Boston. Like New York, the only other East Coast city to rank highly in value, Boston's weather lowers its quality of life far below some of the other cities on this list. It has the 30th-highest quality of life in Albouy's ranking. But also like New York, Boston has significant trade productivity—the fourth highest on the list. These cold-weather cities boost their value by offering well-paying jobs and very productive businesses. Innovation stemming from the high level of education among Boston's residents is just one reason the city is so productive.
Naples, Fla. This city on the southwest coast of Florida has the eighth-highest quality of life. But it ranks 10th in amenity value because it's not very productive. A larger population tends to mean higher trade productivity, since businesses can draw employees from a bigger base. Smaller metro areas like Naples, which has a population of 251,377, are at a disadvantage.
Here is the list of 10 pricey cities that pay off:
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Updated on 6/29/09: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that a 120 square-meter apartment is 373 square feet. It is about 1,300 square feet.