small town main street

© Noel -

7 Most Affordable Small Towns

April 13, 2021

Small-town living has become increasingly appealing to more Americans. Even prior to the pandemic, rising home prices were prompting more consumers to move farther away from city centers in search of greater square footage and to make their housing dollars stretch more.

In a 2020 survey from Gallup, nearly half of U.S. adults said they would prefer to live in a small town or rural area, a 9% increase compared to 2018.

“We’ve seen home shoppers prefer larger homes with more outdoor space as a result of the pandemic, and home-shopping interest has [especially] increased in areas that offer outdoor activities such as beaches or skiing,” says Danielle Hale,®’s chief economist.

For its 2021 edition that ranks the most affordable small towns in the country,® evaluated metros with populations under 50,000 and factored in median home list prices, year-over-year list price changes, and ownership costs as a percentage of income. To ensure geographic diversity, they also limited their list to one small town per state.

The following small towns topped their list as most affordable for 2021:

1. New Ulm, Minn.

  • Median listing price: $139,900

2. Lexington, Neb.

  • Median listing price: $145,000

3. Houghton, Mich.

  • Median listing price: $149,500

4. Spencer, Iowa

  • Median listing price: $92,500

5. Wahpeton, N.D.

  • Median listing price: $179,900

6. Wapakoneta, Ohio

  • Median listing price: $145,000

7. Los Alamos, N.M.

  • Median listing price: $307,500

View the full top 10 list at®.