Apex is the No. 1 place to live in the U.S. says Money magazine. In addition to a “charming downtown” and “top-notch schools,” the town of 42,150 also draws high marks for “high-paying tech-industry jobs that help make the quality of life here second to none.”

The magazine disclosed its annual list Monday.

“Apex has all the things you’d expect in the No. 1 place to live: a charming downtown, top-notch schools, and the kind of community spirit that draws 15,000 people, or more than a third of the population, to the annual PeakFest street fair,” Daniel Bortz wrote in the magazine.

It also has something else: high-paying tech-industry jobs that help make the quality of life here second to none. And unlike that other technology hub on the West Coast, Apex is still affordable. A three-bedroom home costs an average of $265,000, vs. more than $1 million for a comparable house in Silicon Valley.”

Apex is no stranger the magazine’s list of the best places to live. In the past few years, it has ranked 15th, 14th and 9th.

Apex Town Manager Bruce Radford said he knew the magazine was considering the town but had no idea it would nab the top spot.

“It’s a great way to start a Monday,” he said. “We strive every day to retain that small-town character.”

The key facts:

  • Population: 42,150
  • Median income: $88,558
  • Job growth: 15.5 percent
  • Median home price: $243,125
  • Property tax : $2,448

Money ranked “the 50 best small towns in the country—places with great jobs, strong economies, affordable homes, excellent schools and that special something that makes it a great place to live.”

The magazine pays a lot of attention to the Research Triangle Park as a lure for newcomers and as a place to work.

“The engine powering the local job market is Raleigh’s 7,000-acre Research Triangle Park, 18 miles away. More than 200 companies, including IBM, Cisco, and pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline, have offices there and employ upwards of 50,000 workers,” Money noted.

The magazine also salutes Apex schools.

“Proximity to the tech hub also gives a boost to the local schools, already among the state’s best,” Money noted.

“Apex High School offers the Academy of Information Technology, a four-year program that exposes students to the IT field through coursework and internships.”

For those reasons and more, Money points out the Apex population has doubled in the past 15 years.

Two other North Carolina towns made the magazine’s top 50 list – Stallings and Harrisburg, both Charlotte suburbs.

The rest of the top 10:

2. Papillion, Neb.

3. Sharon, Mass.

4. Louisville, Ky.

5. Snoqualmie, Wash.

6. Sherwood, Ore.

7. Chanhassen, Minn.

8. Coppell, Texas

9. Sinsbury, Conn.

10. Solon, Ohio

Read the full list at: