The 10 Best States to Buy a Home in 2023

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  • The best state to move to is one where you can be happy, no matter what other people have to say.
  • Ideally, you'll find a safe, inexpensive, fun state that is also scenic.
  • The majority of inexpensive states that made the list are in the Midwest.

Determine what's most important to you before looking for a home in another state.

If you're looking to move in 2023, we at The Ascent have done some research on your behalf. It occurred to us that the "best" states have a little of everything. They're relatively inexpensive, boast good schools, have plenty of fun things to do, are lovely to drive through, safe, have plentiful jobs, and are full of happy people. In order to pin down which states come closest to meeting our steep criteria, we turned to these sources:

  • Cheapest states:
  • States with most plentiful jobs:
  • States with the most highly ranked schools:
  • States with plenty of fun things to do: The travel site Far & Wide
  • Most beautiful states: World Population Review
  • Safest states: World Population Review
  • Happiest residents: Advisory Board

To be sure, no state was at the top of the list in every one of these categories, although some showed up often enough for us to take notice. Some states were particularly low in one category, but high enough in others to warrant a spot in our top 10.

Because we understand that home is where the heart is, the best we can offer is a rundown of which states appear to offer the most to those hoping to relocate in 2023. In no particular order, here are our 10 picks and why they made the cut.

1. Iowa

Not only is Iowa one of the 10 most inexpensive states in the U.S., it's also ranked as the safest. With an overall cost of living at around 90% of the U.S. average, housing will run you just 75% of the U.S. average. That fact alone will prove an immediate benefit when it's time to apply for a mortgage.

One fact that seems to surprise some people is just how much Iowans embrace diversity. Home to thousands of people from Asia, Africa, and Europe, Iowa is all about celebrating what makes us different and what we all have in common. From panoramic hills and scenic bluffs, to dramatic cave systems, Iowa is also ideal for outdoor activities.

2. Indiana

Indiana offers a nice blend of large cities and small towns -- with something for everyone. In addition to the Hoosier State's low cost of living, the state is full of friendly people, has a relatively low crime rate, and offers four-season weather. It's all about getting out there and appreciating each season as it arrives.

3. Ohio

Given that Ohio turns up near the top of every "best of" list, we couldn't leave it out. Ohio has the greatest number of highly rank school districts. It ranks number 10 for job opportunities, number 13 for the most entertaining things to do, and is, of course, on the top 10 list of cheapest states.

4. Nebraska

Nebraska residents appear to be a happy bunch, ranking in the top 10 happiest states. It's not only one of the cheapest states, but Nebraska may also have one of the best tourism taglines of all time: "Honestly, it's not for everyone." Makes us laugh every time we see it.

5. Mississippi

If you have children who attend public schools, you may want to scratch Mississippi off your list as it routinely ranks among the worst public school systems in the U.S. Still, the state has a lot going for it, including warm weather, friendly people, good food, and a low cost of living. Whether you're moving for work, retirement, or to be closer to family, it's good to end up each month with extra money in your bank account.

6. Michigan

Michigan is another state that surprised us. We knew that it was beautiful and provided plenty of ways for a person to entertain themselves, but it's also a relatively inexpensive place to live. And just in case you need more incentives, Michigan rates number one for the number of golf courses and country clubs.

7. North Dakota

Yes, it's cold in the winter (as in, very cold), but North Dakota has a lot to brag about. The overall cost of living is low, schools are strong (number eight in the country), and jobs are plentiful.

8. Missouri

Missouri offers a little of everything, including beautiful scenery, professional sports teams, tons of entertainment, and a low cost of living. Like most of the other states that made this list, jobs are plentiful in the Show Me State.

9. South Dakota

Not only does South Dakota make the top 10 list of cheapest states, it's one of the eight states in the U.S. with no personal property tax. The Mount Rushmore State is a dream for outdoor enthusiasts. There are tons of state parks, lakes, trails, and stunning landscapes. In addition to the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, you can easily vacation in your own state by visiting Badlands National Park and the Black Hills.

10. Illinois

Honestly, Illinois did not make the cut at first. Property taxes are high, and there are cheaper states to move to. Still, we kept seeing Illinois near the top of other lists, like total job openings (number seven in the U.S.), most fun (number five), and happiest residents (number eight). With so much going for it, it would be remiss of us to leave the Land of Lincoln off our list.

While these 10 states are a big hit on "best of" lists, they're only right for you if you can be happy there. Ideally, reading through them sparked an idea or two and reminded you of what you're looking for in a new place to call home.

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