At some point, everyone considers giving it all up, leaving the traffic, pollution, and stress of the city life and moving to the country.
Perhaps, you’ve had visions of walking barefoot through a grassy meadow with the sun shining down on you and no cares in the world – or even just being able to afford more house for less money. Then, the alarm rings and you’re waking up to reality. But it could be your reality.
Wait. What? That’s right, with rental prices dropping in some smaller towns, the ability to work from just about anywhere with a broadband connection, and everyone else and their mother (literally) sticking with big cities, you could move near that meadow any day now. It’s up to you, young Jedi.
“Big-city living isn’t all it’s cracked up to be,” according to Apartmentguide.com. “Not only will you find plenty of small-town charm if you live in a less populated town; you’ll also save money.”
Some of you belong in the big city and some of you would fare better elsewhere. This is about the places that shine for those who relate most to Country Mouse. In the area of Florence, Ala. the median rent is $395, the cheapest in the nation, according to Apartmentguide. It is home to the University of North Alabama and the W.C. Handy Music Festival, both of which prove you will still be living on the grid and offer some excellent job opportunities.
Florence also has a thriving local business scene featuring musicians, artists and flavors that have caught the eye of Southern Living. Take a look inside the local scene through a series of short story videos by MadeInTheShoals featuring companies like independent coffee shop Rivertown Coffee.
If you are not whistling, “Sweet Home Alabama” yet, then you might consider areas in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Texas, Georgia, Kansas, and Tennessee, which have towns among “America’s Most Affordable Cities.”
Greenville, North Carolina
To boot, Greenville, N.C., which is No. 8 on the list, has been named one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People and one of the Best Small Places for Business and Careers. The point is that while these communities have rent so cheap that it’s mind blowing, they also offer some allure and even the chance to earn a living.
If those aren’t enough options for you, then you can always consider the metropolitan areas where rent is actually going down. Bet you didn’t think that was happening anywhere, did you? But Apartmentguide reports that at least 20 cities experienced a decrease in rental prices from May 1, 2013 to May 1, 2014. Of course, this list does not include New York City or Los Angeles – or anywhere near such big cities.
In Victoria, Texas, the median price of rent went from $920 in 2013 to $604 in 2014. That’s a decrease of more than 34 percent. Median rent in Salisbury, Md. dropped from $1,479 to $1,019 from one year to the next. And Columbia, Mo. experienced a 30 percent decrease with median rent going from $795 to $555. And the list goes on.
The best part? These places want to woo you in their attempt to avoid brain drain and keep things lively. “Small towns will have to hustle to recruit and retain millennials, experts say,” according to “Why Millennials are Avoiding Small-Town America” on the OZY site. “The American Planning Association urges local planners to mimic the appeal of city centers by creating ‘density.’ That means keeping the walkable neighborhoods and traditional town centers that millennials say is key to making a community a desirable place to live.”
Still, just like every 30-something woman wondering about her middle-aged date, you’re trying to figure out what’s wrong with this place that no one else wants it (and therefore the rent is getting lower and lower). Well, it’s hard to say – or at least that’s what experts tell us.
Regardless, a quick visit to Victoria’s Web site and you’ll learn that it offers visitors a wealth of activities, including stops at the Museum of the Coastal Bend and the Texas Zoo. And there’s nary a mention of having to milk your own cow or trade in your Jimmy Choos for work boots as a condition to live there.