Money magazine's much-fanfared list of Best Places to Live in the U.S. each year positions smaller cities as rivals to find the best places to live according to conditions ranging from jobs to commute time. One of the measurements of quality of life is affordable housing, and according to this year's picks, Deerfield Beach, FL tops the Where Homes are Affordable list.
We think surveys are excellent ways to sell more copies of a magazine, but a "Best Places to Live" feature wouldn't be our recommended guide for homeowners looking for relocation options. Magazine surveys make excellent press events - witness Best Colleges issues - but they tend to place arbitrary measurements on intangibles. How can you measure the quality of local restaurants, the availability of cultural venues, or the visual pollution of too many franchise chains? While we congratulate the good people of Deerfield Beach, FL for their Money magazine Affordable Homes crown this year, we also came across a 2007 article called Deerfield Beach = The Riviera? from the always-funny Real Estate Hell blog that paints a less than idyllic picture of the place. Perhaps a small city can turn around in three short years, but it becomes Exhibit A in the cautionary tale of not placing too much stock in magazine surveys.
Here are other cities that made the Affordable Homes list this year, along with their 2009 median home sales price. Click on each city link to read what Money magazine has to say about each location.
|1||Deerfield Beach, FL||$67,000|
|3||San Antonio, TX||$78,627|
|10||Des Moines, IA||$100,000|
|11||Cedar Rapids, IA||$120,500|
|12||Spring Valley, NV||$135,000|
|13||Warner Robins, GA||$110,000|
|15||Dale City, VA||$163,000|
|17||Overland Park, KS||$200,000|