Why We Build in the Best Places to Live in Florida

Posted: November 11, 2020 | Categories: Communities | News | Communities>Aviary at Rutland Ranch | Communities>Summercrest | Communities>Siena Reserve
By Highland Homes

Updated April 8, 2022

At Highland Homes, our goal is not only to build you a beautiful home but for you to love where you live! Location is a key factor in that equation, and that is why Highland Homes is proud to build in five of the Best Places to Live in Florida according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2021-2022 rankings!

To compile the list, U.S. News analyzed metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on the quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there, people's desire to live there, and net migration.

Let's countdown the best places to live in Florida!

People who live in Florida enjoy a high quality of life


Lakeland, Florida

A swan looks onto Lake Morton in Lakeland, FL one of the best places to live in Florida
A swan overlooks Lake Morton in Lakeland

Coming in at No. 13 on the Best Places to Live in Florida list is Highland Homes’ hometown, Lakeland.

Known for the many lakes in the city - hence the name - Lakeland offers incredible nature and recreation opportunities, possesses old Florida history and beauty, and a small-town atmosphere with convenience to the big cities of Orlando and Tampa, thanks to its location between these two metropolises.

Featuring an overall ranking of 6.5 on the U.S. News scorecard, Lakeland ranked highest for its net migration, overall desirability, and quality of life. In addition to ranking as one of the best cities to live in Florida, Lakeland is also ranked as the:

  • #80 best place to live in the entire U.S.
  • #5 fastest-growing place
  • #14 safest place to live in the U.S.
  • #18 best place to retire

If you’re searching for a Lakeland new home, we build in desirable neighborhoods on the north and south sides of the city with prices from the high $200's to $500's. Whether you’re looking for a new home in the exclusive Highlands area of South Lakeland or a home in one of North Lakeland's most popular gated communities, you will find the home you've been searching for in our Lakeland neighborhoods!

Orlando, Florida

Lake Eola Fountain in Orlando, FL one of the best places to live in Florida
The fountain at Lake Eola Park
Downtown Orlando

Next up is Orlando, earning a spot at No. 10 on the Best Places to Live in Florida list.

Orlando is perhaps one of the most famous cities in Florida thanks to its claim as the theme park capital of the world, and "The City Beautiful" also offers a thriving downtown, a sleepy residential area, and a booming business district. Other major attractions that draw visitors and homebuyers alike to Orlando include the area’s fantastic parks and beautiful lakes, more than 170 golf courses, and year-round sunshine.

Orlando boasts a 6.7 overall ranking, with net migration, overall desirability, and quality of life as the three top ranking factors that turn Orlando’s tourists into residents.

If you are thinking of relocating to the Greater Orlando area, it's worth noting Orlando is also recognized as the:

  • #60 places city to live in the entire U.S.
  • #9 fastest-growing places
  • #16 best places to retire

Highland Homes is proud to be a new home builder in Orlando. In the popular Siena Reserve neighborhood, single-family homes with amenities are now under construction in Phase 2C, with pricing for these St. Cloud, FL new homes starting from the $380's.

Or, many people seeking a home convenient to Orlando attractions opt for a new home in Davenport, Florida, which is located just a hop and skip away from the Walt Disney World Resort area and about 30 miles from Downtown Orlando.

Ocala, Florida

Thoroughbred running in open field Ocala one of the best cities to live in FloridaOcala is the No. 9 Best Place to Live in Florida, and ties Orlando with an overall 6.7 ranking.

Ocala is known as the “Horse Capital of the World” since it is home to over 600 thoroughbred farms and is one of a few thoroughbred centers in the world. While it maintains its equestrian roots, Ocala is a growing small city where horse farms and rolling green hills edge the urban center. Tree-lined streets evoke Southern charm, and Ocala is steeped in natural beauty thanks to the Ocala State Forest, sparkling Florida springs and streams, and numerous parks and trail systems.

Overall, Ocala is neither big or small, which makes it just right for many people seeking a small-town feel with easy access to daily necessities and things to do. The city is home to a burgeoning logistics industry, while the historic downtown is known for its picturesque Victorian-era homes and active square with plenty of entertainment and dining opportunities.

Similar to other cities we've talked about, Ocala is highest ranked for its net migration, overall desirability, and quality of life. And it's not just a top Florida city - Ocala is also ranked as the:

  • #58 best place to live in the entire U.S.
  • #4 safest place to live in the U.S.
  • #6 fastest-growing place
  • #6 best place to retire

When searching for a new home in Ocala, taking advantage of the city's natural beauty should be at the top of your list. Two of Ocala's most beautiful neighborhoods, Kingsland Country Estates and Summercrest, offer new construction homes on spacious homesites surrounded by towering trees.

Tampa, Florida

Tampa is the No. 4 best city to live in FloridaComing in as the No. 6 Best Place to Live in Florida, Tampa Bay offers both the laid-back lifestyle that comes with living by the beach and all the amenities available when living in a major metropolitan area. Calling Tampa home means having convenient access to an abundance of recreation, cultural attractions, shopping and dining destinations, entertainment hot spots, and of course, outdoor living and beautiful weather!

With a 6.9 overall ranking, Tampa ranked highest for its net migration and overall desirability, while also ranking highly for the job market and quality of life.

In addition to being one of the best cities to live in Florida, Tampa ranks as the:

  • #32 best place to live in the entire U.S.
  • #9 safest place to live in the U.S.
  • #15 fastest-growing place
  • #20 best place to retire

New construction homes in Tampa Bay are incredibly popular, and we are working on developing exciting new phases of new homes in Zephyrhills and at the popular Ridgewood community in Riverview, which will be available in Spring or later 2022.

Sarasota, Florida

Siesta Key Beach
Courtesy of VisitFlorida.com


Sarasota is not only ranked the No. 2 best place to live in Florida; this vibrant city also comes with top recognitions as the:

  • #1 best place to retire
  • #2 fastest-growing place
  • #5 safest place to live in the U.S.
  • #9 best place to live in the entire U.S.
  • #15 best place to live for quality of life

The quintessential Florida city, Sarasota boasts beautiful weather, access to award-winning beaches, and a thriving art and cultural scene. This flourishing city is also home to an abundance of delicious restaurants and fantastic shopping destinations, and offers both a vibrant downtown and peaceful seaside settings.

With an overall ranking of 7.2, the Sarasota area was ranked highly in all categories but most of all for its overall desirability as a city to call home, net migration, and the quality of life residents enjoy here.

If you’re ready to call the Sarasota metropolitan area home, check out our new homes in Parrish, FL, a sleepy bedroom community situated among rustling trees and farm estates just 27 miles from Downtown Sarasota and less than 25 miles from world-class beaches on Anna Maria Island.

Find Your New Home in Florida

Ready to call one of Florida’s best cities home? Now is a great time to relocate to Florida! Learn more about our new construction homes in top Florida cities by calling or emailing our Florida New Home Specialists today.

Tags: Ocala Lakeland Metro Orlando Tampa Bay Bradenton-Sarasota