The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In North Dakota For 2021


We used data and science to determine which places in North Dakota go easy on your wallet.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the cheapest places to live in North Dakota.

You don't get named the fastest growing state in the country if you don't have super affordable places to live; and folks, there are plenty of affordable places in the Peace Garden State awaiting your arrival.

The experts say that the cost of living is on the rise, so HomeSnacks thought it would be a great idea to give North Dakotans one of the best life hacks: we compiled a list of the most affordable places to live in North Dakota for 2021. How did we determine the most affordable places to live in North Dakota for 2021? We consulted the latest US Census data and cost of living statistics for the Roughrider State.

We discovered that North Dakota has all kinds of affordable places for every walk of life. Hip, millennial cities like Fargo have multiple opportunities for young professionals just starting out. Cities like Bismark provide inexpensive staycations. And if you're looking for a city to offset your grocery bill with a little hunting, we hear that Grand Forks is a great place to fill that elk and/or deer tag.

More importantly, if you choose to live in one of North Dakota's most affordable places, you will save money for the fun things that this flyover state has to offer. Like, a day trip to Hankinson's Dakota Magic Casino or a weekend at Devils Lake. So, want to know where you can get the most bang for your buck in North Dakota? Keep reading.

The 10 Most Affordable Places To Live In North Dakota

  1. Harvey
  2. Gwinner
  3. Cooperstown
  4. Langdon
  5. Cando
  6. Oakes
  7. Ellendale
  8. Lisbon
  9. Rolla
  10. Walhalla

If you ask any North Dakotan, they will say, hands down, that their city is the best. But if you're the good people in our most affordable place in North Dakota for 2021, you know you live in North Dakota's best of the best.

What's the cheapest place to live in North Dakota? Without further adieu, the most affordable place in North Dakota for 2021 is Harvey.

To see how your city compared, take a look at the list below. And if you don't see you're favorite there, head to the bottom.

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

The 10 Cheapest Places To Live In North Dakota For 2021

Harvey, ND

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,761
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 12)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.7x (6th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 98.0x (46th cheapest)
More On Harvey: Real Estate

When it comes to having a high quality of life without breaking the bank, look no further than Harvey, a city of 1,761 in central North Dakota. Don't take our word for it -- with a median rent of just $525, the second lowest in the state, anyone can afford to give Harvey a chance.

Home prices in Harvey are also the sixth least expensive in North Dakota, with a median price tag of $89,500. The good news doesn't end there, though. Harvey also has a high median income of $51,458, making everything that much more affordable.

Income is growing at a faster pace than property values in Harvey, so you can expect this city to hold onto its position of the cheapest place to live in North Dakota in the years to come.

As a bonus, Harvey is right near the Geographical Center of North America, so you'll truly be living smack dab in the center of the American heartland.

Gwinner, ND

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,081
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 4)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.6x (most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 102.3x (11th cheapest)
More On Gwinner: Real Estate

Everyone's a winner in Gwinner, our second most affordable place in North Dakota. Full disclosure: Gwinner does have the costliest homes on this list, with a median price of $115,800. Fear not, though, because Gwinner also has the highest median income on this list by a substantial margin. That means that folks in Gwinner spend the first least percentage of their income on homes statewide.

Cooperstown, ND

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,103
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.9x (14th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 116.3x (3cheapest)
More On Cooperstown: Real Estate

Next up on our list of super-affordable places to live in North Dakota is Cooperstown. Folks in Cooperstown get some of the best deals on rent statewide, paying a median price of $466/month. That's nearly one third the average cost of rent in North Dakota. What's more, the rent to income ratio in Cooperstown is the fifth best in the state. Cooperstown played a big role during the Cold War as an ICBM site that was manned 24/7 between 1966 to 1997. To learn more, check out the Ronald Reagan Minutemen Missile Site - Cold War enthusiasts won't be disappointed.

Langdon, ND

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,924
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.8x (9th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 110.1x (25th cheapest)
More On Langdon: Real Estate

We're going to take a short drive southwest from Walhalla to reach our fourth least expensive city in North Dakota, Langdon. You can buy a home in Langdon for $110,000 or rent a place for $558/month, both of which are actually the priciest you'll see in the top five for this list. However, Langdon's residents also have a higher median income of $61,411. That means that, in terms of housing to income ratios, Langdon is in the top five statewide, regardless of if you're buying or renting. For things to do in Langdon, we recommend ATVing for outdoorsy folks and the downtown history museum for history buffs.

Cando, ND

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,083
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.7x (4th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 81.6x (44th cheapest)
More On Cando: Real Estate

Named for the "can do" spirit of early pioneers, you'd better believe that Cando still thrives on that same spirit today. Homes in Cando are the second cheapest in North Dakota, with a median price tag of $80,000. Combine that with a median income of $48,250, and you've got a recipe for the fourth best home price to income ratio in the state. And if you're a hunter, you'll be happy to learn that Cando is the duck hunting capital of North Dakota.

Oakes, ND

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 2,129
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.7x (7th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 107.3x (26th cheapest)
More On Oakes: Real Estate

We've already given major kudos to Oakes for being one of the best places to live in North Dakota, with an emphasis on good schools, safe streets, easy commutes, low unemployment, and, of course, uber-affordability. With a median home price of $124,400 and a median rent of $664, Oakes has cheap housing options for everyone. And with a median income of $71,250, Oakes is just outside the top ten statewide for housing to income ratios. Oakes is primarily agricultural, but has a growing industrial sector that needs fresh talent !

Ellendale, ND

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 1,211
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 3)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.7x (5th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 80.8x (20th cheapest)
More On Ellendale: Real Estate

If you're just starting out as a new family, stressing about finances is no fun. That's where Ellendale comes in. As the best city for families and the seventh most affordable city in North Dakota, Ellendale is the best option for someone in the situation above. Especially if you're settling down in Ellendale for good, because this city has the cheapest homes in the whole state. Almost non-existent levels of povery and unemployment mean that financial security is a given in Ellendale. Once you lock down a job in Ellendale, you won't have to hand over half your paycheck to buy a home, because the home price to income ratio here is the fifth best in North Dakota.

Lisbon, ND

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 2,009
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.8x (12th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 109.4x (5th cheapest)
More On Lisbon: Real Estate | Crime Rate

Finishing up our list of cheapest places to live is Lisbon, a small city an hour and some change outside of Fargo. While Lisbon does have the second most expensive homes on this list, it's also one of the richest places in North Dakota, so it's no sweat paying off the mortgage here. Lisbon is also the ninth most affordable spot for renters in North Dakota, with a median rent of $585. There's no need to worry about being bored in Lisbon either, because there are tons of outdoorsy activities right in the neighborhood.

Rolla, ND

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,299
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 2)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.8x (10th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 91.4x (48th cheapest)
More On Rolla: Real Estate

We're driving almost into Canada to reach our ninth cheapest city in North Dakota, Rolla. Rolla is a family friendly city where you can lead the good life without breaking the bank. Homes in Rolla go for about $99,200, the eighth least expensive in the state. Rolla is also in the top ten for home price to income ratio, so you get to keep most of the rougly $55,000/year salary you'll earn here.

Walhalla, ND

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,058
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 9)
Home Price To Income Ratio: 1.8x (11th most affordable)
Income To Rent Ratio: 87.6x (49th cheapest)
More On Walhalla: Real Estate

You don't need to be a Norse hero to get into Walhalla -- you just need good financial sense, because it's the absolute cheapest place to call home in North Dakota. Don't let Walhalla's small size and low price tag fool you, because there is a lot happening here for a city of just 1,058 people. In the winter, the Frost Fire Ski Area is the most popular place for a day out, while the Frost Fire Summer Theatre, an outdoor amphitheater overlooking Pembina Gorge, is the place to be come summertime.

Homes in Walhalla go for a median price of $93,200, the seventh cheapest in North Dakota. But that's not the most important point. The fact that Walhalla residents spend the 11th smallest percentage of their income on homes statewide is what gives the city its gold medal for affordability.

How We Determined The Most Affordable Places To Live In The Peace Garden State For 2021

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 2015-2019 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 least 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 53 places in North Dakota that have more than 1,000 people.

The place with the lowest cost of living in North Dakota according to the data is Harvey. You can download the data here.

There You Have It Mr. Or Mrs. North Dakota Cheapskate

If you're looking at the cost of living numbers in North Dakota, this is an accurate list of the most affordable places to live in North Dakota for 2021.

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

  1. Surrey
  2. Grand Forks
  3. Watford City

For more North Dakota reading, check out:

The Most Affordable Places To Live In North Dakota

Rank City CheapScore Population Home/Income Ratio Income/Rent Ratio
1 Harvey 8.0 1,761 1.7x 98.0x
2 Gwinner 8.67 1,081 1.6x 102.3x
3 Cooperstown 9.33 1,103 1.9x 116.3x
4 Langdon 9.67 1,924 1.8x 110.1x
5 Cando 11.33 1,083 1.7x 81.6x
6 Oakes 12.0 2,129 1.7x 107.3x
7 Ellendale 12.0 1,211 1.7x 80.8x
8 Lisbon 12.33 2,009 1.8x 109.4x
9 Rolla 12.67 1,299 1.8x 91.4x
10 Walhalla 13.67 1,058 1.8x 87.6x
11 Grafton 14.0 4,182 1.6x 78.0x
12 Larimore 18.0 1,381 2.1x 92.0x
13 Park River 18.67 1,499 1.6x 67.0x
14 New Rockford 20.0 1,393 1.9x 70.6x
15 Beulah 20.0 3,235 2.0x 136.2x
16 Crosby 20.0 1,138 2.0x 80.2x
17 Hazen 20.83 2,543 1.9x 95.3x
18 Cavalier 21.33 1,130 2.2x 79.1x
19 New Salem 21.33 1,137 2.2x 96.8x
20 Washburn 21.67 1,391 2.2x 110.4x
21 Tioga 22.67 1,062 1.8x 82.6x
22 Thompson 23.0 1,133 2.3x 139.0x
23 Beach 24.0 1,024 2.1x 73.8x
24 Hettinger 24.67 1,065 2.4x 79.9x
25 Carrington 24.67 2,133 2.5x 93.7x
26 Bottineau 25.0 2,094 2.5x 91.1x
27 New Town 25.0 2,525 2.3x 86.1x
28 Casselton 26.33 2,677 2.6x 116.5x
29 Horace 26.67 2,741 2.3x 216.5x
30 Velva 27.33 1,379 2.8x 111.5x
31 Bowman 27.5 1,560 2.6x 96.4x
32 Garrison 29.0 1,623 2.4x 77.7x
33 Hillsboro 29.33 1,601 2.8x 93.5x
34 Mayville 29.67 1,808 2.6x 77.8x
35 Stanley 30.33 2,655 2.4x 82.2x
36 Parshall 31.33 1,119 2.6x 81.2x
37 Devils Lake 32.33 7,344 2.9x 83.4x
38 Wahpeton 34.67 7,802 2.7x 67.5x
39 Jamestown 35.33 15,289 2.8x 76.2x
40 Rugby 37.0 2,724 2.8x 68.5x
41 Burlington 37.33 1,420 2.6x 74.0x
42 Valley City 37.67 6,460 2.8x 69.3x
43 West Fargo 38.0 35,397 2.8x 92.5x
44 Williston 38.33 27,250 2.8x 87.9x
45 Mandan 42.0 22,301 3.1x 79.5x
46 Minot 44.33 48,261 3.2x 72.1x
47 Dickinson 46.0 22,882 3.5x 74.9x
48 Lincoln 46.33 3,703 2.6x 58.7x
49 Bismarck 48.33 72,777 3.8x 74.3x
50 Fargo 48.33 121,889 3.8x 67.5x
51 Watford City 49.0 6,912 3.2x 65.4x
52 Grand Forks 49.67 56,500 4.2x 61.7x
53 Surrey 50.33 1,053 3.5x 43.1x

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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.