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Ready for a Move? Consider One of These 7 Flourishing, Underrated Cities

By HOM Editor
February 2020

We’re all familiar with large, popular cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and Philadelphia, but there are dozens of other cities under the radar that are waiting to be discovered. Sure, there are perks to a bustling city such as nationally recognized entertainment and rapid real estate appreciation, but those perks don’t come cheap.

If you’ve lived in a large city for a good stretch of time, you’re likely also sick of crowded train cars, unaffordable rent, and 3+ hour wait times at trendy restaurants. If you’re considering a move to hopefully find some breathing room, these 7 underpriced cities have all the same great perks to offer with a significantly friendlier price tag.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis has been rising in popularity over the years, likely due to the expanding hotel industry, booming restaurant scene, and all the water activities Lake Calhoun has to offer. Although their biggest claim to fame may be how friendly and welcoming the traditional Minneapolis resident is to both their local community and newcomers alike, that’s not the only advantage (you’ve probably heard the term “Minnesota Nice” and it’s something you’ll become familiar with). Notably, this midwestern city has a median home price of $212,800, an average household income of $52,611, and a convenient public transit system. It checks all the boxes, so what more could you ask for in a new neighborhood?

Asheville, North Carolina

You may have heard of Asheville if you’re a fan of stunning mountains, galleries, museums, and the live music scene. Just adjacent to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is jam-packed with unique districts catering to the creatives. With a great deal of Southern influence, the culinary scene is a crowd favorite. We all know fried chicken pairs well with craft beer, so thankfully Asheville is often referred to as the “Beer City, USA.” If you’re indecisive, the gravy flight at Biscuit Head was made for you. Aside from tasty bites and sips, there are a variety of music venues constantly debuting remarkable talents, such as The Orange Peel and The Mothlight.

Ithaca, New York

It’s easy to forget that New York isn’t just home to the Big Apple, Niagara Falls, and summer getaways to the Hamptons. In fact, there are nearly 55,000 square miles to explore in the state of New York and Ithaca is surely one of the regions to check out. Just an hour south of Syracuse, Ithaca gets a huge influx of graduates from its local University, Cornell, and Syracuse University. The city has catered to this young generation over the years, hosting concerts, festivals such as Chili Fest, and nightlife that can be enjoyed on foot. With a median home price of $219,100, Ithaca is a fun, youthful, and affordable option for your next home.

Buena Vista, Colorado

Cities such as Boulder, Denver, and Fort Collins are on everyone’s radar when they hear of Colorado, but Buena Vista is the next big thing. Just two hours from Denver, Buena Vista has all the classic ski-centric Colorado offerings without the crowds — ski resorts (of course), hot springs, trendy shops, and restaurants. One of the benefits of a smaller town is the close proximity to just about everything and Buena Vista certainly supports that. Not to mention this thriving city has a walkability score of 66 and is just a short drive from Buena Vista Boulder Garden and Buena Vista Whitewater Park. As Brock Wilbur says, “This is the Colorado you want to hunker down in.”

Hilo, Hawaii

You may often doze off at your desk, dreaming of moving to sunny Hawaii, but did you know it’s not as inaccessible as you imagine? It’s not only an escape, but it can also be your home. The popular islands of Maui and Oahu are full of tourists, which means everything is pricey, whereas Hilo is full of locals, farmers’ markets, and quaint shops. If you avoid the resort heavy islands, you’ll find more peace and quiet and a realistic day-to-day lifestyle while still enjoying all the perks of the gorgeous islands; snorkeling, surfing, warmth, and some of the best fish in the world. If you have an active lifestyle, there are endless water and land activities for you to indulge in. Hilo even has a rather low median home value for Hawaii at $298,500, so you can say goodbye to the cold and Aloha to the Hawaiian lifestyle.

Orcas Island, Washington

The Pacific Northwest is known for stunning mountains, picturesque coastlines and the thousands of hiking trails in between. Orcas Island is home to Moran State Park and is no exception. Orcas Island is full of creativity, natural beauty, and hidden gems. If you’re looking for an escape, this island is an ideal place to start. If you’re a bike fanatic, you may want to call Orcas Island your new home, with nearly 20 designated bike paths including one that reaches the top of Mt. Constitution. If you’re moving with youngins, this island is ideal as its quiet streets are extremely safe. If this haven sounds appealing to you, now is the time to take the leap to homeownership, as Zillow predicts home values in the area will rise 1.4% within the next year.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

You may remember the negative reaction that Chandler Bing had to accidentally agreeing to move to the unheard-of Tulsa, but nearly 20 years later it wouldn’t be the worst thing to wake up with a job in this thriving city. Between the stunning new riverfront park, the Gathering Place, art deco architecture, a growing brewery scene, and the Philbrook Museum of Art, it’s surprisingly hard to be bored in this Oklahoma gem. Not only is Tulsa full of fun, but it’s also a great place to relocate. It has a giving and supportive community, a low unemployment rate typically lower than the national average — and sits on the Arkansas River, making it a great place to settle down with a family. Although the real clincher: Tulsa Remote will pay remote workers $10,000 to move there. If you work from home, this is a tough offer to pass up.

Becoming a homeowner today is very attainable — contrary to popular belief — although it is now more expensive than our previous generation. According to Business Insider, millennials will pay 39% more on their first home than baby boomers did in the ’80s. But don’t let that deter you from the American dream of homeownership. With various FHA loans, the right resources, and an open mind, you’ll be signing your mortgage checks in no time.

These 7 flourishing cities are a great place to start exploring, with affordable housing, thriving culinary scenes, and walkability, they have everything that large cities have to offer for a fraction of the price.


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