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updated: 2/25/2014 6:08 PM

Huntley best spot for homeownership, study says

Huntley named the best community in Illinois to own a home

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  • The village of Huntley has changed dramatically in the past decade, and not just with a new welcome sign at Main Street and Route 47. The village ranked No. 1 on NerdWallet.com's list of best places for homeownership in Illinois.

       The village of Huntley has changed dramatically in the past decade, and not just with a new welcome sign at Main Street and Route 47. The village ranked No. 1 on NerdWallet.com's list of best places for homeownership in Illinois.
    Christopher Hankins | Staff Photographer

  • Newer homes along Donahue Drive highlight the building boom that has helped Huntley in recent years. The village ranked No. 1 on NerdWallet.com's list of best places for homeownership in Illinois.

       Newer homes along Donahue Drive highlight the building boom that has helped Huntley in recent years. The village ranked No. 1 on NerdWallet.com's list of best places for homeownership in Illinois.
    Christopher Hankins | Staff Photographer

  • Despite the expansion of Route 47 and growth on the north and south ends of the village, Huntley's downtown retains its charm and local flavor. The village ranked No. 1 on a website's list of best places for homeownership in Illinois.

       Despite the expansion of Route 47 and growth on the north and south ends of the village, Huntley's downtown retains its charm and local flavor. The village ranked No. 1 on a website's list of best places for homeownership in Illinois.
    Christopher Hankins | Staff Photographer

  • Looking across a wetland at a subdivision on Huntley's north end, north of Reed Road.

       Looking across a wetland at a subdivision on Huntley's north end, north of Reed Road.
    Christopher Hankins | Staff Photographer

  • Retail continues to expand along the Route 47 corridor on the south end of Huntley.

       Retail continues to expand along the Route 47 corridor on the south end of Huntley.
    Christopher Hankins | Staff Photographer

 
 

Homebuyers looking to plant roots in the suburbs might want to consider Huntley, which has been named the No. 1 place in Illinois for homeownership by a consumer finance website.

The village's homeownership rate is 93.5 percent and it is among the fastest-growing communities in the Chicago area with the highest growth rate, according to analyst Maggie Clark of NerdWallet.com.

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The San Francisco-based website looked at 121 communities in Illinois with a population of more than 20,000 to determine which are the best for homebuyers based on the following criteria: availability of homes; whether people can afford to live there; and if the area is growing.

Algonquin, Bartlett, Lake in the Hills, Romeoville and South Elgin also made NerdWallet's top 10 list of the best places to own a home.

"We're really very honored," said Vic Narusis, Huntley business recruitment coordinator. "This isn't the first award we've received from them. Last year, we were named one of the top 10 best cities for small families by NerdWallet."

Narusis said the recognition was entirely unsolicited and came as a surprise.

Clark said the website researches consumer financial products, such as mortgages, bank accounts and credit cards, and conducts cost-of-living studies using census data.

"Huntley has the highest homeownership rate on our list," Clark said. "Of the homes in the city, 93.5 percent of them are owned rather than rented. That's pretty strong. It also was pretty affordable."

Homeowner costs were 34.5 percent of the median household income, which is slightly higher than in other towns on the list. But the population growth outweighed the affordability, Clark said.

Huntley is among the top 20 communities on NerdWallet's list with a population growth of 12.4 percent between 2010 and 2012.

"It was the fastest-growing on our top 20 list," Clark said. "It just signals to homebuyers that other people are moving to the city too ... that there is something that is drawing people to the town and that the town can support new residents. It's a pretty stable place, and people are investing and sticking around. It's not transient."

The website also looked at the top employers in the area and noted that Huntley has a number of relatively large employers in town. Those include Centegra Health System, which is building a new hospital, Dean's Dairy and Weber Stephens, a manufacturer of gas and charcoal grills.

The village's taxes also are among the lowest in the suburbs, according to the website.

Another consideration was Huntley's low crime rate, which has declined in the past year, Narusis said.

"Cities with high crime rates were excluded from being eligible," Narusis said.

Narusis said the recognition is a testament to the cooperative work of all the governing bodies in the area.

"It makes us unique," Narusis said. "The houses wouldn't be affordable, if those taxing bodies didn't work cooperatively to be as efficient as they could. It's absolutely a collaborative effort. It was not an accident that this happened in Huntley. It's the efforts of a lot of people over a lot of time."

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