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This N.H. city was named an ‘Affordable Small Town Where You’d Actually Want To Live’

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Aerial View Of Berlin, NH
An aerial view of Berlin, N.H., which is bisected by the Androscoggin River. Adobe Stock

If you’re looking for a small-town feel at an affordable price in New England, Berlin, N.H., is the place to be, according to Realtor.com.

The city, whose population was just over 10,000 as of 2019, recently made it onto the website’s list of “Affordable Small Towns Where You’d Actually Want To Live.” 

Coming in at No. 10, the former mill city was the only New England locale on the list. Elk City, Okla. came in on top, one of only three communities on the list not in the Midwest. The other one was Sweetwater, Texas.

The report looked at towns and clusters of communities across the country with populations of 35,000 or less that had at least 30 listings on the website in March. Researchers then analyzed data on income, unemployment, and the number of eating and drinking establishments per 1,000 residents to determine the rankings. The report listed only one community per state regardless of the findings in order to increase geographic diversity in the results. 

Berlin’s city manager, Phillip L. Warren Jr., said he wasn’t surprised to see his community featured. 

“Berlin is a community with varied recreational opportunities, and its location in the state makes it attractive to people wanting to leave urban areas,” Warren wrote in an e-mail. “Furthermore, there are many properties that are reasonably priced as compared to areas south of here.”

Small towns across the country have been gaining popularity, thanks to pandemic-fueled cravings for open spaces. According to Pew Research Center, cities like Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles watched residents flee to little-known locales like Bend, Ore., and Buckeye, Ariz., searching for more room and lower prices. 

New England is home to a plethora of quaint communities, many of which offer affordable options the region’s larger cities increasingly lack. The median listing price for a home in Berlin, for example, is $212,250, according to Realtor.com. At that price, one could buy nearly four homes for the same cost of one median-priced home in Greater Boston

In addition to affordability, the report touted Berlin’s extensive skiing and hiking trails and its well-known ATV festival at Jericho Mountain State Park. The city has also been a haven for climate refugees “seeking to escape severe weather changes,” according to the report. 

These are the cities that made the list: 

  1. Elk City, Okla.
  2. Alberta Lea, Minn.
  3. Jamestown, N.D.
  4. Macomb, Ill. 
  5. Spirit Lake, Iowa
  6. Madison Ind. 
  7. Sweetwater, Texas
  8. Columbus, Neb. 
  9. Iron Mountain, Mich. 
  10. Berlin, N.H.

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