Are you looking for an affordable community with low unemployment, plenty of colleges and universities, and lots of things to do on a Saturday night? One that you can actually afford to live in? Then consider Lansing, MI.

The capital of Michigan, a college town about an hour-and-a-half drive from Detroit, was ranked the best affordable place to live in 2018 by, a real estate research and education website. The median home list price in the city was just $89,000—just a third of the national median of $269,500.

The site looked at about 2,300 cities with populations between 20,000 and 350,000. The cities were ranked based on their amenities, demographics, education, economy, health care, housing, social and civic capital, and transportation and infrastructure.

"I see this list as proof that there are still great cities across the country that are still accessible to people of all different budgets," says Winona Dimeo-Ediger, managing editor of Livability. "You can still have a really high quality of life [in these towns and cities] for a low cost of living."

Lansing and neighboring East Lansing are college towns home to Michigan State University, Western Michigan University, Lansing, and the Lansing Community College. It is also the headquarters for several large insurance companies, including Jackson National Life Insurance Co., and there are two General Motors plants in the area.

"Lansing is one of those underrated gems," says Dimeo-Ediger. "It’s a place that is growing and changing in some really great ways."

That’s made the area quite desirable for home buyers. Lansing started experiencing a recovery from the recession a few years ago and has since taken off, says local real estate agent Stacy Sinadinos of Coldwell Banker Hubbell Briarwood.

And it’s led to a housing shortage. Builders can’t seem to put up single-family homes in subdivisions surrounding the city and condos within the city limits fast enough. And there is new construction everywhere, Sinadinos says.

"There’s often offers over asking price, and there’s usually a bidding war," says Sinadinos. Her clients often submit offers about 5% over asking the same day a property hits the market. "People are grabbing [new construction] because they don’t have anything else to purchase."

Other once primarily industrial cities that are experiencing resurgences (e.g., Buffalo, NY, and Cincinnati) made the list alongside smaller cities such as Savannah, GA, and Knoxville, TN, which have been becoming more desirable, trendy cities in recent years.

"These are places you don’t have to spend all of your money on basics," says Dimeo-Ediger. "You’ll have money left over to enjoy these cities and these cities have a lot to enjoy."

Top affordable small and midsize towns and cities

This article, "Cut-Rate Hot Spots: 10 Best Affordable Small and Midsize Cities to Live In, 2018" appeared first on Real Estate News and Insights from

Image Credit: Eric Lesser/Getty Images

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