Realtor.com, the official consumer website of the National Association of Realtors, released its study of the Top 10 Most Affordable Housing Markets and Top-Ranked Elementary Schools in the Nation.
The City of Aurora topped the list and ranked number one due to having three top-ranked elementary schools and for being 45% more affordable than the surrounding metro area.
"When searching for a new home, finding something affordable in a good school district with family-friendly features tops the list of home buyer priorities," says Javier Vivas, manager of economic research for realtor.com. "This area offer strong public schools and affordable homes, making it a great fit for home buyers with elementary school-age children."
Located in Aurora's Ward 9, the top elementary schools, which received at least an 8 out of 10 ranking by education information group Great Schools, are Homestead Elementary School, Wheatlands Elementary School and Wolfs Crossing Elementary School. All are in Aurora's 60503 zip code and part of Community School District 308.
"It is an honor and privilege to have such recognition bestowed on the City of Aurora and Ward 9," said Ward 9 Alderman Edward Bugg. "In Ward 9, we are trying to build a vibrant and dynamic community. This type of honor shows us that we are on the right track. Certainly, we did not get to this place by accident. A lot of hard work was put forth by everyone from School District 308 - including teachers, principals, PTA boards, parents and students - who worked in collaboration with the City and previous aldermen who served before me to build the foundation."
To compile rankings, Realtor.com's economics team looked at the monthly housing costs (mortgage payments, taxes, etc.) needed to purchase a median-priced home in all of the zip codes in each metro. To ensure buyers were getting a deal, they factored in the median income of residents living there to ensure affordability. Then school rankings were added into the formula to derive the national rankings.
"It's absolutely family-friendly," says local real estate broker Margaret Rowe of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. She touted the myriad parks and family events held in Aurora.
"I'm so glad we moved here 8 years ago," said Ward 9 resident Jen Mendoza, "When deciding where to go, it was predominately based on the education. I'm glad it's living up to my expectations."
The national ranking is on par with Mayor Richard Irvin's expectations as well.
"Our focus has been on strengthening 'one Aurora' as we strive to enhance our city in its entirety. Now that motto can be transposed to Aurora is number one because of this great news coming out of the Far East side," said Mayor Irvin. "It is great to see the positive national spotlight on our city, and in this case, on the growing and vibrant Ward 9. Clearly, community members are working together and putting in 100% effort for their families and the future of Aurora."
Rounding out the Top 10 Cities are: 1. Aurora, IL, 2. Stone Mountain, GA, 3. Hampton, NJ, 4. Royersford, PA, 5. Kingwood, TX, 6. Rosemount, MN, 7. Bowie, MD, 8. Huntington Woods, MI, 9. Stow, MA, 10. Chandler, AZ.