• Small to midsize cities could see increase in home sales activity moving forward.
  • Most of the top markets have populations below 150,000.
  • Small to midsize cities can also be good places for agents to earn a living.

A number of small to midsize cities are highly “livable” locales.

Among cities with populations between 20,000 and 350,000, Rochester, Minnesota; Bellevue, Washington; and Madison, Wisconsin, are the best cities to reside, according to a Livability.com list.

The rankings are based on data related to cities’ housing, economics, amenities, infrastructure, demographics, social and civic capital, education and health care.

Rochester received the top spot, most notably because of its range of affordable housing.


Bellevue likely benefits from being a submarket of Seattle. Its schools are also ranked among the top in the nation. Madison has one of the top-rated health care systems in the country.

MCarter / Shutterstock.com

MCarter / Shutterstock.com

Other cities that comprise the top 10 best place to live include:

  • Santa Barbara, California
  • Boulder, Colorado
  • Palo Alto, California
  • Bismarck, North Dakota
  • Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Iowa City, Iowa
  • Sioux Falls, South Dakota

The majority of cities in Livability.com’s top 20 have populations below 150,000.

According to a separate report from SmartAsset, a number of secondary and tertiary markets also rank as top markets for agents.

In its top 10 were:

  • Reno, Nevada
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Salem, Oregon
  • Peoria, Illinois
  • Port St. Lucie, Florida
  • Mobile, Alabama
  • Eugene, Oregon
  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa

All these markets have sub-300,000 populations.

To determine these best markets, SmartAsset considered four different metrics — home turnover rate, change in median sales price, number of homes sold per agent and median agent salary.

Rounding out Livability.com’s top 20 best places to live were:

  • Walnut Creek, California
  • San Mateo, California
  • Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Overland Park, Kansas
  • Fargo, North Dakota
  • Rapid City, South Dakota
  • Rockville, Maryland
  • Ashland, Oregon
  • Santa Cruz, California
  • Olympia, Washington

Email Erik Pisor.

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