Median list price: $299,950
You'd think a place with so much greenery that it's nicknamed the "Emerald City" would have lots of pollen and mold, but it doesn't. "Seattle had the lowest overall level
Median list price: $319,900
The capital of Massachusetts has a low incidence of ozone and flu and slightly below-average pollen. Sperling says those factors offset above-average levels of smoking and "a climate that can lead to respiratory issues." In terms of the economy, Beantown hosts several well-known financial, tech and biotech firms, from State Street ( STT) to Boston Scientific ( BSX). The 4.5-million population metro area is also home to Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other leading schools. As for housing, there are some 12,100 Greater Boston properties listed for sale on Realtor.com. Prices range from $22,900 for a two-bedroom fixer-upper condo in the city of Lowell to $18.8 million for a 13.5-acre estate in the wealthy enclave of Weston.
Median list price: $198,900
"With its dry mountain climate, Salt Lake City has one of the best climatesfor freedom from respiratory issues," Sperling says. Utah's capital has the lowest smoking levels of any city studied -- not surprising given the fact that the Mormon faith many residents practice bans tobacco use. Salt Lake City also has the second-lowest flu incidence Sperling found, although residents do consume higher-than-average levels of respiratory medicines. As for the local economy, Salt Lake City's major businesses include financial firm Zions Bancorp. ( ZION) and chemical manufacturer Huntsman ( HUN) (founded by the father of former GOP presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman). Other major local entities include privately held Sinclair Oil and the 23,000-student University of Utah. Realtor.com has some 10,100 Salt Lake City-area properties listed for sale, from a $2,500 two-bedroom Park City, Utah, condo to a $49.5 million 60-acre estate that's also in Park City.
Median list price: $265,000
Despite its warm, moist climate, Miami actually has low levels of pollens and air pollution -- probably due to its location along the Atlantic Ocean, Sperling says. He adds that the city also has low rates of smoking and the flu. Miami has a widely diversified economy, although it has a heavy emphasis on tourism and businesses catering to Latin American countries and Hispanic-American consumers. Corporations based in the Miami area range from Royal Caribbean Cruises ( RCL) to Perry Ellis International ( PERY). The roughly 28,800 Greater Miami properties listed for sale on Realtor.com range from $6,500 for a foreclosed two-bedroom condo in Pompano Beach to $60 million for a 1.8-acre estate on exclusive Indian Creek Island in Biscayne Bay.
Median list price: $599,000
Sperling says San Francisco "takes our top spot for freedom of congestion
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