Residents who live in these 25 growing towns see their incomes go the furthest.
Big oil is about to bring big growth to this quaint Houston suburb. ExxonMobil will open its global headquarters in the area in 2014, bringing 8,000 employees with it. These newcomers will find inexpensive homes of every type, including five-bedrooms with a swimming pool for $300,000 and well-maintained starter homes for under $75,000.
During off-hours, there's a golf course and Old Spring Town, a historic railroad town filled with shops, restaurants, museums and galleries that hosts down-home events like the Texas Crawfish Festival and Longhorn Rod Run.
See comp<a href="http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/best-places/2012/snapshots/PL4869596.html?iid=gdetail" title="">lete data and interactive map for Spring
North Port, FL
Residents -- including City Commissioner David Garofalo -- claim that North Port's Warm Mineral Springs are actually the Fountain of Youth. Plenty of tourists come here to find out if those claims are true -- and some even end up staying.
Part of what keeps them here are the area's affordable housing, reasonable property taxes (about 15% lower than the state average) and quality of life: North Port recently revitalized area parks and roads and built a new community center. And residents who don't feel like visiting the mineral springs can go biking, hiking, horseback riding or golfing.
Missouri City, TX
With almost two dozen parks in just 30 square miles, it's no wonder Missouri City is considered one of Texas' most scenic towns.
It's also one of the state's most diverse, both ethnically -- with 56 languages spoken in the school system -- and socioeconomically. And there are affordable homes to suit every income bracket, from expansive mansions to beautiful three-bedrooms that cost less than $100,000.
Another draw for homebuyers: Great schools and zoning laws that ensure residential areas remain just that, says Mayor Allen Owen. The town is also about to turn a local country club into a municipal golf course so that anyone who wants to can practice their swing.
Kai Ma is a writer, journalist and editor. She is the former editor-in-chief of KoreAm, an indie monthly for which she earned the national New America Media Award for Best In-Depth and Investigative Reporting for her feature story on gay marriage and the Asian-American vote. The views expressed are solely her own.
Kristen Stewart attends the Costume Institute Gala for the "PUNK: Chaos to Couture" exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2013 in New York City.