Special Report

America’s 20 Cheapest Cities Where Everyone Wants to Live Right Now

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5. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ
> Pct. of potential movers from outside Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ: 34.3%
> Top area people are searching from: Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA (24.1%)
> Cost of living: 1.9% less than nat’l avg.
> Median home value: $283,500
> Median household income: $67,896

The Phoenix metropolitan area, along with Tucson, is one of two Arizona cities to rank among the places Americans most want to move to in 2020. Nearly a quarter of people from outside the Phoenix area looking to move there searched from the Los Angeles area. Phoenix has consistently been one of the cities adding the most people through net migration over the past decade.

In addition to warm weather, the cost of living in Phoenix is lower than the overall U.S. cost of living, even though its median household income is over $2,000 higher than the U.S. median household income.

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4. Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN
> Pct. of potential movers from outside Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN: 37.8%
> Top area people are searching from: New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT-PA (28.3%)
> Cost of living: 5.1% less than nat’l avg.
> Median home value: $285,100
> Median household income: $70,262

Though it is one of the most popular metro areas where people are looking to move, the majority of people using Redfin to look for a home in Nashville are in the Nashville area already. Nashville’s population grew by 17.5% from 2010 to 2019 due to net migration, one of the largest increases among all metro areas, and more than double the growth rate of the typical metro area.

Nashville has attracted the largest share of searches for housing from many of America’s largest metro areas, including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco.

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3. Raleigh, NC
> Pct. of potential movers from outside Raleigh, NC: 34.1%
> Top area people are searching from: New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT-PA (27.0%)
> Cost of living: 3.4% less than nat’l avg.
> Median home value: $285,600
> Median household income: $80,096

Raleigh is one of five metro areas at least partly in North Carolina to rank among the cheapest cities where Americans are looking to move. It is one of seven such cities in which New York City-area residents are looking to relocate more than residents of any other place, even though Raleigh is about 500 miles away.

The cost of living in Raleigh is 3.4% lower than the U.S. cost of living. At the same time, the area’s median household income of over $80,000 annually exceeds the U.S. median by more than $14,000.

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2. Salisbury, MD-DE
> Pct. of potential movers from outside Salisbury, MD-DE: 91.9%
> Top area people are searching from: Washington-Baltimore-Arlington, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA (70.8%)
> Cost of living: 11.1% less than nat’l avg.
> Median home value: $244,400
> Median household income: $61,283

Typically, the people looking to relocate to the cities on this list from other areas are spread out relatively evenly between several metro areas. Those looking to relocate to the Salisbury, Maryland, metro area, however, are mostly from the Washington D.C. area, accounting from more than 70% of home searches. Just 8.1% of people who searched for a place to live in the Salisbury area in the third quarter of 2020 already lived in the area — the lowest share of any qualifying metro area.

The Salisbury area, near the southern tip of Maryland, is across the Chesapeake Bay from Washington, D.C. and about a two-hour drive away from the nation’s capital. Its cost of living is over 11% lower than the national average.

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1. Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL
> Pct. of potential movers from outside Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL: 75.4%
> Top area people are searching from: Miami-Port St. Lucie-Fort Lauderdale, FL (15.7%)
> Cost of living: 2.2% less than nat’l avg.
> Median home value: $244,700
> Median household income: $62,240

The Cape Coral-Fort Myers metropolitan area tops the list of inexpensive cities where Americans are looking to move. In most places, the majority of people using Redfin to search for a home in a given metro area already live in that area, but more than three-quarters of people researching the Cape Coral area were searching from somewhere else. Miami residents searched more than those in any other metro area.

This continues a years-long trend of people moving to Cape Coral. The area’s population grew by nearly 25% due to net migration from 2010 to 2019. Cape Coral, and many other parts of Florida, have attracted new residents for years, a trend that continued into the pandemic.