3 Pros and Cons of Buying a Home in a Small Town

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KEY POINTS

  • A small town could have a lot to offer in terms of affordability and community.
  • But you might lose out on certain amenities you come to miss, like a wider variety of jobs and public services.


Here's why small town living really is a mixed bag.

City life isn't for everyone. And there may come a point when you decide that you're ready to ditch the city and settle somewhere that isn't always bustling. You may even decide to buy a home in a small town.

In 2022, the share of homes purchased in a small town reached an all-time high of 29%, according to recent data from the National Association of Realtors. But is small town living right for you? Here are some benefits and drawbacks to consider.

Pro No. 1: Lower home prices

Homes located in smaller towns aren't always as desirable as those located in large suburbs or cities. As such, you might spend less on a home you buy in a small town. That could mean taking on a much more affordable mortgage loan. And given how high mortgage rates are these days, that's an important thing.

Pro No. 2: A lower cost of living

In many cases, you'll enjoy a lower cost of living across the board in a small town versus a city or more populated area. And at a time when living costs are up across the board due to inflation, that's a benefit.

Pro No. 3: Getting to be part of a close-knit community

When there are only a few hundred people who live in your town, it's conceivable that you might end up knowing and building relationships with everyone in your town. That can be a really nice thing, especially if you're the type of person who values community and likes having neighbors who look out for one another.

Con No. 1: Fewer job opportunities

When you live in a small town, you may not have the same access to jobs as you would in a larger town or city. And unless you have a job you can do remotely, that could mean facing a lengthy, unpleasant commute to work on what could be a daily basis.

Con No. 2: Fewer amenities

It costs money to open and operate a business. And small businesses may be less likely to set up shop in a small town because they're looking at a very limited customer base -- and limited revenue. And so if you move to a small town, you may find that you don't have many nearby restaurants, cafes, and stores to choose from.

Con No. 3: The potential for fewer public services for children

If you live in a town that doesn't have many children, you may not have access to a great library or parks system. And the school system may not be what you want it to be. If you have children, it's important to do plenty of research before buying a home in a small town. Even if the public services are reasonable, you'll need to think about the implications of putting your children in a school where their entire graduating class might consist of fewer than 25 students.

Clearly, buying a home in a small town can be a mixed bag. If you're not sure whether it's right for you, talk to people who have lived in small towns to hear more about the experience. And, if possible, spend a decent amount of time in the town you're thinking of moving to so you know what to expect. The more information you have, the more confident you can be in your decision.

Our Research Expert

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