America’s Most Sought-After Neighborhoods

Naperville, Ill., tops the list of the most desirable places to live in the United States.

April 1, 2006

The No. 1 factor in a home search is quality of the neighborhood, according to research by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Most buyers want a safe community where they can live in close proximity to jobs, school, family, and friends.

Where are the nation’s best neighborhoods? Relocate-America,, a Web site that helps consumers learn about communities and find real estate professionals, attempts to answer that question in its just-released list of "America's Top 100 Places to Live in 2006."

Neighborhoods that made the top 100 list were evaluated on a variety of criteria, including various statistics and feedback of the people who live, work, and play in the communities. First, a neighborhood must be nominated through Relocate-America’s Web site. Then, those nominations — along with key data on education, employment, economy, crime, parks, recreation, and of course, housing — are reviewed, rated, and judged.

Before making the list, each community is rated on its:

  • People and neighbors
  • Beauty
  • Quality of schools
  • Crime rates
  • Activities, such as museums, theaters, and sports
  • Economic health, with employment opportunities and affordable housing

From the top 100, the top 10 communities are ranked and the remaining 90 are compiled alphabetically to equally recognize the top communities on the list. This year, Relocate-America’s editors chose these top 10 communities as the Best Places to Live in 2006:

  1. Naperville, Ill.
  2. Cary, N.C.
  3. Boulder, Colo.
  4. Ithaca, N.Y.
  5. Charlottesville, Va.
  6. Ann Arbor, Mich.
  7. New York, N.Y.
  8. Columbia, Mo.
  9. State College, Pa.
  10. Bend, Ore.

"It's a challenge every year to create this list because residents are so passionate about their communities," says Steve Nickerson, founder, president, and CEO of HomeRoute, a Howell, Mich.-based real estate marketing and lead-generation firm that helped produce this year’s list. "In addition to schools, people are looking to their communities for more amenities, and these top places provide those benefits."

(c) Copyright 2006 Realty Times. Reprinted with permission.

Blanche Evans is a writer/editor and CEO of evansEmedia. Formerly, she was a senior editor with Realty Times, where she was named by REALTOR® Magazine as one of the most influential people in the real estate industry.