Most Expensive Places To Live In North Dakota For 2020


We used science and data to determine which cities in North Dakota that will put a big dent in your wallet.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the most expensive places to live in North Dakota.

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Everyone wants a home that mixes affordability with comfort and North Dakota does this very well. Families love the Peace Garden State's beaches, midlands, and mountains as tourists before moving here and calling it home.

But before you decide to relocate, you have to do some research into the exact cost of living around the state -- and that's how we're going to help you.

These are the places in North Dakota that cost a pretty penny -- the most expensive cities in the state.

After we saved up for months and could finally afford it, we landed on this list of the ten most expensive cities in North Dakota for 2020.

So where is the most expensive place to live in North Dakota? That would be Grand Forks.
the 2014-2018 American Community Survey for the 51 places in North Dakota with more than 1,000 people.

What's the most expensive place to live in North Dakota? Well, HomeSnacks crunched the numbers and discovered that Grand Forks is the most expensive place to live in North Dakota.

So hopefully Walhalla (the cheapest place to live in North Dakota) can show these guys how to live on a budget in the coming years. Read on for how these places had costs rise faster than inflation.

And if you already knew these places were expensive, check out some more reading about North Dakota and the most expensive cities in the country:

The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In North Dakota For 2020

Grand Forks, ND

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 56,556
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.1x (1st most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 59.2x (1st most expensive)
More on Grand Forks: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Grand Forks is the third-largest city in the State of North Dakota and is the county seat of Grand Forks County. According to the 2010 census, the city's population was 52,838, while the total of the city and surrounding metropolitan area was 98,461. Grand Forks, along with its twin city of East Grand Forks, Minnesota, forms the center of the Grand Forks, ND-MN Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is often called Greater Grand Forks or The Grand Cities.

The median income in Grand Forks comes in at $47,871 and the median home value is $197,900 for 2020.

Fargo, ND

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 120,209
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.7x (2nd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 67.0x (6th most expensive)
More on Fargo: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Fargo is the most populous city in the state of North Dakota, accounting for nearly 16% of the state population. Fargo is also the county seat of Cass County. According to the 2016 United States Census estimates, its population was 120,762, making it the 229th-most populous city in the United States. Fargo, along with its twin city of Moorhead, Minnesota, as well as the adjacent cities of West Fargo, North Dakota and Dilworth, Minnesota, form the core of the Fargo-Moorhead, ND-MN Metropolitan Statistical Area, which in 2016 contained a population of 238,124. In 2014, Forbes magazine ranked Fargo as the fourth fastest-growing small city in the United States.

The median income in Fargo comes in at $53,309 and the median home value is $199,700 for 2020.

Bismarck, ND

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 71,731
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.7x (3rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 74.8x (16th most expensive)
More on Bismarck: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Bismarck is the capital of the U.S. state of North Dakota and the county seat of Burleigh County. It is the second-most populous city in North Dakota after Fargo. The city's population was estimated in 2016 at 72,417, while its metropolitan population was 131,635. In 2015, Forbes magazine ranked Bismarck as the seventh fastest-growing small city in the United States.

The median income in Bismarck comes in at $63,608 and the median home value is $234,500 for 2020.

Minot, ND

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 48,304
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.1x (7th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 69.3x (8th most expensive)
More on Minot: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Minot MY-not) is a city in and the county seat of Ward County, North Dakota, United States, in the state's north-central region. It is most widely known for the Air Force base located approximately 15 miles north of the city. With a population of 40,888 at the 2010 census, Minot is the fourth largest city in the state and a trading center for a large portion of northern North Dakota, southwestern Manitoba, and southeastern Saskatchewan. Founded in 1886 during the construction of the Great Northern Railway, Minot is also known as "Magic City", commemorating its remarkable growth in size over a short time.

The median income in Minot comes in at $65,350 and the median home value is $204,000 for 2020.

Mandan, ND

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 21,943
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.2x (4th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 73.5x (13th most expensive)
More on Mandan: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Mandan comes in at $64,122 and the median home value is $207,100 for 2020.

Lincoln, ND

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 3,594
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.9x (10th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 72.6x (11th most expensive)
More on Lincoln: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Lincoln comes in at $78,445 and the median home value is $227,800 for 2020.

Dickinson, ND

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 22,707
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.2x (5th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 79.0x (21st most expensive)
More on Dickinson: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Dickinson is a city in Stark County, North Dakota, United States. It is the county seat of Stark County. The population was 17,787 at the 2010 census. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated 2015 population is 23,765.

The median income in Dickinson comes in at $73,025 and the median home value is $235,300 for 2020.

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 1,043
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.4x (24th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 64.7x (4th most expensive)
More on Surrey: Real Estate | Data

The median income in Surrey comes in at $86,250 and the median home value is $208,900 for 2020.

Watford City, ND

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 6,197
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.5x (21st most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 69.2x (7th most expensive)
More on Watford City: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Watford City comes in at $79,844 and the median home value is $201,700 for 2020.

Rugby, ND

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 2,677
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.0x (8th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 60.4x (2nd most expensive)
More on Rugby: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Rugby comes in at $39,083 and the median home value is $117,700 for 2020.

How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Peace Garden State For 2020

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In North Dakota
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:

  1. How much do money do I make?
  2. How much do I have spend to live there?

You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.

For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it's actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.

With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2014-2018 around incomes and costs. They are:

  • Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
  • Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
  • Median Home Price

We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).

You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in North Dakota to figure out which is the most expensive.

What you are left with is a "Cost of Living Index" by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.

So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 51 places in North Dakota that have more than 1,000 people.

The place with the highest cost of living in North Dakota according to the data is Grand Forks. You can download the data here.

Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In North Dakota For 2020

Well there you have it, the places in North Dakota that have the highest cost of living, with Grand Forks ranking as the most expensive city in the Peace Garden State.

Here's a look at the most affordable cities in North Dakota according to the data:

  1. Walhalla
  2. Langdon
  3. Cooperstown

For more North Dakota reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In North Dakota

Rank City ExpensiveScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Grand Forks 4.67 56,556 4.1x 59.2x
2 Fargo 6.33 120,209 3.7x 67.0x
3 Bismarck 7.67 71,731 3.7x 74.8x
4 Minot 8.0 48,304 3.1x 69.3x
5 Mandan 8.33 21,943 3.2x 73.5x
6 Lincoln 9.0 3,594 2.9x 72.6x
7 Dickinson 9.67 22,707 3.2x 79.0x
8 Surrey 11.67 1,043 2.4x 64.7x
9 Watford City 12.67 6,197 2.5x 69.2x
10 Rugby 14.33 2,677 3.0x 60.4x
11 Burlington 15.0 1,477 2.4x 61.2x
12 Williston 15.0 26,102 2.9x 93.9x
13 Tioga 16.33 1,121 2.6x 72.6x
14 West Fargo 17.67 34,419 2.8x 94.4x
15 Velva 17.67 1,292 3.2x 87.4x
16 Stanley 19.33 2,594 2.7x 88.9x
17 Jamestown 21.67 15,368 2.6x 78.3x
18 Bottineau 22.67 2,199 2.7x 88.9x
19 Parshall 23.33 1,116 2.5x 83.0x
20 Devils Lake 23.33 7,317 2.6x 77.7x
21 Hillsboro 23.67 1,610 2.8x 95.4x
22 Mayville 24.0 1,813 2.4x 70.4x
23 Hettinger 25.0 1,152 2.7x 92.2x
24 Casselton 27.0 2,508 2.5x 110.2x
25 Bowman 27.33 1,552 2.7x 108.1x
26 Wahpeton 27.33 7,792 2.3x 83.5x
27 Horace 28.0 2,660 2.2x 169.3x
28 Valley City 28.67 6,487 2.2x 73.8x
29 Larimore 29.0 1,461 2.3x 88.0x
30 Washburn 29.67 1,509 2.2x 97.2x
31 Beulah 33.0 3,296 2.1x 132.2x
32 Garrison 33.33 1,537 2.0x 86.2x
33 Carrington 33.33 2,020 2.3x 102.7x
34 Cavalier 33.67 1,191 2.2x 85.9x
35 Hazen 34.67 2,610 1.8x 101.6x
36 New Town 35.0 2,495 1.8x 94.3x
37 Park River 35.33 1,489 1.7x 71.3x
38 Thompson 35.33 1,139 1.9x 157.3x
39 New Rockford 36.67 1,436 1.8x 74.3x
40 Harvey 36.67 1,758 1.8x 82.1x
41 Grafton 39.33 4,192 1.6x 77.1x
42 Lisbon 39.67 2,052 2.0x 103.2x
43 Oakes 40.67 2,042 1.8x 98.1x
44 Linton 41.0 1,019 2.1x 97.3x
45 Rolla 42.33 1,321 1.7x 95.4x
46 Gwinner 42.67 1,081 1.6x 102.5x
47 Cando 43.67 1,110 1.6x 92.6x
48 Ellendale 46.0 1,201 1.4x 93.2x
49 Cooperstown 46.67 1,104 1.7x 122.1x
50 Langdon 48.0 1,867 1.6x 124.8x
51 Walhalla 49.67 1,035 1.4x 112.6x

How Is The Area In ?

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.