Although we at INB have known this all along, a new report confirms it: Central Illinois is one of the best places to buy a house!

Lincoln's Home in Springfield, IL

Springfield is actually the lowest-priced location on a new Top 10 list released by The Wall Street Journal and

The Emerging Housing Markets Index highlights housing markets in the United States that offer a lower cost of living and thriving local economies. To come up with the list, the index surveyed the 300 largest U.S. metros and identified markets that are attractive but not too crowded for those considering a home purchase.

Springfield offers 66% savings on the median-priced home relative to the national level in March.

“There are so many things to love about the Springfield area,” says Natalie Dodson, AVP, mortgage lender at INB Springfield. “I constantly hear from clients who move from other states how much they love the good school districts that are small enough to be involved in, an amazing medical community that draws patients from all over the state, and minimal traffic; you can truly get anywhere in Springfield in about 15 minutes.”

Bloomington also made the index’s top 10 with an average home listing price of $339,000. INB Bloomington lenders say the number of homebuyers in Bloomington right now is noticeably high – and with good reason.

Bloomington is very attractive to homebuyers because of the location and size.  It has the atmosphere of a city yet small town feel. People enjoy living in the Bloomington-Normal community because of what the town has to offer, and it’s convenient being in the center of Chicago and St. Louis.

The index does note that effective property tax rates in these markets are slightly higher than the U.S. average at 1.2%, but estimated dollars paid are roughly half as low as in Winter 2022.

And even more good news: it’s looking like emerging markets in Spring 2023 are becoming more affordable compared to previous quarters. That matches what we’re seeing at INB, as people continue to buy homes in the Midwest. You can’t beat the low cost of living coupled with the high quality of life!

“I absolutely love living in Springfield. It’s a wonderful place to buy a home and raise a family,” Natalie says. “And what makes it truly stand out is the people; we are ‘south’ enough that you will find everyone to be friendly and have a smile to greet you.”