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The 10 best cities in Minnesota for downsizers

The 10 best cities in Minnesota for downsizers

To help potential homebuyers determine the Minnesota cities where folks could successfully downsize, Edina Realty’s data team ran an in-depth query for cities that, within the last year, had more than 50 listings with the following criteria:

  • 1-story OR single-level living in a single-family home, townhome or condo
  • Up to three bedrooms
  • Living area up to 2,500 (finished sq. feet)
  • Homeowners’ association or maintenance options

Ready for low-maintenance living and a space that makes more sense for your current stage of life? This article details the top 10 cities in Minnesota for downsizers. Which city will meet your needs in your golden years?

Waite Park, MN

Photo courtesy of

Situated approximately one hour outside of Minneapolis, in greater St. Cloud, is the city of Waite Park. With a population of just over 7,000 (and more than 63,000 in neighboring St. Cloud), this town has plenty of room for outdoor recreation, including the well-known Quarry Park and Nature Reserve. It’s also home to plenty of affordable single-living residences and a fantastic array of malls and restaurants.

If a balance of nature and commercial space is something you’re searching for as you downsize into a new home, consider adding Waite Park to your list.

  • Median Home Value: $225,000
  • Median Household Income: $41,492
  • Walkscore: 58

East Gull Lake, MN

Photo courtesy of

Even if you’re downsizing, a move to East Gull Lake could offer a major property upgrade. If you’re fond of the outdoors, look no further. East Gull Lake is located in the heart of cabin country, so it could be the place for those who want to get out of the city and retire in their cabin year-round.

If it’s time for your own year-round lakefront property, make sure to take a peek at the real estate East Gull Lake has to offer.

  • Median Home Value: $630,000
  • Median Household Income: $73,823
  • Walkscore: 0 (you’ll need a car, but you’ll also want a boat!)

Rockford, Minnesota

Photo courtesy of

Rockford is a town of 4,000, offering a variety of both local and chain restaurants, shops and opportunities for entertainment. Those in the market to downsize into a quaint property might appreciate the potential “small-town feel” of this city, while still being only a half-hour drive from downtown Minneapolis and all of its amenities.

  • Median Home Value: $425,000
  • Median Household Income: $75,711
  • Walkscore: 38

Columbus, Minnesota

Located just west of Forest Lake, Columbus is a small town of 4,000 — but it boasts a wide variety of activities to suit all of its residents. In Columbus, you’ll find a brewery, golf course, casino, center for the arts, parks and so much more. Those looking to downsize in the area will likely have a variety of activities and events right in their own backyards.

  • Median Home Value: $570,000
  • Median Household Income: $79,529
  • Walkscore: 2

Corcoran, Minnesota

Prospective downsizers will be drawn to Corcoran for many reasons, including its blend of rural and residential properties. Community events like Corcoran Country Daze offer residents the opportunity to mingle with their neighbors. The city’s various parks and Memorial Garden provide rest and respite for those who prefer to relax in nature.

  • Median Home Value: $595,000
  • Median Household Income: $103,381
  • Walkscore: 8

Little Canada, Minnesota

Little Canada, as you might imagine thanks to its name, is a town lined with trees and sprawling water. Farmers markets, ice fishing, delicious cuisine and a variety of city parks and trails make Little Canada a true gem for those looking to downsize.

A quick 10-mile drive from St. Paul, Little Canada could be the ideal downsize retreat for those looking to relocate to a second-ring suburb.

  • Median Home Value: $380,000
  • Median Household Income: $53,446
  • Walkscore: 29

Hanover, Minnesota

Hanover sits on the western edge of the Twin Cities metro area. The city proudly offers events throughout the year for community members and visitors to enjoy, including reading in the park, outdoor concerts, Night to Unite and more.

Looking to downsize into a community between the Albertville Premium Outlets and the Crow River? Hanover could be the place for you.

  • Median Home Value: $433,000
  • Median Household Income: $107,980
  • Walkscore: 21

Oak Park Heights, Minnesota

Oak Park Heights is located just south of Stillwater, making the city ideal for those looking to downsize near the Twin Cities. This beautiful town of nearly 5,000 draws in residents who enjoy the city’s proximity to the St. Croix River. Bike paths, wineries and city parks line the nearby river, creating an exciting and picturesque destination for homeowners and visitors alike.

  • Median Home Value: $325,000
  • Median Household Income: $58,442
  • Walkscore: 14

North Branch, Minnesota

Photo courtesy of Peter Michael Grund (petermgrund as found on Flickr)

As its name suggests, North Branch is located north of the Twin Cities. Just a 45-minute drive from Minneapolis, North Branch is surrounded by spacious land. Still, the North Branch Area Chamber of Commerce hosts a handful of local events for community members to enjoy, such as a Fall Harvest Festival and a Home and Garden Expo.

  • Median Home Value: $330,000
  • Median Household Income: $68,938
  • Walkscore: 59

Edina, Minnesota

Situated in the center of the metro area is our namesake city, Edina. An inner suburb featuring everything from parks and outdoor recreation, to shopping and dining experiences, to accessible groceries and errands, Edina is a fantastic place for downsizers who wish to stay close to the action of the city.

Because Edina is home to bustling corridors with great walkability, a variety of residential buildings are becoming more common in the area. Edina’s townhomes and condos may be the right fit for a potential buyer looking to downsize within close proximity to the Twin Cities.

  • Median Home Value: $765,000
  • Median Household Income: $93,165
  • Walkscore: 37

Ready to find your downsized home in Minnesota?

If you’re ready to unburden yourself from clutter and excess space, and purchase a smaller-than-before home in Minnesota, it’s time to reach out to Edina Realty or your local agent. Your REALTOR® will be your biggest advocate throughout your next home sale and purchase.

Plus, they’ll help provide guidance as you search for the Minnesota town that best suits your needs as a homeowner – and that features a downsized property, too.

Ranking criteria and sources:
1. Ranking for this list of top 10 cities is based on cities within Minnesota with the most available single-family homes for sale with 1-story OR single-level living in a single-family home, townhome or condo, up to three bedrooms, living area up to 2,500 (finished sq. feet) and homeowners’ association or maintenance options, between June 2021 and June 2022.

2. Housing value data for East Gull Lake based on Northstar MLS data as of July 25, 2022.

3. Housing value data for all other cities based on Northstar MLS data as of June 25, 2022. Listing information changes frequently. For up-to-date listing information, visit

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Status Definitions

For sale: Properties which are available for showings and purchase

Active contingent: Properties which are available for showing but are under contract with another buyer

Pending: Properties which are under contract with a buyer and are no longer available for showings

Sold: Properties on which the sale has closed.

Coming soon: Properties which will be on the market soon and are not available for showings.

Contingent and Pending statuses may not be available for all listings