When you think of Illinois, your mind probably immediately jumps to Chicago. This is normal, since Chicago is the third largest city in the country and one of the most well-known cities in the world. While there’s no denying this city’s importance, there’s much more to Illinois than this famous metropolis. Illinois is a diverse state with roots in farming, agriculture, natural resources, and industry. It’s also been hiding some quaint towns, with uber-safe communities, inherent history, and cheap real estate. If you’re looking to settle into a peaceful life with your family, these eleven affordable Illinois towns could be worth checking out as you consider where to buy a new home.
Located in central Illinois, the state’s capital is home to about 115,000 people. Springfield has several claims to fame. Most notably, it’s where former-President Lincoln lived for over two decades as a politician and lawyer before departing for Washington D.C. in 1861. There are multiple historical tributes dedicated to Lincoln throughout the city. On a less serious historical note, Springfield also claims to have invented the corn dog and the first drive-thru window in the country (still in operation today!). If you become a resident in Springfield, you’ll become privy to certain food items like the “horseshow sandwich” and “chilli” (double L’s), which has earned the city the nickname of The Chilli Capital of the Civilized World. The cost of living is 13% below the national average and 12% below the state average. The median home price is within many folk’s budgets at $116,600.
This cozy town of roughly 12,000 is just 10 miles south of the state capital of Springfield. The median home price is $166,100, almost $10,000 less than the national and state averages. The median household income here is high as well, just below$74,000. Even though Chatham is a small place, it still has several schools, parks, bars, restaurants, and shopping facilities It’s a great place to raise a family due to decent schools and an overall crime rate that’s 70% below the national average. The cost of living index is below average as well. There’s a very down-to-earth feel in this community centered town, which adds to its charm. There may not be an overwhelming amount to do here, but if you’re looking for a quiet and simple life, Chatham could be for you.
Medium-sized Belleville is a deal when it comes to buying a home. The median home price is $103,600, although there are houses available with two, three, even four bedrooms, priced at under $100,000. This is a city for those who enjoy strolls parks, greenery, and nature. In Belleville, there are 15 parks to choose from with miles of walking and jogging trails. The city was named a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. Animal lovers will appreciate the city’s Dog Park as well. Residents here enjoy a quality life, especially with things like healthcare, housing, and transportation sitting well below the national average cost of living. This city of roughly 43,000 is spattered with over two dozen public schools and three college campuses. Belleville maintains its down to earth vibe with local farms, orchards, festivals, a drive-in movie theater, and a charming downtown square.
4) East Peoria
Seventy-three miles north of Springfield is East Peoria, located on the Illinois River. Its location on the water makes it unique in that it houses one of the only marinas of its class between Chicago and St. Louis. If you’re a boater, this is something to consider. The median home price in this north central city is almost one third lower than the national and state averages. With an average cost of $128,200 (although there are many decent two bedrooms for well under $100,000, too), many out of towners are coming here to purchase new homes. Residents enjoy a low cost of living with almost all basic expenses like groceries, healthcare, transportation, goods & services below the national average. Visit the local distilleries, water park, farmers’ markets, and community festivals. Then squeeze in a game of golf, or try your luck at the casino.