Money magazine rated Fort Collins, Colo., as the best place to live in America, according to its latest annual list. Naperville, Ill., ranked second, while Sugar Land, Texas, was third.

The magazine report also includes a list of cities with the highest median home price and cities with the highest annual rate of home-price appreciation. Newport Beach, Calif., ranked highest in median home price, at $1.36 million, according to the report, followed by Greenwich, Conn., at $1.13 million and Santa Barbara, Calif., at $979,500.

Eighteen of 20 cities in this list are in California. The median home-price data was supplied by OnBoard and is based on actual sales within city boundaries that were collected from county and municipal assessors’ offices.

Meanwhile, data from OnBoard also revealed that Providence, R.I., had the highest rate of annual home-price appreciation, at 52.4 percent. Providence was followed by Avondale, Ariz., with 43.2 percent, and Bakersfield, Calif., at 42.8 percent. Ten cities in this top-25 list are in California, while seven are in Arizona and five are in Florida.

The Best Place to Live in America list is based on the availability of good jobs, a low crime rate, quality schools, abundance of open space and activities, and housing costs. “These places reflect the qualities that most Americans want when it comes to a place to live and raise a family — the opportunity for themselves and their children to prosper and a quality of life that lets them enjoy the fruits of their work,” Money magazine executive editor Craig Matters said in a statement.

Columbia/Ellicott City, Md., placed fourth on the list of best places, followed by Cary, N.C.; Overland Park, Kan.; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Boise, Idaho; Fairfield, Conn.; and Eden Prairie, Minn. The list is based on an analysis of 745 places that have populations above 50,000.

The magazine’s editors and writers worked with data provider OnBoard of New York City and consultant Bert Sperling of BestPlaces.net in crafting the list, and also “visited cities across the country, interviewing residents, community leaders and local officials before compiling the final rankings,” according to a magazine announcement.

“Fort Collins combines the vibrancy of a city with the comforts of the suburbs — good jobs and schools, a lively downtown, reasonable cost of living and, up there in the Rockies, an incredible outdoor life — it’s the kind of place people want to live in,” Matters stated.

The magazine’s report at its Web site also includes rankings for cities with the highest incomes, lowest crime rates, best job growth, shortest commutes, hottest and coldest climates, most singles, youngest population, skinniest residents, and cleanest air.

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