"I wouldn't recommend
that people just go ahead and read something off the
Web or take a quiz, and pack up and move," says
Bert Sperling, president of Sperling's Best Places.
"But hopefully it helps you think outside the box."
Narrow it down
Now that you have your relocation wish list, it's time
to get realistic. There are lots of affordable real
estate markets, but not every one will be appropriate
for example, find the mild climate and relaxed pace
of Arkansas' Ozark Mountain region appealing, Sperling
says. But a recent college graduate might prefer a "quirky,
fun place" like Austin, Texas, which also boasts
a comparatively low cost of living.
New York City artists
looking for a more affordable place to live and work,
meanwhile, might consider Philadelphia. It's an easy
day trip from New York and has a thriving art scene.
But unlike Manhattan, you don't have to be a millionaire
to buy an attractive home in Philadelphia.
the sixth borough. That's what people are calling Philadelphia,"
Inexpensive is relative
A buyer's reaction to property
prices in a new place has a lot to do with where he
or she came from.
In Portland, Ore.,
for example, realtor Mona Kelly worked recently with
prospective buyers from both Northern California and
North Carolina. To the Californians, accustomed to seeing
homes priced above $1 million, Portland seemed like
a bargain. The buyers from more moderately priced North
Carolina, by contrast, considered prices high in the
Portland area, where the median home price topped $250,000
Jay Reifert of
the Excel-Exclusive Buyer Agency in Madison, Wis., gets
similar reactions. People relocating to Madison from
the East Coast are at ease with the idea of paying $180,000
to $250,000 for a comfortable starter home in the thriving
state capital city. Buyers from other parts of Wisconsin,
where home prices tend to be cheaper, often see Madison
That said, there are some markets
few could call overpriced. In Knoxville, Tenn., Realtor
Jim Lee estimates that $150,000 could buy you a well-maintained
house with three or four bedrooms on a third of an acre.
Lee said about half his business last year came from
Floridians looking to leave behind hurricanes and high
Your salary might
not be portable
If you're pursuing a career, keep in mind: Moving
somewhere with cheaper housing may entail taking a pay
cut. On the plus side, you may be able to afford a much
higher standard of living, even with an equivalent or
slightly lower salary.