business

Best Affordable Suburbs: Addendum

Maya Roney

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

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