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Old Posted Apr 28, 2007, 6:31 PM
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Top Cities to Live in America

Asheville, N.C., tops America's best places to live
Relocate-America.com releases annual survey results, top 10 list

By Amy Hoak, MarketWatch
Last Update: 12:56 PM ET Apr 20, 2007

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) -- The population of Asheville, N.C., is only about 70,000, but this midsize city ranked No. 1 on a list of the most popular places to live in 2007.

Asheville made its second appearance on Relocate-America.com's annual top 10 list, compiled each year since 1998. The site attracts visitors in the process of relocating and is aimed at helping people research cities before making a move. The Web site is a service of HomeRoute, a Howell, Mich.-based company that also connects consumers to Realtors.
Below are the top 10 cities on Relocate-America.com's "America's Top 100

Places to Live for 2007":

Asheville, N.C.
Traverse City, Mich.
Ithaca, N.Y.
Cary, N.C.
Portland, Maine
San Francisco
Stevens Point, Wis.
O'Fallon, Mo.
Spencer, Iowa

To assemble the list, the site starts by asking visitors for nominations, which describe some of the characteristics of the cities, including people and neighborhoods, the beauty of the area, schools, activities, economic health and environmental health. The editorial staff then considers education, crime, employment and housing statistics for the past year in order to rank the cities, the company said in a news release.

The layers of analysis from statistical and anecdotal perspectives prevent what Steve Nickerson, CEO of HomeRoute, called a "popularity contest" among site visitors.

Though Asheville is best known as the location of the 19th-century Vanderbilt manse the Biltmore, the Relocate-America.com Web site highlights the city's downtown, where "artists and street musicians converge with tourists and locals for a vibrancy rarely found in a city of this size." The average home price in town is $265,000, according to the site, and the housing stock includes new construction, older Victorians, condominiums, single-family homes and town houses.

There is frequent turnover in the rankings, Nickerson said. Last year, for example, Naperville, Ill., held the No. 1 spot. This year, the Chicago suburb was ranked farther down in the top 100.

To view the complete list -- and read more about the top 10 -- visit the Relocate-America.com Web site. View the top 100 cities.
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