Area population - Bestplaces metro pop is 30k, but 600k city is less than 1 hour away?

There is a park in a town with a population of 3500, the bestplaces metro has a population of 30,000 mainly consisting of the neighboring city.

There is also a big city with a population of over 600,000 just under an hours drive away.

From the perspective of the population - is this area good , bad or unknown?

Does the fact that bestplaces doesn’t include the big city of 600k imply that there is some “barrier” to cross-populating between the small town and the big city?

I think one big effect is that if you are near, but outside, an MSA (as determined by the government) lenders and many buyers won’t give much weight to the MSA when underwriting your property.

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I second jaydub’s comment. Lenders are definitely going to use different metrics than we do when determining what is a good deal.