20 years of Best Places

Money's top places have always had great schools, reasonable housing and a genuine sense of community. For many, the trick today is to maintain those virtues when everyone wants to move in. Here is an update on seven past winners.

Sarasota (2000)
Why Sarasota? This is why.
Sarasota (2000)
 
2000 52,700 2.3% $126,100
2007 55,400 3.1% $337,000


Named Money's best small city back in 2000, Sarasota boasted miles of white-sand beaches, excellent schools, perpetual sun and affordable homes. Money's ranking helped boost Sarasota from sleepy retirement haven to family hot spot, with all the good and bad that go with it.

These days you can forget about inexpensive housing. In the past six years home prices have more than doubled. In response, the city recently unveiled a program designed to make housing in the area more accessible to low- and middle-income families. Buyers will pay only for building, while ownership of the lots is retained by a nonprofit corporation. The county has maintained restrictions on development, at least in the heart of the city. But that hasn't stopped the metro area from adding 65,900 jobs between mid-2001 and mid-2006, making it the fourth-fastest area for job growth in the country.

Biggest development since 2000: In 2006 the city broke ground on Payne Park, a $9 million, 29-acre park that will include an auditorium, tennis courts, a skateboard park, walking trails and open fields.

Nashua, N.H.

Seattle

Rochester, Minn.

Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill

Gainesville, Fla.

Charlottesville, Va.

Sarasota
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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.