Most Expensive Places To Live In South Dakota For 2020


We used science and data to determine which cities in South 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 South Dakota.

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Everyone wants a home that mixes affordability with comfort and South Dakota does this very well. Families love the Mount Rushmore 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 South 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 South Dakota for 2020.

So where is the most expensive place to live in South Dakota? That would be Spearfish.
the 2014-2018 American Community Survey for the 63 places in South Dakota with more than 1,000 people.

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

So hopefully Freeman (the cheapest place to live in South 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 South Dakota and the most expensive cities in the country:

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

Spearfish, SD

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 11,393
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.4x (1st most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 65.6x (14th most expensive)
More on Spearfish: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Spearfish is a city in Lawrence County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 10,494 at the 2010 census.

The median income in Spearfish comes in at $47,466 and the median home value is $211,100 for 2020.

Rapid City, SD

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 73,721
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.5x (5th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 62.2x (8th most expensive)
More on Rapid City: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Rapid City is the second most populous city in South Dakota and the county seat of Pennington County. Named after Rapid Creek, on which the city is established, it is set against the eastern slope of the Black Hills mountain range. The population was 67,956 as of the 2010 Census. Known as the "Gateway to the Black Hills" and the "City of Presidents", it is split by a low mountain ridge that divides the western and eastern parts of the city. Ellsworth Air Force Base is located on the outskirts of the city. Camp Rapid, a part of the South Dakota Army National Guard, is located in the western part of the city. The historic "Old West" town of Deadwood is nearby. In the neighboring Black Hills are the popular tourist attractions of Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, and Wind Cave National Park.

The median income in Rapid City comes in at $50,742 and the median home value is $175,400 for 2020.

Vermillion, SD

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 10,700
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 4.2x (2nd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 46.4x (1st most expensive)
More on Vermillion: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Vermillion is a city in and the county seat of Clay County, in the southeastern corner of the state of South Dakota, and the eleventh largest city in the state. According to the 2010 Census, the population was 10,571. The city lies atop a bluff near the Missouri River.

The median income in Vermillion comes in at $34,517 and the median home value is $144,500 for 2020.

Brookings, SD

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 23,863
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.5x (4th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 69.0x (19th most expensive)
More on Brookings: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Brookings is a city in Brookings County, South Dakota, United States. Brookings is the fourth largest city in South Dakota, with a population of 22,056 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Brookings County, and home to South Dakota State University, the largest institution of higher education in the state. Also found in Brookings are the South Dakota Art Museum, the Children's Museum of South Dakota, the annual Brookings Summer Arts Festival, and the headquarters of a number of manufacturing companies and agricultural operations.

The median income in Brookings comes in at $50,182 and the median home value is $174,900 for 2020.

Box Elder, SD

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 9,407
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 8)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.0x (13th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 53.7x (5th most expensive)
More on Box Elder: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Box Elder comes in at $52,793 and the median home value is $157,000 for 2020.

Watertown, SD

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 22,124
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.3x (7th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 67.1x (16th most expensive)
More on Watertown: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Watertown is a city in and the county seat of Codington County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 21,482 at the 2010 census. It is the fifth largest city in South Dakota. It is also the principal city of the Watertown Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Codington and Hamlin counties.

The median income in Watertown comes in at $49,870 and the median home value is $162,600 for 2020.

Deadwood, SD

Source: Wikipedia User |
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 1,463
Rank Last Year: 7 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.7x (3rd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 72.0x (21st most expensive)
More on Deadwood: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Deadwood comes in at $41,912 and the median home value is $154,300 for 2020.

Mitchell, SD

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 15,722
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 5)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.2x (9th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 61.2x (6th most expensive)
More on Mitchell: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Mitchell is the county seat of Davison County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 15,254 at the 2010 census.

The median income in Mitchell comes in at $43,788 and the median home value is $141,200 for 2020.

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 2,412
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 2.6x (22nd most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 73.1x (24th most expensive)
More on Summerset: Real Estate | Data

The median income in Summerset comes in at $86,037 and the median home value is $222,500 for 2020.

Custer, SD

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 2,113
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 7)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 3.0x (12th most expensive)
Income To Rent Ratio: 63.0x (11th most expensive)
More on Custer: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The median income in Custer comes in at $48,167 and the median home value is $144,000 for 2020.

How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Mount Rushmore State For 2020

Map Of The Cheapest Places To Live In South 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 South 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 63 places in South Dakota that have more than 1,000 people.

The place with the highest cost of living in South Dakota according to the data is Spearfish. You can download the data here.

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

Well there you have it, the places in South Dakota that have the highest cost of living, with Spearfish ranking as the most expensive city in the Mount Rushmore State.

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

  1. Freeman
  2. Britton
  3. De Smet

For more South Dakota reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In South Dakota

Rank City ExpensiveScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Spearfish 5.67 11,393 4.4x 65.6x
2 Rapid City 7.0 73,721 3.5x 62.2x
3 Vermillion 9.67 10,700 4.2x 46.4x
4 Brookings 11.0 23,863 3.5x 69.0x
5 Box Elder 11.33 9,407 3.0x 53.7x
6 Watertown 12.67 22,124 3.3x 67.1x
7 Deadwood 14.33 1,463 3.7x 72.0x
8 Mitchell 14.33 15,722 3.2x 61.2x
9 Summerset 15.67 2,412 2.6x 73.1x
10 Custer 16.67 2,113 3.0x 63.0x
11 Sioux Falls 17.33 174,151 3.0x 74.6x
12 Aberdeen 20.17 28,124 3.0x 73.9x
13 Lennox 20.67 2,437 2.6x 62.3x
14 Volga 21.0 1,799 2.7x 72.5x
15 Belle Fourche 22.33 5,610 2.8x 66.0x
16 Groton 22.33 1,712 2.6x 78.3x
17 Hartford 22.67 3,145 2.5x 83.2x
18 Sturgis 23.33 6,772 3.4x 88.2x
19 Yankton 23.67 14,577 3.1x 77.8x
20 Chamberlain 24.0 2,486 3.2x 89.3x
21 Miller 24.67 1,433 2.9x 70.7x
22 North Sioux City 24.67 2,781 2.4x 62.6x
23 Lead 25.0 2,998 2.5x 64.4x
24 Tea 25.33 5,098 2.4x 87.3x
25 Brandon 25.67 9,867 2.5x 92.0x
26 Dell Rapids 26.0 3,669 2.4x 83.0x
27 Webster 27.67 1,730 2.6x 61.3x
28 Pierre 28.0 13,988 2.8x 97.4x
29 Crooks 29.33 1,363 2.0x 84.2x
30 Harrisburg 29.67 5,760 2.4x 96.4x
31 Garretson 32.17 1,214 2.4x 88.7x
32 Fort Pierre 35.33 2,297 2.3x 99.8x
33 Whitewood 39.33 1,051 1.9x 73.2x
34 Eagle Butte 39.67 1,134 1.8x 48.4x
35 Canton 40.0 3,392 2.2x 92.6x
36 Hot Springs 40.67 3,515 2.2x 87.8x
37 Elk Point 40.67 2,168 2.3x 125.7x
38 Milbank 40.67 3,210 2.0x 92.4x
39 Salem 41.33 1,393 1.9x 76.9x
40 Sisseton 41.33 2,486 1.9x 63.8x
41 Platte 41.67 1,501 2.2x 93.1x
42 Baltic 41.67 1,069 2.0x 124.6x
43 Worthing 42.0 1,025 1.9x 92.0x
44 Tyndall 42.33 1,167 2.0x 74.2x
45 Mobridge 42.33 3,422 1.8x 67.2x
46 Mission 42.67 1,231 1.7x 53.0x
47 Madison 43.0 7,203 2.2x 95.0x
48 Huron 43.67 13,291 1.9x 80.4x
49 Flandreau 45.0 2,438 1.9x 83.7x
50 Gregory 45.33 1,467 1.8x 72.0x
51 Springfield 46.33 2,045 1.8x 74.0x
52 Clark 46.67 1,448 1.9x 78.1x
53 Wagner 47.0 1,525 2.3x 102.7x
54 Clear Lake 48.0 1,319 2.0x 115.0x
55 Lemmon 48.0 1,265 1.6x 68.5x
56 Gettysburg 48.67 1,258 1.7x 82.5x
57 Redfield 49.33 2,582 1.7x 75.5x
58 Beresford 50.0 2,235 1.8x 101.3x
59 Winner 52.33 2,839 1.7x 88.5x
60 Parkston 55.0 1,649 1.8x 107.8x
61 De Smet 57.0 1,109 1.7x 158.7x
62 Britton 57.33 1,792 1.4x 95.9x
63 Freeman 58.67 1,408 1.4x 96.2x

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.