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Oswego Makes List of Best Places to Own a Home in Illinois

Find out what other towns made the list.

Credit: File photo
Credit: File photo
Home ownership: It's part of the American dream.

And according a study by NerdWallet, if you're going to buy a house in Illinois, Oswego is one of the best places to do it.

The village was No. 3 on NerdWallet's list of "Best Places for Home Ownership in Illinois," ranking just behind Huntley and Plainfield.

According to the rankings, NerdWallet looked at three main questions:
  • Are homes available?
  • Can you afford to live there?
  • Is the area growing?
NerdWallet looked at 121 places in Illinois, and towns were scored based on homeownership rate, selected monthly owner costs, median household income and population change from 2010-12. Oswego's overall score was 89.4.

According to NerdWallet:

"Oswego is the 
largest community in Kendall County and is only getting larger, with a population growth of 9.3% between 2010 and 2012. It has two industrial parks that are ready for development with a third park available for future development. Its largest employer is Caterpillar Inc., a manufacturer of heavy equipment, which employs 3,200 people. It’s also a great place to raise kids, and new residents often say that it was the great schools that drew them in. But they probably also enjoy the fact that they spend only 27.4% of their household incomes on homeowner costs."

Other cities ranking in the top 10 best places to buy homes in Illinois include Romeville, Lockport and Tinley Park.

Click here to view the full rankings.

Do you agree with the rankings?


Mike Francis February 20, 2014 at 01:30 PM
Is this a joke? We have some of the highest tax rates in the nation, and yet, this 'study' found housing to be affordable?
Ron Apples February 20, 2014 at 04:49 PM
Oswego is ok, but they really need to attract more businesses, home builders to Orchard road. Orchard road is basically a Jewel surrounded by fields. Cmon Oswego, start getting people to build in this area. It's a prime area that needs attention! Who agrees???
mom of teens February 20, 2014 at 05:51 PM
I agree, Ron! I've said this many times. The Orchard Rd development that appears to have been abandoned by the village needs a mix of businesses to draw people to the west side of town. But what do I know???
Walt Hines February 20, 2014 at 05:52 PM
Mike...I'm with you on that one. I almost spit out my teeth...and they're real. Our school system is $800,000,000.00 in the hole and we scored where? After I looked at who did the study I got a good laugh. Not the brightest bunch of bananas when it comes to "research".
Rich Ayers February 21, 2014 at 07:26 AM
I create an Oswego Market Report every month. In 2012, only 241 homes sold in Oswego. In 2013, that number jumped to 689. You can see the chart here: http://oswego.patch.com/groups/business-updates/p/oswego-homes-sales-skyrocket-in-2013. There are many reasons behind that jump...all good!
Evelyn Santiago February 21, 2014 at 07:43 AM
Oswego's median home price in 2013 was $227,082 compared to Naperville's $407,500 so depends which apple you are comparing it to. Since when did Caterpillar get annexed to Oswego? Do we get tax money from Cat? Just because some of our residents happen to work there does not make it Oswego's biggest employer does it? It's always interesting how numbers can be used to substantiate a point of view if you present them in the right light. We do have a lot if growth potential but our taxes in Kendall County are going to continue to create issues unless cities/villages can increase the business tax revenues dramatically to offset the infrastructure needed to support additional population. We have the land, we even have developments approved for a lot of that land that didn't launch because of the housing downturn but we need more jobs, more local business to generate more tax revenue and I don't mean another fast food low wage earner environment which helps no one.
Dave Bucher February 21, 2014 at 09:08 AM
It is affordable because those of us living here for awhile have already lost 30-50% of our property value...
TLC Carpet Floors and More, Inc. February 21, 2014 at 09:48 AM
Maybe its the parking ban in front of your own house with your own car, maybe its the builder friendly building & zoning department, maybe its the cheap construction practice the city allowed for the BIG builders, or maybe its the out of control theft & vandalism in Stonehill business park, maybe its all the road blocks to tell you to wear a seat belt, maybe its the vacant old lumberyard that use to contribute a million dollars a year in sales tax, or maybe the empty store fronts, or maybe its the half empty City hall & half empty golden palace fire department, or maybe its because people cant afford Naperville. Nice little town , but not the best by any means.
Evelyn Santiago February 21, 2014 at 10:58 AM
Section 8 is even in (gasp) in Naperville! This voucher program has little to do with whether a place is "affordable". Check your bias before making uniformed comments. Where is this Section 8 housing that you claim is being built??? The new 900 apt on Orchard or the townhomes that are also on Orchard?? Qualifying, accepting and actually being approved for Section 8 is not a cakewalk especially in Kendall where rentals are over $1000 a month.
Evelyn Santiago February 21, 2014 at 11:10 AM
The whole nation lost home values not just Oswego or Kendall. Prices are slowly coming back but not at the unsubstantiated rates from 2004-2007. With low inventory and still low mortgage rates under 5% we hopefully will continue to see modest gains. Our government agencies schools will have to remain frugal and learn to do more with less tax revenue. Dreams of artificial turfs more wishful amenities need to be put aside and creative out of the box thinking needs to be encouraged. The blank check that built the new Village Halls, firehouse (which should have been split between police and fire) is gone. Those days are gone and we need to deal with today's reality in a constructive way.
Kevman10 February 21, 2014 at 01:37 PM
This part is a joke! We have two industrial parks ready that we can't get anyone into and still won't anywhere in the near future... "Oswego is the largest community in Kendall County and is only getting larger, with a population growth of 9.3% between 2010 and 2012. It has two industrial parks that are ready for development with a third park available for future development.
Travis McGee February 21, 2014 at 02:41 PM
Well, let's note that the article said third best place to live in Illinois. Isn't that like being the third oldest horse at the glue factory?
Ron Apples February 21, 2014 at 03:01 PM
Anyone know if that guy is going ahead and building that 900 unit apartment complex on Orchard Road? I know he isn't get any discounts, but is he still going ahead with it?
Michael Hiemer February 22, 2014 at 12:26 PM
If you have ever paid attention to CAT plant as you pass it you will see an Oswego fire station right there... I believe that is our biggest taxing industry we have.. I have seen our subdivision explode with homes since we moved in a year ago.. People are moving here.. And want to be here.. The mix of small town with modern living is very attractive to people these days.. As for the "half empty" fire house.... I'm almost positive it was even paid by our tax dollars but rather by a group of investors who felt our town deserved it.... As for school scores..... They began a whole new curriculum last year I believe that the state mandated... And most schools scored lower... Every school district is in some kinda of hole... All of this is due to the fact of how the economy went down... We are climbing but at the pace of a turtle.. But that is everywhere.. I agree they should be attracting stores, businesses, etc to build around orchard rd or even take the space available in the old Loews and Dominick's... Oswego truly is a hidden possibility that if the right mixtures happen the town will become even more amazing than it is... Yea taxes are high and it sucks... But you want a nice place to live and raise your kids you have to pay.. Simple as that these days...
TriciaM February 22, 2014 at 05:01 PM
I'm surprised no one is saying how this is a positive thing for our community? Don't we want more people and businesses to come here, pay taxes, support local businesses? If I was someone researching places to live and read these posts, I would probably look elsewhere. So if that was the intent... Well done! I really like living and working here.
Cindy February 23, 2014 at 12:59 PM
Oswego used to be a pretty nice town until it turned into a booze fest. We have the annual "wine-tasting" and the annual brew-fest, and then there is the big beer place that you can't help but pass every time you go through downtown, etc. This sets a terrible example, giving any young people the impression that when you grow up, it's good to use a mind-altering drug to relax, have fun, get buzzed, enjoy life, celebrate, socialize, etc. And we will never get the pot smokers to understand why we shouldn't use drugs, with all this going on. If recreational marijuana is ever legalized in Illinois, what's next? Oswego's annual "Weed Fest"?
Ron Apples February 23, 2014 at 01:52 PM
Cindy, alcohol is fun!!!
Laure VanAsselt February 24, 2014 at 11:59 AM
OMG.... I can't wait for the weed fest 😀😀😀
Evelyn Santiago February 24, 2014 at 12:19 PM
The festivals bring revenue and other's outside of town to spend their money. Instead of bashing them come up with a non-alcholic centric event with like minded people. It's so easy to bash things, bitch about perceived problems instead of providing solutions by getting involved. If you want things to change get involved in something - Senior Center, government, schools, open up a business - anything - instead of bashing the attempts to bring in revenue and exposure to our town. Young people only have to look at TV where prescription drugs are touted for every ailment and are the most highly abused "drugs". More people die of prescription drug overose than illegal drugs.
missmary February 24, 2014 at 01:21 PM
I've lived in several suburbs throughout Chicagoland and also in Winnebago County (Think Kendall Co taxes are bad??). Oswego is by far the nicest place I've lived. I really like it here, and I am happy with the education my children are getting, considering it IS a public school. No city or educational system is perfect - but we have a lot of amenities, the feeling of a smaller town, with accessibility to big cities. And quite frankly, we've been pretty sheltered from the housing bust. I purchased my house for $250k 5 years ago, and just refinanced last year, and my appraisal came in right around that. My taxes have stayed about the same, not a lot of forclosures in my neighborhood and not a lot of for sale signs either. Instead of bitching and moaning about what you don't have why not be grateful for what you do have? There are always going to be negatives to every situation, but there are always positives.
GADFLY February 24, 2014 at 01:40 PM
Don't know where you live Mary, but our neighborhood is still ripe with foreclosed homes anddevalued properties. The houses that sold for$250k and up are now selling for less than190k.
Mike Francis February 24, 2014 at 01:47 PM
I assume that missmary got a fraudulent real estate appraisal. Median values in Oswego are still down by over 22% as compared to the 2009 market. The Oswego market was not sheltered from the real estate bust and was hit especially hard because of the huge kickbacks from builders to buyers.
missmary February 24, 2014 at 02:16 PM
I had three separate appraisals done. All three came in within 5% of each other...and all within 5% of my original purchase price. The last appraisal was 18 months ago (refi close now 15 months) so I'm sure its possible that value has dropped. I did not refi at the 250k that I purchased for - I actually refi'd for less.. but, I trust the appraisals. That being said - Oswego has been hit less than some of the surrounding communities - Shaumburg/Hoffman? My home there that I sold prior to moving to Oswego - Purchased in 2000 for 139k. Sold in 2004 for 305k. Just sold this year for 200k. Short sale. My parents home in Naperville? Paid in full - Appraised in 2005 for 479k. They sold it last year to move for 275K. Quite a big decline. Far greater than 22%. And quite typical of other homes in the neighborhood. Both of these homes were in new build communities when they were purchased. Home in Hoffman was a townhome built in Y2K. Home in Naper built in 2001. I just hope that when I go to sell in 13 years when my kids are done with school I get out what I put in. By then my house will pe paid off and I'll be happy.
Evelyn Santiago February 24, 2014 at 02:17 PM
Every subdivision is different and you have to look at that. Prices are down an average of $19,509 from 2009's high average of $248,093. 2013 average detached home price was $228,584. Prices started going up in 2013. Of all the towns around us we were the most stable on average with fewer % of distressed sales. Again, average is spread among all home sales for that year. We were not as bad as other areas luckily - some subdivisions were hit harder than others - some hardly had any short sales or foreclosures. Obviously, if you live in one of the subdivisions that had a high % of foreclosures or short sales your home price suffered more. Yes, I am a real estate managing broker in Oswego and the numbers are from our Multiple Listing Service. Great idea for one of my blogs!
Mike Francis February 24, 2014 at 03:51 PM
A big reason for the increase in median values in Oswego since 2013 is simply that fewer lower priced sales (mostly distressed sales) occurred. So that increase hardly correlates with appreciation. Oswego had a huge amount of new construction activity with very large builder kickbacks. Far too many appraisers missed those so-called 'concessions' and got in the habit of over appraising properties as a result. It wasn't until resales started occurring in those various subdivisions that the homeowners realized how much they overpaid for their property. Other, mature subdivisions, in other communities didn't have that problem, so they were mostly subject to the same national economic forces. But Oswego really got hit by those concessions. And Mary, 1.5 years ago was the bottom of the market and values were down by 24% over 2009. There's no way that your house maintained its value during that time unless you bought it way below market value to begin with.
Matt W. February 25, 2014 at 09:25 AM
Cindy, I hope to see you outside of Brew at the Bridge, Wine Fest, and maybe even standing outside of Tap House, the new wine tasting place, or Meijer and protesting alcohol like it is the 1920s all over again! That might be a bit more effective than typing your fingers to the bone. I've been "typing" for years that I should earn more money, but nothing ever seems to come of it... strange, huh? We bought a foreclosed house in Oswego and couldn't be happier about where we live. Our son will go to a great school, we have excellent and caring neighbors and love that we are close to a lot of convenient shopping.
Roy Rumaner February 25, 2014 at 03:48 PM
As I was reading through all these comments one thought came to me - where is Cindy complaining about restaurants serving alcohol and the WineFest? Then I saw it, the usual bullshit she spews on every post having to do with making the world a better place. If someone opens a new restaurant, there she is complaining about them selling alcohol. If someone says we need new business in downtown and a wine store is suggested, there she is again. If a new grocery store opens, it better not sell alcohol or Cindy will be there with her moral indignity. It seems as if the only kind of business that Cindy would allow if she had her way would be a chastity belt shop since that seems to be the era she believes we are all living in. I cannot wait until the Governour decides to allow marijuana to be sold here like it is in Colorado and Washington. Her head would probably explode. Now that would be worth seeing.
Walt Hines February 25, 2014 at 05:57 PM
Matt and Roy... "Cindy" is a gamer from a group called Robo Response. They post garbage on sites like these and rack up points from responses such as yours. This seems all quite innocent until you learn they also prey on children, sick people!!! My BIL is part of law enforcement who investigates the other problems this group is involved in.
Roy Rumaner February 26, 2014 at 05:01 PM
Walt, can you point us to any information on this so called Robo Response group? If they are in fact trolls then the Patch should ban them immediately but I have yet to see them ever take any action to ban anyone for anything yet.

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