It's one thing to find a house you can afford.

It's a completely different thing to find that cheap house in a place you actually want to live. has you covered with their 2023 edition of The 10 Most Affordable Small Towns Where You'd Actually Like To Live.

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They started with real estate listings in every U.S. 'micropolitan area', which are counties with populations between 10,000 and 50,000.

For quality of life, they turned to U.S. Census Bureau data on dining, entertainment, recreation, and businesses in each area.

The search was limited to places where the median list price per square foot is less than 150% of the national average, and they picked only the highest-ranking micropolitan area in any given state, to ensure geographic diversity.

The top ten includes one city each from South Dakota and Minnesota.

Aberdeen SD
Google Maps

6. Aberdeen, South Dakota (Median list price: $287,900)

Housing prices in South Dakota's third-largest city are about half of the national average.

As for quality of life here's's take on Aberdeen:

'In the northeast corner of South Dakota, Aberdeen is known for its prairie landscape, dotted with parks, lakes, and creeks. The Mina Lake Recreation Area is where locals can find boating, fishing, and camping opportunities.

There are plenty more perks. Aberdeen is home to Northern State University, a small public university, and Presentation College, a private Catholic college. On the northern edge of Aberdeen is Wylie Park, which has “Storybook Land,” a theme park based on storybooks and fairy tales. There’s also Wylie Lake, a minigolf course, bumper boats, and go-karts.'

New Ulm MN
Google Maps

9. New Ulm, Minnesota (Median list price: $267,400)

Same county (Brown), different state. New Ulm (population 14,096) holds the distinction of being the smallest city on the list.'s take on New Ulm:

'New Ulm was founded by German immigrants in 1854, and the German heritage is unavoidable. Classically German half-timbered “Fachwerk” architecture can still be found across the town. New Ulm’s downtown gets a full transformation for Christmas, and the town’s Oktoberfest is a destination for anyone looking for an authentic experience. There’s even a 45-foot glockenspiel, whose chimes can be heard throughout the town during the day, and which is adorned with a rotating stage with figurines depicting characters from the town’s history.'

Flandrau State Park, on the southern edge of New Ulm, is where the town’s residents can go for swimming, camping, hiking, or just lounging on the beach.


  1. Cortland, New York $159,250
  2. Kearney, Nebraska: $384,450
  3. Branson, Missouri: $320,000
  4. Sandusky, Ohio: $257,450
  5. Galesburg, Illinois: $127,425
  6. Aberdeen, South Dakota: $287,900
  7. Rutland, Vermont: $280,000
  8. Iron Mountain, Michigan: $202,450
  9. New Ulm, Minnesota: $267,400
  10. Taos, New Mexico: $559,000

LOOK: The 25 least expensive states to live in

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LOOK: Here are the best lake towns to live in

Many of the included towns jump out at the casual observer as popular summer-rental spots--the Ozarks' Branson, Missouri, or Arizona's Lake Havasu--it might surprise you to dive deeper into some quality-of-life offerings beyond the beach and vacation homes. You'll likely pick up some knowledge from a wide range of Americana: one of the last remaining 1950s-style drive-ins in the Midwest; a Florida town that started as a Civil War veteran retirement area; an island boasting some of the country's top public schools and wealth-earners right in the middle of a lake between Seattle and Bellevue; and even a California town containing much more than Johnny Cash's prison blues.

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