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Are There Really Cities That Will Pay You to Move There?

are there really cities that will pay you to move there?

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Published date:

December 20, 2023

Last updated date:

December 20, 2023

By Laura Mueller

Buying property and moving is a big expense. But will some cities actually pay you to move there, or is this one real estate promise that’s just too good to be true? Here’s what to know, including some important caveats to keep in mind before you pack your moving boxes. 

True or False: Some Cities Will Pay You to Move There?

True! There are dozens of towns and cities across the U.S. that are attempting to entice new residents with cash offers, educational stipends, and free land, among other perks. 

These programs are part of larger campaigns aimed at boosting population levels and/or job markets, and are part of a long history of offering monetary benefits in exchange for residency. You can find evidence of these types of programs in the U.S. as far back as 1862, when the Homesteading Act offered 160 acres of free land to individuals willing to farm in remote areas. 

Today, you’ll still find a good number of cities willing to pay people in land or cash if they agree to settle in and stay. As you might expect though, there are some catches to opting for this type of arrangement. 

Pros and Cons of Getting Paid to Move

If you’re looking to move but aren’t exactly picky about where you go, getting paid to relocate to a certain town or city certainly seems like a great deal. And in many ways it is, especially if you’re in need of a leg up financially. 

Where these programs get a little bit tricky is in the fine print. No matter the size of the town or the attractiveness of the perks being offered, it’s always important to consider both the good and the bad of these types of deals – and make a decision based on the full picture of what you’re signing up for. 

Taking a step back even further, there are also broader pros and cons to these programs, all of which should be top of mind when deciding whether it’s worth taking the leap. 


  • From covering your moving expenses to guaranteeing a signing bonus if you purchase a home, the perks being offered by certain cities are very real and, often, quite lucrative
  • New resident programs mean you won’t be the only newbie in town
  • These types of programs signify that the town or city is actively investing in their growth, which could mean good things for its future potential
  • In addition to financial incentives, many locations are also offering others perks that help sweeten the deal, like free memberships to town clubs and organizations


  • Many of the areas running these campaigns are small, rural, and remote
  • You will likely have limitations on how you use the offered incentive and may have to commit to living in the area for a certain number of years
  • In the case of free land, many programs limit you to residential use and have clear stipulations requiring the square footage and value of the home you build
  • There could be a reason population has suffered in a given area, including poor climate or socio-economic struggles

If you’re interested, towns in states from Alaska to Arkansas have programs worth checking out. Just be sure to read through all of the details and make sure what you’re giving up is as good as what you’re getting.

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