NEW YORK, NEW YORK, November 19, 2002 –MONEY magazine's 16th annual list of The Ten Best Places To Live In America, released today, identifies ten metropolitan areas where Americans are moving and real estate has been booming. This year's Ten Best Places (in no particular order) are: Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco's Bay Area, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver, Austin, Chicago, Charlotte, and New York. This year's Best Places List appears in the December issue of MONEY, on newsstands November 25.
Winnowing the list from 1,200 cities to just ten of the very best was a demanding job, but MONEY Senior Editor Pat Regnier says, "By choosing to live in or near these metropolitan areas, millions of Americans have already voted with their feet—and their wallets—so that was our starting point."
MONEY editors refer to this year's top ten as "economic and cultural magnets" because they not only offer everything from good education to top cultural events and a bustling nightlife, but offer some surprisingly good housing opportunities for their residents.
To pick America's hottest big cities, MONEY editors looked at how they fared on two broad measures: The rate of population growth and what MONEY calls the "housing premium ratio," or the cost of residential real estate relative to local incomes. Then MONEY selected the best suburbs and urban communities - three in each area – 30 in all. By talking to city residents, real estate agents, schoolteachers and area businesspeople, MONEY determined their 16th annual Best Places to Live list for 2002.
- L.A./Orange County – Anaheim and Santa Ana, two of the cities in Orange County, are growing fast enough to outrank L.A. on the Money popularity index. Tucked in the foothills of the Saddleback Mountains lies picturesque Mission Viejo. Silverlake and Echo Park, just outside of downtown, are becoming a hip alternative to the more expensive Hollywood Hills and Los Feliz. Redondo Beach, just south of Los Angeles, is a "happening" beach town and more affordable than Santa Monica.
- Seattle – Seattle boasts two great neighboring communities - Fremont and Ballard. Snoqualmie Valley is nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains and new home constructions are booming because the valley maintains a rural feel, full of beautiful golf courses. On the other side of Pugent Sound is Bremerton whose school system is rapidly improving and homes average about a third less than similar spreads in Seattle itself.
- San Francisco Bay Area – Noe Valley is a hot area of town and Montclair and Rockridge in Oakland are middle-class areas that have an array of attractive older homes. Sonoma County offers small-town charms while allowing its residents to enjoy a little acreage.
- Las Vegas – Summerlin is a top community in the city with its residential, commercial and civic features. Downtown Vegas is making a comeback while Boulder City, the only township in Nevada to ban gaming, proves there is life off of the strip.
- Phoenix – Ahwatukee is a southern suburb with booming retail development and good schools. Arcadia has its own irrigation system and rows of citrus trees line its blocks of quaint homes. Encanto-Palmcroft is a buzzing neighborhood with close proximity to the heart of Phoenix.
- Denver – Washington Park is a favorite neighborhood for young professionals and Lakewood is for serious skiers. Colorado Springs is home to an Olympic Training Center as well as military and aerospace facilities.
- Austin – Historic Hyde Park has enjoyed an influx of young families and boasts a successful public school system. Travis Heights includes such landmarks as Zilker Park and Barton Springs. West Lake Hills offers a landscape quite distinct from the city. Round Rock boasts large contemporary houses, tennis courts and clubhouses.
- Chicago - Printer's Row in South Side has seen one of its landmark buildings turned into a $230-a-night hotel and is dotted with pricey restaurants. Oak Park is still on the El line and its houses range from bungalows to Frank Lloyd Wright classics. Naperville has a high school that topped rivals in the International Mathematics and Science Test.
- Charlotte - The North Davidson arts district or NoDa is close to downtown and has become a bustling community with a packed nightlife and several restaurants. A beautiful historic area is called Dilworth, just south of NoDa. Davidson is located along man-made Lake Norman and is the home of prestigious Davidson College.
- New York – Brooklyn's historic neighborhoods like Park Slope and Cobble Hill are fetching well above $1 million for a home in certain areas. Maplewood, NJ is a great compromise for city people who also want good public schools and their own yards. Pleasantville, NY is cherished for local attractions like Rockefeller State Park Preserve.
The complete Best Places to Live story can be found at http://www.money.com/best/bplive/. Visitors to Money.com can access an interactive tool to search a database of 1,200 cities to identify their own, personal "best" place by screening for criteria including weather, crime rate, taxes, and housing costs.
The December issue of MONEY will be on newsstands beginning November 25, 2002. MONEY is published by Time Inc. With a circulation of 1.9 million and a total readership of nearly 8 million, MONEY is the largest financial management publication in the world. Located at www.money.com, CNN/MONEY Online is where MONEY's famous personal finance tools and commentary meet the breaking financial news coverage and analysis of CNN Financial News.
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