Key Takeaways:

  • Among the top 100 suburbs for premier living, Crystal Lake, Illinois, offers the lowest home price tags, approx. $302K
  • West Coast suburbs claim the highest house prices
  • Among the best suburbs in Florida, Venice has the lowest home prices, roughly $424K
  • 76% of the top 100 suburbs have higher home prices than the principal city in their metro areas

Suburbia has been gaining more appeal over city living in recent times – and it’s for a variety of reasons. Whether looking for bigger homes with more yard space, better schools or more relaxed surroundings in lower-density neighborhoods, people get all of that and much more in the suburbs these days. But suburban living does not come cheap, especially when you are seeking to settle down in one of the country’s premier suburbs where you get easy access to quality housing, safe neighborhoods, a vibrant shopping and dining scene and good outdoor recreation options.

Largely affected by the renewed interest in suburban living, the housing market is red hot in many of the country’s suburbs. In fact, according to our recent analysis of home prices in the 100 best suburbs in the U.S., 76% are more expensive than principal cities in the same metro area. Overall, the typical home in the U.S. costs $331,530, based on data from the Zillow Home Value Index. Looking at only the 100 best suburbs, the average cost of a home is $848,880.

To find out where premier living is actually affordable, we zoomed in on the 100 best suburbs ranking them from the lowest to the highest house prices.

How much does premier suburban living cost? CA dominates the list of the most expensive places for suburban lifestyles

San Jose suburbs are only challenged by other Californian hotspots in claiming the highest home prices in the nation. Palo Alto, one of the most hyped suburbs in the Bay Area, boasts an average home value of $3.8M, the highest among the top 100 suburbs for amenity-rich lifestyles. Newport Beach and Laguna Beach in the LA metro area offer equally enticing living environments with a similar price tag, roughly $3M.

There are a few (pleasant) surprises when looking for a premier place to move to without breaking the bank – if you’re willing to sacrifice living on the coast, that is.

For example, homes in Southlake, a top suburb in Dallas, are almost a third of the price of those in LA’s Laguna Beach ($1.1M vs. $3M). Featuring a more affordable housing market, a lower overall cost of living as well as a strong employment sector, the California to Texas route is in fact one of the busiest relocation routes in the US, with 190 former Californians heading to the Lone Star State per day.

Following another busy relocation route, New Jersey to Florida, the story is similar. Homes in Lake Mary ($432K), a suburb in the Greater Orlando metropolitan area, are around two and a half times less costly than those in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey ($1.2M).

Top suburbs where you can pay less for amenity-rich living: Chicago’s suburbs steal the national spotlight

The Midwest has more than one feather in its cap. It’s home to the most neighborly communities in the U.S. and its housing market is a lot friendlier than many sought-after relocation destinations across the country. Among the 100 best suburbs in the US, the Chicago metro area dominates the lower-priced end of the ranking.

Crystal Lake, Illinois, has our study’s most affordable homes (approx. $301,750), not only in the Chicago metro area but also across the nation. Located in the northwest of Chicago, Crystal Lake is a pleasant, safe suburb boasting a variety of architectural styles and friendly communities. 77% of the local housing stock is made up of single family homes with nice yards, catering primarily to family lifestyles and those who seek a slower pace of life. But the city is also home to a vibrant downtown with plenty of shopping and entertainment venues for anyone to enjoy. For those who relocate to the area, the self storage sector offers plenty of options that make moving in a breeze. Rents for storage units in Crystal Lake range around $100/month, significantly lower than the Chicago average ($133/month).

Following closely behind Crystal Lake, Chicago’s Algonquin and Elk Grove Village boast our study’s second- and third-most affordable home prices – $331,260 and $331,340, respectively. Both suburbs are located northwest of Chicago and mirror many of the qualities that make Crystal Lake a good place to buy a home: a tight-knit and friendly community, great schools, safety and more. Exploring the outdoors is easy here. You can boat or water-ski, golf or simply enjoy a relaxing day in one of the pleasant local parks.

The South is also home to premier suburbs, and without the high costs traditionally associated with first-class living. Snellville, Georgia, for one – a suburb of Atlanta – comes with attractive price tags and a vibrant local scene. On average, a home here is priced at around $335,540. This bustling suburb comes with plenty of small-town charm only amplified by the numerous events and festivals that bring the community together. With a slogan such as “where everybody is somebody,” Snellville is shaping up to be a welcoming community, a testament to southern hospitality that offers a great mix of lifestyle amenities, good schools and a low crime rate. Additionally, Snellville homes are slightly cheaper than in Atlanta proper where home values range around $395,100.

While Southlake, Texas, came first on our list of best suburbs for city-like amenities, living there doesn’t necessarily come cheap. Rockwall, on the other hand, provides more bang for the Texas buck as the suburb came first statewide for providing excellent lifestyle amenities and lower home prices. The price for a home is about $431,630 in Rockwall, much lower than in Southlake where homes are over $1M. Only 25 miles away from Dallas, Rockwall is a highly desirable area to live in. It is family friendly not only in terms of housing options but also when it comes to community offerings. Rockwall puts on concerts, festivals and child-friendly events and classes year-round, and there is also a lot of green space to enjoy. Moreover, proximity to Lake Ray Hubbard is a plus if you enjoy activities on or beside the water.

Venice stands out as the most budget-friendly suburb for premier living in Florida

Florida’s beach towns are generally expensive places to live but there are some communities that still offer the best of suburban living at affordable prices.

If you’re looking for a little sunny weather coupled with a location that offers premier living for less, Venice, Florida, is the place to be. A suburb of the North Port Sarasota metro area, Venice is one of the most acclaimed places in Florida. It’s one of the popular snowbirding destinations, a notable retirement hotspot, and Florida’s 2nd most livable city. The area’s appeal has recently propelled home price increases in a market that’s been historically affordable. On average, it costs $424,170 to buy a home here, more expensive than in the city of North Port where home prices currently sit around $342,250. However, compared to other suburbs, Venice still offers homes at much lower prices. Boca Raton has home prices that range around $510,200, whereas a home in Laguna Beach, a Californian suburb, can reach a whopping $3 million on average.

Besides Venice, Florida is well represented on the list of best suburbs combining premier living with lower home prices, as St. Augustine also made the cut. Buying a home here costs you about $427,300 on average. It may be more expensive than Jacksonville ($279,700), but St. Augustine is well worth it.

On the street in the city St. Augustine, FL
On the street in the city of St. Augustine, Florida

It’s one of the oldest cities in the nation and it offers a special ambiance created by the perfect combination of old and new. It features cobblestone streets, historic neighborhoods, and little cottages that give the place a unique vibe. If you choose to buy a home here, you could also find gated communities equipped with all the bells and whistles or a great neighborhood that’s close to the downtown area.

The suburbs have been rapidly gaining ground compared to cities, with only one in five U.S. adults claiming to prefer living in a city, and more people going for the suburbs. In fact, per a 2021 Pew Research Center survey, the share of Americans who said they would want to live in the suburbs saw an increase — from 42% to 46% — during the past three years.

Low inventories and homebuying have indeed made suburban living a less attainable dream but there are a few hidden gems around the US, even for those with slimmer budgets. Many suburbs concentrated around large metros in the Midwest, the South and Southeast offer great amenities and lower-priced homes.

Methodology

This analysis was done by StorageCafe, an online platform that provides storage unit listings across the nation.

Our findings are based on our previous study looking at the 100 best suburbs for premier living. We used this list to gauge which suburbs have the most affordable home prices.

For data on home prices, we turned to the latest Zillow Home Value Index, released in March 2022.

Fair use and distribution

This study serves as a resource for the general public on issues of common interest and should not be regarded as investment advice. The data is true to the best of our knowledge but may change if amendments to it are made. We agree to the distribution of this content but we do require a mention in return for attribution purposes.

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Author

Mirela is a creative writer for StorageCafe. With an academic background in English and translation, Mirela now covers a range of topics including real estate trends, lifestyle and economy. Her previous experience in proofreading academic articles has inspired Mirela to choose a writing career path. In her free time, Mirela enjoys reading, but also hiking and creating art. You can contact Mirela via email.

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