Where could I move to be more of a homebody?
January 19, 2019 8:42 PM   Subscribe

I currently live in a big city but I'm considering a move to a smaller/cheaper area so I could work less and prioritize my leisure time and quality of life.

I'm looking for somewhere in the USA with the following requirements:
-fast internet and good cell service readily available
-modest but attractive houses in good condition, with yard, available for around $100k
-reasonably safe
-in an area with opportunities for outdoor recreation of some kind
-low cost of living in terms of utilities, taxes, food, etc
-within an hour of a major airport

Additionally, the IDEAL place would have milder/warmer weather, and skew liberal/progressive. I am open to both small/college towns and large metro areas. Other things I care about include gardening, dogs, and arts/crafts.

Schools and employment opportunities are not that important, though of course they would be a nice bonus. I'm also fine living in an area that is remote/not walkable, as long as it is a close drive (say 15-20 mins) from a developed area with shops, restaurants, etc.

I might also consider places outside of the USA if they have good/easy access to the states, a similar standard of living (a bit lower is okay), and a decent ex-pat population.

I have a few places in mind, but I'm sure there are tons more I just don't know about. Thanks in advance for your ideas!
posted by ohsnapdragon to Grab Bag (21 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Warm weather plus liberal plus $100K cuts out a lot of the country right there. If you're fine with blue dot in red region, maybe check out El Paso?
posted by Smearcase at 10:24 PM on January 19, 2019 [3 favorites]

Similar, previously asking Where in the US can I buy a house for 100k?

El Paso gets HOT. And it's BIG (but it's neither as hot nor as big as Phoenix, AZ). But that also means it has a lot going for it, compared to smaller towns in the region.

I'll do my bit promote New Mexico: progressive (we ousted our Tea Party House Rep and replaced him with a water rights attorney, Xochitl Torres Small, making us solid blue!), pretty warm (the Albuquerque area is back with highs in the 50s after getting inches of snow in the past weeks, and summer will get into the low 100s for a while, but the dry heat is a LOT better than humid heat) -- but gardening might be different than what you're used to (Trip Advisor's collection of "best gardens" for the state shows a lot of high desert landscapes, but the locations linked from I Love Gardens is a bit more ... gardeny). A number of really nice, smaller towns (including our state capitol of Santa Fe, though that's an expensive city, by New Mexico standards, and generally above your price range), lots of artwork and open space, and the Albuquerque Sunport provides easy access to the rest of the US and the world at large.

We moved here from central coast California, and while it is a LOT different, we love it. The high desert landscape isn't for everyone, but it's not all cacti and tumbleweeds. Don't skimp on the sunscreen and skin lotion, and drink plenty of water, and you should be fine :) And if you want more greenery, even in the summer months, just drive north, and you're into mountain country, with pine trees and evergreen landscapes, plus cooler temperatures.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:26 PM on January 19, 2019 [10 favorites]

Try Cleveland, for some values of “mild weather.”
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 12:37 AM on January 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'll embroider on chesty_a_arthur's suggestion of Cleveland. Look at the I71 corridor. I live half way between Cleveland and Columbus. The climate varies greatly between the two cities. The (true) joke in my area is you are 30 minutes from everything. Expand that a bit, and you are 90 minutes from two international airports, museums, libraries and all the big city, metro amenities you might want. Same with outdoor activities, Ohio offers top of the line trailbiking, skiing, canoeing, has extensive "rails to trails"pathways. Beautiful state parks, Lake Erie, and has a diverse and interesting terrain. Flatlands to the northwest, Appalachians to the southeast. Mostly rural, but again, and easy drive to everything. I think you could find a home easily in your price point, especially considering your willingness to be more isolated. When I read your list, I could check every box! I am less familiar with the southern half of my state, but have family in Cincinnati, which is also a very diverse city. Something for everyone in Ohio!
posted by LaBellaStella at 3:03 AM on January 20, 2019 [6 favorites]

Welcome to Roanoke, VA.
posted by headnsouth at 3:24 AM on January 20, 2019 [4 favorites]

Champaign, IL fits most of your criteria. I also like the I-71 corridor, OH is rather underrated.
posted by SaltySalticid at 4:47 AM on January 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

Minneapolis, if you’re willing to compromise on the weather aspect.
posted by gemutlichkeit at 5:31 AM on January 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

Perhaps not Roanoke.

But maybe Bellingham, Washington, or Victoria, BC.
posted by jgirl at 5:32 AM on January 20, 2019

I would say pickings are slim in Minneapolis itself for a house with a yard in a safe neighborhood for $100k, depending on your definition of safe. If you were to go to the northern exurbs, that becomes possible, although I still wouldn't expect a house at that price to be in excellent condition.

I don't know what to say about taxes. It's been a common refrain that MN has some of the highest taxes in the nation, but I've also read that's a myth.
posted by lakeroon at 6:37 AM on January 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you can go a little higher on housing prices Richmond VA checks the boxes. State capital with all the big city amenities, but laughable traffic compared to my previous life in the DC suburbs. VA is officially purple now, with two Democratic senators and we ousted several Republican Congressional Reps recently. 90 minutes east and you are at the Atlantic Ocean, and 90 minutes west and you are in the mountains. 2 hours north you are in DC, 3 hours south you are in Raleigh NC.
posted by COD at 8:39 AM on January 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

St. Louis fits all your criteria except for the warmer weather. We have affordable housing, a powerful, vocal progressive community, and lots of green spaces. Just avoid the West County suburbs, which are cookie cutter in every sense of the word.
posted by coffeeand at 8:53 AM on January 20, 2019 [4 favorites]

Victoria, BC

Average price for a detached house here is over 800,000.

There are much cheaper places on the Island maybe up around Coombs or Errington or God Help You Port Alberni. But further from cities in those towns. Based on where I’ve done road trips there are a lot of small towns between Portland and Eugene or Corvallis which look like they can’t possibly be too expensive. But 100k is a pretty high bar I suspect.
posted by Rumple at 9:18 AM on January 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

My home town Iowa City fits well except for being withing an hour of an airport and the weather is unlikely to be milder than anywhere.
posted by wellifyouinsist at 9:20 AM on January 20, 2019

Gainesville, FL. You don't have to make much to be Gainesville rich. It's blue, could be walkable depending on where you live, major airports are an hour and a half to two hours away but Gainesville regional will pop you to Atlanta in a hurry. Very dog friendly and lots of nature.
posted by onebyone at 9:40 AM on January 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

Similar to the Gainesville recommendation, there is Tallahassee, FL. It's also a blue dot (Andrew Gillum was the mayor), and although the Tallahassee airport isn't a major airport, you can get a connecting flight to Atlanta or Charlotte, NC easily. I'm not sure of current housing prices, but it definitely used to be the case that you could get a house for $100,000 not that long ago.
posted by litera scripta manet at 10:48 AM on January 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

2nding St. Louis
posted by hworth at 10:50 AM on January 20, 2019

I have a friend in Huntsville, AL, and from what she's said about living there it might work for you.
posted by mareli at 3:22 PM on January 20, 2019

I think you want Georgia somewhere within 45 minutes of ATL.
posted by crazy with stars at 3:24 PM on January 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

You don't mention Climate Change, but I would be wary of much of the southern US, and would look at maps and avoid certain coastal areas.
posted by theora55 at 4:58 PM on January 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

St. Louis area. Right now it's definitely cold out, but overall the winters are much milder than Chicago or Minneapolis.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 5:19 PM on January 20, 2019

Durham, NC, would have ticked all your boxes if you'd asked this question five years ago. The one big change since then has been housing prices, which have been on a steady upward trajectory.

I've heard Greensboro, NC, is where the artsy types priced out of Durham have been moving to. You might still have to go higher than your desired price point, but the city meets many of your other criteria. It's a small city that skews liberal, there's UNC-Greensboro, and a regional airport with flights to major hubs. It's also about an hour away from Raleigh-Durham International Airport, and an hour and a half away from Charlotte Douglas Airport, which is a major hub. Greensboro is about an hour away from the Research Triangle region (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill), with the universities, museums, and other amenities, and about an hour and a half away from Charlotte and its urban attractions (grrr they have an Ikea while we in the RTP region don't!).
posted by research monkey at 6:56 PM on January 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

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