Des Moines has maintained a spot among the top five “Best Places to Live in the United States” as evaluated by U.S. News & World Report. 

Iowa’s capital city placed at No. 5 in the 2019 rankings, down from No. 4 in last year’s rankings, trading spots with Fayetteville, Ark., which moved up one notch. Des Moines cracked the top 10 for the first time in 2017 with a No. 9 ranking. 

In terms of housing affordability in 2019, Des Moines was ranked No. 3 overall, behind Huntsville, Ala., and Fort Wayne, Ind.

“Des Moines' strong job market, low cost of living and entertainment options have lured many young professionals to the metro area,” according to the Des Moines writeup. “In fact, many area homebuyers are between 25 and 34 years old. Young families are part of that buying boom, and the fast-expanding surrounding suburbs are known for top-notch schools and clean, safe neighborhoods.” 

The new list evaluates the country’s 125 most populous metropolitan areas based on affordability, job prospects and quality of life. For the third year in a row, Austin, Texas, took the No. 1 spot, followed by Denver at No. 2 and Colorado Springs, Colo., at No. 3. 

While the majority of the top 25 Best Places to Live are located in the middle of the country, the tech boom has had a regional effect on the Pacific Northwest. San Francisco, Portland, Ore., and Seattle make the top 10 at Nos. 7, 8 and 9, respectively. Washington, D.C., which dropped from No. 8 to No. 19 this year due to a decrease in housing affordability and net migration, is the only city in the Northeast to crack the top 20.

“Our Northeastern cities, which are epicenters of higher education and economic development, are not growing nearly as much as places in Florida, California and Texas,” said Devon Thorsby, real estate editor for U.S. News & World Report. “Plus, they are expensive to live in. Top-ranked places have the characteristics people are looking for, including steady job growth, affordability and a high quality of life.”