25 Cheapest Places to Live in Oregon, From Beach Harbors to Retirement Oases

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Oregon is nirvana for nature lovers; it has mountains, forests, and beautiful coastlines. Because it’s such a desirable place to live, typical house prices tend to be much higher than those in other parts of the nation. Also, the cost of living in Oregon is about 15% higher than the national average.

The state has the highest effective tax, and the government levies a relatively high rate starting at a low income threshold. One plus, however, is that there is no state sales tax. It can require some careful financial planning to decide if Oregon is the right home base for you.

To help you better understand your options, here’s a look at the best places to live in Oregon whether you are a part of a family, a retiree, young professional, or simply the outdoorsy type.

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Best Places to Live in Oregon

If you like tranquility and the outdoors, Oregon has the best places to live. It also has towns that combine an urban feel with the beauty of nature because the mountains or coast are never too far away. Here’s a look at the best living the state has to offer.

Image Credit: Sofi.

Best Affordable Places to Live in Oregon

The factors used to determine the best affordable places to live in Oregon include the cost-of-living composite index, which factors in the cost of housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care, and goods and services. Here are five towns to consider.

1. Coos Bay

Coos Bay is one of the more affordable towns in Oregon. Food, utilities, and the cost of living overall won’t break the bank. House prices are also reasonable, and the median house price is $311,000. This town is renowned for its numerous food festivals held annually, including celebrations of seafood, blackberries, cranberries, and other local foods.

  • Population: 15,840
  • Median Household Income: $48,233
  • Cost of Living: 91% of U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,250/month
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 4.4
  • Average Property Tax: 0.82%

Housing Affordability: Living in Coos Bay is less expensive than in other areas of the United States but still not cheap. The home price-to-income ratio is relatively high, but that could possibly be lowered with first-time homebuyer programs in Oregon. Rental costs rose $400 year over year.

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2. Baker City

Baker City is one of the cheapest places to live in the state; it stacks up favorably vs. the cost of living in Oregon. It is located in the northwestern corner of the state and is known for the Elkhorn Mountains, Anthony Lakes Ski Area, and the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area. Median home prices in this area average around $170,000.

  • Population: 10,247
  • Median Household Income: $46,721
  • Cost of Living: 86% of U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $806/month
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 3.6
  • Average Property Tax: 0.97%

Housing Affordability: The median home value in Baker City is only $170,000. So, this town has a low price-to-income ratio compared to the rest of the state, which could be a good thing if you are a first-time homebuyer. There is growing demand for rentals, and the prices are rising.

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3. Hermiston

Hermiston is the largest city in eastern Oregon, and it is an agricultural hub producing delicious watermelons. Other attractions are the Columbia River and Hat Rock Park. The cost of living here is low compared to the rest of the state and lower than the national average.

  • Population: 19,423
  • Median Household Income: $60,871
  • Cost of Living: 92% of U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,800/month
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 3.2
  • Average Property Tax: 1.27%

Housing Affordability: The average cost of a single-family home in Hermiston, Oregon in 2023 is $193,800, which is affordable. The rental market is showing increasing demand, and rents have increased $400 year-on-year.

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4. Dallas

Dallas has a low unemployment rate among its 15,000 residents. The cost of living here is lower than the national average, so it is an affordable city in comparison to other parts of Oregon.

  • Population: 17,488
  • Median Household Income: $60,511
  • Cost of Living: 93% of U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,300/month
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 4.6
  • Average Property Tax: 1.12%

Housing Affordability: The cost of living in Dallas is relatively affordable compared to many other cities in the United States. The median home price in Dallas is $276,800. And rents are almost 40% less than national median rents.

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5. Woodburn

Woodburn is known for its tulip farms and a one-month-long tulip festival. This town is low-cost with the average home costing a reasonable $241,300.

  • Population: 27,290
  • Median Household Income: $54,330
  • Cost of Living: 100% of U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,700/month
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 4.4
  • Average Property Tax: 1.15%

Housing Affordability: The average cost of a single-family home in Woodburn, Oregon, in 2023 is $241,300, which is moderately high for Oregon. The rental market is on the upswing and is 19% less than the national average.

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Best Places to Live in Oregon for Families

Curious about the best places to live in Oregon for families? These are five top options based on overall affordability, housing costs, as well as family-friendly amenities, outdoor activities, and parks.

1. Beaverton

Beaverton is only seven miles from Portland, the state capital. It has 90 parks, 30 miles of hiking trails, and 25 miles of bike paths for families that love the outdoors. Parents looking at Beaverton will appreciate that the area’s schools receive high ratings and Anthem College and Portland Community College offer local higher education opportunities.

  • Population: 97,053
  • Median Household Income: $82,280
  • Cost of Living: 116% of U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,894/month
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 5.1
  • Average Property Tax: 1.08%

Housing Affordability: The cost of living is higher here than the national average, and the price to income ratio at 5.1 is high. A healthy price-to-income ratio is 2.6, but most of Oregon exceeds this.

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2. Bend

Like most of Oregon, Bend has plenty of outdoor attractions. This town also has a booming job market in sectors such as retail and hospitality. Families are drawn here in part because the public schools are highly rated. Oregon State University-Cascades and Central Oregon Community College offer higher education options.

  • Population: 103,254
  • Median Household Income: $74,253
  • Cost of Living: 107% of U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $2,695/month
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 6.2
  • Average Property Tax: 0.87%

Housing Affordability: The cost of living in Bend is higher than the national average and the home price-to-income ratio is high, something to keep in mind as you embark on the mortgage preapproval or prequalification process. Rental costs are higher than the national median, which is $2,195.

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3. Ashland

This town has rich culture and appeals to families that love the arts. This town is known for the annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Parents considering a move to Ashland will enjoy learning that the public school system is excellent, and there is a vibrant job market in tourism, healthcare, and higher education.

  • Population: 21,285
  • Median Household Income: $63,641
  • Cost of Living: 101% of U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,875/month
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 7.8
  • Average Property Tax: 0.97%

Housing Affordability: Ashland is more affordable for families than Bend and Beaverton. However, the home price-to-income ratio is higher. Homeownership may be difficult here, but rental costs are reasonable, lower than they were last year, and less than the national median.

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4. Eugene

Eugene is another great city for families in Oregon. Performing arts lovers can enjoy such cultural attractions as Eugene Symphony, Eugene Opera, Eugene Ballet, Mozart Players, Eugene Concert Choir, Willamette Repertory Theatre, Oregon Bach Festival, and The Shedd. It is also the home of the University of Oregon. Parents will appreciate its excellent primary and secondary schools.

  • Population: 177,923
  • Median Household Income: $55,776
  • Cost of Living: 104% of U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,843/month
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 6.0
  • Average Property Tax: 1.11%

Housing Affordability: Eugene has a lower home price-to-income ratio than Ashland making it more affordable. Rental costs are similar here and are less than the national average.

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5. Salem

Salem is the state capital, a city that’s within reach of mountains but has plenty to keep you and the kids busy in town. Family-friendly events occur throughout the year in Salem, such as the World Beat Festival and the Salem Saturday Market. A highly rated educational system attracts many families to the town.

  • Population: 177,487
  • Median Household Income: $62,185
  • Cost of Living: 99% of U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,495/month
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 4.7
  • Average Property Tax: 1.15%

Housing Affordability: Compared to other towns and cities in Oregon, Salem is affordable. The cost of living is less than the national average. The home price-to-income ratio is relatively low for the state, and the median rental price is significantly less than the national average.

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Best Places to Live in Oregon for Young Adults

For young adults, these places to live in Oregon have thriving job markets, relatively low costs of living, and plenty of options for eating out and entertainment.

1. Corvallis

Corvallis has a vibrant job market, so, although it is less affordable than the national average, there are good jobs to be had. Local employers include Oregon State University and Hewlett Packard. The town has plenty of entertainment and is bike-friendly.

  • Population: 60,956
  • Median Household Income: $58,315
  • Cost of Living: 105% of U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,900/month
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 6.6
  • Average Property Tax: 1.22%

Housing Affordability: Like most towns in Oregon, Corvallis is not the most affordable. However rental prices are lower than the national average and have remained steady year over year.

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2. Portland

Downtown Portland is buzzing with a large student population. There are cultural events throughout the year, great food, and tax-free shopping. Most young adults rent in Portland, and modern studios and one-bedroom apartments are not difficult to find.

  • Population: 635,067
  • Median Household Income: $78,476
  • Cost of Living: 125% of U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,771/month
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 5.9
  • Average Property Tax: 1.09%

Housing Affordability: While Portland can be a great place for young professionals, be warned, it is not super affordable. The cost of living is high at 25% above the national average. However, rentals are relatively reasonable and at least $300 below the country’s average.

Image Credit: Sean Pavone/istockphoto.

3. Cedar Hills

Cedar Hills is a suburb of Portland. This area has entertainment, restaurants, parks, and is a popular place to live for young professionals. Buying a home here is expensive, and the cost of renting is on a par with other local areas.

  • Population: 8,379
  • Median Household Income: $91,972
  • Cost of Living: 125% of U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $2,595/month
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 5.0
  • Average Property Tax: 1.09%

Housing Affordability: Based on the cost of living index, Cedar Hills is not considered affordable: The home price-to-income ratio is also twice that considered comfortable for most people. However, renting is an option and makes the area more affordable.

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4. Raleigh Hills

Raleigh Hills is another suburb of Portland with bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. Many young professionals live in Raleigh Hills, and millennials make up 24% of the population.

  • Population: 6,196
  • Median Household Income: $110,296
  • Cost of Living: 125% of U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,482/month
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 6.8
  • Average Property Tax: 1.09%

Housing Affordability: Raleigh Hills is more affordable if young adults rent their living accommodations. The home price-to-income ratio is high, and the cost of living is 25% higher than the national average. Rental costs are reasonable and significantly less than the national average.

Image Credit: wikipedia.

5. West Slope

West Slope is a suburb of Portland popular with young adults. Millennials make up 31% of the area’s population. The town is only about 20 minutes from the Portland metro area, so commuting times tend to be short.

  • Population: 7,223
  • Median Household Income: $77,813
  • Cost of Living: 115% of U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,595/month
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 7.4
  • Average Property Tax: 1.09%

Housing Affordability: Most young people rent here because of the affordability of owning a home. The home price-to-income ratio is high. Rental costs, however, are less than the national average. The rental market is hot, but prices dropped over the past year.

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Best Places to Live in Oregon for Retirees

When ranking the best places to live in Oregon for retirees, key priorities were entertainment, such as art and culture, the cost of living, and the availability of healthcare.

1. Brookings

Brookings is an old logging town in the Southwestern part of Oregon. It has beaches, forests, a temperate climate, and plenty of festivals and other events to attend. These features can make it a wonderful spot for retirees. The price of homes is around average for the state.

  • Population: 6,762
  • Median Household Income: $72,273
  • Cost of Living: 103% of U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $2,006/month
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 4.6
  • Average Property Tax: 0.59%

Housing Affordability: Brookings is relatively affordable for the state of Oregon, and property taxes are not too high. The average rental cost is slightly less than the national average.

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2. Florence

Florence is another quiet, coastal town popular with retirees. The small population is mostly aged 50-something. There is a downtown atmosphere with entertainment and dining options, but it’s not a party scene for the young crowd.

  • Population: 9,376
  • Median Household Income: $50,615
  • Cost of Living: 103% of U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,450/month
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 5.3
  • Average Property Tax: 1.11%

Housing Affordability: Florence’s cost-of-living index is somewhat above the national average. The home price-to-income ratio is relatively high, but rentals are around $650 less than average rental costs in the United States.

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3. Ontario

Ontario is located in the far eastern side of the state in the Western Treasure Valley on the border of Oregon and Idaho. In addition to the natural splendor that Oregon is known for (mountains, craters, and more), this town has three healthcare facilities that serve its small population and an array of restaurants to satisfy your inner foodie.

  • Population: 11,732
  • Median Household Income: $42,568
  • Cost of Living: 88% of U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,600/month
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 3.4
  • Average Property Tax: 0.96%

Housing Affordability: Ontario can be much more affordable for retirees than other towns. The cost-of-living index is below the national average, and the home price-to-income ratio is much less that of other cities popular among retirees.

Image Credit: wikipedia.

4. Roseburg

Roseburg, also known as the Land of Umpqua, is located in the Umpqua River Valley region in southwestern Oregon. It’s a quiet town but with plenty of outdoor space and beauty, which may be perfect for nature-loving retirees. Median home values are inexpensive, but they are expected to rise.

  • Population: 28,853
  • Median Household Income: $47,921
  • Cost of Living: 89% of U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,300/month
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 4.5
  • Average Property Tax: 0.79%

Housing Affordability: The low cost of housing makes Roseburg affordable compared to the rest of the state, and the cost of living index is significantly lower than the national average.

Image Credit: will_snyder_/istockphoto.

5. Hood River

Hood River is a small and remote town in the northern part of Oregon, but it may be a terrific place to retire. It is close to Mount Hood and hiking trails and hosts the Blossom Festival and Harvest Fest. There is easy access to quality healthcare, which makes it appealing to retirees.

  • Population: 8,352
  • Median Household Income: $69,429
  • Cost of Living: 106% of U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $2,500/month
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 6.4
  • Average Property Tax: 0.67%

Housing Affordability: The price-to-income ratio is quite high here, and the cost of living is above the national average.

Image Credit: Qusek/istockphoto.

Best Places to Live in Oregon Near the Beach

Many of Oregon’s seaside towns offer culture, great food, and access to the Pacific Ocean. Many of the towns have a cost of living that is below the state and national average. Gold Beach, for example, has a cost-of-living index of 105, and according to Payscale, the state average is 115.

1. Astoria

Astoria is an old fishing town on the northern coast of Oregon. It has a rich history, a popular craft beer and food scene, and sea lions hang out at one end of the town.

  • Population: 10,182
  • Median Household Income: $58,709
  • Cost of Living: 105% of U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,650/month
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 5.6
  • Average Property Tax: 0.83%

Housing Affordability: The cost of living in Astoria is only slightly higher than the national average. The price-to-income ratio is high reflecting the high cost of housing, but rental costs in Astoria are below average and dropped in the past year. They are expected to creep up again though.

Image Credit: PhusePhoto/istockphoto.

2. Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach is on the state’s northern coast. The beach town has around 1,600 inhabitants in its 1.5 square mile area. It is known for Haystack Rock, a prominent rock feature, and, like any popular beach town, it does get busy with tourist visitors in the summer.

  • Population: 41,695
  • Median Household Income: $61,846
  • Cost of Living: 120% of U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $476/month
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 9.4
  • Average Property Tax: 0.83%

Housing Affordability: Cannon Beach is not very affordable. It has a high cost of living, 20% higher than the national average, and the home price-to-income ratio is also very high for this small town. That could mean you need to consider different types of mortgages if you are home buying, such as a jumbo home loan.

However, median rents are low at $476, though such accommodations aren’t very plentiful.

Image Credit: laura brambilla/istockphoto.

3. Lincoln City

Lincoln City is a seven-mile stretch of beach on the central Oregon coast. The locale has lovely hikes with beach views. It is a wildlife sanctuary, however, and hunting, camping, bicycles, and dogs are not allowed.

  • Population: 9,966
  • Median Household Income: $49,297
  • Cost of Living: 103% of U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $1,895/month
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 5.7
  • Average Property Tax: 0.96%

Housing Affordability: Lincoln City, a refuge on the coast, is more affordable than most cities in Oregon. The cost-of-living index is close to the national average. The home-price-to-income ratio is comparable to other towns in the state. Rents are rising here and are close to the national median.

Image Credit: Nick Wiltgen/istockphoto.

4. Newport

Newport is also on the central Oregon coast. The Oregon Coast Aquarium is here, two of Oregon’s most prominent historical lighthouses, and the Rogue Brewery. All of this can make it one of the great places to live in Oregon by the beach.

  • Population: 10,412
  • Median Household Income: $52,897
  • Cost of Living: 102% of U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $2,300/month
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 5.7
  • Average Property Tax: 0.96%

Housing Affordability: The cost of living here is comparable to that of Lincoln City. However, the rental market is hot, and prices are rising rapidly.

Image Credit: GCC Photography/istockphoto.

5. Gold Beach

Gold Beach is on the Southern Oregon coast. From here, the Rogue River flows through the Siskiyou National Forest. It’s a small, quiet town with a few restaurants and bars and great views.

  • Population: 2,405
  • Median Household Income: $57,553
  • Cost of Living: 105% of U.S. average
  • Median Rent Price: $2,400/month
  • Home Price-to-Income Ratio: 5.2
  • Average Property Tax: 0.59%

Housing Affordability: Gold Beach is relatively affordable compared to other coastal towns in Oregon. The rental market is heating up here though, with costs rising.

Image Credit: MBRubin/istockphoto.

The Takeaway

Oregon is the perfect state for the active nature-lover. It’s a state known for its natural beauty, beaches, history, and culture. The state is less affordable than other states in the United States, and Portland is a city with a high cost of living. However, there are quiet towns, such as Gold Beach and Cannon Beach, that are affordable for those demanding fewer urban amenities, as well as great places for single professionals, families, and retirees.

This article originally appeared on SoFi.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org

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