10 Cities Giving Away Land or Money to Have People Move There

Clare Fitzgerald
Photo Credit: 1. ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP / Getty Images 2. Spencer Platt / Getty Images

The world’s population is constantly growing, but that doesn’t mean cities and towns aren’t seeing large declines. In an attempt to reverse this loss in residents, some have turned to such measures as giving away plots of land or paying people to relocate. That includes the following 10 locations on this list!

Grab a pen and paper! You might find your future home below.

Newton, Iowa

Exterior of the Maytag Company building
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Looking to live in a small town that’s located near a major city? Newton, Iowa might just be the place for you! Just 30 miles east of Des Moines, Newton is home to just under 16,000 residents, and its most notable establishments are Maytag Dairy Farms, the Newton Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, and the Iowa Speedway.

Newton’s city council is looking to jumpstart housing development in the community, and one way it’s hoping to accomplish this is through the Newton Housing Initiative. Those looking to construct single-family homes through 2023 will receive a $10,000 cash incentive and the “Get to Know Newton” welcome package of over $3,000!

Albinen, Switzerland

Aerial view of Albinen, Switzerland
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We can’t be the only ones who’ve dreamed of living in Switzerland – and now we actually have the chance (as long as we obtain a residents’ permit). The municipality of Albinen, in the canton of Valais, is looking to bolster its population, and is willing to offer large sums of money to those willing to call it home.

Albinen was granted approval in 2017 to begin offering CHF 25,000 per adult and CHF 10,000 per child to those interested in purchasing, refurbishing or building a home in the Alpine village.

However, there are a few stipulations. New residents have to be 45 years of age or younger and be willing to live there for 10 years. As well, they must invest a minimum of CHF 200,000 into their new property. Don’t think local officials won’t keep track of this, either. If you move away before the 10 years are up, you’ll have to pay back all the money.

Pipestone, Manitoba

Field at sunset
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Manitoba, Canada contains a large number of rural and isolated communities that have begun to see their populations dwindle as younger generations move to larger cities. In an attempt to reverse this, the southwestern community of Pipestone is offering plots of land for just $10!

Here’s the deal: those interested in purchasing a parcel of land are asked to pay a deposit of $1,000. Once the agreement has been made official, they’re refunded $990. According to the Canadian Citizen and Immigration Resource Center, the concept is nothing new and is a nationwide movement that can trace its origins back to New Brunswick.

Bemidji, Minnesota

Statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox
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If you’re like us, you’ve likely never heard of Bemidji, Minnesota, but that doesn’t mean you can’t move there! Located in the northern part of the state, the city is home to just over 15,000 residents, making it the largest commercial center between Duluth and Grand Forks, North Dakota. Among its most notable attractions are large statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, as it’s allegedly the birthplace of the giant lumberjack.

Bemidji is the central city for three Native American reservations – Red Lake, Leech Lake and White Earth – and is located along the shore of the lake it’s named after. What’s more, it’s also known as the “curling capital” of the United States!

The city is currently offering the 218 Relocate Package to those wishing to relocate there. It includes $2,500 to cover moving costs, as well as a free co-working space and access to the Community Concierge Program, which offers help to grow businesses.

Alaska

View of Anchorage, Alaska from across the water
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Why settle on a specific town when you have an entire state to pick from? If you’re content with living in a location that’s pretty much in an eternal winter (not really), then Alaska is the place for you! The Alaska Permanent Fund allots an equal amount of the state’s oil royalties to each resident of the state, presented through an annual dividend. For a taste of what you can expect, 2018’s total came to $1,600 per person.

Alaska has many appealing aspects to it. Not only is there no state tax, but it’s also home to some of the best seafood in the world. As well, it’s the ideal place to witness the Northern Lights, and features a diverse array of wildlife and fauna.

Maenza, Italy

Exterior of Baronial Castle
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Italy isn’t a stranger to selling homes for ridiculously cheap. In 2011, the government began selling abandoned homes in Gangi, Sicily for just €1.00, and the trend has only continued to grow. While a steal, those interested in purchasing one of these properties should know they’re often located in remote areas that aren’t close to any urban centers. Definitely not the ideal place for someone who likes to be where the action is.

This changed in 2021, when the country began selling empty homes in Maenza for €1.00. The municipality is located on the outskirts of Rome, meaning not only will those moving there be living near one of the most history-rich cities in the world, but they won’t feel isolated (or have to deal with the cost of living in a remote area).

Mankato, Kansas

Exterior of First National Bank in Mankato, Kansas
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Home to just over 800 residents, Mankato, Kansas is the place to live if you’re looking for a small, rural community. Originally known as Jewell Center for being the county seat of Jewell County, the town has seen a steady decline in its population since the mid-20th century.

To rectify this, Mankato is giving away over two dozen plots of land to those who promise to construct homes within six months. If you choose to move there, you’ll be living near a motel, school, steakhouse and hospital, and will be just a half-mile away from the city’s shopping district.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Large buildings at sunrise
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You might not think Tulsa would be in need of new residents, considering it’s the second-largest city in Oklahoma, but you’d be wrong. The 413,000-population strong city is offering money and other perks to those looking to move there while working in remote positions.

The Tulsa Remote Program offers $10,000 to qualifying future residents who purchase a home in the city. The sum is awarded all at once, and there’s also free desk space and networking events offered to help further one’s career. The latter is no surprise, considering the program is primarily targeted at those looking to work remotely.

Scottish Islands

Islands of Eigg, Rhum and Muck
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It likely comes as no surprise that Scotland is home to nearly 1,000 offshore islands. They largely feature small communities whose histories date back generations, and many locals have developed unique lifestyles. For example, Fair Isle, home to just 60 residents, has developed a traditional style of knitting, and is best known for being home to over 10,000 pelicans.

Introduced as part of the Scottish government’s National Islands Plan, the Islands Bond is looking to reverse the growing trend of island residents moving to the mainland. The fund will give up to 100 households £50,000 to relocate to any of the qualifying islands through 2026. If you’re looking for a quieter lifestyle in one of the most gorgeous countries on earth, this might be the opportunity for you!

West Virginia

Aerial view of houses along a street in Huntington, West Virginia
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Located in the Appalachian Mountains, West Virginia is famous for its rugged landscape and history of coal mining and logging. While it was once thriving, its population has declined and it’s now among the least-populous states in America.

More from us: St. Thomas, Nevada: The Ghost Town That Emerged From the Depths of Lake Mead

In an attempt to lure new people to the state, the government launched Ascend West Virginia, which offers $20,000 to anyone willing to relocate there. New residents immediately receive a cash payment of $12,000 to live there for two years, with an additional $10,000 handed out over the first year and $2,000 over the second. The remaining $8,000 comes in the form of free outdoor recreational activities.

Along with the cash incentives, Ascend West Virginia also offers participants free co-working space, entrepreneurial assistance and professional development.