Best Cities for Homeowners in Illinois

by Douglas Burger

A home is the largest single purchase that most people make in the course of their lifetimes. This is no different for current and future homeowners based in the Prairie State.

Seeking to determine the best places to be a homeowner, we looked at 15 data points from six sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau and the Illinois Department of Revenue. Everything was considered, from various kinds of taxes to home prices and values as well as the cost of homeowners insurance and neighborhood safety. Below you will find our results, as well as a detailed methodology explaining how we arrived at them.

The Top Five

Here is how our top five cities and villages scored in our three major data categories: Taxes & Insurance, Price and Jobs & Economy.

  • Mahomet

    • Taxes & Insurance: 44
    • Price: 77
    • Jobs & Economy: 74
  • Edwardsville

    • Taxes & Insurance: 57
    • Price: 24
    • Jobs & Economy: 123
  • Morton

    • Taxes & Insurance: 12
    • Price: 56
    • Jobs & Economy: 144
  • Oblong

    • Taxes & Insurance: 2
    • Price: 48
    • Jobs & Economy: 166
  • Effingham

    • Taxes & Insurance: 5
    • Price: 94
    • Jobs & Economy: 122

The Rest of the Best

The five above were tops, but 254 other cities were under consideration. Where did yours rank?

OverallCityTaxes & InsurancePriceJobs & Economy
1Mahomet447774
2Edwardsville5724123
3Morton1256144
4Oblong248166
5Effingham594122
6Alton6310149
7Altamont690131
7Waterloo785297
9Rantoul9815120
10Chester2261151
11Teutopolis1195131
12Charleston783148
13Saint Joseph7045124
14Roselle8611050
15Eureka10822118
16Pekin7513161
17Kewanee462202
18Washington4560146
19Champaign7361121
20Orion348214
21Geneseo925163
22Elgin1255384
23Mattoon1876169
24Bloomington8870107
25Coal City11216139
26Chillicothe9518155
27Highland9046135
27Lanark1967185
29Morris8139154
30Normal938894
30Robinson1121153
32Jacksonville6467145
33Jerseyville6212204
33Quincy3897143
35Paris1435230
36Galva653214
37Savanna1585185
38Moline838196
39Springfield1564129
40Murphysboro5798136
40Staunton3777177
42Mascoutah12039133
43East Peoria10617173
44Sumner1728252
44Taylorville4348206
46Rock Island1036191
47Lincoln9969137
48Albion5029227
49Dixon60101147
50Hoopeston1364232
51Bourbonnais12129160
51Mount Carmel3169138
53Hillsboro2957225
53Kankakee9920192
55Georgetown2747238
55Westchester16810143
57Buffalo Grove13314437
58Paxton7775163
59Stickney2005858
60Danville7411236
60Palos Heights1888251
62Lyons1798162
63Belleville1367180
64Bartlett13415834
64Carmi16120190
66Monmouth12842157
66Streamwood1847073
68Minonk16720141
69Winfield1291992
70Orland Park1658878
70West Chicago14517313
72Summit1865195
72Tinley Park1768571
74Rochelle14619170
75Galesburg1231213
76Berkeley2333274
76Casey4066233
78Beardstown11537189
79Des Plaines16311668
80Hanover Park2148054
80Willowbrook15118710
82Carbondale12195134
83Manteno12731193
83Marshall5464233
85Arcola8593174
86Clinton10203140
86Elmhurst11618255
88Broadview21534105
88Woodridge14319912
90Olney9145202
91Mount Prospect15914652
92Frankfort14217739
93Carol Stream1302209
94Lemont20610847
94Wood Dale1701856
96Addison14719621
96Hillside22825111
96Morton Grove19210567
96Pittsfield33123208
100Lisle10523327
100O Fallon13154180
102Barrington9722841
103Abingdon9059218
103Decatur49111207
103Wilmington2434282
106Batavia13621418
106Bensenville18116027
106Clarendon Hills1142531
109Shelbyville25149197
110Cicero2413399
110Goreville6650257
112Glendale Heights16918817
112Pontiac118100156
114Aurora16518624
114Warrenville1622085
116Chicago Heights23436106
116Elmwood Park20410963
116Galena53171152
116Mount Sterling21167188
116Peoria17023183
116Westmont1262428
122Berwyn1979289
122Brookfield18612369
124Deerfield20313838
125Arlington Heights15217553
125Lincolnwood2107793
125Villa Park14721122
128West Frankfort11125245
128Woodstock2316387
130West Salem42113227
131Franklin Park21755111
132Niles18112281
133Bridgeport20113252
133Harrisburg9641248
133Worth22110361
136Mc Leansboro59168159
136Sullivan28201157
138Benton10127259
138Itasca1412397
140Lawrenceville23113252
141Peotone22738126
142Mount Carroll26181185
143Marion8799210
143Naperville12325815
145Carrollton32130235
146Lombard15822119
147Gibson City60179163
147Neoga24161217
147Saint Charles13823727
150Waukegan2517379
150Wheaton1542463
152North Riverside191106107
152Vandalia38140226
154Elk Grove Village19913670
154La Grange Park22015233
154Newton4170231
157Monticello31225150
158Roseville79150178
159Bloomingdale15023523
159Mendota107123178
161Skokie21110792
162Bolingbrook20918420
163La Salle103127184
164Metropolis8158249
165Amboy36214167
165Downers Grove15624714
167Darien15924316
168Prospect Heights18317859
169La Harpe35141246
169Oregon149103170
171Braidwood24873102
171Du Quoin14342238
173Rockford18914221
174Pana51163211
175Western Springs18520932
176Ottawa101128198
177Ashton52214167
177Carthage46141246
179Newman55206174
180Mount Vernon10985244
181Joliet25970110
181Okawville112203124
183Park Ridge19019457
184Cairo76112256
184Dekalb22490130
186Macomb119164162
186Mokena22113886
188Glen Ellyn17925611
188Manhattan25011977
190Hinsdale17223442
190Indian Head Park207130111
190Toulon72147229
193Flora69132250
194Oak Brook140209104
194Watseka88189176
196Anna41164252
197Sidell84137238
197Trenton82236141
199Willow Springs25413274
200Riverside17719787
201Crystal Lake246116100
202Zion23914183
203Freeport16184219
204Oakbrook Terrace21322927
205Cambridge46211214
206Glenview22120744
207Countryside198164111
207Freeburg56237180
209Granville30223222
210Carlinville70195211
211Grayslake20822346
211Norridge22616190
213Homer Glen23117672
214Burr Ridge2282484
215La Grange21921349
215Mundelein23621926
215New Lenox245135101
215Northbrook21222148
215Vienna67157257
220Wilmette19622760
221Sterling79201205
222Monee244116126
222Streator152126208
224Forest Park235150103
225Aledo93182223
225Gilman109189200
227Hardin68197236
228Geneva21821866
229Clifton117189200
229Libertyville21625535
229Lockport24217391
232Glencoe23722645
233Canton132153224
234Romeoville252132126
234Yorkville25718964
236Byron174171170
237Princeton192128199
237Winnetka23824536
239Oak Park23019398
240Evanston19423296
241Lake Zurich25323140
241Plainfield25620365
243Havana135148251
244Vernon Hills22525456
245Lake Forest25525725
246Chicago249180109
247Highland Park25825231
248Oswego24721785
249Hodgkins201249111
250Forest View202249111
251River Forest24024479
252Mc Cook204249111
253Astoria172153241
254Avon175153241
255Elburn194259119
255Lewistown178153241
257Momence154240193
257Tonica138229220
259Herscher164240193

The Top (and Bottom) Five Cities for...

We included 259 Illinois cities and villages and worked to come up with available data in as many cases as possible. We used county data for a handful of data points as well. Here we explain in more detail where a few of the data points came from and why they are important to this study.

Homeowners Insurance

Protecting the investment in a home is a critical part of financial planning. Having homeowners insurance brings peace of mind to know that investment is protected. Using data from a previous study, we ranked the insurance rates quoted to sample consumer profiles in each city. Rates varied from $1,179 in Bloomington to $2,354 in Marion.

RankCityRate
1Bloomington$1,179
2Batavia$1,200
3Saint Charles$1,228
4Normal$1,272
5Carol Stream$1,299
RankCityRate
259Marion$2,354
258Chicago$2,045
257West Frankfort$2,028
256Tonica$1,951
255Sidell$1,946

Home Price

One of the data points that we grabbed from Zillow was median home price per square foot. Rochelle was the cheapest and led our rankings at $37. Winnetka, a wealthy suburb north of Chicago, was the most expensive of our available data at $407.

RankCityPrice/Foot
1Rochelle$37
2Danville$45
2Kewanee$45
4Galva$48
5Alton$54
RankCityPrice/Foot
152Winnetka$407
151Glencoe$354
150Wilmette$335
149Hinsdale$329
148River Forest$283

Homeowners' Income

Cost is an extremely important factor when it comes to purchasing a home, but there is a balance as well. Affordability means something different to each potential homebuyer, so looking at income was important for our study as well. Using the U.S. Census Bureau, we looked at the median annual income in owner-occupied homes in each county.

RankCountyIncome
1Lake$95,080
2DuPage$94,359
3Kendall$91,264
4McHenry$86,352
5Will$86,124
RankCountyIncome
89Alexander$34,452
88Franklin$43,540
87Pike$44.379
86Johnson$45,382
85Edwards$45,460

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Methodology

In order to determine the best cities in Illinois for homeowners, we looked at 15 data points from six reputable sources. Not all data points had data available for every city. In these cases, cities without a data figure were given a last-placed ranking in that specific category.

We were unable to find specific data at the city or county level for utilities. According to Electricity Local, average monthly residential electricity bill in Illinois is $87.

Another data point we wanted to look at was income tax. Income tax is a flat rate across the state of Illinois for all tax brackets at 3.75%, so we did not include it.

Zillow gave us some valuable data on home pricing and sales. Unfortunately, data was not available for all cities. Regarding data point seven, we gave a city a higher (or better) ranking for a higher the percentage increase in price.

A home is a huge investment and asset, so safety was an important data point we wanted to include. Less crime equals more peace of mind and more desirable living conditions.

Below, we break down each statistic and point to its origin. Those marked with an asterisk are county-based (not city-based).

Taxes & Insurance

  1. Average insurance rate / ValuePenguin Research (2016)
  2. Residential property tax rates * / Illinois Department of Revenue (2014)
  3. Sales tax rate / Sales Tax Handbook (2016)
  4. Aggregate real estate taxes paid per household * / U.S. Census Bureau (2014)
  5. Percentage of homes with no second mortgage and no home equity loan * / U.S. Census Bureau (2014)

Price

  1. Zillow Price Index / Zillow (2016)
  2. Percentage increase in home value in the last year / Zillow (2016)
  3. Median price per square foot / Zillow (2016)
  4. Percentage sold in the last year / Zillow (2016)
  5. Median mortgage prices * / U.S. Census Bureau (2014)
  6. Median monthly housing cost owner-occupied homes * / U.S. Census Bureau (2014)

Jobs & Economy

  1. Number of real estate services per 1,000 members of the population * / U.S. Census Bureau (2014)
  2. Unemployment rate * / U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2016)
  3. Median monthly income in owner-occupied homes * / U.S. Census Bureau (2014)
  4. Safest cities in the state / ValuePenguin Research (2016)

Comments and Questions