Best Places to Live 2012

Our annual guide to finding your happy place.

Edited by Courtney Hollands

Illustration by James Taylor

What makes for a great place to live, anyway? For some, it’s a prestige ZIP code or top schools. For others, it’s a sense of community or abundant green space. Whatever you’re looking for, “now is a good time to take a calculated risk and make a move,” says Warren Group CEO Timothy Warren Jr. Want in on the attractive mortgage rates and low prices? We consulted real estate agents, residents, and town officials to find the most interesting opportunities within the I-495 loop, logging close to 600 miles along the way. Here are 14 towns, cities, and neighborhoods — some up-and-comers, some already-theres — you’ll love to call home. —Kimberly Blanton

14 Great Places to Call Home

Real estate deals and hidden gems to discover.

Real Estate Chart #1

What is the price of a single-family home in Greater Boston?

Real Estate Chart #2

What is the price of a condo in Greater Boston?

Swanky Town Smackdown!

How Boston’s best, fanciest suburbs stack up.

How Much House Do You Get For the Money?