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The 10 Most Desirable Places to Live in the U.S.

Updated: Mar 2, 2023

If you've been thinking about moving, you'll be pleased to learn that a study was just published by Clever Real Estate revealing the top 10 most desirable cities in the U.S. according to Americans.

In addition to naming their favorite cities, participants in the study were also asked to list rank factors that determine whether or not a city is desirable. The top ten factors according to survey respondents were:

· Affordability,

· Quality of Life

· Low Crime

· Weather

· Natural Beauty

· Good Food/Restaurants

· Lots of Things to Do

· Access to Healthcare

· Low Risk of Natural Disasters

· Quality Education

While affordability is always a major factor in choosing where to live, it was interesting to see that several of the cities that made the final list are some of the most expensive in the nation.

Here are the top ten most desirable cities to live in the country according to the Clever Real Estate study:

1. Virginia Beach, Virginia

Virginia Beach is a located on the southeastern coast of Virginia with a population of roughly 460,000 people. It's the most populous city in the state of Virginia, the fifth most populous in the mid-Atlantic region and the 42nd most populous city in the U.S.

Virginia Beach is known for being a very pleasant, destination resort area with hundreds of hotels and motels. During the summer months it attracts thousands of tourists who come to enjoy the miles of beaches, great restaurants, and nightlife. In addition to being great for swimming and sunbathing, the beaches in Virginia Beach are also great for surfing. Every year, the city hosts the East Coast Surfing Championships.

2. Seattle, Washington

Seattle is the largest city in the state of Washington and in the Pacific Northwest region. It has a population of roughly 740,000 and is also one of America’s fastest-growing cities.

Seattle's best known for being the birthplace of Grunge music, being home to companies such as Amazon and Microsoft, the Pike Place Market, and a number of other famous landmarks, and sports teams.

3. San Diego, California

San Diego has a population of roughly 1.4 million people and is the eighth most populous city in the U.S. After Los Angeles, it is the second most populous city in California.

The city is known for its incredible warm and pleasant climate, its 70 miles of pristine beaches, its parks, and its deep water harbor. It also has excellent nightlife, a thriving art scene, great access to nearby beach towns and events including San Diego Padres games, the annual ComicCon Convention and more. Plus, there's incredible year round fishing and amazing surf spots.

For you Top Gun: Maverick fans out there, you might be disappointed to learn that the Hard Deck bar in the movie doesn't exist but you can visit the real place that inspired it, the now World Famous I Bar.

4. Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, CA famous world wife. It's the largest city in California with a population of around 4 million people, which makes it the second largest city in the U.S. after New York City.

Like San Diego, Los Angeles is known for its idyllic climate and fine beaches (as well as it's traffic). It has a sprawling metropolitan center with a thriving music, art, and film scene. Famous for its Hollywood heritage, LA is still home to many major movie studios and is well know for breaking new culinary ground with its amazing array of restaurants.

5. San Francisco

Home to the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and arguably the best tech scene in the country, San Francisco has a population of about 815,000, making it the most densely populated city in America after New York City.

With its proximity to Silicon Valley, the city is home to many large tech companies such as Twitter and Salesforce, attracting tech workers from around the globe and from nearby universities including Stanford and Cal Berkley.

THere's an amazing food scene in the city and wine lovers will enjoy making the scenic drive to nearby Napa Valley (and the world famous French Laundry) while sports can can catch the 49ers, Giants and world champion Warriors or make their own trek to the Monterrey Peninsula and see how they fare on Pebble Beach or Spyglass.

6. Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix is the largest city in Arizona, and the fifth largest city in the United States with a population of roughly 1.6 million people.

Phoenix is known for its beautiful hiking trails, bustling nightlife, year round golf and amazing southwestern food. It also has a dry, arid climate, which many people prefer over humid climates. For the fashion forward, nearby Scottsdale is well known for its high end shopping.

7. Denver, Colorado

Denver is the 18th most populated city in America with a population of about 720,000 people.

Located right next to the Rocky Mountains, Denver is home to many winter sports enthusiasts who like to ski, snowboard, snowmobile, etc. Denver is also known for its beautiful downtown area and its excellent sports teams.

8. Miami, FL

Home to the famous South Beach, Miami is known as one of the best beach towns in all of America. The city has a population of about 450,000 people and has the third largest skyline in America with over 300 high rises.

It is known for being a great party city with some of the best nightlife in the country and has become a mecca for tech companies, finance companies and people relocating from all over the country.

9. Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville is the most populous city in Tennessee and has a population of about 700,000 people.

Nashville is known for being the center of the country music world and is home to country music’s most lauded venue, the Grand Ole Opry along with dozens of classic "honky tonks" up and down broadway. The city is a true music hub and many aspiring & famous musicians flock there for that reason.

The city is booming with new neighborhoods like the Gulch popping up seemingly every day and an expanding roster of sports teams including the NFL's Tennessee Titans.

10. Tampa, FL

Tampa has a population of about 365,000 people and is the third largest city in Florida after Miami and Jacksonville.

Tampa is known for being the home of Bush Gardens, many high-end eateries, beautiful parks, and contemporary museums.

Analyzing the List

Los Angeles and San Francisco in particular are extremely expensive and have a higher than normal crime index live. However, it appears that the other factors such as things to do, beaches, restaurants, nightlife, etc. have pushed these two cities onto the list.

It might surprise many people to see Virginia Beach top of this list. After all, even though it is a beach town with 35 miles of gorgeous coastline, Virginia Beach tends to fly under the radar compared to other beach towns like Los Angeles or Miami.

Perhaps that as a lot of people can work remotely and value lifestyle more and more. VA Beach offers much more bang for the buck compared to Miami, for instance, and even if it doesn't have all of the things South Beach and the surroundings have to offer it does give people a chance to live on or near the beach and create a high quality of life.

Choosing a Place to Move or Buy Real Estate

Before you choose to buy property, you need to first identify the factors that matter to you. If affordability is important to you for example, you should probably rule out Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. However, if your top priority is just to buy real estate in a thriving market that will most likely appreciate in value steadily, then you can keep the expensive areas on your list. And this is hardly a comprehensive list - there are great places all over the company where you can find the right place for your lifestyle.

Invest with Blue Lake Capital

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About the Author

Ellie Perlman is the founder of Blue Lake Capital, a commercial real estate investment firm specializing in multifamily investing throughout the United States. At Blue Lake Capital, Ellie partners with both institutional and individual investors to grow their wealth by achieving double-digit returns by investing alongside her in exclusive multifamily deals they usually don't have access to.

A defining factor of Blue Lake Capital’s strategy is founded in utilizing machine learning/artificial intelligence throughout the course of all acquisitions and asset management. This advanced technology enables the company to produce accurate and data-driven forecasting for all assets on a market, property, and even tenant basis. In doing so, Blue Lake is able to lead commercial investments with the full capabilities of today’s technology.

Ellie is the host of REady2Scale, a podcast that highlights the assets, processes, and strategies for the multiple approaches to successful real estate investing.

She started her career as a commercial real estate lawyer, leading real estate transactions for one of Israel’s leading development companies. Later, as a property manager for Israel’s largest energy company, she oversaw properties worth over $100MM. Additionally, Ellie is an experienced entrepreneur who helped build and scale companies by improving their business operations.

Ellie holds a Masters in Law from Bar-Ilan University in Israel and an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management.

You can read more about Blue Lake Capital and Ellie Perlman at


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