Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or an experienced one, buying a new home can be a very exciting and stressful experience. As a home buyer, you probably have a million questions running through your head such as…
Should I use a real estate agent?
What are the most affordable neighborhoods for home buying in the St. Louis area?
What are the risks of buying a home in a flood zone?
Are there specific types of home damage I should be looking for before buying?
These are all very valid questions and probably only a fraction of the ones that you’ll be asking throughout the entire home buying process. The best way to approach these questions is to answer them one at a time, starting with the most affordable neighborhoods for home buying in the St. Louis area.
Is The St. Louis Area a Good Option for Home Buying?
The short answer is yes! When it comes to the St. Louis area as a whole, it’s a great place to put down roots. According to the 2022-23 U.S. News & World Report, St. Louis ranks among the best places to live in the U.S. — a score that was determined based on the quality of life, the job market, and the value of living.
When it comes to home buying specifically, the St. Louis area is a popular option and it’s clear to see why. The cost of living and cost of housing are both lower than the national average, with the cost of living being 13% lower and the cost of housing being 30% lower. Along with the unbeatable cost of living, the St. Louis area also offers unique historic architecture, a bustling downtown, diverse cuisine, numerous entertainment options, and beautiful parks of all sizes. Basically, you get all of the perks of living in a big city for a significantly lower price.
The Most Affordable Neighborhoods in The St. Louis Area
Now that you’ve decided that the St. Louis area is the place for you, it’s time to decide which part of St. Louis you’d like to live in. We’ve outlined some of the most affordable neighborhoods in the St. Louis area with a low crime rate, good schools, and an overall pleasant atmosphere.
The historic neighborhood of Benton Park, MO is a great option for affordable living. It’s about a 10-minute drive (give or take) to downtown St. Louis, Tower Grove Park and Forest Park. It’s also about 5 minutes away from Cherokee Street and South Grand Boulevard which offer lots of great food options.
Many of the homes in this neighborhood are “shotgun-style” meaning that they’re about one room-length wide and 2-4 rooms deep with 2-3 stories. They may appear small at first, but you’d be surprised by the amount of space inside these homes, especially since a lot of them feature high ceilings making them feel even roomier. Many of these homes also have a small backyard which is perfect for aspiring homeowners who own pets or simply enjoy a nice backyard BBQ.
Location: The neighborhood is defined on the North by Gravois, on the South by Cherokee and Potomac, on the West by Jefferson, and on the East by I-55.
Soulard, MO is just a hop and a skip away from Benton Park and is another great option for affordable living in St. Louis. This neighborhood has a strong French influence which is noticeable in many of the buildings’ architectural styles. You’ll notice intricate wood detailing, bright colors and tasteful brick in many of the homes found in this neighborhood.
Aside from the stunning architecture, Soulard is a hub for entertainment with various blues clubs, corner taverns and delicious restaurants. In fact, Soulard is home to the 2nd largest Mardi Gras celebration aside from the one in New Orleans! It’s also right next to the famous Anheuser Busch Brewery and not far from the Lemp Brewery. There’s always something to do in this neighborhood whether you’re looking for a wild night out or a lazy Saturday at the Soulard Farmers Market, there’s something here for everyone.
Location: Soulard’s triangular boundaries are defined by 7th Street and Broadway to the Southeast and I-55 to the West and North.
Lafayette Square is another popular historic neighborhood in the St. Louis area that is close to both Benton Park and Soulard. The homes in this neighborhood are a bit more pricey than the previous two options, but that’s due to the historical origins and ornate features of the buildings. The homes in this neighborhood are rich with character and are within walking distance to a handful of tasteful wine bars, restaurants and breweries.
The prime feature of this neighborhood is undoubtedly Lafayette Park. This beautiful urban park was one of the first and largest public parks in St. Louis. It features various walking paths, beautiful greenery, statues, fountains, ponds, pavilions, a restored park house, and last but not least, the gem of the park – The Rockery. This park is a popular spot for wedding photos due to the lush landscaping, large billowing trees, and ornate iron bridge. The park also hosts various events throughout the year so there’s always something to look forward to.
Location: Lafayette Square is bounded on the north by Chouteau Avenue, on the south by Interstate 44, on the east by Dolman Street, and on the west by South Jefferson Avenue. It is just south of downtown and within walking distance of Soulard market.
If you’re looking for a quieter neighborhood within the city limits, Boulevard Heights may be a better fit for you. Many of the homes in this neighborhood are Bungalows which are commonly one-story homes with a low-pitched roof. They’re the perfect starter home for families, offering a decent amount of space for the price. These houses are also popular options for retirees who are looking for a cozy home that’s easy to keep up with.
Although this neighborhood isn’t “in the action” like the previous neighborhoods, it’s not far from popular areas such as Soulard and Dutchtown. It’s also within walking distance of Carondelet Park which features a scenic walking path, tennis courts, ball fields, horseshoe pits, pavilions, playgrounds, and a beautiful boathouse. The park also includes the Carondelet Park Rec Complex which offers residents a variety of services such as basketball courts, gym equipment, an indoor & outdoor pool, youth center, daycare, and various other clubs and community activities.
Location: The Boulevard Heights boundaries are defined by the City limits to the South, Gravois to the West, and I-55 to Grand to Loughborough and Leona on the East.
Franz Park, MO is the more affordable counterpart to Southwest Garden and Ellendale. This neighborhood features a variety of single-family homes that are perfect for young professionals or small families. It is important to note, however, that many of these homes are considered “fixer-uppers”. If that’s not your cup of tea, then you may want to look for a home in a different neighborhood, but if you’re willing to put in the time and money, it may be worth considering. With proper care and updating, you could have all the charm of a historic home with all the perks of modern amenities.
Franz Park is within walking or biking distance of Forest Park, the biggest urban park in the St. Louis area. Forest Park stretches across 1,300 acres which is bigger than Central Park in New York! This park is known to be “the outdoor hub” of St. Louis housing the St. Louis Zoo, Art Museum, Missouri History Museum, Science Center, Muny Opera, Boathouse, Steinberg Skating Rink, Dwight Davis Tennis Center, Probstein and Highlands golf courses. The park also hosts various popular St. Louis events such as the Balloon Glow and Bark in The Park, along with various other cultural festivals, marathons, concerts and farmer’s markets.
Location: Franz Park is bordered by Dale on the north and east, Manchester on the south and the City limits on the west. It is one of the three neighborhoods that comprise what is informally known as “Dogtown.”
The Hill Neighborhood
The Hill Neighborhood is another great option for home buying and is known for its strong Italian influence. Between the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Hill was a popular location for Italian immigrants to settle down. The neighborhood became a self-supporting community with opportunities for work, shopping, socializing, church, and school. Today, the neighborhood has kept that same self-sufficiency and charm.
The best feature of this neighborhood is unarguably the Italian cuisine. The Hill features a traditional collection of authentic Italian bakeries, grocery stores, restaurants and mom-and-pop trattorias. This neighborhood continues to grow and thrive, introducing even more boutiques, coffee shops and other local businesses. If you’re looking for a family-friendly, tight-knit community with seemingly endless dining options, The Hill may be the perfect place for you!
Location: The Hill neighborhood is generally defined by Manchester on the north, Southwest Avenue and Columbia to the south, Kingshighway on the east, and Hampton on the west.
North Hampton is a top pick for families looking to purchase a home in the St. Louis area. This neighborhood offers both single and multi-family homes at affordable prices. It’s also known for its low crime rate and proximity to great schools such as Mason Elementary School, Kennard Classical Junior Academy, and Mallinckrodt Academy of Gifted Instruction. This neighborhood is also only a 20-minute drive from popular entertainment hubs such as Central West End, Midtown and Downtown St. Louis.
You’ll have no shortage of green spaces with Tilles Park and The Missouri Botanical Gardens being a stone’s throw away from North Hampton. The botanical gardens feature 79 acres of colorful trees and plants including a tropical biome that makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a rainforest. The botanical gardens also include a zen garden, children’s garden and a ton of special programs centered around botany and conservation.
Location: Located in Southwest City, Northampton is bounded by Scanlan and Connecticut to the North, South Kingshighway to the East, Chippewa to the South, and Hampton to the West.
Central West End
Central West End is a bustling hub for entertainment, dining and shopping. The homes for sale in this neighborhood are a bit more expensive than the previous neighborhoods since they’re newer and more updated. If you’re looking to spend a little more and stress a little less about maintenance and upkeep then this may be the place for you!
One of the biggest perks of living in Central West End is the vast array of tasteful restaurants, trendy bars, contemporary boutiques and modern art galleries. It’s the perfect mix of modern and classic favorites. This neighborhood is also on the border of Forest Park which allows residents a peaceful escape from the bustling environment.
Location: One of the Central West End’s major assets is its central location. Lying between Delmar Boulevard to the North, Interstate 64 to the South, North Vandeventer Avenue to the East, and Kingshighway and Union Boulevards via Lindell Boulevard to the West, it lends urban convenience to both its businesses and residents.
When it comes to choosing an affordable neighborhood in the St. Louis area for home buying, there are a lot of options to choose from! It all comes down to what kind of neighborhood vibe you’re looking for, but all in all, you can’t go wrong with any of them.
Happy house hunting!