Best Affordable Suburbs: Addendum

Posted by: Maya Roney on May 11, 2007

Back in November, I wrote my first-ever BusinessWeek.com article about the “Best Affordable Suburbs” in the country. Six months later, that story has 1,015 reader comments (and counting) commending, questioning and criticizing the 25 suburbs on the list.

“I live here in Albuquerque…I’ll tell all of you, this is the greatest place to be,” writes one reader. “What about Phoenix, AZ?” another asks. And, my personal favorite: “This was the worst article I’ve ever read. You should never write another article again.”

Who knew that suburbs were capable of sparking such an impassioned debate?

To thank the many readers who took the time to comment, I’d like to highlight a few of their superb suburb suggestions. These aren’t on our original list, but they could be…

A big thanks to www.bestplaces.net for the following data. These places were mentioned by BusinessWeek.com readers and chosen by Maya Roney; Sperling’s Best Places had no part in their selection

Dublin, OH
Metro: Columbus
Median home price: $266,200
Cost of living: 109 (based on national average of 100)
Violent crime: 5 (on a scale of 1 to 10)
School budget: $6,563 per student (average in U.S.: $6,058)

“Good solid people. Low crime. Safe Neighborhoods. 70 miles of bike paths, 35 parks. Booming diverse economy. Excellent Schools. A true jewel. Never found a place better.” -Doug

Brick Township, NJ
Metro: New York
Median home price: $303,000
Cost of living: 127
Violent crime: 2
School budget: $8,497/student

“If you are looking to move within driving distance of NYC try Brick, New Jersey. Voted Safest Town in the USA again this year. Your budget of $300,000 can get a nice home.”
-Ellen Larney, elarney@bhnj.com

Troy, MI
Metro: Detroit
Median home price: $310,400
Cost of living: 114
Violent crime: 2
School budget: $7,753/student

“Why not Troy, MI? 4th least violent crime in the US, great education, and there are houses for every lifestyle: ranging from a mere 100,000, to millions. Nice area, too, located near a lot of food and shops, and great parks, etc.” –T. from Troy

Cranston, RI
Metro: Providence
Median home price: $287,200
Cost of living: 119
Violent crime: 2
School budget: $7,675/student

“Moved to Cranston, R.I. from Providence, R.I. 13 Years ago. We really love it. Clean, wholesome living... of course no tremendously huge buildings. Wonder why we never got considered.” –Jean

Cedar Park, TX
Metro: Austin
Median home price: $181,800
Cost of living: 90
Violent crime: 2
School budget: $4,975/student

“The best kept secrets are the suburbs around Austin, Texas - the most hip little city in the country. Suburbs like Round Rock, Dripping Springs, Buda, Cedar Park, Leander: 180K homes! Even Austin itself is affordable.” -Alan R. Weiss

And here are some of the most contested picks from the original list of the Best Affordable Suburbs in the U.S.:

Santa Clarita, CA
Readers’ take: “I’ve never seen so many strip malls.” “So much traffic.” “Overcrowded.” “Way overpriced.” “Kids are into drugs.”

Herndon, VA
Readers’ take: “Some mornings it can take 2 hours to get into the city. “Overrun with illegal aliens.” “NOT a place where you would want to raise your family!”

Lake Zurich, IL
Readers’ take: “The current village board is a disaster and due to the indiscriminate use of eminent domain the town looks like a battle zone.” “There is no affordable housing.” “Drab city with a puddle for a 'lake.'”

Of course, the big question at the center of this debate remains: what is "affordable"? Many readers were livid that we included suburbs with median home prices in the $600,000s. Mrs. Smith writes: “The average middle income family with 2-4 children and a decent dual income can possibly afford $150,000 home, but we also seek and deserve good schools and low crime rates.”

Does such a place exist?

Comments are welcome.

Click here to see our list of the Best Affordable Suburbs in the U.S.
Click here to the Best in the Northeast
Click here for the Best in the West

And look out for the Midwest and South editions...coming soon

Reader Comments

Buy in the Burbs

June 6, 2007 9:11 AM

I've been to Leander and Cedar Park and you are hit with still very undevelopeed areas. I would stay closer to the little hip city called Austin than those two places.

Lynn makris

August 25, 2007 12:55 PM

Of all the places listed above, anything in a flood zone, the tornado belt, west coast earthquake zone, extremely cold, or extremely hot are just not desirable places to live. I don't know about Cranston RI, although parts of RI are lovely (discounting Providence) and don't know about New Jersey...Ct, New York people always dis NJ. There is really only one place that doesn't have weather related issues that could kill you and that is New England, so far, who knows what global warming will bring. Ive lived in England, Manhattan, Connecticut, Boston, and Florida and always keep coming back to "the mother ship"...still looking, but being near New York City is always a nice feeling that it's there when you need an injection of culture.

Lynn makris

August 25, 2007 12:58 PM

Of all the places listed above, anything in a flood zone, the tornado belt, west coast earthquake zone, extremely cold, or extremely hot are just not desirable places to live. I don't know about Cranston RI, although parts of RI are lovely (discounting Providence) and don't know about New Jersey...Ct, New York people always dis NJ. There is really only one place that doesn't have weather related issues that could kill you and that is New England, so far, who knows what global warming will bring. Ive lived in England, Manhattan, Connecticut, Boston, and Florida and always keep coming back to "the mother ship"...still looking, but being near New York City is always a nice feeling that it's there when you need an injection of culture.

C.J.

November 23, 2007 8:41 PM

Providence is actually a great city - smaller than the big cities, bigger than the sterile suburbs (Cranston), with one of the absolute best cultural scenes in the country, if not blatantly advertised or evident. Great history and architecture, in a geologically stable, progressive, changing state. The only people who would tell you otherwise are people who are afraid of city life - real city life - for no good reason, and refuse to vote for anything better with their feet. That, or ornery punks who are blindly attached to the experiences they had in the run-down Providence of the 80s, and are convinced that their uneducated view of how the city works would have ultimately saved it from society.

Vinny Ronzoni

March 30, 2008 10:14 PM

I can tell you Brick NJ is not a great pick except for it being a commute to NYC and indeed has low crime, mainly because there are police on every street with nothing better to do but harass drivers and teenagers. Other than that, it is an ugly town where everyone else who has been forced out of the other overpriced nearby areas has ended up, along with the cruder element of NYC transplants. Horrible traffic, but you'd better have a car just to get to the store. No culture, no decent parks unless you consider a baseball diamond and basketball court a park. Just a (more) affordable house to live in and commute an hour to the city, if you're lucky. This list ought to just read "most affordable" rather than "best affordable."

M.M

May 9, 2008 7:34 AM

Couldn't disagree more with Vinny R. Brick, NJ is a wonderful place to live with many parks, including 3 ocean front beaches. You won't find many towns with public beaches on the Atlantic Ocean in New Jersey. There is also a beautiful waterfront park on the River where they have free summer concerts and fishing and swimming. Yes they also have an abundance of sports fields, which promotes the youth of the town to participate in numerous athletics. There are softball leagues for senior citizens and for handicapped children - what a great opportunity for all. As for the police, the crime is low and the police are visible and isn't that the purpose?

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BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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