Thinking of Settling Down in Rolla? Here’s What You Need to Know

Rolla, Missouri, offers a small-town feel with big-city amenities. Located in the Ozark foothills, this charming community features parks, a historic downtown, two innovation-driving universities, cultural events, affordable living costs, and abundant outdoor recreation. For those considering settling down, Rolla’s strong sense of community, career opportunities, and high quality of life make it an attractive place to call home, says Rolla MO real estate agent Katherine

Stanislawski. Here are some key things you should factor into your decision:

Cost of living

One of the main appeals of Rolla is its very reasonable cost of living compared to the national average. The housing is quite affordable, whether you’re looking to rent or buy. The median home price and average rent are well below figures for most U.S. cities. When budgeting monthly expenses like groceries, utilities, transportation, and healthcare, the costs are lower than in many other places.

Economy and jobs

While the economy in Rolla revolves around manufacturing, education, and healthcare, job opportunities can be limited compared to larger cities. The town’s major employer is the Missouri University of Science and Technology. Other top industries include Phelps County Regional Medical Center and Rolla Public Schools. Unemployment is usually low. The pay is decent for the region, but salaries are below national levels.


Rolla Public Schools test scores and graduation rates exceed the Missouri state averages. Missouri S&T is located in town for access to higher education and research opportunities. The university offers degrees in sciences, technology, engineering, and math.

Things to do

Don’t let the small-town vibe fool you. Rolla offers plenty of things to experience. Take in the local arts and music scene, explore the farmer’s market, attend one of the many annual community festivals, or enjoy the beautiful parks for outdoor enthusiasts, rock climbing, hiking trails, caving, fishing, and floating on the river. Sports fans have collegiate games to cheer on. History buffs will appreciate the railroad attractions. Those seeking city amenities can take easy day trips to Springfield or St. Louis.

Crime and safety

Rolla enjoys an exceptionally high rating for safety. Violent and property crime rates remain well below national figures. The police department strives to be highly responsive to protecting citizens. Neighborhoods are considered peaceful and friendly. The area offers a secure environment for raising a family.

Buying a home in Rolla

Rolla is an affordable place to buy a home. Missouri S&T is the major employer in town, leading to modest-sized houses or condos in the 1960s-1980s ranch style, with home prices ranging from $100,000 to $250,000. Lower-priced homes may need renovations. Newer neighborhoods feature amenities like community pools and walking trails. Rolla offers good value for home buyers looking for a smaller college town with reasonable pricing.

Rolla real estate

The presence of the Missouri University of Science and Technology drives Rolla’s real estate market. The housing demand comes primarily from university students, faculty, and staff. Most homes for sale are in the town’s east and downtown areas, within walking or short driving distance of the campus. Rental properties also cluster near campus to cater to students. Non-student buyers also value Rolla property’s proximity to outdoor recreation areas like the Mark Twain National Forest and the Ozark Mountains.