• For the second year in a row, Williams, North Dakota, ranked as the top county in the nation for real estate investment by SmartAsset.
  • Cook County ranked as the top county in Illinois for real estate investment, but the county ranked 187 on the national list. Champaign County ranked no. 2 in the state.
  • Chicago suburban markets DuPage and Will counties ranked in the bottom two spots in the top 10.

Investing in real estate can have big rewards, but also big risks. When calculating the next place to look for an investment property or aiding a client in the hunt, it’s important to consider local economic conditions like business growth, new building permits and gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

SmartAsset recently released its second annual list of the top counties for real estate investment based on the investment in the local community, measuring growth conditions for four specific components, all of which were measured equally and combined to find the final ranking of cities. The final ranking is the Incoming Investment Index, and the county with the largest gain of investment received a 100. The county with the lowest amount of incoming investment had an index of 0.

For the second year in a row, Williams in North Dakota ranked as the top county in the country for investment. The community saw a 37.7 percent growth in businesses since 2015, $664 million in GDP growth and a perfect 100 for its Incoming Investment Index. Williams also had 61.5 new building permits per 1,000 homes.

Texas was a big state on the list with five of its cities ranking in the top 10. Harris ranked no. 2, followed by Collin at no. 4, Travis at no. 7, Fort Bend at no. 8 and Dallas at no. 10.

Ranking no. 5, Los Angeles County held the biggest city to make the list. The county saw 5.6 percent growth in business and $44.614 billion in GDP growth.

Business establishment growth was measured over a three-year period, during which county-wide new businesses were considered. GPD growth was adjusted with inflation. Local residential real estate building and new permits were calculated per 1,000 homes. Municipal bond debt that was raised in the last five years was divided by the population number.

Best counties to invest in Illinois

In the state of Illinois, the best county to invest was Cook County, which had 2.3 percent business growth and $8,909 million in GDP growth. Cook County received an Incoming Investment Index of 38.53, which was good for a national ranking of  187.

IL scale

Overall, more rural parts of the state were proven to be a bit more lucrative for investors. Champaign County ranked no. 2, and Sangamon County ranked no. 3.

The most growth in business took place in Kendall County, which ranked no. 6 overall in the state.

Chicago’s suburbs aren’t the best places for those looking to invest in real estate, according to SmartAsset. DuPage and Will counties ranked no. 9 and no. 10, respectively, out of the top 10 in the state. Lake and McHenry counties didn’t break into the top 10 at all.

Email Kimberly Manning

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