These Are The 10 Best Places To Buy A House In Illinois For 2019


Using science and data, we can tell you which places in Illinois have seen home prices rising and people flocking over the past year.

Editor’s note: This is not investment advice and we are not financial advisers. Article updated for 2019.

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There’s a the age old question everyone thinks about when they decide to move to a city in Illinois:

Should I buy a place or rent?

Well, we aren’t here today to solve that problem for you exactly. We are just assuming you’ll do the right thing and a buy a place 😉

And while we are happy to tell you the best place to live in Illinois, this analysis is going to tackle the question of the best place to buy a house as an investor. That is we are going to try and determine the up and coming cities in the Prairie State.

To do that we are going to look at places in Illinois that are growing faster than average, but where home prices are below average. In every day terms, the “deals”.

The best deal in Illinois at the moment? That would be Marseilles according to our analysis.

Here’s a look at the top ten places to buy a home in Illinois for 2019:

  1. Marseilles (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Sauk Village (Homes For Sale)
  3. Pontoon Beach (Homes For Sale)
  4. Carlinville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Watseka (Homes For Sale)
  6. Mount Zion (Homes For Sale)
  7. South Beloit (Homes For Sale)
  8. Vandalia (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Pingree Grove (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Marion (Photos | Homes For Sale)

The methodology that wen’t into this can be a bit complicated, so we’ll break it down for you in as much detail as we can below.

If you’re not worried about finding a deal on good places to live, check out the most expensive places to live in Illinois and, for those of you on a budget, the cheapest places to live in Illinois.

For more Illinois reading, check out:

How do you determine the best places to buy a home in Illinois for 2019?

We were in real estate for almost five years and have been working on this site for another three. Suffice is to say, we’ve put a lot of thought into what goes into finding a good place to buy a home.

So all that thinking has come to this moment where we get to spell out how we’d approach finding an up-and-coming place to live in Illinois. Put differently, the analysis will try to find places in Illinois with undervalued homes relative to pent up demand.

To do that we looked at the most recent American Community Survey Census data for 2013-2017 and compared it to the previous vintage (2012-2016). Specifically, we used the following criteria:

  • Y-o-Y Change In Population (People want to live here)
  • Y-o-Y Change In Median Home Prices (People are willing to pay for it)
  • Home Prices Relative To The State Average (It’s still kinda cheap)

We want places that are growing, have seen home prices increase in recent years, and are still “cheap” for Illinois with the following caveats:

So of the 1,364 cities and towns in Illinois, only 332 places made it through our initial filters to even be considered.

We then ranked each place from 1 to 332 for the criteria mentioned above with 1 being the best for that criteria. We averaged the rankings to create a “best place to buy” index with the place having the lowest index being the best.

Turns out that Marseilles is the best potential gem in the not-so-rough in the Prairie State.

Read on for more on these places.

Marseilles, IL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,058
Median Home Price: $105,900
Population Change: 3.4%
Home Price Change: 10.3%
More on Marseilles: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Source: Public Domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 10,572
Median Home Price: $77,600
Population Change: 0.3%
Home Price Change: 12.3%
More on Sauk Village: Homes For Sale | Data

The area that is now known as Sauk Village has been a center of activity for hundreds of years. Originally, several Native American tribes inhabited this land, which is a part of an area of high ground surrounding Lake Michigan known as the Valparaiso Moraine. The Native Americans used this high ground for transporting herd animals and trade items. Though the Potawatomi and Illinois Confederation tribes were native to the area, the Sauk people, from Michigan, became the namesake of the Sauk Trail. As the westward expansion increased during the 19th century, the Sauk tribes were forced to move westward. Annually, they would travel the Sauk Trail to collect treaty money from Canada and the United States.

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 5,881
Median Home Price: $89,500
Population Change: 2.2%
Home Price Change: 3.5%
More on Pontoon Beach: Homes For Sale | Data

Carlinville, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,327
Median Home Price: $89,600
Population Change: 0.6%
Home Price Change: 7.0%
More on Carlinville: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Carlinville is named for Thomas Carlin, 7th Governor of Illinois, who as a member of the state legislature was instrumental in creating Macoupin County.

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 5,359
Median Home Price: $80,900
Population Change: 0.8%
Home Price Change: 3.9%
More on Watseka: Homes For Sale | Data

Incorporated in 1865, the name “Watseka” derives from the Potawatomi name “Watch-e-kee”, “Daughter of the Evening Star”, the wife of early eastern Illinois settler Gurdon Saltonstall Hubbard.

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 5,979
Median Home Price: $142,800
Population Change: 1.4%
Home Price Change: 6.1%
More on Mount Zion: Homes For Sale | Data

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 7,999
Median Home Price: $126,500
Population Change: 5.4%
Home Price Change: 3.3%
More on South Beloit: Homes For Sale | Data

All historical knowledge is from the book, Our Golden History-South Beloit Illinois, which is a non-copyrighted work by Cathryn Hayes. She wrote the book to inform the people South Beloit of their roots.

Vandalia, IL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 7,013
Median Home Price: $85,900
Population Change: 3.8%
Home Price Change: 2.1%
More on Vandalia: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Vandalia was founded in 1819 as a new capital city for Illinois. The previous capital, Kaskaskia, was unsuitable because it was under the constant threat of flooding. The townsite was hastily prepared for the 1820 meeting of the Illinois General Assembly.

Pingree Grove, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 6,661
Median Home Price: $189,700
Population Change: 11.3%
Home Price Change: 11.1%
More on Pingree Grove: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Marion, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 17,774
Median Home Price: $111,600
Population Change: 0.4%
Home Price Change: 4.6%
More on Marion: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Following the creation of Williamson County out of the south half of Franklin County by the Illinois General Assembly, three commissioners appointed by the lawmakers met at Bainbridge, Illinois, on August 19, 1839, for the purpose of locating a new county seat as close to the center of the county as possible. The next day, August 20, they laid out a town of 20 acres with a public square about one-quarter of a mile east of the county’s center, but a point on top of a slight hill of 448 feet above sea level. The site sat in a small open grassland known as Poor Prairie. For a name, they chose Marion to honor American Revolutionary War hero General Francis “Swamp Fox” Marion.

There You Have It – The Best Places To Purchase A House In Illinois for 2019

There’s our analysis of the best places to buy a house in Illinois. And, to be clear, we aren’t necessarily saying these places are the best places to live, just that it looks like they might be in a couple of years based on the data.

In fact, every place in the following table meets our criteria, so even though it may not look super long, remember we started off with all 0 places in the state.

So if we’d could rent or buy in these cities, we’d definitely buy.

For more Illinois reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Places To Buy A Home In Illinois

City Rank Median Home Price Population Change Home Price Increase
Marseilles 1 $105,900 3.4% 10.3%
Sauk Village 2 $77,600 0.3% 12.3%
Pontoon Beach 3 $89,500 2.2% 3.5%
Carlinville 4 $89,600 0.6% 7.0%
Watseka 5 $80,900 0.8% 3.9%
Mount Zion 6 $142,800 1.4% 6.1%
South Beloit 7 $126,500 5.4% 3.3%
Vandalia 8 $85,900 3.8% 2.1%
Pingree Grove 9 $189,700 11.3% 11.1%
Marion 10 $111,600 0.4% 4.6%
Carterville 11 $148,900 0.7% 4.6%
Monee 12 $154,700 0.5% 4.5%
Champaign 13 $156,700 1.2% 3.1%
Channahon 14 $207,000 1.0% 5.9%
Manhattan 15 $220,400 4.9% 3.9%
Montgomery 16 $207,300 0.7% 7.6%
Marengo 17 $153,300 2.5% 2.3%
Round Lake 18 $180,300 0.6% 4.9%
Crest Hill 19 $160,500 0.3% 5.5%
Mahomet 20 $220,900 2.2% 4.1%
Lindenhurst 21 $211,300 1.3% 4.7%
Chatham 22 $185,100 1.4% 3.5%
Dixon 23 $92,300 3.1% 0.2%
Bellwood 24 $120,000 0.1% 3.4%
Itasca 25 $312,300 2.2% 10.6%
Savoy 26 $216,100 5.3% 3.0%
Braidwood 27 $157,200 2.8% 1.7%
Du Quoin 28 $69,200 -0.9% 6.3%
Oswego 29 $233,900 1.5% 3.9%
Elburn 30 $260,000 0.8% 7.5%
Herrin 31 $85,500 0.1% 1.9%
Hawthorn Woods 32 $542,300 4.9% 7.6%
Wheeling 33 $181,800 0.7% 3.3%
East St. Louis 34 $55,000 -0.2% 2.8%
Pontiac 35 $99,600 0.3% 1.8%
Carpentersville 36 $158,500 0.0% 4.8%
Robinson 37 $76,700 1.9% -1.4%
Sandwich 38 $167,500 1.9% 1.9%
Clinton 39 $79,100 0.9% -0.6%
Ottawa 40 $134,000 0.4% 2.4%
Elgin 41 $171,200 0.6% 2.8%
South Elgin 42 $216,900 0.2% 8.4%
Dolton 43 $94,700 -0.1% 2.9%
Morton 44 $190,400 3.0% 2.0%
Salem 45 $71,600 1.6% -2.7%
Lockport 46 $222,600 0.4% 4.8%
Quincy 47 $110,400 -0.3% 4.5%
Round Lake Park 48 $119,700 2.7% -0.2%
Algonquin 49 $249,800 0.8% 3.8%
Mattoon 50 $82,500 -0.2% 2.7%
Cicero 51 $139,100 -0.3% 7.8%
Northlake 52 $165,000 0.3% 2.9%
Benton 53 $70,800 -1.4% 4.3%
Huntley 54 $238,000 1.7% 3.0%
Spring Valley 55 $110,000 -0.6% 6.4%
Richton Park 56 $142,900 -0.1% 3.5%
Spring Grove 57 $306,100 4.8% 3.2%
Berkeley 58 $172,100 0.1% 3.6%
Fox Lake 59 $142,400 3.1% -0.2%
Broadview 60 $148,400 -0.3% 8.6%
Silvis 61 $113,400 0.5% 0.6%
Johnsburg 62 $253,400 0.3% 7.3%
Chester 63 $84,100 -0.0% 1.7%
Grayslake 64 $220,700 0.5% 3.3%
Island Lake 65 $158,600 0.3% 2.4%
Troy 66 $171,900 1.7% 1.2%
Eureka 67 $141,100 -0.5% 8.2%
Shorewood 68 $239,200 1.6% 2.8%
Harvey 69 $72,400 0.2% -0.4%
Round Lake Beach 70 $132,500 -0.4% 5.7%
Mokena 71 $298,000 2.4% 3.0%
Plano 72 $143,000 -0.6% 14.9%
Chicago 73 $234,500 0.3% 4.1%
Maywood 74 $138,700 -0.2% 3.7%
Paris 75 $72,600 0.4% -1.1%
Kewanee 76 $59,700 0.4% -2.1%
Lake Barrington 77 $365,400 2.5% 3.2%
Taylorville 78 $86,300 -0.5% 3.2%
Monticello 79 $158,400 2.4% -0.1%
Mchenry 80 $173,800 0.4% 2.4%
Niles 81 $265,900 0.7% 3.4%
Melrose Park 82 $173,700 0.1% 3.0%
Frankfort 83 $364,100 0.9% 3.7%
Bolingbrook 84 $209,200 0.3% 3.1%
Posen 85 $102,600 1.9% -4.5%
Stickney 86 $173,500 -0.0% 3.6%
Peru 87 $117,200 0.3% 0.6%
Park City 88 $21,000 0.5% -24.7%
Lincoln 89 $90,300 -2.4% 4.9%
Urbana 90 $146,700 0.5% 0.8%
West Dundee 91 $263,500 0.1% 5.8%
Lincolnshire 92 $503,000 0.5% 5.5%
Norridge 93 $275,000 0.4% 3.7%
Hanover Park 94 $173,000 0.0% 2.9%
Matteson 95 $157,100 0.7% 0.5%
Batavia 96 $290,200 0.3% 4.2%
Franklin Park 97 $180,700 -0.2% 5.5%
Forest Park 98 $229,600 -0.1% 11.7%
Streator 99 $78,900 0.6% -5.2%
Glencoe 100 $940,600 0.6% 5.5%

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

One thought on “These Are The 10 Best Places To Buy A House In Illinois For 2019

  1. Chris, you have missed the mark with this article. As a resident of the state of Illinois, I can truly say that this “article” is a joke. Have you actually visited this “Flyover state?” Are you serious? Obviously you are not brave enough or priveledge enough to walk through ANY neighborhood in this diverse and cultured state, where you would experience soo much more than what you pretend to let on. Your limited description is ignorant and shows you haven’t done your research thoroughly. According to your ignorance there are two types of citizens that reside here; “country bumpkins” or city folk is way limited. This article seemed like an high school student’s rushed last minute homework assignment and not anything remotely close to a well thought out, worthwhile sourced material worth mentioning. How about taking an actual trip so you can actuaslly experience the culture and residence before you attempt to give your irrelevant, lackluster advice?

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