If you want to own a cheap home, you may want to head to Texas.
That's according to a new study by financial technology company SmartAsset, which found that the 10 most affordable places to buy a home can be found in Texas, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and Illinois.
Five Texas towns -- led by Mesquite, an ethnically diverse Dallas suburb of 143,484 -- are among the 10 least expensive. Pennsylvania also scored well, with three cities in the top 10.
"It was expected that the coasts were expensive. That is no secret certainly," SmartAsset's Managing Editor AJ Smith told CBS News.
"But what might surprise people is not that just the homes are cheaper in Texas but ... that (in) some of these places people are making, relative to other people, a good living," she said.
By contrast, the most expensive places to buy are cities in the Northeast, on the West Coast and in Florida. The study didn't specifically break out the most expensive places, but a look at mortgage payments provides some insight -- payments in Waterford, California, for example, are more than four times higher than in Mesquite, and three times higher than in Largo, Florida.
To find the most affordable places to buy a home, SmartAsset examined closing costs, real estate taxes, homeowners insurance and mortgage rates over five years for the average home in every county in the U.S. and city with a population greater than 5,000. That cost was then taken as a proportion of median household income in each county and city to come up with an affordability index.
Smith said she hoped this would help potential homeowners understand that a range of factors go into determining whether they can afford a home. To ensure affordability, the site warns that total debt payments should never add up to more than 36 percent of your gross income.
"People sometimes just look at the price of a home," Smith said. "We wanted to take a little bit more of that holistic look, what it cost to own that home, to buy that home and own it for five years. We looked not just at that listing price but we also looked at things like closing cost, taxes, insurance and mortgage payments. That is why we see low tax states like Texas doing well."
The study includes a color-coded interactive map (darkest blue shading indicates the most affordable regions, while pale blue and white shading indicate less affordability).
A potential homebuyer can click on the map to find the most affordable cities in each state. From there, they can click on a city to see how it ranks nationally, as well as the average closing costs, annual property tax, annual homeowners insurance, annual average mortgage payment, median income for that city.
Smith noted that many regions have wide ranges in close proximity, which should offer the buyer plenty of options.
"You look at the map in Florida and you see some light blue pretty close to some that are quite a bit darker blue," she said. "If you are moving to that area or region for a job, you can really make an informed decision and pay less to live very near to your new job."
The study highlighted some other interesting findings: Iowa, for example, is the place to go for the cheapest closing costs, with all top 10 cities located there. If you want cheap property taxes, head to Louisiana. Homeowners insurance is the best deal in Pennsylvania, with seven of the cities with the cheapest rates there.
SmartAsset's list of 10 most affordable places to live for homeowners:
- Mesquite, Texas
- Kermit, Texas
- Pecos, Texas
- Blackwell, Oklahoma
- Sumner, Illinois
- Shamokin, Pennsylvania
- Shenandoah, Pennsylvania
- Fort Hood, Texas
- Childress, Texas
- Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania