For its desirability, quality of life and cost of living, Sarasota was named one of the best places to live in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
The annual rankings, released this week by the media company, put Sarasota at No. 9 on a list of the 150 best places to live in the country, making it the only Florida city to land in the top 10.
U.S. News & World Report describes Sarasota as having “a distinct vibe that’s different from Florida’s relative coastal cities, with its own vibrant arts scene, beachy atmosphere, and burgeoning food culture.”
“This metro area of just over 800,000 people has a renowned opera house, a number of rooftop bars and the popular beach of Siesta Key,” the magazine wrote. “What makes the region special is its duality – downtown Sarasota boasts resorts and fine dining, but strolling Siesta Key Village or St. Armands Circle offers a more intimate, seaside ambience.”
The rankings are determined based on several factors developed by the media company – quality of life; job market; desirability, which asks if people want to move to a place; net migration, which determines if people are actually already moving somewhere and value, which includes cost of living.
Home affordability and quality of life were also more important than ever this year in the rankings because of the voracity of the national housing market, according to U.S. News.
That did have some impact on the ratings overall, moving Huntsville, Alabama, from No. 3 to No. 1 on the list, despite it having a lower desirability ranking on the lower side of the 150 places ranked.
Despite Sarasota’s skyrocketing housing costs, it stayed in the same spot – ninth place – as last year.
Other Florida cities on the list included Naples (No. 12), Melbourne (No. 20), Jacksonville (No. 24), Tampa (No. 39), Pensacola (No. 44), Daytona Beach (No. 68), Port St. Lucie (No. 78), Ocala (No. 91), Fort Myers (No. 100), Tallahassee (No. 110), Lakeland (No. 113), Orlando (No. 118) and Miami (No. 137).
Just last month, Sarasota was also ranked by the magazine as the No. 1 place to retire in the U.S. for the second year in a row. It’s also the third fastest-growing place in the country, according to the magazine.
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