The 5 Most Affordable Places to Live In Minnesota

Jamie Ayers

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Jamie Ayers

August 11th, 2022
Updated August 11th, 2022

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Finding a home that meets your needs without breaking the bank can be a serious challenge. State-wide, Minnesota has a median home value of $235,700. When you add in maintenance costs and property taxes, it can be difficult for many to buy and own a home.

That's why we've compiled a list of affordable cities in Minnesota to help you find a new place to live. All of these places are more affordable than average, meaning you can get more bang for your buck.

Looking for the most affordable places in Minnesota is a start, but you'll save even more money by working with a great agent.

The top Minnesota real estate agents know the local market and where to find pockets of more affordable homes. They can also help negotiate a better price when you do find your dream home.

At Clever Real Estate, we can match you with agents in any area you're interested in — even multiple areas at the same time. You can interview as many agents as you like until you find the perfect place to call home — all at no cost or obligation to you.

👋 First step: Talk to an expert!

Even if you're just daydreaming about where your next home might be, it's never too early to ask for an expert opinion. Real estate agents know the ins and outs of their local areas, including jobs, schools, and affordable neighborhoods.

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Most affordable cities in Minnesota

Whether you're looking for a quiet small town or a trendy suburban neighborhood, it's possible to locate pockets of affordability throughout Minnesota.

Here are our top picks for Minnesota residents on a budget:

1. Rochester

Rochester is a city in southern Minnesota with a population of around 214,000. You might recognize this city’s name because it’s the birthplace of the renowned healthcare organization, the Mayo Clinic. Here, residents enjoy a nice median household income of $69,000, which is predicted to rise another 4.16% during 2019. The largest job industries are health care, social assistance, retail trade, and manufacturing.

The median home value in Rochester is $225,100. Rochester home values have gone up 7.2% since 2018 and Zillow predicts they will rise by 4.3% during 2019. The median price of homes currently listed in Rochester is $276,900 while the median price of homes that sold is $217,400. If you prefer renting, the median rent price in Rochester is $1,350.

2. Owatonna

Owatonna is a smaller city in Minnesota with a population of 36,600. Here you can find many hiking and biking trails, and cross country skiing depending on the season. The most popular and high paying industries in Owatonna are utilities, insurance, and finance. These jobs pay as much as $76,000, but the median household annual income sits at $56,289. However, these numbers are rising 0.49% every year.

The median home value in Owatonna is $173,500. Owatonna home values have gone up 4.6% since 2018 and Zillow predicts they will rise by 1.9% throughout 2019. The median price of homes currently listed in Owatonna is $179,945 while the median price of homes that sold is $176,800.

Even after you've found a more affordable place to live in Minnesota, moving there can be expensive. By working with a Clever Partner Agent, you'll have an expert in your corner and you may be able to take advantage of Clever Cash Back.

When you buy a home with a Clever agent, you might be eligible for up to 0.5% cash back to use on anything you want. For the average home value of $235,700, you'd pocket $1,179 to help you move (or splurge on a great housewarming gift for yourself).

» SAVE: Learn more about what you can save with Clever Cash Back!

3. Hastings

Hastings is known as Minnesota's river town due to its proximity to the Mississippi River and St. Croix rivers. Most of their history is centered on the railroads and boat ports, which explains why the top job industries are manufacturing and oil extraction.

According to 97% of Hastings residents, their quality of life was good or excellent during a 2014 survey conducted by the Morris Leatherman Company. Hastings has a strong arts community as well as an endless amount of nature-related activities, probably due to the fact that it has 400 acres of open space in 33 parks and 28-miles of trails.

The median household income here is $66,403, which pairs nicely with the relatively low housing costs. The median home value in Hastings is $236,900. Hastings’ home values have gone up 3.4% since 2018 and Zillow predicts they will rise by 1.1% throughout 2019. The median price of homes currently listed in Hastings is $249,900 while the median price of homes that sold is $226,900.

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4. Woodbury

Woodbury is a city near downtown but has been able to maintain its small-town feel. Despite its smaller population size of 67,000, there is plenty of room for growth. Residents who enjoy participating in sports won't be able to resist visiting the Bielenberg Sports Center that's over 90,000 square feet of ice rinks, athletic fields, and a splash pad.

Some of their highest paying industries are the management of mining companies, quarrying, agriculture, and fishing. Employees in these top Woodbury industries enjoy salaries as much as $133,000. The median home value in Woodbury is $341,000, which might seem steep for Minnesota, but the median income is $103,000. On top of the rising number of new jobs, residents can expect the median household income to rise by 1.36% throughout 2019.

The real estate market here is growing and Woodbury home values have gone up 4.7% since 2018 and Zillow predicts they will rise by 2.4% during 2019. The median price of homes currently listed in Woodbury is $389,900 while the median price of homes that sold is $349,000.

5. Mankato

Mankato is known for being a great place to raise kids. One of the popular attractions is Sibley Park, which is a combination of a petting zoo and barnyard themed playground. The Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota is also here. Mountain biking is also a very popular activity in Mankato, thanks to the Red Jacket Bike Trail and the Minnesota River Trail.

Mankato has a fairly small population of 41,241 and a median household income of $45,035, which is expected to rise by 5.67% during 2019. Some of their top paying industries are educational services, utilities, and public administration.

Right now, Mankato’s real estate market is in favor of the buyer, which makes it a great time to take advantage of affordable housing. The median home value in Mankato is $198,300. Mankato home values have gone up 5.4% since 2018 and Zillowpredicts they will rise by 1.3% during 2019. The median price of homes currently listed in Mankato is $259,900 while the median price of homes that sold is $191,300.

The benefits of a great real estate agent

If you're just researching affordable places to live, you might wonder why you need a real estate agent. They're the ones that help you once you've already decided on a house, right?

Not necessarily. The truth is, it's never too early to start looking for an agent. In fact, talking to a realtor early on in the process can help you narrow down your options much faster than doing research on your own.

A real estate agent's job is to know everything about their local area. They'll find the best deals in desirable neighborhoods — and might just help you snag your dream home for an affordable price. Let a Clever agent help you discover your options today — all while you enjoy 0.5% cash back!

💰 Buy with a top agent, earn cash back!

Buy your dream home with a top local realtor from a trusted brand like Keller Williams or RE/MAX. Save thousands with a cash back refund worth 0.5% of the purchase price.

Enter your zip code to request hand-picked agent matches in minutes. Compare your options until you find the perfect fit, or walk away with no obligation. Try Clever's free service today!

Frequently asked questions about affordable places to live in Minnesota

In addition to shopping in some of the most affordable areas, you'll want to work with an experienced real estate agent. They can find you hidden gems at low price points. A good agent can also negotiate like a pro to get you a lower sale price and more buyer incentives. You may also be able to take advantage of home buyer rebates.

We recommend using the 28/36 rule to know how much house you can afford. This means your housing expenses shouldn't exceed 28% of your income, and all of your total debt shouldn't exceed 36%. Learn more about how to calculate your home buying budget.

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