The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Study: Newton in top 20 of 'most affordable suburbs'

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  • By Chad Frey
    Newton Kansan
    Newton has made a top 20 list — one of the Movoto Real Estate's Most Affordable Suburbs.
    "People in Newton should be proud," said Travis Swarie, Public Relations for Movoto "… Being in the top 20 is a good thing, we did 139 cities and being in the top 20 is something to be proud about."
    Newton tied with Hutchinson for 18th in the nation. Derby just missed the top 10 — ranked 12th. Midwest City and Moore, Okla., were ranked first and second overall. The rankings evaluated 139 cities from across the nation.
    Movoto evaluated three communities each from a number of different metro areas — including the Wichita Metropolitan Statistical Area, of which Newton is a member.
    The group surveyed 139 suburbs in total, which comprise the largest suburbs of the 50 largest cities in the country. Data was taken from from the U.S. Census, and each suburb was rated one to 139 in each individual criteria, with one being the best possible score. The group then averaged the individual criteria scores to arrive at an overall one to 139 score. This score determined each overall ranking.
    Newton's overall score — called a "Big Deal Score" — was 31.38. The top score was 21.13.
    The highest ranking achieved by Newton was in the area of cost of food — where Newton finished 10th. Newton just missed the top 10 with an 11th place rank in cost of living.
    Newton ranked in the top 20 of one other indicator — finishing 16th in home affordability.
    "We have to celebrate that we are in this category and we are a great place to live," said Pam Stevens, director of the Newton Area Chamber of Commerce. "I think this can help us move forward. When we are recruiting business and families we can use this as a recruiting tool."
    The lowest score came from the area of income tax at 74 — a ranking shared with Derby and Hutchinson. Newton also scored lower in property tax rankings, hitting 63.
    "If those changed to better numbers, you would move up. Everything else is very good — especially the cost of food and living," Swarie said. "Even though you have a low tax rank, the cost of living is pretty affordable. … We know that just one of these criteria doesn't mean a place is affordable — we did seven rankings to look at it overall."
    The full top 50 rankings are online at http://www.movoto.com/blog/real-estate-and-more/most-affordable-suburbs/
    Newton's Rankings
    Overall 18
    Cost of living 11
    Cost of food 10
    Utilities 27
    Page 2 of 2 - Home affordability 16
    Property tax 63
    Sales Tax 49
    Income tax 74
    Overall score 31.38
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