So you’re adamant that a FIRE lifestyle is for you. You may currently be living in a location which has all the amenities you need but has one major downfall – it’s way too expensive for a lean lifestyle.
In this short guide, we’ll go through some of the best locations for relocating for a FIRE lifestyle – in terms of the average property price.
This is a largely visual article.
Affordable property & locations for a FIRE lifestyle
As you’re striving for financial independence, simply purchasing a cheap property without understanding the costs and local demographics of the area is not the best approach.
Along with a cheap property, to build up your nest egg, you’ll need the costs of absolutely everything lower than where you’re currently living so that your money can be utilized more effectively.
Also, don’t forget, unless you’ve had a recent windfall, you’ll still need to work – ensure there are plenty of job prospects in the location you intend to move to.
Below, we investigate the most affordable locations to relocate to for a FIRE lifestyle – this is based off of the average property price in each location – as mentioned above, you’ll need to do further research to check the general living expenses and whether there are good job prospects for your line of work.
Also, rural locations will undoubtedly have cheaper property prices than cities, however in order to live frugally, it is assumed you’ll require all amenities to be within walking distance, unless you’re planning on living completely off-grid.
The best countries to relocate for cheap lifestyle
For a more generalized approach, here are some of the top countries to relocate for a cheap lifestyle, which are also popular with expats, so you won’t feel too alone if/when you move!
Spain is a highly popular country for expats with tens of thousands migrating to the country every year. It is estimated that around 2/3rds of all those who have migrated to Spain are of working age.
It is no wonder why the country is so popular with expats. The warm temperatures and quality of life, coupled with good job prospects in the major cities makes it an ideal country for a cheaper, relaxed lifestyle.
Whether you’re an avid beach-goer, mountain walker, city dweller or historic fanatic, Spain has it all.
Property in Spain are generally priced lower compared to other European countries, however there is the exception, such as Madrid or central Barcelona
Another highly popular destination for expats is Portugal. With an excellent climate (if you like hot weather), vibrant cities and tonnes of natural beauty, it shouldn’t be hard to find your dream home.
Lisbon, which is located on the west coast of Portugal is one of the most popular cities for relocating to, where a prime centre location will only cost you around £700-1000 per month in rent.
To further incentivise expats to move to Portugal, if you qualify for a non-habitual residence, you’ll be exempt from income tax for 10 years!
Another point to note, Portugal was 3rd in the 2019 global peace index, this makes it highly desirable for anyone looking for a relaxed, stress free environment
A less popular country than Spain and Portugal for expats is Bulgaria, however this does not mean that it is not worth relocating to. Bulgaria has a fairly high quality of life and plenty of things to keep you occupied.
A city centre property can be secured in Bulgaria for only £500 per month (renting), with the average living cost in the country 40%+ cheaper than the United Kingdom.
While it is true that living near the Alps in France or Switzerland can be highly expensive, a more affordable option is Slovenia. Living costs aren’t as cheap as other countries in this list, however Slovenia was 8th in the global peace index in 2019! So you’re bound to have a relaxing, enjoyable time.
Living costs in Malaysia are exceptionally attractive – in some cities, rent will set you back less than £200 per month, while general expenditure for the average person will only come out slightly higher, at a few hundred £ per month.
Compared to other Asian countries, Malaysia is rated highly on the global peace index, coming in in position 16 for 2019.
The best cities for a cheap lifestyle
Below are some of the best cities in North America to relocate to for a FIRE lifestyle in terms of property prices.
Memphis is one of, if not the cheapest city in North America. The median house price in Memphis, Tennessee is currently around $105,000.
Price per sqft in Memphis: $75
Little Rock (AR)
The capital of Arkansas, Little Rock, which is positioned right in the centre of the state is another fairly affordable location for purchasing property – the median house price is currently around $200,000.
Price per sqft in Little Rock: $110
Located on the south banks of Lake Erie, bordering Canada is the city of Cleveland. According to Zillow, the median house price in Cleveland is only around $68,700!
Price per sqft in Cleveland: $100
Fort Wayne (IN)
Travel directly west from Cleveland and you arrive at Fort Wayne, Indiana. This city is another attractive US city in terms of property prices, with the average at around $140,000.
Price per sqft in Fort Wayne: $100
Kansas City (MO)
Kansas City, located in Missouri and bordering the state of Kansas has reasonable property prices, with a median of around $140,000, which is up ~4% from this time in 2019.
Price per sqft in Kansas City: $150
Located in the southern state of South Carolina is the city of Greenville. Here, the median property price is just over $200,000.
Price per sqft in Greenville: $148
Head west from Greenville to the state of Oklahoma and we find the city of Tulsa, where property prices are around $70,000 cheaper, at ~$130,000.
Price per sqft in Tulsa: $100
Although New York is one of the most expensive cities worldwide, Buffalo, which is located in the West of the state has considerably cheaper property prices than the state capital, at around $105,000, or in other words, $550,000 less than New York City!
Price per sqft in Buffalo: $118
Heading south-west of Buffalo and we get to Pittsburgh, another affordable location where the median property price is currently around $180,000.
Price per sqft in Pittsburgh: $125
The final city on our affordable North America is Wichita, located in the state of Kansas, where the median property price is a mere $138,000.
Price per sqft in Wichita: $119
While prices of property in South America are generally cheaper than North America, wages are lower. Therefore in terms of price to income, there isn’t a great deal of difference. However, if you’ve been building up savings while working in a location with high average wages, your purchasing power will be greater.
Before we go through these locations, we’ll first need a baseline price, or two – The price per sqft in New York City is around $ and in London around £ – this will help us gauge the difference in prices.
Paramaribo is the capital of Suriname, which is located on the northern coast of South America. The average property price per sqm here is around $670.
The third most populous city in Brazil and an economic hub of Brazil, Brasilia has fairly pricey property prices compared to others in this list; in the city centre, you’ll be paying around $980 per sqft.
Located in northern Colombia is the city of Barranquilla. Here, prices are around 3 times cheaper than the price of those located in the capital of Bogota, averaging around $400 per sqft.
Cali, not to be confused with California, is another fairly inexpensive location to relocate to, with property prices averaging around $800 per sqft.
South of Brazil is the country of Paraguay, another location which is ideal for relocating for a lean lifestyle – expect property prices per sqft to be in the range of $200-600.
The historical city and capital of Ecuador, Quito has reasonable property prices, which average at around $900 per square foot.
Porto Alegre, Brazil
Heading back to Brazil, the city of Porto Alegre could be considered for relocating to; with property prices at around $690 per sqft.
The capital of Uruguay, Montevideo is a fairly expensive city in terms of property prices at around $1400 per sqft, however the cost of living in Montevideo is around 50% lower than in London.
Last on our list for South America is the city of Concepcion, Chile – the third largest city in Chile. Here property prices are around $600 per sqft
Although numerous locations in Europe have some of the highest property prices, such as London, Paris and Milan, there are an abundance of cities which have more affordable prices to suit a lean lifestyle. Here are some of the cheapest places to buy a property in Europe.
Maribor is a historic city located in northern Slovenia, property prices in the city centre are fairly expensive, however on the outskirts of the city you’ll find some exceptional value.
Slovenia is also considering introducing a golden visa program where if you purchase a property over a certain amount, you’ll earn citizenship.
Ostrava, Czech Republic
Located in north eastern Czech Republic, Ostrava is an affordable city to relocate to, with city centre property prices at around $850 per square foot and the average cost of living around 50% lower than London.
The city of Yekaterinburg, Russia is another affordable location in terms of property prices, with the average price per square foot in the city centre at around $650. The cost of living here is around 60% cheaper than in London.
The Portuguese city of Braga, located in the north of Portugal will cost you an average of around £750 per sqft for a city centre property. In Braga, the cost of living is around a third cheaper than in London.
Another affordable European city is Plovdiv, located in southern Bulgaria, where the cost of property in the city centre is around £700 per sqft.
The capital of Romania, Bucharest, has both affordable property and a low living cost, ideal for relocating for a lean lifestyle. The average city centre property price is around £690 per sqft while the cost of living is around 50% lower than London.
Asia & Africa
Locations in Asia and Africa are probably the best for relocating to if you’re searching for cheap places to live. Overall, both property and living costs are much lower than in large European and American cities.
Below are a few of the most affordable places you could consider relocating to for a FIRE lifestyle.
With a warm climate and laidback lifestyle, Agadir could make for an ideal place to relocate to. Property prices in the centre of Agadir are around £800 per sqft, while the cost of living is over 55% cheaper than London.
With an average of only £60 per sqft, Hyderabad is one of the cheapest locations featured in this guide to buy a property. Although property is cheap, the cost of living is on the rise in India, however there are plenty of job prospects to be had in Hyderabad.
Property prices in Penang aren’t as cheap as other locations featured here (around £1000 per sqft), however this is countered by a low cost of living. It is around 50% cheaper than London to live in Penang.
A country which is experiencing growth is Bangladesh. The capital, Dhaka can be slightly too crowded for some, however property prices here are only around £500 per sqft, while the cost of living is around 55% lower than London.
The captial of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar has both affordable property and living costs; the average price per sqft in the city centre is around £800, while the cost of living is over 50% lower than London.
Where you shouldn’t relocate to for a cheap lifestyle
Although wages are generally higher in the following cities, if you’re aiming for your money to go further, avoid these cities for a FIRE lifestyle, due to an above average living cost.
- Zurich, Switzerland
- Basel, Switzerland
- Stavanger, Norway
- New York, NY
- San Francisco, CA
- Washington, DC
- Tokyo, Japan
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Paris, France
- London, UK