Author Topic: Affordable Small Towns  (Read 14777 times)

MLKnits

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 276
Affordable Small Towns
« on: June 10, 2015, 05:12:58 PM »
I'm intrigued by this round-up of affordable small towns for each state. The commenters are mostly saying that the towns are bad choices for people who work, but it appears several would be great if you're FIREd (though perhaps not the one with the median income of $250K and spending to match ...)

Anyone familiar with any of these towns? Are they terrible choices or ones worth looking into?
« Last Edit: June 10, 2015, 05:15:20 PM by MLKnits »

Cougar

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 344
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2015, 06:53:49 PM »

well, i'm not sure what the article  thinks is affordable, i didnt see it defined on the click thru to business insider article and the full list; but i would consider a 3 bedroom for less than 200k affordable.

i know nothing about those listed but i think you could find plenty of your own.

for instance i currently have 3 options i like, lake conroe texas(little hilly and lake community north of houston), asheville, nc - town nestled in the blue ridge mountains, manchester nh - town with boston less than an hour away.

SF Semi-Mustache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 88
  • Age: 35
  • Location: san francisco
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2015, 09:26:41 PM »
I wouldn't want to live in Byng, Oklahoma, but YMMV.  Or Kettleman City, CA either. 

Norrie

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 348
  • Location: The Bible belt
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2015, 10:29:38 PM »
I wouldn't want to live in Byng, Oklahoma, but YMMV.  Or Kettleman City, CA either.

I've lived in Oklahoma for almost half of my life, and this is the first that I've ever heard of Byng. We do have a town called Cookietown, and I'd like to move there based on name alone.

There are hundreds of small towns in Oklahoma that have affordable homes and are within an hour and a half of a larger city. I'm not sure why Byng topped their list.

Bbqmustache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 221
  • Age: 2016
    • Financial Literacy Conversations
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2015, 05:16:31 AM »
Chevy Chase Maryland?   Small town, hardly.  Soured the whole list for me.  PA town is located in what is called the "snow belt"; they better clear snow from the streets quickly, they get A LOT of it.

Roots&Wings

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1414
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2015, 07:20:15 AM »
Yalaha Florida? It's not even a town, it's a census designated place with 1,500 people far from good healthcare and basic stores/services.

There was a great website called Small Town Gems that had fantastic small town reviews and recommendations which I used when checking out potential places to live and visit (I'm a small town fan)...but they seem to be no more. Maybe there are other good resources out there, but that list is ridiculous.

RoadLessTravelled

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 35
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2015, 08:09:07 AM »
The problem with all such lists is that use only the criteria they use.  Whether their criteria match your criteria or not is the question.

For example, your criteria might include such things as:

Supermarket in town.
Family doctor and dentist willing to take on new patients.
A good hairdresser (my wife drives half an hour to her hairdresser even though there are 4 within a 5 minute drive).
Property tax rate.

There is no point in asking is a list worthwhile unless you A:  Can see the criteria used in compiling the list and B:  your criteria are a match for their criteria.

MrsStubble

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 169
  • Location: West Chester, PA
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2015, 03:22:56 PM »
this list is hysterical.  For Delaware, North Star is one of the more expensive places to buy a home and not really a place i'd pick from mustacian point of view.  It's much cheaper then say Greenville, but considering the prices, it's not the best deal by a long shot.   It's close to a lot (well, everything in Delaware is close to everything as the state is extremely narrow) but more expensive then most of the places you could live here and it's a drive to get to most things.   

Most of Delaware is super cheap by Northeast US standards ($200,000-400,000) gets you a great home, cheap taxes ($1800 a year... i mean, a year!), close to everything (beach/bay, Philly, NYC, PA/VA wilderness, international airport, good hospitals, etc).    This is not the place to move if you want to send kids to public schools (homeschoolers this is your place) but other then that it's pretty nice.   Even the beach property in Delaware is cheap.   

Bracken_Joy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8943
  • Location: Oregon
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2015, 04:50:32 PM »
I've literally never even heard of Pilot Rock, OR, and I usually know my state pretty well... that was weird. But based on the area of the state it's in, I hope you like dust storms, snow, and conservative politics! (On the other hand, it probably has incredible hunting and fishing). For my dollar on that side of the state, I would prefer John Day or Baker City. Closer to national forests, fewer dust storms.

Seriously though, that whole plateau near Pendleton is one of the windiest places I have ever been.

seattlecyclone

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5948
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Seattle, WA
    • My blog
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2015, 09:15:46 PM »
The criteria for creating this list are ridiculous. They look at all the places with population between 1,000 and 10,000, and see which one in each state has the highest percentage of people who spend less than 30% of their income on housing. By that metric, an exclusive community populated by 1,000 multimillionaires would count as "affordable" as long as they all spend less than 30% of their income on their mansions.

Retired To Win

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1494
  • Age: 73
  • Location: Virginia
  • making the most of my time and my money
    • Retired To Win
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2015, 08:26:59 AM »
Check out city-data.com.  You'll get a very complete picture of all types of conditions and criteria for small and large towns alike.  And the site has a Forum so you can possibly get feedback from people who know first hand what a town is really like.

I searched it years ago and identified what for me was an ideal small town.  Then the idea of moving receded in my mind.  But 5 or 6 years later it resurfaced and... I ended up in that small town.  Which I found "as advertised" on city-data.

Good luck.

Bbqmustache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 221
  • Age: 2016
    • Financial Literacy Conversations
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2015, 08:31:02 AM »
Isn't it neat to see what data can produce.  Low cost housing was not produced by this "affordable" list at all.  If they had just added another parameter such as "include only areas where the area average income is no more than 20% above the state average income".  Wonder what list of towns THAT list would look like.

Bracken_Joy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8943
  • Location: Oregon
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2015, 08:35:02 AM »
Check out city-data.com.  You'll get a very complete picture of all types of conditions and criteria for small and large towns alike.  And the site has a Forum so you can possibly get feedback from people who know first hand what a town is really like.

I searched it years ago and identified what for me was an ideal small town.  Then the idea of moving receded in my mind.  But 5 or 6 years later it resurfaced and... I ended up in that small town.  Which I found "as advertised" on city-data.

Good luck.

This website is incredible. It even has the # of books in the library. I am a data nerd, and this delights me. Well, time to get nothing productive done today!

mizzourah2006

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 726
  • Location: NWA
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2015, 01:11:39 PM »
I'm only familiar with a few of them, but the one in Arkansas (Tontitown) is actually in the NWA area. It's right outside of Springdale and just north of Fayetteville and south of Bentonville and Rogers. So while, I guess you could call it a "small town" it's in the greater NWA area, which pretty much has everything outside of major professional sports teams. I actually live in Rogers and there are plenty of companies that have great pay here and the COL is very good.

MrsStubble

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 169
  • Location: West Chester, PA
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2015, 02:04:30 PM »
Doesn't Delaware have high property taxes? Seems it was one of those states that had pretty low income taxes but high prop. taxes - but I may be wrong. I like Delaware a lot and most of the towns seemed pretty nice too.

I do wonder what "affordable" means for the article though. Is it just median home price or does it take taxes, utilities, food, etc... into account. Here in CA our property taxes can be low if the price of the house ids low - like in terrible Kettleman City (which also has a lovely toxic waste dump near town) - since they are fixed at 1% of the purchase price and can't go up by much each year. But then overall most of the state has high housing purchase prices so there's that.


OMG no!!!  Delaware has i think some of the cheapest property taxes on the east coast.  Most houses are between $900-$3000 a year in property taxes.  The giant huge $3 million dollar mansions here only pay $8000 which is practically normal taxes for areas up here.   The income taxes aren't bad here either, and there's no sales tax. Most taxes are paid by corporations that are either based here or incorporated here.  From a employee/homeowner standpoint, my taxes here are nil.

Dicey

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 15601
  • Age: 63
  • Location: NorCal
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #15 on: June 23, 2015, 09:16:41 PM »
Kettleman City? Are you kidding me? Clearly they did not actually visit the place...which is the problem and why I'm chiming in. Magazines run these articles every year and they seldom name the same places twice, so next year will bring a whole new crop of "best" places based on some strange list of specifications. Decide what's important to you and do your own research. Then, actually go to these places before you make a decision. More than once.

Hell, I'd bet a thread on this topic already exists here. If not, start one. Ask the question "What make your town a great Mustachian town?". That way you're less likely to be pointed to a town that has a tremendous number of stockyards that's mostly a berdoom community and a pit stop for through travelers. At least they have an In & Out Burger. (My apologies to any forum members who might live there.) OP, your opinion is the one that means the most. Ask the questions, do the research and you might be surprised at what you find. And then, don't tell anybody or prices will surely rise, lol.


frompa

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 405
  • Location: Pennsylvania
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2015, 05:40:33 AM »
I agree with those who say, 'take this article with a huge grain of salt.' I looked at the states I know and found the suggestions awful.  The PA suggestion boasts its fine infrastructure as in sewage treatment plant.... ! hello, last century!  And New Jersey suggests a "private community" in South Jersey cranberry bog... hello, mosquitoes big enough to carry off your small dog Toto. 

What you find is most livable is probably most clearly defined by YOUR parameters, so I hope you can find the time to take the plunge and so some data searching.  Retired to Win's suggestion of city-data.com is a great starting point.  And then, oh well... you'll simply HAVE to visit your top ten possibilities.  That sounds like a very fun basis for travel.  I hope  you enjoy the process.

Penny Lane

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 202
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2015, 11:49:18 AM »
North Berwick in Maine is a nice rural town, and I imagine lower cost than the actual coast where I live.  Some nice farms out there, less than 20 minutes to the ocean, low crime.  Yes, we are all in the snow belt!

Mr. Green

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2976
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Wandering
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2015, 12:12:32 PM »
Chevy Chase is their affordable small town for the state of Maryland?! BAHAHAHAHAHA! That's only one of the most expensive areas in the whole state.

Zaga

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2811
  • Age: 41
  • Location: North of Pittsburgh, PA
    • A Wall of Hats
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2015, 12:27:17 PM »
Seems like the criteria used wouldn't be of use the a FIRE'd person or family.  They are comparing income to housing costs.

Well, I live in a lovely small town, with good schools, hospital, and enough stores, and a nice sense of community.  You can buy a decent house here for well under $100K.  Problem is that there are not many jobs, so the average income is super low.  But if you're not looking for a job it would be a great place to retire!

I'm sure there are tons and tons of places like my little town out there if you looked.

catccc

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1707
  • Location: SE PA
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #20 on: July 07, 2015, 09:40:16 AM »
Doesn't Delaware have high property taxes? Seems it was one of those states that had pretty low income taxes but high prop. taxes - but I may be wrong. I like Delaware a lot and most of the towns seemed pretty nice too.

I do wonder what "affordable" means for the article though. Is it just median home price or does it take taxes, utilities, food, etc... into account. Here in CA our property taxes can be low if the price of the house ids low - like in terrible Kettleman City (which also has a lovely toxic waste dump near town) - since they are fixed at 1% of the purchase price and can't go up by much each year. But then overall most of the state has high housing purchase prices so there's that.

yeah, property taxes in DE are very low.  But the public schools in DE kinda suck.  Over the line where I am in PA the taxes are higher, but schools are much better.  I live in a very nice little affordable town, and I feel like there are many more like it surrounding Philadelphia.

They must peg the cost of living against the average income or something. No way Chevy Chase, MD is affordable by typical standards!  I grew up north of that area and everyone in our cow-town knew that the B-CC kids all get land rovers or bmws for their 16th birthday.  Okay, not really, but that was the joke.

mohawkbrah

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 272
  • Age: 25
  • Location: Herefordshire, UK
  • every day they see me hustling those pennies away
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #21 on: July 09, 2015, 06:45:44 AM »
when i start day dreaming about moving to america and living in one of those cute small towns you might see on a tv show. i just like to go on google maps. zoom to USA and go onto streets of small towns and fantasize.


soon...


just $490k away from buying a regional investment visa! lol

Bob W

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2946
  • Age: 62
  • Location: Missouri
  • Live on minimum wage, earn on maximum
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2015, 07:07:29 AM »
Springfield mo.   

enigmaT120

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 389
  • Location: Falls City, OR
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #23 on: July 09, 2015, 02:16:41 PM »
Yeah, but the UK shows don't generally film all the rain that keeps Cornwall so green.  I love The Last of the Summer Wine.


crazycatlady

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 24
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #24 on: July 09, 2015, 03:21:59 PM »
when i start day dreaming about moving to america and living in one of those cute small towns you might see on a tv show. i just like to go on google maps. zoom to USA and go onto streets of small towns and fantasize.


soon...


just $490k away from buying a regional investment visa! lol
HA HA - we Americans do the same thing about the UK.

Me too!  I can waste tons of time on Google maps looking at random places.

Bracken_Joy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8943
  • Location: Oregon
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #25 on: July 10, 2015, 08:42:20 AM »
Yeah, but the UK shows don't generally film all the rain that keeps Cornwall so green.  I love The Last of the Summer Wine.
We do the same thing with Seattle pictures :-)! I was born in the UK and am always trying to think of a way to get a residency Visa there without having to actually give up my US citizenship just so I can live in one of those lovely Cornish cottages - rain be damned!!

That's what cracks me up about everyone moving to Portland right now. What part of "nine months of rain and grey skies" did you think we were joking about? And yet they're always shocked by how long it can rain. (Unfortunately, this winter was very mild and dry. Bad both for the state and for more new transplants sticking around! Usually the ones that can't take the rain leave after 1 winter... not this year though!)

MrsStubble

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 169
  • Location: West Chester, PA
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #26 on: July 11, 2015, 11:18:36 AM »

yeah, property taxes in DE are very low.  But the public schools in DE kinda suck.  Over the line where I am in PA the taxes are higher, but schools are much better.  I live in a very nice little affordable town, and I feel like there are many more like it surrounding Philadelphia.

Yep, the kinda do in places. but not all places.  Either way, we don't have kids so luckily for me i don't have to give a shit. :)

Davids

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 972
  • Location: Somewhere in the USA.
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #27 on: July 12, 2015, 06:50:05 PM »
The criteria for this listing is terrible. I live in a small town but because the population is over 10,000 it would not qualify for this list.

Trudie

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1966
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #28 on: July 16, 2015, 02:31:18 PM »
I live in Iowa.  New Sharon?  Get real!  I had to look it up on a map which really says something because I have lived in Iowa most of my life.

I guess the SOLE criterion for this article was affordability because New Sharon has little to offer in the way of culture, services, and quality of life.

This article is "click bait" (it worked) but I don't have interest in retiring to a place that has little to offer in the way of culture, health care, access to cities, and social structure.

Bob W

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2946
  • Age: 62
  • Location: Missouri
  • Live on minimum wage, earn on maximum
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #29 on: July 16, 2015, 06:04:37 PM »
Yeah, but the UK shows don't generally film all the rain that keeps Cornwall so green.  I love The Last of the Summer Wine.
We do the same thing with Seattle pictures :-)! I was born in the UK and am always trying to think of a way to get a residency Visa there without having to actually give up my US citizenship just so I can live in one of those lovely Cornish cottages - rain be damned!!

That's what cracks me up about everyone moving to Portland right now. What part of "nine months of rain and grey skies" did you think we were joking about? And yet they're always shocked by how long it can rain. (Unfortunately, this winter was very mild and dry. Bad both for the state and for more new transplants sticking around! Usually the ones that can't take the rain leave after 1 winter... not this year though!). That portlandia show kinda sucks.  And yet I don't recall it raining that much on the show.   Must be filmed entirely in the summer?

Gunny

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 227
  • Location: Northeast Alabama
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #30 on: July 17, 2015, 06:55:32 AM »
I just bought my FIRE house in Grant, Alabama.  Small town on a "mountain" about a half hour east of Huntsville.  4bed 2bath full brick 2400 sqft.  193k and property taxes are less than 700/year.  Huge lake minutes away.  If you like hunting, fishing, mountain biking camping, Northeastern Alabama is worth a look.  Just 2.5 hours from Atlanta and 2 hours from Nashville.  Alabama has very low taxes and Grant is the quintessential small town.  I'm psyched.  I will live like a King here on my slightly larger than mustachean annual income. 

MKinVA

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 326
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #31 on: August 23, 2015, 08:25:03 AM »
Yellow Springs,  Ohio is supposed to be a great American small town. Any one know anything about it?

Bbqmustache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 221
  • Age: 2016
    • Financial Literacy Conversations
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #32 on: October 30, 2015, 04:58:31 AM »
Yellow Springs,  Ohio is supposed to be a great American small town. Any one know anything about it?

Road tripped there in college, mid-80's.  Home to Antioch College, a LIBERAL arts college.  Sum total of my dated knowledge.  But here:

http://www.yellowspringsohio.org/

zephyr911

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3620
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Northern Alabama
  • I'm just happy to be here. \m/ ^_^ \m/
    • Pinhook Development LLC
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #33 on: October 30, 2015, 10:20:55 AM »
I just bought my FIRE house in Grant, Alabama.  Small town on a "mountain" about a half hour east of Huntsville.  4bed 2bath full brick 2400 sqft.  193k and property taxes are less than 700/year.  Huge lake minutes away.  If you like hunting, fishing, mountain biking camping, Northeastern Alabama is worth a look.  Just 2.5 hours from Atlanta and 2 hours from Nashville.  Alabama has very low taxes and Grant is the quintessential small town.  I'm psyched.  I will live like a King here on my slightly larger than mustachean annual income.
Madison County guy here. I hope your place is built better than most in this area... the quality standards with most builders run low, and energy efficiency is often abysmal.

Gunny

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 227
  • Location: Northeast Alabama
Re: Affordable Small Towns
« Reply #34 on: November 01, 2015, 05:02:43 PM »
I'm a former Madison County resident myself.  Even with the slightly less than energy efficient construction, I spend less in Alabama on utilities than almost anywhere else I have lived.