Buying a house is a type of investment. I don't think Champaign - Urbana is a good place for buying house now because the appreciation seems going down or the market values of the houses are decreasing.
The decision of where and when to buy, when to sell can help you to maintain your asset or make it going up. You may want to rent a house to live in a place near your work and use the money you have to buy a house in an appreciating market.
Hai Nguyen - www.marketcycles.info