Are you thinking of moving away from your hometown or are you trying to start fresh in a new city? Well, today I will be talking about a city that has my family’s heart — Naperville, Illinois. This article will cover all the basic expenses you will need to consider when planning your move to this amazing city.
Naperville is not just some ordinary city. The life and soul of the city centers around three things — the dynamic downtown, the outstanding community amenities, and an unfailing aspiration to better itself.
If you live in Naperville, you will not get bored. This city has something to offer everyone in every age group, including Burlington Square Park, a historic landmark located right beside the downtown area. Naperville is easy to walk in, offers a good standard of living, lots and lots of activities to do during your free time, and the most important of all, it has amazing food.
The city is active, fun, clean, friendly, safe and models 21st century urban living. The city houses 150,000 people and is just a 28-mile drive from Chicago. Naperville is one of those rare places that everybody loves, with a long history of evolution. Likability comes naturally to Naperville.
As my experience comes from being a wife and mother of two wonderful children, this article will focus on the living costs from the perspective of a family.
The most important thing to consider when coming to a new city is a place to live. Naperville offers you several house designs, locations and price points, according to your preference. Although there has been a boom in real estate in the last 30 years, you can also find homes with older designs at an affordable price.
Let us divide real estate into three sections — North, Central and South, and take a look at houses and their prices.
The heart of the city is Central Naperville. This area offers a scenic view of the mesmerizing downtown area, and the famous Riverwalk alongside Centennial Park and the Moser Tower. The area gives you access to Naperville’s simmering downtown area, which is on track to challenge Chicago for its dynamic environment, food and diversity.
However, if you feel you need to go to Chicago, the well-connected transportation options give you that luxury. Traveling is convenient, with gas prices cheaper than Chicago, but if you’d rather save on gasoline, the city has an excellent transportation system. There’s an express train that gets you back and forth to the city within 30 minutes, and the normal train takes around an hour. A monthly pass costs $210.
Single-family homes in the center of Naperville on average cost between $300,000 to $600,000.
Moving downwards, the Southern side and relatively newer part of town went through a rapid developmental phase in the last 15 to 20 years. This part of the city is located south of the Dupage river and was once mostly rural land before the council decided to annex it and include it in the city of Naperville.
Due to its recent establishment, the designs of the houses are new and include many custom-built homes. A single-family house would cost around $400,000 to $600,000, but keep in mind there are some modern custom-built homes that cost upwards of one million dollars.
The most sought-after locality in the city is the North side of Naperville. This area is linked to Chicago via I-88, the metro, and the Route 59 Station. You can be in the Loop in as little as 30-minutes by train or 45-minutes by car.
The area has seen some recent renovations and rebuilds, and some new subdivisions have been established. In this area, single family homes can range from $300,00 to $600,000, but you can also find a range of condos and townhouses anywhere from $100,000 to $350,000.
One of the most popular areas is the Freedoms Commons. This region is situated parallel to I-88, and the community has seen a surge of developmental projects like shopping malls, and eating establishments, including a few five-star restaurants.
Naperville Cost of Living
Naperville is a suburb where people are moving to get away from the fast metropolitan lifestyle, to experience some peace and quiet. As a result, overall Naperville is 19.3% more expensive than Chicago.
Let’s start with property taxes. Effective property tax rate, also known as mileage rate, is the figure used to calculate property taxes. The value of a home is divided by 1000 and multiplied by the property tax rate which varies from county to county.
As many of you know, Illinois has the second highest property taxes in the country. The average tax on a medium-sized house in Naperville is $8,572 per year, which is around $5,000 more than in Chicago. The effective property tax rate is 21.4% and this is 27.1% higher when we compare it to Chicago.
If you’re not quite ready to dive into home ownership, then you might want to consider renting a home. Renting in Naperville is going to be 29.5 % higher than renting in Chicago. A two-bedroom apartment could set you back around $1,590 a month.
Naperville Food Costs
Let’s discuss the cost of food and groceries, excluding restaurants. The average prices are 4.4% more expensive than the prices in Chicago, and if we compare it to the national average the prices are 1.7% higher. The prices are higher in pretty much every category except for dairy products which are actually 0.2 % cheaper than the national average.
If you are someone who likes to eat fresh vegetables and fruits, you’re in luck because the price of fresh produce is 2.2% cheaper than the national average. Local towns tend to be more rural and have a lot of farm fresh markets — you can find one on almost every corner over the weekends.
Naperville has a wide range of grocery stores that cater to the demand of its diverse population, including Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Costco, Walmart and Aldi. These different chains guarantee there’s food for anyone with any kind of budget, from fancy to regular day-to-day grocery shopping.
Naperville Utilities Costs
Utilities in Naperville are actually 10% less than the national average so you’re going to save some money here. These utilities only include the gas and electricity, so in winter the gas bill is going to be higher and the electric may be down, and the opposite may happen in summer.
Naperville is currently ranked the #1 city for public schools in America, with some of the best and brightest educational institutions to choose from. With world-renowned education, Naperville’s mission is to give every child the best opportunity to succeed, no matter what corner of the city they choose to live in. Naperville is served by public school districts 203 and 204 which include three high schools, eight middle schools, and 34 elementary schools.
Naperville North High School is one of the most popular schools in town. Naperville North is specifically known for its academics, athletics and activities, and the school is ranked #29 on the list of best schools in Illinois, with a graduation rate of 99%.
Naperville Central High School is the original Naperville high school and was first built in 1916. This school has had many additions and renovations to meet the needs of its student body which today stands at 2,750. Central High School is ranked as the 12th best high school for athletes in Illinois.
Neuqua Valley High School is the newest of the three high schools in Naperville. Originally housing 3,000 students, it was one of the largest schools in the State, so although it is the youngest, it quickly earned its place winning multiple state championships in athletics and academic achievements.
If your children decide to go to college and want to stay close to home, Naperville has quite a few options including the top colleges in the State. North Central College is ranked #10 in the Midwest and charges higher tuition when compared to other universities. For example, the tuition for the academic year of 2019 and 2020 was around $40,000.
When my husband and I go out to dinner we spend $100 on average depending on how many cocktails we have. The city has some amazing places that offer delicious food, and you’ll find more exclusive places that cost a little more or something smaller and low-key that’s going to cost less.
There are more than 200 breweries in the area, so there are more options to hang out with friends, open a cold one and enjoy some wings.
Don’t forget the information in this article is based on mine and my family’s personal experiences. If you’re wanting to do a Naperville tour, we’d be thrilled to hit up the city walk, have drinks and dinner, or whatever you want. We’re here to help, so utilize us as your #1 resource when moving anywhere in Chicago, Illinois.