These Are The 10 Best Places To Buy A House In Minnesota For 2018


Using science and data, we can tell you which places in Minnesota have seen home prices rising and people flocking over the past year.

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Editor’s note: This is not investment advice and we are not financial advisers.

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There’s a the age old question everyone thinks about when they decide to move to a city in Minnesota:

Should I buy a place or rent?

Well, we aren’t here today to solve that problem for you exactly. We are just assuming you’ll do the right thing and a buy a place 😉

And while we are happy to tell you the best place to live in Minnesota, this analysis is going to tackle the question of the best place to buy a house as an investor. That is we are going to try and determine the up and coming cities in the North Star State.

To do that we are going to look at places in Minnesota that are growing faster than average, but where home prices are below average. In every day terms, the ‘deals’.

The best deal in Minnesota at the moment? That would be St. Peter according to our analysis.

Here’s a look at the top ten places to buy a home in Minnesota:

  1. St. Peter (Photos | Homes)
  2. Moorhead (Photos | Homes)
  3. East Grand Forks (Photos | Homes)
  4. Buffalo (Photos | Homes)
  5. Byron (Homes)
  6. North Branch (Homes)
  7. Baxter (Homes)
  8. Monticello (Photos | Homes)
  9. St. Francis (Photos | Homes)
  10. Hastings (Photos | Homes)

The methodology that wen’t into this can be a bit complicated, so we’ll break it down for you in as much detail as we can below.

If you’re not worried about finding a deal on good places to live, check out the most expensive places to live in Minnesota and, for those of you on a budget, the cheapest places to live in Minnesota.

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How do you determine the best places to buy a home in Minnesota?

We were in real estate for almost five years and have been working on this site for another three. Suffice is to say, we’ve put a lot of thought into what goes into finding a good place to buy a home.

So all that thinking has come to this moment where we get to spell out how we’d approach finding an up-and-coming place to live in Minnesota. Put differently, the analysis will try to find places in Minnesota with undervalued homes relative to pent up demand.

To do that we looked at the most recent American Community Survey Census data for 2012-2016 and compared it to the previous vintage (2011-2015). Specifically, we used the following criteria:

  • Y-o-Y Change In Population (People want to live here)
  • Y-o-Y Change In Median Home Prices (People are willing to pay for it)
  • Home Prices Relative To The State Average (It’s still kinda cheap)

We want places that are growing, have seen home prices increase in recent years, and are still ‘cheap’ for Minnesota with the following caveats:

So of the 904 cities and towns in Minnesota, only 32 places made it through our initial filters to even be considered.

We then ranked each place from 1 to 32 for the criteria mentioned above with 1 being the best for that criteria. We averaged the rankings to create a ‘best place to buy’ index with the place having the lowest index being the best.

Turns out that St. Peter is the best potential gem in the not-so-rough in the North Star State.

Read on for more on these places.

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1. St. Peter

St. Peter, MN

Population: 11,567
Median Home Price: $164,600
Population Change: 0.7%
Home Price Change: 3.9%
More on St. Peter: PhotosReal Estate | Data

St. Peter was founded in 1853 by Captain William Bigelow Dodd, who claimed 150 acres (0.61 km2) north of what is now Broadway Avenue. He named the new settlement Rock Bend because of the rock formation at the bend of the Minnesota River. The town site was platted and surveyed in 1854 by Daniel L. Turpin. In 1855, a group of St. Paul businessmen interested in promoting the town formed the Saint Peter Company, and the town was renamed St. Peter. The president of the company was Willis A. Gorman, Territorial Governor of Minnesota. Many of the streets in St. Peter were named after streets in New York City: Park Row, Chatham, Broadway, Nassau, and Union, for example. Captain Dodd was originally from Bloomfield, New Jersey. His second wife, Harriett Newell Jones, a native of Cabot, Vermont, was living in New York at the time of their marriage at the Church of the Holy Communion in New York City, that helped fund the church in St. Peter which shares the same name.

2. Moorhead

Moorhead, MN

Population: 41,321
Median Home Price: $166,000
Population Change: 0.9%
Home Price Change: 4.3%
More on Moorhead: PhotosReal Estate | Data

3. East Grand Forks

East Grand Forks, MN

Population: 8,636
Median Home Price: $170,700
Population Change: 0.3%
Home Price Change: 5.2%
More on East Grand Forks: PhotosReal Estate | Data

A post office called East Grand Forks has been in operation since 1883. The city was named for its location east of Grand Forks, North Dakota. East Grand Forks was incorporated in 1887.

4. Buffalo

Buffalo, MN

Population: 15,927
Median Home Price: $180,600
Population Change: 0.6%
Home Price Change: 7.4%
More on Buffalo: PhotosReal Estate | Data

Buffalo was platted in 1856, and named after nearby Buffalo Lake. A post office has been in operation at Buffalo since 1856.

5. Byron

Byron, MN

Population: 5,191
Median Home Price: $179,300
Population Change: 1.7%
Home Price Change: 5.2%
More on Byron: Real Estate | Data

Byron was platted in 1864. The city was named after Port Byron, New York by a settler from that place. A post office called Byron has been in operation since 1868. Byron was incorporated in 1873.

6. North Branch

North Branch, MN

Population: 10,157
Median Home Price: $163,000
Population Change: 0.5%
Home Price Change: 1.7%
More on North Branch: Real Estate | Data

North Branch became a township in 1861, and incorporated in 1881. In 1901, however, North Branch split into a village covering the more densely populated downtown area and a township covering the rest of the former village. The township later incorporated as the village of Branch in 1961. The two cities talked about a potential merger for years, beginning in the late 1970s. The first public referendum on the issue was held in 1984, and it failed. A second referendum was held on September 13, 1994 and passed. The two cities officially merged on November 14, 1994.

7. Baxter


Population: 7,858
Median Home Price: $190,900
Population Change: 1.2%
Home Price Change: 10.0%
More on Baxter: Real Estate | Data

Baxter owes its existence partly to the 1920s operation of a (since closed) large tie-treating plant, owned by Northern Pacific Railroad. Farming was also an important early industry.

8. Monticello

Monticello, MN

Population: 13,214
Median Home Price: $169,400
Population Change: 1.1%
Home Price Change: 2.4%
More on Monticello: PhotosReal Estate | Data

Monticello was platted in 1854. A post office has been in operation at Monticello since 1855. Monticello was incorporated in 1856.

9. St. Francis

St. Francis, MN

Source: Public domain

Population: 7,377
Median Home Price: $165,200
Population Change: 0.5%
Home Price Change: 1.3%
More on St. Francis: PhotosReal Estate | Data

St. Francis was named after Francis of Assisi.

10. Hastings

Hastings, MN

Source: Public domain

Population: 22,501
Median Home Price: $182,800
Population Change: 0.3%
Home Price Change: 4.5%
More on Hastings: PhotosReal Estate | Data

The area around Hastings was first settled by a military detachment sent from Fort Snelling to guard a blocked shipment of supplies in the winter of 1820. A Lieutenant William G. Oliver camped in an area that would come to be known as Oliver’s Grove, and in 1833 a trading post was opened there. After the Treaty of Mendota of 1851 opened the area for white settlement, Oliver’s Grove was surveyed and incorporated as a city in 1857, a year before Minnesota’s admission to the union. That same year Hastings was named the county seat of Dakota County. The name ‘Hastings’ was drawn out of a hat from suggestions placed in it by several of the original founders.

There You Have It – The Best Places To Purchase A House In Minnesota

There’s our analysis of the best places to buy a house in Minnesota. And, to be clear, we aren’t necessarily saying these places are the best places to live, just that it looks like they might be in a couple of years based on the data.

In fact, every place in the following table meets our criteria, so even though it may not look super long, remember we started off with all 904 places in the state.

So if we’d could rent or buy in these cities, we’d definitely buy.

For more Minnesota reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Places To Buy A Home In Minnesota

City Rank Median Home Price Population Change Home Price Increase
St. Peter 1 $164,600 0.7% 3.9%
Moorhead 2 $166,000 0.9% 4.3%
East Grand Forks 3 $170,700 0.3% 5.2%
Buffalo 4 $180,600 0.6% 7.4%
Byron 5 $179,300 1.7% 5.2%
North Branch 6 $163,000 0.5% 1.7%
Baxter 7 $190,900 1.2% 10.0%
Monticello 8 $169,400 1.1% 2.4%
St. Francis 9 $165,200 0.5% 1.3%
Hastings 10 $182,800 0.3% 4.5%
West St. Paul 11 $175,100 0.4% 2.8%
Anoka 12 $167,800 0.5% 1.9%
Detroit Lakes 13 $162,000 1.8% 0.6%
North St. Paul 14 $180,200 1.1% 3.3%
Coon Rapids 15 $171,200 0.3% 2.5%
Albertville 16 $189,600 0.8% 5.4%
Rochester 17 $167,800 1.0% 1.8%
Otsego 18 $193,900 2.9% 5.9%
Blaine 19 $189,100 1.6% 5.1%
St. Paul 20 $178,400 0.7% 2.6%
Brooklyn Park 21 $186,400 0.8% 4.0%
Oakdale 22 $201,900 0.4% 7.0%
Robbinsdale 23 $166,600 0.7% 0.7%
North Mankato 24 $170,800 0.1% 1.5%
Richfield 25 $188,100 -0.4% 3.1%
Fridley 26 $166,600 -0.5% 0.4%
Maplewood 27 $188,400 -0.2% 3.0%
Belle Plaine 28 $177,600 0.8% 1.2%
White Bear Lake 29 $192,800 1.1% 2.5%
Sartell 30 $180,300 1.0% 0.4%
New Hope 31 $194,900 0.2% 2.1%
Wyoming 32 $201,300 0.4% 1.2%

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