Median Home Price: $280,100
Its 3 percent unemployment rate is half of the national average while its 4.5 percent job-growth number is nearly four-times greater than the nation as a whole. New arrivals are likely to work in fields such as construction, finance and education and are greeted by plenty of outdoor things to do like skiing, fly fishing, hiking and whitewater kayaking. One thing Bozeman doesn’t have: local sales tax. Enjoy.
Median Home Price: $292,700
Not surprisingly for a city that borders the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the continental U.S., Flagstaff’s economy used to be based on lumber and ranching. These days the likes of education and tourism—the very first Ramada opened here in 1954—drive the train. Relatively low unemployment, steady job growth and picturesque landscapes are reasons that, since 2000, the city has seen population growth of 22 percent.
Median Home Price: $111,500
A low cost of living, especially when it comes to housing, makes Knoxville an attractive destination. Consider that 77 percent of families making the local median income of $61,000 are able to afford a home. Away from home? Non-housing expenses in Knoxville are about 11 percent lower than the national average. And good news, fellas: there are nearly 10 percent more women living in the city than men.
LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS
Median Home Price: $126,100
When naming Little Rock its No. 1 mid-size city in which to live, Kiplingers noted that Arkansas’ business and cultural hub was a smaller city with all the amenities of a large one: a major university, symphony, museums, theater, a vibrant street and music scene as well as plenty of recreation possibilities ranging from cycling to fishing, hunting and boating. Little Rock public schools spend nearly $14,729 per year on students, well above the national average of $12,435.
Median Home Price: $105,300
The local economy, once dependent on oil, is gradually diversifying, helped by the fact that Odessa is a stop along the La Entrada al Pacifico trade corridor. Family Dollar opened a distribution center in the city’s new industrial park and Coca Cola built a new distribution center of its own. Several hotels and shopping centers have either been planned or built. Not surprisingly, Forbes ranks Odessa as the third fastest-growing small city in the nation.
Median Home Price: $249,900
Located near Lake Tahoe and a couple of national parks, the Golden State’s capital is rated as one of the nation’s healthiest cities. With a varied population of races and cultures—Time magazine proclaimed it America’s most diverse city—Sacramento has seen positive job growth due in large part to its position as a transportation hub served by an international and cargo airport as well as a deep-water port and extensive freight and rail lines.
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA
Median Home Price: $492,500
Average temperatures in “America’s Finest City” range from 65 to 76 degrees, so it’s not surprising that this is one of the country’s most active populaces. Travel and Leisure ranks San Diego high for its singles scene and good-looking people; perhaps contributing to the latter is the city’s ascension as the craft beer capital of the U.S. with more than 85 local breweries making their world renowned pale ales and IPAs.
Median Home Price: $101,700
Recent additions to the business landscape include AT&T, Capital One and Avis, a big reason that Tulsa, “The Buckle of the Bible Belt,” has a lower unemployment rate than both the state and nation. The city, which has seen steady job growth, has a per capita income more than 20 percent above the national average and a cost of living 10 percent lower than the national average.
Median Home Price: $252,000
For its diminutive size, Windsor has plenty of places to do business near Bradley International Airport, including the New England Tradeport, Kennedy Industrial Park and Addison Road Industrial Park. Windsor’s size makes for a good quality of life, especially for families. Consider that local public schools spend more than $4,000 per student above the national average. Also, the student-to-teacher ratio is a desirable 13-to-1.
Median Home Price: $36,500
Its economic woes well-documented, Youngstown remained true to its entrepreneurial tradition—Good Humor Ice Cream and Arby’s were born in the region—with the Youngstown Business Incubator, a downtown space that birthed several successful startups including Turning Technologies, which Inc. magazine rates as the fastest-growing privately held software company in the U.S. Home prices are extremely low: recently a seven bedroom, 4,800-square-foot home was on the market for just $150,000.
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