15 Counties Worth Investing In

March 19, 2013

With over 3,100 counties in the U.S., choosing which county's municipal bond to invest in may seem like a somewhat daunting task. While state munis are typically the most popular choices, some county issues offer more attractive yields and fundamentals than their state-level counterparts. Below, we outline 15 counties with municipal bonds that feature low, stable yields, giving investors peace of mind when making an allocation. Note that munis with high yields are often very risky and can fall under the "junk" umbrella, which is what sets the following issues apart [keep up with municipal bond news and analysis with a free account].

1. Kay County, Oklahoma

Located in north central Oklahoma, Kay County is home to a small population of about 46,000 people. Its municipal bond issue is on the shorter side of the maturity spectrum, and its proceeds will be used to construct, equip and furnish a new High School facility.

  • Name: Independent School District No. 125 Kay County, Oklahoma Building Bonds of 2013
  • CUSIP: 486506AA6
  • Maturity: 05/01/2015
  • Coupon: 0.550%

2. Stephens County, Oklahoma

Yet another small Oklahoma county, Stephens County is roughly 870 square miles in size and is populated by approximately 45,000 residents. Proceeds from the county's issue will be used to construct, equip, and/or acquire improvement district wide. The school district employs 88 teachers and has an enrollment of about 1,100 students.

  • Name: Independent School District No. 2 Stephens County, Oklahoma Building Bonds of 2013
  • CUSIP: 858775BS7
  • Maturity: 05/01/2015
  • Coupon: 0.550%

3. Harris County, Texas

With a population of over 4.2 million people, Harris County is the most populous county in Texas and contains the largest city in the state, Houston. It's municipal bond issue is by the Toll Road Road Authority, which consists of approximately 120 miles of roadway.

  • Name: Harris County, Texas Toll Road Senior Lien Revenue Refunding Bonds Series 2012D
  • CUSIP: 414005PS1
  • Maturity: 08/15/2015
  • Coupon: 0.753%

4. Mobile County, Alabama

Home to over 413,000 people, Mobile County in Alabama spans across 1,644 square miles, of which almost 410 square miles is water. The county's municipal bond is on the shorter end of the maturity spectrum and holds a Aa2 rating from Moody's.

  • Name: Mobile County, Alabama General Obligation Refunding Warrants Series 2013
  • CUSIP: 6072672C4
  • Maturity: 08/01/2015
  • Coupon: 0.800%

5. Wyandotte County, Kansas

Located in northeast Kansas, Wyandotte is the smallest county in the state and in 1997 voters unanimously approved to consolidate the Kansas city and Wyandotte County governments. Proceeds from the county's issue are used for the school district, which includes 28 elementary schools, 8 middle schools, 5 high schools, 3 early childhood schools, and 3 alternative and special schools.

  • Name: Unified School District No. 500 Wyandotte County, Kansas Taxable General Obligation Refunding Bonds Series 2012
  • CUSIP: 982696QB5
  • Maturity: 09/01/2015
  • Coupon: 0.922%

6. Broward County, Florida

Boasting a population of over 1.8 million, Broward County is home to Fort Lauderdale, one of the top beach destinations in sunny Florida. The county's municipal bond issue holds a Aa2 rating from Moody's and offers a relatively stable yield.

  • Name: Broward County, Florida Water and Sewer Utility Revenue Refunding Bonds, Series 2012C (Taxable)
  • CUSIP: 115117JK0
  • Maturity: 10/01/2015
  • Coupon: 1.060%

7. Barrow County, Georgia

Created in 1914, Barrow County is located approximately 44 miles northeast of Atlanta, Georgia and has a population of about 70,200. The proceeds from its municipal bonds will be used for the purpose of refunding its series 2007 Revenue Bonds and paying the costs of issuing its Series 2010 Bonds.

  • Name: Joint Development Authority of Winder-Barrow County, GA Refunding Revenue Bonds Series 2010
  • CUSIP: 97317PAV0
  • Maturity: 01/01/2014
  • Coupon: 1.250%

8. Elmore County, Alabama

Elmore County lies in the east-central part of Alabama, encompassing 622 square miles. In recent years, the county's economy has shifted from agriculture based to a growing manufacturing driven economy. As such, its municipal bonds offer relatively high and attractive yields.

  • Name: County Board of Education of Elmore County, Alabama Capital Outlay School Refunding Warrants Series 2012B
  • CUSIP: 28976PAU9
  • Maturity: 02/01/2018
  • Coupon: 1.400%

9. Orange County, California

Perhaps one of the most famous counties on this list, Orange County is well known for its sunny beaches and flourishing tourism. Its municipal bonds hold a Aa1 rating from Moody's because of the county's large and affluent tax base and its above average economic and financial rating factors.

  • Name: North Orange Community District (Orange and Los Angeles Counties, California) 2013 General Obligation Refunding Bonds (Federally Taxable)
  • CUSIP: 661334DT6
  • Maturity: 08/01/2019
  • Coupon: 1.871%

10. Chelan County, Washington

Spanning nearly 3,000 square miles, Chelan County in Washington is home to nearly 74,000 residents. Its municipal bonds are by the Public Utility District No. 1, which obtains most of its retail power supply from its Hydro-Electric Projects, which combined have a nameplate rating of nearly 2,000 megawatts.

  • Name: Public Utility District No. 1 of Chelan County, Washington Consolidated System Revenue Bonds, Refundign Series 2011C
  • CUSIP: 163103UB8
  • Maturity: 07/01/2015
  • Coupon: 2.500%

11. Johnston County, North Carolina

Formed in 1746, Johnston County in North Carolina has a population of approximately 168,000, making it one of the fastest growing counties in the state. The county's municipal bonds relatively high and stable yields.

  • Name: County of Johnston, North Carolina General Obligation Refunding Bonds, Series 2010B
  • CUSIP: 479340QR5
  • Maturity: 02/01/2018
  • Coupon: 2.000%

12. Dorchester County, South Carolina

This historically and culturally rich county in South Carolina is home to over 142,000 people and is included with in the Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville metropolitan area. Its municipal bonds hold a Aa2 rating from Moody's and is dated at the shorter end of the maturity spectrum.

  • Name: Dorchester County, South Carolina Waterworks and Sewer System Revenue Refunding Bonds Series 2012
  • CUSIP: 258193CQ2
  • Maturity: 10/01/2018
  • Coupon: 2.000%

13. Hubbard County, Minnesota

Located in north central Minnesota, Hubbard County spans across 932 square miles and has 315 lakes within its boundaries, which attract tourism and an important source of income. Its municipal bonds, which hold a Aa3 Moody's rating, offer relatively high and stable yields

  • Name: Hubbard County, Minnesota General Obligation Correctional Facility Refunding Bonds, Series 2012
  • CUSIP: 443348CD7
  • Maturity: 02/01/2022
  • Coupon: 2.000%

14. Somerset County, New Jersey

Created in 1688, Somerset County is situated in heavily-populated Central New Jersey, the nation's largest metropolitan area. Its municipal bonds hold a high rating of Aaa from Moody's because of its sizable and diverse tax base.

  • Name: County of Somerset, New Jersey General Obligation Bonds Consisting of: General Improvement, Series 2012A and Open Space/Farmland and Preservation, Series 2012B
  • CUSIP: 834664P73
  • Maturity: 07/15/2017
  • Coupon: 2.000%

15. Clay County, Minnesota

Clay County is located along the Interstate 94 corridor in Minnesota and its local economy is largely dependent on agriculture and food products. The county's municipal bonds are being used to finance the construction of county state-aid road improvements..

  • Name: Clay County, Minnesota General Obligation State-Aid Road Bonds, Series 2013A
  • CUSIP: 183396MQ0
  • Maturity: 04/01/2017
  • Coupon: 2.000%

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