A financial literacy website recently named Middletown as the second-best town in Delaware for young families.
Middletown was ranked behind only Millsboro in the NerdWallet.com study, which examined home values, median household incomes, growth and the quality of the public schools to determine its ratings.
"Our goal with this study is make real estate data more transparent to consumers," said Mike Anderson, an analyst for the 3-year-old San Francisco-based website. "Home values alone don't tell you what living in a town is like, but hopefully by looking at those values in relation to media income and school quality, people can get a more complete view of what they're getting for their dollar."
The study noted Middletown's high level of quality of life for families, including the town being named the state's healthiest community in June by Gov. Jack Markell's Council on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.
It also noted that several economic development projects have recently been completed or are underway in town, including Amazon's $90-million Fulfillment Center, Johnson Controls' $60-million expansion, Christiana Care's $34-million Middletown Emergency Department, the $15-million Westown Movies and an $18-million rehabilitation hospital that HealthSouth is hoping to start building in the coming months.
But what really helped set Middletown apart is its median household income of $70,942, combined with the relatively affordability average home value of $264,000, Anderson said.
According to the U.S. Census, Middletown's median household income ranks third among the top 10 towns rated by NerdWallet.com, behind only Hockessin and Clayton. Middletown's average home value, meanwhile, ranked eighth out of the top 10 towns.
"Selbyville, for instance, is ranked seventh on our list and has a comparable median home value of $262,200," he said. "But families in Middletown make substantially more, so their money goes that much further."
Middletown fell behind Millsboro in the rankings only because of the median home value here is about $34,300 greater than the Sussex County town, while the Appoquinimink School District received a slightly lower ranking compared to schools in the Indian River School District, Anderson said.
For education, NerdWallet used only data provided by the website GreatSchools.org, which uses standardized test scores from elementary and middle schools to assign a rating on a scale of one to 10. Middletown rated an 8, while Millsboro received a 9.
"I still think Appoquinimink is a better district overall," said Tracy Skrobot, the manager of the Middletown Main Street Program. "And there are other amenities Middletown offers that weren't considered in this study, such as the town's walkability, its excellent parks and wonderful youth sports leagues. I think Middletown has got a little bit of everything that helps to make it a great place for families of any age."
Roxane Ferugson, executive director of the Middletown Area Chamber of Commerce, agreed that the public school system, youth sports leagues and other amenities available are what continue attracting newcomers to Middletown.
Page 2 of 2 - "That's what attracted me here 10 years ago and now this is the only home my children have ever known," she said. "Middletown is an awesome place to live, work and raise a family and the sense of community here is unlike anywhere else in the state."