These Are The 10 Best Places To Buy A House In South Dakota For 2019

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

Editor’s note: This is not investment advice and we are not financial advisers. Article updated for 2019.

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

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 South Dakota, 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 Mount Rushmore State.

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

The best deal in South Dakota at the moment? That would be Sioux Falls according to our analysis.

Here’s a look at the top ten places to buy a home in South Dakota for 2019:

  1. Sioux Falls (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Harrisburg (Homes For Sale)
  3. Madison (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Box Elder (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Brandon (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Yankton (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Brookings (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Aberdeen (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Watertown (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Rapid City (Photos | Homes For Sale)

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 South Dakota and, for those of you on a budget, the cheapest places to live in South Dakota.

For more South Dakota reading, check out:

How do you determine the best places to buy a home in South Dakota for 2019?

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 South Dakota. Put differently, the analysis will try to find places in South Dakota with undervalued homes relative to pent up demand.

To do that we looked at the most recent American Community Survey Census data for 2013-2017 and compared it to the previous vintage (2012-2016). 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 South Dakota with the following caveats:

So of the 381 cities and towns in South Dakota, only 17 places made it through our initial filters to even be considered.

We then ranked each place from 1 to 17 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 Sioux Falls is the best potential gem in the not-so-rough in the Mount Rushmore State.

Read on for more on these places.

Sioux Falls, SD

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 170,401
Median Home Price: $168,600
Population Change: 1.5%
Home Price Change: 4.4%
More on Sioux Falls: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

The history of Sioux Falls revolves around the cascades of the Big Sioux River. The falls were created about 14,000 years ago during the last ice age. The lure of the falls has been a powerful influence. Ho-Chunk, Ioway, Otoe, Missouri, Omaha, Quapaw, Kansa, Osage, Arikira, Dakota, and Cheyenne people inhabited and settled the region previous to Europeans and European descendants. Numerous burial mounds still exist on the high bluffs near the river and are spread throughout the general vicinity. Indigenous people maintained an agricultural society with fortified villages, and the later arrivals rebuilt on many of the same sites that were previously settled. Lakota populate urban and reservation communities in the contemporary state and many Lakota, Dakota, and numerous other Indigenous Americans reside in Sioux Falls today.|French voyagers/explorers visited the area in the early 18th century. The first documented visit by an American was by Philander Prescott, who camped overnight at the falls in December 1832. Captain James Allen led a military expedition out of Fort Des Moines in 1844. Jacob Ferris described the Falls in his 1856 book “The States and Territories of the Great West”.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,429
Median Home Price: $184,900
Population Change: 5.8%
Home Price Change: 7.3%
More on Harrisburg: Homes For Sale | Data

Before the railroad was built through Lincoln County, a stagecoach brought mail to the Johnson Harris Homestead located on Nine Mile Creek in Dayton Township. Johnson Harris named the post office Harrisburg in honor of himself.

Madison, SD

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,094
Median Home Price: $113,700
Population Change: -0.1%
Home Price Change: 3.3%
More on Madison: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Madison was laid out in 1873. The city was renamed after Madison, Wisconsin.

Box Elder, SD

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,277
Median Home Price: $130,700
Population Change: 1.7%
Home Price Change: -5.6%
More on Box Elder: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Brandon, SD

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,731
Median Home Price: $198,300
Population Change: 0.6%
Home Price Change: 8.4%
More on Brandon: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

A post office called Brandon has been in operation since 1878. The city took its name from Brandon Township.

Yankton, SD

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 14,529
Median Home Price: $137,600
Population Change: -0.4%
Home Price Change: 7.8%
More on Yankton: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

The site of Yankton was occupied by the Yankton Sioux prior to the arrival of European settlers. As part of the vast Louisiana Purchase, the site of Yankton was visited by Lewis and Clark in 1804. In the journals of the expedition, the explorers write of a meeting on August 30, 1804 with members of the Yankton Sioux Tribe on a Missouri River bluff presently known as Calumet Bluff. As recently as 1857, the present day site of Yankton was occupied by a village of Yankton Sioux led by Chief Pa-le-ne-a-pa-pe. Two years later, with the signing of the Yankton Treaty of 1858, the land was opened for settlement. The city was founded where the small Rhine Creek flowed into the Missouri River. The city grew as a stop for steamboats to take on fresh water and supplies, especially after steamboat traffic boomed when gold was discovered in the Black Hills.

Brookings, SD

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 23,471
Median Home Price: $169,400
Population Change: 0.8%
Home Price Change: 3.0%
More on Brookings: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

The county and city were both named after one of South Dakota’s pioneer promoters, Wilmot Brookings. Brookings set out for the Dakota Territory in June 1857. He arrived at Sioux Falls on August 27, 1857, and became one of the first settlers there. He and his group represented the Western Town Company. After a time in Sioux Falls, Brookings and a companion set out for the Yankton area to locate a town in an area that was soon to be ceded by the Native Americans. This trip was begun in January 1858, and the two soon encountered a blizzard that froze Brookings’ feet which both had to be amputated.

Aberdeen, SD

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 27,925
Median Home Price: $144,000
Population Change: 0.5%
Home Price Change: 2.6%
More on Aberdeen: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Before Aberdeen or Brown County was inhabited by European settlers, it was inhabited by the Sioux Indians from approximately 1700 to 1879. Europeans entered the region for business, founding fur trading posts during the 1820s; these trading posts operated until the mid-1830s. The first “settlers” of this region were the Arikara Indians, but they would later be joined by others.

Watertown, SD

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 22,083
Median Home Price: $161,000
Population Change: 0.3%
Home Price Change: 2.9%
More on Watertown: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Watertown was founded in 1879 as a rail terminus when the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad reactivated part of a line it had constructed to Lake Kampeska. Despite the prominence of rivers and lakes in the area, the city was named after Watertown, New York, the hometown of brothers John E. Kemp and Oscar P. Kemp, two of the city’s founders. The town’s name was originally planned to be named Kampeska.

Rapid City, SD

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 72,841
Median Home Price: $170,700
Population Change: 0.6%
Home Price Change: 2.8%
More on Rapid City: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

The public discovery of gold in 1874 by the Black Hills Expedition brought a mass influx of settlers into the Black Hills region of South Dakota. Rapid City was founded, and originally known as “Hay Camp”, in 1876 by a group of disappointed miners, who promoted their new city as the “Gateway to the Black Hills”. John Richard Brennan and Samuel Scott, with a small group of men, laid out the site of the present Rapid City in February 1876, which was named for the spring-fed Rapid Creek that flows through it. A square mile was measured off and the six blocks in the center were designated as a business section. Committees were appointed to bring in prospective merchants and their families to locate in the new settlement. The city soon began selling supplies to miners and pioneers. Its location on the edge of the Plains and Hills and its large river valley made it the natural hub of railroads arriving in the late 1880s from both the south and east. By 1900, Rapid City had survived a boom and bust and was establishing itself as an important regional trade center for the upper midwest.|Although the Black Hills became a popular tourist destination in the late 1890s, it was a combination of local efforts, the popularity of the automobile, and construction of improved highways that brought tourists to the Black Hills in large numbers after World War I. Gutzon Borglum, already a famous sculptor, began work on Mount Rushmore in 1927 and his son, Lincoln Borglum, continued the carving of the presidents’ faces in rock following his father’s death in 1941. The work was halted due to pressures leading to the US entry into World War II and the massive sculpture was declared complete in 1941. Although tourism sustained the city throughout the Great Depression of the 1930s, the gasoline rationing of World War II had a devastating effect on the tourist industry in the town, but this was more than made up for by the war-related growth.

There You Have It – The Best Places To Purchase A House In South Dakota for 2019

There’s our analysis of the best places to buy a house in South Dakota. 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 381 places in the state.

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

For more South Dakota reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Places To Buy A Home In South Dakota

City Rank Median Home Price Population Change Home Price Increase
Sioux Falls 1 $168,600 1.5% 4.4%
Harrisburg 2 $184,900 5.8% 7.3%
Madison 3 $113,700 -0.1% 3.3%
Box Elder 4 $130,700 1.7% -5.6%
Brandon 5 $198,300 0.6% 8.4%
Yankton 6 $137,600 -0.4% 7.8%
Brookings 7 $169,400 0.8% 3.0%
Aberdeen 8 $144,000 0.5% 2.6%
Watertown 9 $161,000 0.3% 2.9%
Rapid City 10 $170,700 0.6% 2.8%
Mitchell 11 $133,900 -0.3% 2.5%
Huron 12 $95,200 -0.3% -4.1%
Vermillion 13 $136,100 -0.8% 2.3%
Belle Fourche 14 $113,600 -1.3% -2.2%
Spearfish 15 $206,100 1.1% 1.5%
Pierre 16 $168,700 0.1% 2.3%
Sturgis 17 $147,100 0.1% -3.9%

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

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