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Old 05-18-2012, 08:44 PM
 
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I'm wondering if there are affordable, safe and somewhat charming towns in the suburbs of Boston, as long as they are within the range of the commuter rail lines. Do any of these towns exist? I would take affordability and safety over charm if that was the tradeoff.
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Old 05-18-2012, 09:34 PM
 
Location: Westwood, MA
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I think it depends on what you mean by affordable. Coming from Mississippi almost everything would feel overpriced, coming from San Francisco almost everything would feel affordable. What is your budget and what are you looking to get? If you're willing to travel far enough prices do drop as you move away from Boston, so you might also want to consider how far you're willing to travel. The commuter rail makes it as far out as Worcester and Providence, so one can go pretty far and still be within range.
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Old 05-19-2012, 05:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayrandom View Post
I think it depends on what you mean by affordable. Coming from Mississippi almost everything would feel overpriced, coming from San Francisco almost everything would feel affordable. What is your budget and what are you looking to get? If you're willing to travel far enough prices do drop as you move away from Boston, so you might also want to consider how far you're willing to travel. The commuter rail makes it as far out as Worcester and Providence, so one can go pretty far and still be within range.
Thanks. I didn't realize the commuter rail extended that far west and south from Boston. Good to know. I did find a website with a map of the rail lines.

As far as budget, I would like to stay in the range of $700-$800/month for rent, including heat, which is more common in the north and midwest. I'm happy with a small place in a good area.

I did find a list of "safe" cities and "dangerous" cities in the US, and a few cities from MASS were on the list:

Considered safe:
Franklin
Needham
Wellesley
Lexington
Andover
Agawam
Dracut
Milton
Melrose
N Andover
Marshfield

Considered dangerous:
Holyoke
Brocton
Fall River
New Bedford
Lowell
Rochester

I have no idea of the cost of living in these "safe" places, and they may be out of reach financially. Often, safety goes with higher living costs, but not always. At any rate, any info would be appreciated.

Is the safe list accurate? Are any of these considered reasonable in terms of cost of living?
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Old 05-19-2012, 06:20 PM
 
Location: southwest TN
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You need to either double your budget or look at some roommates
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Old 05-19-2012, 10:31 PM
 
Location: New England
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Also, before you commit yourself to riding the commuter rail, look at what it will cost. Even though the trains are heavily subsidized, you'll pay a significant amount. A season ticket for some of the outer suburbs will run you over $200 a month.
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Old 05-20-2012, 05:25 AM
 
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Default Make sure you are clear...

There are towns and there are cities in this state. The list above for "safe" are all relative small towns. The only safe cities are Newton (previously ranked 4th safest in the whole country) and Quincy (previously ranked 80th safest out of more than 400 cities across the country, and the second safest CITY in this state). The rest, from Worcester to Cambridge to Springfield and Lowell/Lawrence, Fall River/New Bedford, Somerville etc, are all relatively bigger and/or more "unsafe". But of course, all of them have better and worse areas. The little towns, on the otherhand, with their much smaller and more homogenous populations are all safer and generally more expensive than the cities (except for Newton and Quincy). But there are exceptions too.

So, to break down my whole comment....

1) Newton is a city, but very safe and expensive (generally affluent and very desirable). A huge city of 85,000. Lots of places to eat or to do.

2) Quincy is safe, but not as safe as Newton, and more middle class, but correspondingly more affordable. It also has a new city center redevelopment plan with $1.6 billion private money that is pretty impressive. Quincy is a huge city of 92,000 people. Again, lots of different restaurants.

3) Most affluent towns, from Wellesley to Needham, or Newburyport and Winchester, to Milton and Cohasset are all small, safe and relatively expensive. So they are less affordable. But they are beautiful places to live and grow a family. Theses towns have around 25,000 people each, give or take.

4) Declining towns that are becoming relatively unsafe include Randolph and some others (no offense intended, but that's the way it is).

5) Middle of the road towns that are relatively safe and inexpensive include Braintree, some parts of Weymouth, Norwood, Dedham, North Attleboro, Norton etc. They generally are pretty boring (again, no offense intended) but perfectly nice and functional.
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Old 05-20-2012, 08:12 PM
 
Location: Beverly, Mass
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I wouldn't really feel unsafe in many of the cities on the North Shore, such as Beverly, Gloucester, Newburyport, Salem or Peabody, except may be some parts of Lynn. Although, I would agree most towns are comparatively safer, because crime happens less often, due to smaller population, more single family and less affordable housing.

Because of fewer low-income and ESL students, towns have more students who are proficient or above, and their schools usually have better scores, then cities.

But there are cities with better student performance, such as Newburyport, which has fewer low-income students, and towns with worse performance, such as Saugus, which has more.
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Old 05-22-2012, 12:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NY Annie View Post
You need to either double your budget or look at some roommates
Right, or look further west. Worcester, for example, has more affordable housing, at least on Craigslist. I'd have to visit the city to see if there were any areas I could afford that were safe. Other towns in central or western MA might be better for my budget. I'd like to be able to get to Boston now and then for entertainment and museums.
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