I specialize in helping people relocate to MN from other parts of the United States and the world thanks to people finding me on my YouTube channel. It’s a niche that I love to serve, people are choosing Minnesota and I love to welcome them here.
I know that this can be a difficult thing to do – uprooting your life to make a change to a completely different everything! The climate, the people, the way that Minnesotans live – which is very much OUTDOORS. Many people make the choice for that very reason. One of the other themes that I hear often is affordability and high quality of life.
If you’re curious about the perspective of this couple, what things felt like challenges, how they overcame those, what made them choose MN, what surprised them when they got here and what they have enjoyed so far, you’ll probably enjoy this video!
If this is a move you are considering making and you have questions please don’t hesitate to ask! It’s what I do day in and day out. 🙂
Need access to the cities but want a small town feel, White Bear Lake has it! I love where I live but every single time I go to White Bear Lake I want to move there! This suburb of Saint Paul just has a good feel to it – from the historic downtown to the lake and parks. If you’re looking for a walkable lifestyle this should be on your list of places you consider! Watch the video below to see what I mean – lots of footage of the downtown and the homes.
White Bear Lake sits north of St Paul (so if you’re not from around here that’s the east side of Minneapolis St. Paul), if you work in downtown Saint Paul you’re about a 15 minute commute or to downtown Minneapolis it’s about 25 minutes. Getting to the airport will take a little longer because it’s on the opposite side of the city, but if you’re only heading there periodically it shouldn’t be a problem, it’s less than 30 minutes in decent traffic.
Downtown White Bear Lake drips CHARM from top to bottom. Most of the homes in the downtown area have a historic look and feel, but are well maintained. As you move out away from that central downtown area homes get a little newer but this is not the place to look if you want new build / subdivision feel. WBL was an old resort town and escape from the city and the rail line still runs right up to it, it retains that feeling of a lakeside vacation area today. The old downtown has a ton of options for restaurants, pubs, bakeries, shops and other services like salons or day spas. The library is downtown as well, it’s a busy bright and modern space that is part of the Ramsey County Library System.
In the summer and fall, Grab your morning coffee and a muffin from one of the bakeries and then enjoy the community and seeing your neighbors while you shop for locally produced eggs, honey, fruits and vegetables at the farmers market held in downtown every Friday morning from June through October.
For a small town white bear lake has a pretty big focus on the arts and you can take classes or take in a show at the White Bear Center for the Arts, The Player’s Theater or the Children’s Performing Arts.
Home prices in WBL range from the mid-$200’s for a townhouse to $1.2M for a new construction lake front home. If you want to live directly on the lake, prices are consistently over $1M, but you can find something more moderately priced with lake front access.
Currently White Bear Lake has a tighter sellers market than the metro area as a whole – they are sitting at only .7 months of inventory whereas the twin cities is a little over a month on average.
White Bear Lake Area Schools are the big cahuna in this part of the metro they serve all or parts of Birchwood, Gem Lake, Hugo, Lino Lakes, Little Canada, Maplewood, North Oaks, Vadnais Heights, White Bear Lake and White Bear Township.There are a lot of schools in the district, so do your research and see which one will work best for your kids. You can look at sites like Great Schools or Niche.com, but schools welcome visitors that want to tour and get questions answered before making a decision.
White bear lake is home to 24 parks including access to docks at the lake, a disc golf course, and access to Bald Eagle-Otter Lakes Park which is one of 4 Ramsey County regional parks. This park has a playground, boat launch, fishing pier, access to the Tamarack Nature Center and an off-leash dog area. If you’re looking for swimming, White Bear Lake County park has a swimming beach, this park is located just north of the downtown area.
A city in Minnesota couldn’t hold up it’s head if they didn’t have an ice arena – White Bear Lake is home to the Sports Center Ice Arena where you can participate in or watch the state sport of MN – ice hockey – or for those without the urge to body check someone simply some ice skating. You don’t have to be a member to use the ice here, it’s pay as you go!
Hey – if you have questions about anything real estate or living in the Twin Cities related, let me know! I’m happy to help!
A lot of people say that they choose to move to Minneapolis because it’s a nice sized city with an affordable cost of living. Most of the people that I work with are moving to Minnesota from out of state and are often coming from more expensive parts of the country. But not everyone is! Today I want to take a look at the cost of living in the Twin Cities and how it compares to some other areas that I see people coming from as well as other cities in the Midwest.
How is Cost of Living determined?
“Cost of living” is a term used by economists and it’s actually an INDEX, so every place in the US is compared to the national average, which is considered 100%. If a city has a cost of living lower than the national average, it will be expressed as some percentage less than 100 and a higher than the national average cost of living will be a number that expresses HOW MUCH higher than the national average it is as in 100+ x%.
Cost of living in Minneapolis
The magic number for Minneapolis is close to 103% of the national average. This index is broken down into segments like housing, transportation, food, and entertainment and then the number given is the one that consolidates all of these.
Having a cost of living index of 103% of the national average is really a comforting number if you’re looking for an affordable city! I’m going to give you the current COL #’s for other cities in the US as well as cities specifically in the Midwest so you can see how we stack up. Remember that this is looking at ALL areas of the country and typically urban areas are much more expensive.
Housing is the most expensive part of nearly everyone’s budget. Minneapolis is at 117% of the national average. If you’ve ever seen one of my market update videos you’ll understand what drives that, but its a combination of low housing supply, low interest rates and a big bubble of first time buyers that are hitting the market right now.
Here in Minneapolis we are right near the national average for food pricing, sitting at 101% of the national average.
For transportation costs, Minneapolis sits higher than the national average at 108%. This includes an average of cost of gasoline, car insurance and maintenance expenses, and mass transit fare for the area. I was a little surprised by this one because I just returned from a trip to NE Ohio and gas prices were consistently higher than what I have paid in MN everywhere east of us. According to AAA, auto fuel prices in MN are LOWER than the national average.
Healthcare is at a wonderful 75% of the national average! The past couple of years have shown us all how important this piece is for everyone, and not only are our costs lower here, but we also have access to some of the best healthcare in the world with the Mayo Clinic being located within easy driving distance of Minneapolis and many high quality hospital systems within the twin cities area itself.
Miscellaneous costs come in at 108% these include those goods and services not included in the other cost of living categories, including clothing, restaurants, repairs, entertainment, and other services.
Compared to other large metros across the US
If we compare Minneapolis to large metro areas like New York, San Diego, or Chicago we see that, no surprise, it’s more affordable here.
Housing in NYC is 441% HIGHER than Minneapolis, and cost of living there is 141% higher, San Diego is 35% higher overall with housing 110% higher, and Chicago – where I came from – is 15% higher overall but housing in particular is 54% higher than Minneapolis.
Housing is the biggest driver of whether an area is affordable or not – we all need a roof over our heads!
Coming from Texas
I see a lot of people coming to Minneapolis from Texas, most commonly the Austin area, but definitely from all over and Austin is actually coming in at 4% less expensive than Minneapolis. Rents are higher in Austin, but median price to purchase a home is slightly lower there.
Other Midwestern Cities
Looking closer to home, at smaller cities in the Midwest, Madison WI is actually MORE expensive to live in than Minneapolis – housing is 8% higher, food 3% more expensive and healthcare a whopping 19% more expensive.
Minnesotans will definitely question why anyone would pay MORE to live in Wisconsin. I mean. It just doesn’t make sense.
Milwaukee WI (if you love your Pabst!) is the bargain area with overall costs being 2% less, but still getting you where it hurts if you need to go to the dr.
Bargain Cities of the Midwest
Saint Louis has a 17% lower cost of living index than Minneapolis. Everything from housing, transportation, entertainment is lower – they do come in slightly higher on food and Des Moines Iowa is also a bargain, coming in with a lower cost of living on every metric and the net saving is 24%!
If you have questions about living in or moving to Minneapolis or the twin cities reach out! I’m happy to help! If you’re curious about different neighborhoods or suburbs, check out my playlist on my YouTube channel where I talk about exactly that!