Carmel named most family-friendly

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By Chris Bavender

When it comes to deciding where to buy a home and raise a family, good schools and affordable housing are at the top of the list for many. Carmel has been ranked the No. 1 town in Indiana for young families by NerdWallet, a consumer advocacy Website.

Conducted over the last two weeks, the study uses five factors to determine the best towns. They include:

  • Public school rating
  • Median home value
  • Ongoing cost of homeownership
  • Median income
  • Economic growth

“In general, if you abstract out of those income, affordability and quality of schools, those are the three principal things a young family looks for in a community,” said Mike Anderson, the analyst who conducted the study. “If you have young kids you want good schools and affordable homes and a healthy job market so you can demand a high income.”

The study is being conducted for each of the 50 states and should be complete by late January. Anderson said he hopes the study will help people understand what it means to own a home.

“It’s one of the biggest financial items out there, but it is more than just price but also what you buy into,” he said. “It’s important to know what you can afford in an area in context with what you can earn in that area. What matters most is how far your dollar will go.”

In addition to the schools and affordable housing, Anderson said the significant economic growth of Carmel suggests the economy has done well and will continue to do well and is just a marker of stability.

Rounding out the top five are Greenwood, Crown Point, Granger and Fishers – which was ranked No. 2.

Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said he was pleased with the city’s top ranking.

“The City of Carmel believes in encouraging a strong family environment by providing an outstanding quality of life for our citizens,” Brainard said. “Low tax payments and low overall cost of living make Carmel a good value for families. Carmel’s excellent school system, safe neighborhoods, its parks and trails, cultural options and focus on good city design all complement each other in creating a vibrant and thriving community.”

Best cities to raise a family

Rank   City     GreatSchools rating   Median home value   Monthly costs to owner         Median household income            Growth rate (’99-’11) Overall Nerdwallet score

1          Carmel 9          $291,100                     $1,984 $106,071         30%     76.3

2          Fishers 9          $210,400                     $1,663 $92,347           22.1%  74.4

3          Granger            9          $195,900         $1,539 $93,275           15.5%  72.1

4          Crown Point     8          $175,800         $1,421 $64,227           21.4%  69.1

5          Greenwood      8          $132,300         $1,246 $54,947           19%     68.8

To read more about this study click here.

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