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Most Affordable Cities in Kentucky

Horses and bourbon drive affordable living in the Bluegrass State

By Bonnie Burch on August 27, 2017

Kentucky horse farm
David Ohmer via Creative Commons

Southern charm is evident among Kentucky’s derby hats, wondrous underground worlds and bourbon whiskey distilleries.

And it’s no wonder that so many are flocking to this quiet bluegrass paradise as a permanent home.

In addition, people can live here rather cheaply but not skim on the amenities. Using specific data points, Liveability.com has come up with five of the most affordable cities to reside when it comes to transportation, housing and healthcare for a good quality of life without the high price tag.


5. Frankfort


If you studied your state capitals in grade school, you already know that Kentucky’s state seat isn’t headquartered in the larger cities of Louisville or Lexington. Instead, Frankfort, which has a population of 27,535 residents, is the capital.

Median household income comes in at $41,401 but median home price is a respectable $128,400

In addition to government workers, the city also gathers some economic boost as the home of Buffalo Trace Distillery. Opened in 1792, this Kentucky bourbon distillery is now a National Historic Landmark.

History is a driving force in Frankfort with a multitude of historical homes sites such as Liberty Hall and the Orlando Brown House, the Civil War-era Fort Hill and the Kentucky Military Museum. History lovers can also visit pioneer Daniel Boone’s gravesite.


4. Nicholasville


Just south of Lexington, Nicholasville is considered a major hub for commuters who seek golf on their off time, shopping the quaint Main Street and living among scenic vineyards.

Of course, long-timers and newcomers alike are drawn to the cost savings with median household income hanging steady at $45,026 and median home price a bargain at $138,700.

Nicholasville wineries are beginning to dot the landscape. At the moment, there are two major vineyards within the city limits. Chrisman Mill, a family-owned operation that serves wines made only from Kentucky-grown grapes, and First Vineyard, which was established in 1799 and is on the National Historic Register.

In the future, the Lexington Area Metropolitan Planning Organization is hoping to expand walking and biking opportunities throughout Nicholasville and Jessamine County.


3. Independence

 About a 30-minute drive to the bustling Ohio metropolis of Cincinnati, Independence has great schools, parks and city services while residents enjoy living outside of the big city.

Median household income is a whopping $65,653 while median home price is a comparable $157,900.

Green space fans can enjoy the use of six city parks that offer activities such as movies nights, a Christmas Walk and a Memorial Day parade. As the city’s name suggests, Independence also presents a fabulous Fourth of July event.

As with a number of Kentucky cities on our affordable list, Independence has a well-regarded bourbon whiskey distillery – Boone County Distilling Co., which offers tours and a tasting room.


2. Florence


Not far from Independence, Florence has a lot to offer from more than 2,500 businesses, a highly-rated school system and 31,428 great neighbors.

It also helps the city’s affordability statistics that median household income sits at $52,053 but median home price is only $136,500.

The city-owned World of Golf features both indoor and outdoor practice facilities including a clubhouse and executive golf course. For those who want to take a dip instead, the Florence Family Aquatic Center has a lazy river, competition pool and two spray zones.

Probably the city’s biggest claim to fame is in the one million-gallon water tower that proudly proclaims “Florence Y’all” on the side to I-75/I-71 interstate split travelers.


1. Georgetown


Horses, cars and kayaking make up our top pick for most affordable Kentucky city.

But Georgetown provides so much more than pocketbook savings for residents in this centrally located municipality.

Let’s talk numbers. Median household income is at a hearty $59,661 while median home price is at a relatively low $150,300.

There’s a huge economic base here with the Toyota Motor Manufacturing plant, the carmaker’s largest vehicle manufacturing plant in the world, which employees more than 8,000 full-time workers.

In addition, there is plenty to do in Georgetown including hitting the links on various golf courses, biking scenic back roads or paddling Elkhorn Creek.

Equines are celebrated during the Festival of the Horse, featuring parades, horse shows and other family-friendly events, held each year in September. Georgetown’s bluegrass area also provides a perfect environment for the four-legged residents of Whispering Woods Riding Stables and Old Friends Farm, a retirement home for past Thoroughbred racing legends.

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