For the second consecutive year, the Boulder MSA tops U.S. News & World Report’s Best Places to Live rankings. The MSA includes all of Boulder County.
The annual rankings, released Tuesday, have Fort Collins/Loveland MSA in the 17th spot, down from fifth last year.
Colorado Springs (No. 6) and Denver (No. 14) also cracked the top 20.
U.S. News & World Report ranks the country’s 150 most populous metropolitan areas based on criteria such as quality of life, affordability, job prospects, net migration ratings and desirability. Data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau, the FBI, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Sharecare’s Community Well-Being Index and U.S. News’ own internal resources.
“This year we’re looking at how the most populous metro areas in the U.S. fared for much of the coronavirus pandemic and seeing how far they’ll need to come to recover,” U.S. News real estate editor Devon Thorsby said in a statement. “It shouldn’t be a surprise that many metro areas that saw unemployment levels skyrocket in 2020 fell in the rankings, but those with greater employment stability tended to fare well.”
Boulder “holds the top spot due to high Quality of Life, Job Market and Desirability scores, despite its housing affordability (Value score) being on the lower end of the 150 metro areas ranked,” according to the report.
Boulder’s median home price in June was a whopping $1.32 million.
“Housing affordability is always of great concern, but as people solidify their plans to work remotely, struggle to find a house in a hot housing market or consider a cross-country move, a low cost of living is even more important,” said Thorsby.
While Boulder maintained its position despite housing affordability challenges, Denver dropped 12 places from second on the list last year, in part because of rising costs of living.
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