Top 7 Affordable Music Cities

December 4, 2015 | By

America is chock-full of great music cities, from the Cuban-infused rhythms of Miami to the sweet sounds of Frank Sinatra’s odes to New York City. But those same cities might not be affordable places to live for the average music fan.

Using statistics from FHFA, Realtor.org, and Zillow, The Home Story has found seven cities that mix affordable home prices and reasonable rents with lively music scenes. 

  1. Detroit, MI

 Median Sales Price of a Single-Family Home: $38,100 (Aug. 31, 2015)

Five-Year House Price Appreciation Rate: 7.4 percent

Average Rent (per month): $749

Famous Local Musicians: Eminem, Bob Seger, The Four Tops, The Spinners

As Martha Reeves sang, “Don’t forget the Motor City.” The glory days of Berry Gordy and Motown may be faded memories, but they’re still dancing in the streets in Hitsville, U.S.A. Among the hardest hit during the financial crisis, Detroit is on the rebound. In 2014, Complex magazine lauded Danny Brown, Carl Craig, and The Movement Electronic Music Festival as examples of the latest generation of musicians who have Detroit rocking again.

  1. Cleveland, OH

 Median Sales Price of a Single Family Home: $75,950 (Aug. 31, 2015)

Five-Year House Price Appreciation Rate: 1.9 percent

Average Rent (per month): $872

Famous Local Musicians: Nine Inch Nails, Tracy Chapman, Joe Walsh

Ian Hunter’s 1979 anthem “Cleveland Rocks” says it all. Cleveland is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, less a museum and more a temple where the royalty of rock are enshrined. Named the fourth-best city for music by Travel and Leisure magazine, Cleveland saw mainstream success in the early ’90s with chart-toppers such as Filter and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. The city is only about a half-hour drive away from Oberlin College and Conservatory, where many of the country’s young music scholars study.

  1. New Orleans, LA

Median Sales Price of a Single Family Home: $178,925 (Sept. 30, 2015)

Five-Year House Price Appreciation Rate: 3 percent

Average Rent (per month): $1,433

Famous Local Musicians: Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino, Harry Connick Jr., Lil Wayne

The Crescent City is the crucible where blues, creole music, and ragtime were mixed and jazz was born. The Neville Brothers, Dr. John, the Marsalis family… the who’s who of New Orleans’ great musicians could be the size of a phone book. Ten years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is still on the way back. Brad Pitt’s foundation Make it Right builds innovative homes in the hardest hit wards. Through it all, the soul of The Big Easy has kept singing, from Preservation Hall to the Jazz and Heritage Festival to Mardi Gras, to the city’s seemingly endless number of great music venues. Even if you weren’t “Born on the Bayou,” New Orleans has a song for everyone.

  1. Atlanta, GA

Median Sales Price of a Single Family Home: $264,565 (Sept. 30, 2015)

Five-Year House Price Appreciation Rate: 5 percent

Average Rent (per month): $1,379

Famous Local Musicians: Gladys Knight, John Mayer, TLC

Atlanta has been called “hip-hop’s center of gravity.” Since Outkast broke out in the early ’90s, a seemingly endless flow of chart-topping artists including Cee Lo Green, Usher, Ludacris, T.I., and Young Jeezy have all started in “The Big Peach.” Atlanta’s recording studios were the launch pads for country artists in the 1920s, and plenty of country artists such as Zac Brown and Kenny Rogers still call Atlanta home. The storied 688 Club may be long gone, but Atlanta has no shortage of live venues and clubs to keep the locals and visitors entertained.

  1. Nashville, TN

Median Sales Price of a Single-Family Home: $203,100 (Sept. 30, 2015)

Five-Year House Price Appreciation Rate: 5.1 percent

Average Rent (per month): $1,437

Famous Local Musicians: Pat Boone, Lady Antebellum, Billy Ray Cyrus

People don’t call Nashville the “Music City” for nothing. Live music is played practically 24 hours a day, and a good deal of it is free on the “Honkey Tonk Highway” of Lower Broadway. Or head to historic Music Row, where hopefuls twang away looking for that big break to get to Opryland. But there’s more than country; the up-and-coming East Nashville area is a hotbed of new rock talent — and stars such as Jack White and Kings of Leon also call it home. Nashville offers the option of seeing a rendition of Tchaikovsky’s first concerto or Lynyrd Skynyrd on a Friday, and then a choice between Foo Fighters or Run Jewels on Monday. It’s hard to beat such a rich variety. 

  1. Las Vegas, NV

Median Sales Price of a Single Family Home: $199,300 (Sept. 30, 2015)

Five-Year House Price Appreciation Rate: 7.2 percent

Average Rent (per month): $1,196

Famous local musicians: The Killers, Brandon Flowers, Ne-Yo

Financially, the Vegas experience differs for all who pass through, but catching top-notch performances on the Strip is a sure bet. A steady stream of stars such as Celine Dion, Carlos Santana, Elton John, and Mariah Carey flow through the casinos big rooms and venues. It’s not all sequins in Sin City. Las Vegas’ alternative scene gave birth to the Killers, Panic at the Disco, and Imagine Dragons. And there is a thumping club scene. 

  1. Minneapolis, MN

Median Sales Price of a Single Family Home: $226,685 (Sept. 30, 2015)

Five-Year House Price Appreciation Rate: 1 percent

Average Rent (per month): $1,531

Famous local musicians: Prince, Atmosphere, Semisonic

Overlooked by many, there’s an exciting music scene in downtown Minneapolis. Prince broke out “Purple Rain” at the iconic First Avenue in the ’80s. And Husker Du and the Replacements sprung out of the alt punk scene. While Prince keeps rocking at his Paisley Park Studios with his famous friends, music keeps rolling out of the Twin Cities in a wide variety of hopping venues.

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