Three of Alabama largest cities, Huntsville, Montgomery and Mobile, are among the top 25 places in the nation with the lowest cost of living, according to the website Niche, with the Rocket City and state capital cracking the top 10.
Birmingham, the state’s biggest city by population, made it into the top 30.
Huntsville is ranked fourth in the “2016 Cities with the Lowest Cost of Living,” trailing Ft. Wayne, Ind., which tops the list; Evansville, Ind., at No. 2; and Odessa, Texas, which is third.
Montgomery comes in at seventh, Mobile is 22nd, while Birmingham came in at 29.
“The 2016 Cities with the Lowest Cost of Living ranking provides a comprehensive assessment of the affordability of an area at the city level,” Niche states about the methodology it used. “This grade takes into account key factors, including a location’s housing, food and fuel costs, as well as the median tax rates, in an attempt to measure the overall affordability and relative cost of living of an area.”
It uses categories from the U.S. Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics, including home value to income ratios, median effective property taxes and median rent figures.
In Huntsville, the average home is valued at 3.3 times the income of an average family. The median home value is $160,400 and the median rent is $723.
The average home of a Montgomery family is valued at 2.3 times income, while the median rent is $818. The median home value is $119,500.
In Mobile, the median rent is $764 while the average value of a home is $123,600. The value of the average home in the Port City is 3.1 times what a family makes.
The median home value in Birmingham is $86,818 and the median rent is $728. The value of a home is 2.8 times income.
The three Alabama cities in the top 25 have median effective property tax rates ranging from 0.39 percent (Montgomery) to 0.62 percent (Mobile). Huntsville’s effective property tax is 0.45 percent.
Birmingham’s effective property tax is 0.75 percent.
The average monthly housing cost for families in Huntsville, Montgomery and Mobile is 0.2 times income, 0.3 in Birmingham.