When thinking of luxury living, it’s typically major cities like New York or Los Angeles, or perhaps tropical locations like Hawaii, that come to mind.
But living in those locations come with a steep price tag, so Architectural Digest set out to determine where in the U.S. people could find a more opulent lifestyle but at an affordable cost.
The study first located 115 U.S. cities with populations of at least 100,000 which were deemed to be “emerging luxury” locations. Then each of those cities was analyzed across six key factors to form a ranking of the top “rising luxury” cities in the country. Each city was examined for luxury activities, luxury properties, and luxury dining, as well as annual income, diversity and safety.
“These cities offer more than affluence; they provide a lifestyle where quality, comfort, and luxury are at the forefront,” the report says.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, three California cities — Irvine, Carlsbad and Chula Vista — were at the top of the list. But also found among those 115 cities offering “rising luxury living” was an Alabama city.
Huntsville ranked 70th for luxury living out of the 115 cities included. It’s noteworthy that the Rocket City is the only city across five southern states — Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama — to make the list.
Within the categories examined in the study, Huntsville ranked strongest for annual income — or what the study called “high earner rank” — coming in at 41st of the 115 cities. It’s weakest showing was for luxury activities, with a rank of 92nd.
Huntsville ranked 49th for safety, 73rd for luxury properties available, 76th for luxury eating options, and 60th for diversity.
To compile the data Architectural Digest curated information from Redfin for the percentage of properties listed or solod for at least $1 million, as well as data from the U.S. Census Bureau to determine the percentage of households with a total annual income of at least $150,000.
The study’s authors turned to Yelp to find luxury activities and restaurants, including the number of locations, rating and the cost of luxury activities and dining. Safety statistics were gleaned from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, while diversity data was taken from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.