"It's a very nice, stable neighborhood in a great area," said Sheila Brunetti of Re/Max Suburban in Arlington Heights. "New families are moving in, but some of the original owners are there as well. "

Mary Fredericks grew up in Greenbrier and came back as a newlywed four years ago. She and her husband, Chuck, bought an updated version of the model her parents owned.

"We don't have any kids, but if you did, the elementary school is right there in the subdivision," she said. "There's a great pool, and lots of playground things and tennis courts and ball fields."

Single-family homes there can be found under $400,000, considerably lower than those in other parts of Arlington Heights, said Brunetti."It costs less money to re-do those houses than to sell and try to buy what they want," she said.

A single-family home in Arlington Heights has a median price of $412,500 last year, with condos and townhouses at $180,500, Re/Max data shows.

Shorewood: Once a resort and fishing village near Interstates 55 and 80 on the DuPage River, Shorewood hasn't strayed far from its aquatic roots. The original cottages, updated and winterized, are clustered along what locals call the Beach Area and have been joined by new subdivisions.

You can spend a $1 million or more on a custom home, but you can also find single-family homes that back up to the river for about $400,000 and duplexes for $300,000, said Debbie Olson, broker/owner of Radcliffe Realty in Shorewood.

One of the newest developments is Edgewater, a community of 320 ranch and two-story single-family homes that begin in the mid-$200,000s.

The median price for a single-family home in the area last year was $276,500, according to Re/Max Northern Illinois. Townhouses and condos were a median $179,000.

In progress is a 240-acre municipal project that includes a town center, river walk, trail system and recreational facilities, said Nancy Roman, the village's director of economic development.

"Shorewood doesn't have a historic downtown like other communities do," she said. "The current administration here is adamant about creating a sense of place."

That's important for Rod and Renee Tonelli, who moved to Shorewood four years ago. They wanted a family-oriented community for their daughters, Emma, 9, and Olivia, 7. Shorewood's environment, with its massive oaks and the river, and new shopping centers and schools, were a good fit.

"Shorewood is a good place to raise a family -- good people, good schools and good open space," said Rod Tonelli, who as a land planner also likes the easy highway access. "It's one of the jewels of the suburbs."

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