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5 Affordable Places to Live Near Nashville

Want easy access to Music City without the high price? Check out these affordable alternatives.

By Emily Handy on April 21, 2023

Nashville, TN Pedestrian Bridge Downtown Nashville. If you can't afford Nashville, then these cheap cities near Nashville are meant for you.
Nashville / Jeff Adkins

More than 82 people move to Music City every day — and for good reason. Nashville is the “it city” of the South and offers residents much more than just the Grand Ole Opry. The city is known for its entertainment and boasts world-class food and bars and incredible live music scattered throughout its many unique neighborhoods. Southern charm is alive and well here, and residents willingly lend a hand with their “Nashville Strong” community spirit.

Growth has been enormous in the last decade, and Nashville’s population has swelled by nearly 400,000 in the metropolitan area. Several large tech companies already call the city home, including HCA, Asurion, Nissan and, recently, Oracle. Amazon is currently building an office in the new Nashville Yards mixed-use complex. In addition, the influx of high-paying tech jobs and a booming economy has attracted more young professionals to the area.

Take it from someone who lives here and grew up here: The city is expensive and not getting any cheaper. All of this growth comes with a price tag. The median home price in Nashville Davidson County is currently $523,760. The closer you are to the city, the higher the home prices soar, with the median home price in downtown Nashville at $707,500. The median household income sits at $67,008, making it hard for residents to afford to buy a home. In addition, rent continues to increase in the city, with the average rent coming in at $1,819 a month. 

Skyrocketing rents and home prices, transportation, utility costs and entertainment prices (a cocktail downtown can run you more than $20) don’t leave you with much left in your pockets. Read on for some more affordable places to live that offer you many of the perks of the great city of Nashville without costing you an arm and a leg.

1. Spring Hill, TN

Pickin' in the Park, Spring Hill, TN
Pickin' in the Park, Spring Hill, TN / Nathan Albrecht

 Williamson/Maury County 
Median Household Income: $92,779
Median Home Price: $564,900
Average Commute: 32.3 minutes

Straddling both Williamson and Maury Counties, Spring Hill is located just 30 miles south of Nashville. The city has a lot going for it and is the 4th fastest-growing city in Tennessee. Because it is located in two counties, Spring Hill residents have access to the best of both worlds — including the top-tier schools in Williamson County and Maury County’s diverse and growing economy. Residents can also access high-quality healthcare options, including the expanding Williamson Medical Center and the nearby Maury Regional Health

Spring Hill is seeing an incredible surge in businesses, both big and small. For example, General Motors has been a Spring Hill mainstay since the 80s and recently partnered with Ultium Cells LLC, which is currently building a state-of-the-art plant to manufacture electric car batteries. 

Nathan Lambrecht

Meanwhile, the charming Spring Hill downtown is home to many small businesses and provides ample resources for them, including a co-working space, Muletown Collective. Local restaurants dishing out Southern comfort food, bars, coffee shops and cute boutique shops line the bustling downtown streets.

Residents of the tight-knit community enjoy safe neighborhoods with lots of parks, making it an ideal place to raise kids. The pace is slower here, but just 45 minutes to downtown Nashville if you want a night on the town. However, Spring Hill has everything you might need (or want!). 

While admittedly not the most affordable option on our list, Spring Hill residents have a higher median income and don’t shell out as much for rent. Spring Hill’s cost of living comes in at 5.5% lower than the National Average.

2. Springfield, TN

Downtown Springfield, TN, is abuzz with activity.
Joey Sircy/Small Town Startup

Robertson County
Median Household Income: $48,420
Median Home Price: $359.9K
Average Commute: 24.1 minutes

Springfield’s welcoming and diverse community is a massive draw for this charming city 29 miles north of Nashville. Springfield is packed with small-town charm and has plenty of job opportunities and entertainment options. If you’re looking to buy a house — look no further. Additionally, Springfield’s housing affordability is unmatched, with home prices nearly 50% less than those in Nashville

The region continues to see growth in its economy, especially in its manufacturing and agribusiness sectors. The area is home to more than 1,200 farms producing everything from tobacco and soybeans to CBD and hemp products. Meanwhile, companies are eyeing Springfield and surrounding areas for expansions and the creation of new jobs, including Electrolux Home Products, which is investing $250 million into a new Springfield factory. 

Robertson County, Tennessee
Robertson Chamber

Springfield’s downtown area is beautifully historic. The Courthouse Square downtown is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and features the Robertson County Courthouse, built in 1879. In addition, residents spend a lot of time in the fresh air at the more than 240 acres of parks, the Springfield Greenway and the Legacy in Springfield, one of the best golf courses in Tennessee. 

Springfield is not one to overlook and offers its residents an affordable option to settle down and sprawl out just 30 minutes away from Nashville.

3. Murfreesboro, TN

FirstBank in Murfreesboro, TN
Courtesy of FirstBank

Rutherford County 
Median Household Income: $66,984
Median Home Price: $429,900
Average Commute: 25.7 minutes

About 50 minutes southeast of Nashville is Murfreesboro. The city is a surging community in Middle Tennessee and one of the fastest-growing cities in America

The city continues to attract companies, both big and small, looking to start or expand their business, and they have a good stream of talent thanks to the presence of Middle Tennessee State University. Large companies like Amazon, State Farm and National HealthCare Corporation have a significant presence in the city, with more and more companies choosing to move their headquarters here. In addition, the Murfreesboro job market is hot. A brand new 157-acre industrial park is set to be completed next year, ushering in 1,000 new jobs to the Murfreesboro community. 

Families enjoy the community playground in the Puckett Station community in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, which is part of the Greater Nashville Region.
Jeff Adkins

Murfreesboro is an excellent place to raise a family. Compared to Nashville, housing is still relatively affordable here, and you can definitely get more bang for your buck in terms of house size. In addition, residents have access to quality health care at the Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital, which is in the process of becoming a Level II Trauma Center in 2024. The school system here is highly rated, and the impressive parks and Greenway system is a major plus. 

The icing on the cake? The city is the epitome of Southern charm. Take a stroll through the charming (and colorful!) downtown Public Square, and you’ll see what we mean. 

4. Smyrna, TN

Rutherford County TN
Murfreesboro / Photo by Karen Skidmore Smith/Carpe Artista

Rutherford County
Median Household Income: $70,879
Median Home Price: $449,500
Average Commute: 29.1 minutes

Located in booming Rutherford County, Smyrna makes our list because it boasts all the amenities you could want from a big city like Nashville with a lower cost of living. (You’ll especially save on housing here — it is 16% cheaper than Nashville.) 

Like Murfreesboro, the Smyrna economy is experiencing rapid growth, particularly when it comes to manufacturing. The city is the home of a Nissan North America factory, the state’s largest private employer, and the corporate office of smartphone repair company Asurion. Swiss-based Franke Foodservice Systems established its American headquarters here as well. Jobs are abundant in Smyrna; at 2.6%, Smyrna touts Rutherford County’s lowest unemployment rates. In addition, Smyrna is known for its long history in aviation and possesses the state’s third-largest airport — a huge draw for companies eyeing Middle Tennessee

Smyrna is idyllic for raising a family or for a young professional commuting to Nashville for work. Families love its good schools, low crime rates and relative affordability. And for those looking for some great outdoors, Smyrna has hundreds of acres of parks and greenways, as well as easy access to Percy Priest Lake. In addition, the huge Sharp Springs Park spans 360 acres and features four catch-and-release ponds and hiking trails. 

5. Columbia, TN

Columbia, TN, town square
Columbia, TN, town square / Courtesy Visit Columbia, TN

Maury County 
Median Household Income: $50,892
Median Home Price: $350,000
Average Commute: 26 minutes

About an hour south of Nashville, Columbia is a thriving, friendly community with a vibrant arts scene and a quaint downtown chock full of local shops and restaurants. 

Columbia residents are never bored. The town is known for its community events and festivals, including the famous annual Mule Day, honoring its history as the “Mule Capital of the World,” where mule breeders from across the world would meet in the city beginning in 1840. The picturesque town square hosts First Fridays, Cars and Coffee and Farmers Markets. Then, thirsty Columbians head to Asgard Brewery or Bad Idea Brewing to kick back with a beer. 

On the first Friday of every month, downtown merchants and restaurants stay open late as people from all over join for live music, shopping, and dining. Locals say First Fridays is the best day of the month in Columbia and look forward to it.
Courtesy Visit Columbia, TN

Meanwhile, the great outdoors are not far away. The Duck River winds through Columbia and is one of the country’s most biodiverse rivers and one of the only places in Tennessee where freshwater mussels can be found. The river is a prime destination for fishing and kayaking. The stunning Yanahli Park features 474 acres of trails and unique ecosystems for rare and endangered species. And finally, mountain bikers love to hit the trails at Chickasaw Trace Park. With all the beautiful and lush flora and fauna in and around Columbia, it’s no wonder it was named One of the Best Cities for People Obsessed With Fall, thanks to its killer fall foliage. 

And, there’s no catch! (Well, besides what you catch in the Duck River.) The cost of living in Columbia is a cool 5% cheaper than in Nashville, while median home prices here are 19% more affordable. 

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