Official overseeing cash-strapped municipalities may want to study the results of a private survey that lists the top 10 choices of companies seeking new homes.

Washington, D.C., came first, with Dallas a close second and Chicago third. In 1990, Washington had been third, Dallas first, and Chicago fifth.

The survey, which ranks 75 major metropolitan areas in the United States, compares the volume numbers of the company's home sale activity for the most recent fiscal year with home sale authorizations from the year before.

The other finalists, running from fourth to last, were Houston, New York City, Atlanta, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Cincinnati.

"The high-popularity relocation areas have remained consistent over the past few years," said Harvey Auger, the president of PHH Homequity. The relocation management firm sponsored the survey.

Mr. Auger added that among the qualities corporations tend to find attractive are availability of labor, educational and transportation facilities, and tax structures and incentives.

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