What is the Real Cost of Living in Saint Paul?

Sally English


From its historic Queen Anne mansions to its spectacular city parks, Saint Paul is one of the Midwest’s hidden gems. Known as the state capital of Minnesota, Saint Paul is a beautiful, historic city located along the eastern banks of the Mississippi River. With a population of around 310,000 residents, Saint Paul comprises 17 distinct neighborhoods, each providing Saint Paul with a small-town ambiance within the Twin Cities. When relocating to the Twin Cities, many consider Minneapolis and Saint Paul their top options. Before moving to Saint Paul, prospective residents need to know the cost of living in Saint Paul.

Is Saint Paul a more affordable alternative to Minneapolis? How much does it cost to live in Saint Paul? How does living in Saint Paul compare to other major cities? Here is everything you need to know about the cost of living in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Housing: Rental Prices

For many people relocating to the area, the biggest question that comes to mind is the cost of housing. There is also the question of whether you should rent or purchase a home when moving to Saint Paul. For those who want to explore the area's different neighborhoods before settling down, renting is the way to go.

Saint Paul has various rental options, from cozy apartments to spacious single-family homes. Depending on size, prospective renters can find anything from a studio apartment to a four-bedroom house. On average, it costs just under $1,400 per month to rent a one-bedroom, 800-plus square-foot apartment in Saint Paul. The typical price range for a Saint Paul rental can range anywhere from $850-$2,000 and up per month, depending on the rental's size, age, and condition.

Housing: Home Purchase Price

For those who prefer to purchase a home, the Twin Cities is an excellent place to buy real estate. If you are searching for homes for sale in Saint Paul, MN, knowing how far your money will go is essential. With an affordability index of five out of ten, Saint Paul’s real estate prices are slightly below the national average.

With a rich history dating back to the 19th Century, Saint Paul is one of the state’s oldest cities and was the home of some of Minnesota’s most affluent individuals. Today, Saint Paul homes come in various architectural styles, including Queen Anne and Victorian homes, cape cod, craftsman, and contemporary, to name a few styles. Prospective homebuyers can purchase condominiums, townhouses, or single-family homes at various price points. The median home price in Saint Paul was $275,000 as of January 2023, which is lower than the national average.

Utilities Cost

Along with housing, another significant monthly expense to consider is the cost of utilities. For those renting, many units cover most of the utility costs. In many cases, however, utilities are a separate expense. Saint Paul is part of the Midwest, which experiences major temperature fluctuations, with bitterly cold winters and scorching summers. As a result, the cost of utilities, such as gas and electricity, varies based on the season. Electricity bills are typically higher during the summer since more people are running air conditioning units. Gas bills generally are highest in the winter, when people are heating their homes. Some of the biggest utility costs include:

  • Heating/gas
  • Electricity
  • Cable/internet
  • Water
  • Trash

For electricity, the majority of renters and homeowners go through either Xcel Energy or CenterPoint Energy. On average, residents spend $172 per month on electricity per household. For those who commute, another significant expense is gas. Gas prices in Saint Paul are around $3.48 per gallon.

Food Cost

Along with housing and utilities, another important expense to factor in is food costs. This can be divided into two different categories: groceries or eating out. For grocery shopping, Saint Paul has various grocery stores at nearly every price point imaginable, including national chains and local co-ops. Some of the area’s most popular grocery stores are Cub Foods, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Mississippi Market.

On average, a loaf of bread costs around $3.60 in Saint Paul grocery stores. Other common food items, such as a gallon of milk and bananas, cost $2.25 and $3.11, respectively. For those who prefer going out to eat, Saint Paul has a variety of restaurants at nearly every price point imaginable, from food trucks to five-star restaurants.

Transit Cost

For many people moving to Saint Paul, transportation cost is integral in determining the cost of living. While driving is the most popular mode of transportation, Saint Paul and the rest of the Twin Cities have an incredibly robust public transportation system, including buses, rideshares, trains, and bikes. Saint Paul’s central public transportation hub is Metro Transit, which offers numerous routes within Saint Paul and routes connecting to Minneapolis and the surrounding suburbs. Riders have the option of purchasing two-hour passes, all-day passes, or monthly passes. It costs around $2.00 to ride the bus outside of rush hour and $2.50 during rush hour.

Metro passes are also transferable on buses and the light rail for up to two hours. For those who ride the bus often, it’s likely worth it to get a Go-To card, which offers unlimited rides during specific time windows, anywhere from seven-31 days. Go-To cards cost anywhere from $24 to $120, depending on the type of pass you get.

Average Salary

When determining whether or not Saint Paul is an affordable city to live in, salary is one of the most crucial pieces of the puzzle. Is it worth moving to Saint Paul if the salary is high enough? That depends on the type of industry you are working in. The Twin Cities are home to over 16 Fortune 500 and 24 Fortune 1000 companies.

Some of the Twin Cities’ biggest corporations include Target, Best Buy, 3M, UnitedHealth Group, and more. The average salary is around $65,785 per year. Some of the highest-paying positions are executive positions. Some of the most in-demand fields are healthcare, legal, manufacturing, technology, and finance.

Ready to Find Your Next Home?

Are you searching for St. Paul real estate? If you are ready to make your move, trust Sally English to help you find your dream home. Whether you are searching for a historic mansion or a downtown high-rise, Sally is your trusted resource in Saint Paul real estate. Contact Sally today to get started on your house hunt.


Want an agent who'll really listen to what you want in a home? Need an agent who knows how to effectively market your home so it sells? Give me a call! I'm eager to help and would love to talk to you.

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