17 is better than 1

“Being No. 1 is not all it’s cracked up to be. Charlottesville, Va., hit the top spot in the 2004 rankings, but slipped to No. 17 this year. Why? The median house price jumped from $177,000 to $345,000, and the cost of living more than doubled, to the highest in the state, the book says.

What does Charlottesville think of the drop?

“Good!” said Kathy Uriss, the director of information services for the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Of course, she appreciated all the people who mentioned the No. 1 ranking when they called for relocation packages — especially those looking for places to retire. The president of the chamber was so proud, Ms. Uriss said, that she had bumper stickers made up that proclaimed, “We’re the No. 1 City in America.”

“We were proud and honored, but maybe things will come back to the ground,” Ms. Uriss said. “As housing prices have gotten out of hand, we’ve certainly seen a curtailing in the number of calls we’re getting.””

For better or worse, the Central Virginia region is a destination for many people and as many reasons – retirement, job relocation, school, grad school, med school … because they have read online about what a great place Charlottesville is to live … The Charlottesville area is a great place to live. Just do your due diligence first. (you can start here)

Courtesy of the NYTimes.

Update 05/07/2007: From the Daily Progress (demonstrating how much one should trust these rankings)

“Cville is tops no longer, although it didn’t fall far from its perch,” the authors wrote. “Aside from the negatives, we still see an attractive, intellectually stimulating, and prosperous city with a handle on its growth issues (which have driven up prices as supply has lagged demand).”

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