With the unemployment rate at just under 4 percent, a low not seen in nearly 20 years, many young workers still find themselves struggling financially and slowly losing a grip on their dream of homeownership.
If you can relate, especially due to an attempt to start a career in an expensive major city, behold: Some places are so in need of skilled workers that they’ll literally pay you to live there. Read on to see where these communities are — from New York to Michigan — and what the catch is.
Click through to find out some of the cheapest cities to live in.
Life moves a little slower in Curtis, Neb., but the self-proclaimed “Easter City” is the perfect spot to put down roots — and the free lots offered up by the city certainly help sweeten the deal. The lots are free to families who are ready to leave renting behind as long as they build a single-family home that meets certain specifications within an allotted time period.
Head to the “biggest little town in Southern Minnesota” for your chance at a subsidized ticket to an outdoor lover’s wonderland. Complete with 60 miles of bike trails, some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the nation and a growing downtown, Harmony is offering cash rebates to people who build new homes in the area to the tune of $5,000 to $12,000 — with no restriction on age, income level or residency.
Even though the city of Lincoln describes itself as being “the size of a dime with the heart of a dollar,” you don’t need to pony up a lot of cash to become part of this town in America’s heartland. In fact, there are 21 free lots up for grabs for the soon-to-be newest residents of Lincoln. Once owners are granted a free lot, they must begin construction within three years of signing the buyer’s agreement, and complete construction 18 months after beginning.
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Niagara Falls, N.Y.
If you’re a millennial struggling to come up with a down payment for a home and are looking for a tourist town with easy border access, Niagara Falls will welcome you with open arms. In addition to the waterfalls, hiking trails, wineries and shopping spots, the city offers residents student loan reimbursements of up to $3,492 a year — and up to $6,984 total over a two-year period — if they reside in a specified downtown Niagara Falls neighborhood for a minimum of two years.
St. Clair County, Mich.
With 160,000 residents, the county of St. Clair is among the larger areas on this list. Yet according to CBS News, less than 20 percent of the population graduated from college. So to attract a highly educated workforce, the St. Clair Community Foundation kicked off the Come Home Award back in 2016. The “reverse scholarship” offers those who’ve left home to apply for up to $15,000 as an incentive to kick off an exciting new career in the county. Previous beneficiaries have used the money to pay back their student loans and purchase their first homes.
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Katie Wudel contributed to the reporting for this article.