236,000 for an average home in New England, and $238,000 for the average West Coast home, and the savings can be big [source: O'Malley].
If you're truly brave, you can follow the lead of some urban pioneers and move to extremely economic depressed areas like inner-city Detroit. The Motor City, where it wasn't difficult to find a house for hundreds of dollars after the 2006 housing crisis, has attracted students and young people looking for cheap places to pursue careers in the arts [source: Hodges]. If you're looking for an extremely inexpensive city without the depressed economy and high crime rate, try Manchester, N.H., which "Forbes" ranked as the best cheap city in a 2009 survey [source: O'Malley].