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The Most Popular Small Cities in 2023

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Housing Markets

The Most Popular Small Cities in 2023

Homebuyers moving away from major cities are settling down in smaller metro areas with more favorable housing markets, lower costs of living, and smaller populations

October 4, 2023
Lexington, Massachusetts, on a map
Image: Gary L Hider / stock.adobe.com

Homebuyers looking to escape the bustle of major cities without limiting their access to restaurants, shopping centers, and entertainment are headed to smaller urban areas such as Carmel, Ind., which was named the top small city in the U.S. for 2023, according to a recent study by WalletHub. Located about 30 minutes north of Indianapolis, Carmel is known for its walkability, bikeability, charming downtown area, and affluent suburban lifestyle. 

Coming in second was Lexington, Mass., which is also home to a vibrant local economy but with a smaller population than nearby Boston. Following in third place behind Carmel and Lexington was Brentwood, Tenn., another small metro quickly growing in popularity among relocating homebuyers, according to Realtor.com.

Three of the top 10 cities were in Indiana, with another three in Massachusetts.

Carmel came out on top as the city of just under 100,000 residents has an arts and design district, a top school district, and residents who earn a higher-than-average median income. It also boasts the 27-mile, multiuse Monon Trail, which goes into downtown Indianapolis.

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