Median home price (2006): $175,660
Average property taxes (2006): $1,121
As a former steel town, Helena suffered in the Depression Era, but now the city, within commuting distance of Birmingham, has an eclectic economy and notes Mercedes-Benz as a major employer. The city's 13,500 population sticks together, volunteering on local town improvement projects and driving out to high school football games on Friday nights to see the Pelham Panthers, reigning region 5 champions. Helena also happens to be the hometown of an American Idol runner-up, Bo Bice. -J.L.
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