Median home price: Condominiums, $745,500
Residential tax rate: $10.97 (citywide)
Average tax bill: $3,801 (citywide)
Choice location: Trinity Church is a masterpiece of American architecture designed by Henry Hobson Richardson.
Cocktail party nugget: The Apple store on Boylston Street is the technology firm's largest retail outlet in the country.
SOURCES: Listing Information Network, Mass. Department of Revenue, Trinity Church
THE GOODS: A one-square mile neighborhood that is arguably one of the most prestigious neighborhoods in Boston, Back Bay teems with history and affluence. Copley Square is the heart of Back Bay, featuring landmarks such as the Boston Public Library and the John Hancock Tower. Shoppers and tourists also flock to the Prudential Center. Commonwealth Avenue is the pride of the neighborhood - a beautiful, tree-lined boulevard with grand mansions and other stately homes. This neighborhood, along with Beacon Hill, is the place to live for the quintessential Boston experience and is popular with young professionals and empty nesters who fled the suburbs for city living after their kids left home. The housing stock is a mixture of Victorian brownstones and larger buildings nestled between high-rises offering luxurious living in snug quarters.
PROS: Served by the Green and Orange lines and an Amtrak station, Back Bay is close to everything. It's easy to hop onto the paths along the Charles River for an evening walk or bike ride. Real estate in this neighborhood will always be in demand so it's a good investment if you can afford it. These days there are more buildings offering luxury services like doormen, dog walking, and maid service for time-pressed residents.
CONS: Back Bay is one of the highest-priced neighborhoods in the Boston real estate market and you don't always get much space for your money. It's difficult to find a bargain here, and pickings are slim - if you find something you like, it's bound to sell quickly. Parking will be your next biggest concern. Spaces on the street are next to impossible to find and renting a private one will cost a pretty penny.