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:
- Marseilles (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Sauk Village (Homes For Sale)
- Pontoon Beach (Homes For Sale)
- Carlinville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Watseka (Homes For Sale)
- Mount Zion (Homes For Sale)
- South Beloit (Homes For Sale)
- Vandalia (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Pingree Grove (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- 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.
For more Illinois reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Counties To Live In Illinois
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Illinois
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Illinois
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:
- Home prices had to be within 20% of the state average (Much lower than that and you get to some of the more dangerous places)
- Home prices increased in the last year, and
- Above 5,000 people (Bigger cities have more data points)
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.
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.
Carlinville is named for Thomas Carlin, 7th Governor of Illinois, who as a member of the state legislature was instrumental in creating Macoupin County.
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.
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 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.
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.
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