U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Massachusetts
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
Old 11-01-2009, 06:22 PM
 
34 posts, read 136,733 times
Reputation: 18

Advertisements

My husband and two young children are looking to relocate from Brooklyn, NY (we are originally from CT) to the Boston area. We were looking for a town that is walkable (walk to library, schools, bakery, and restaurants), within an hour commute of Boston, has a decent school system, friendly, active community, safe, and could buy a 1,300 sq ft house for $300K or less. Loved the feel of Brooklyn but too expensive, wanted a backyard again, and to be closer to family in CT and VT.
I'm sure the same question has been posted many different times, I've searched so many different threads without finding what I'm looking for.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 11-01-2009, 06:59 PM
 
639 posts, read 3,395,336 times
Reputation: 539
You would like Newburyport, MA, especially their town and the schools were always great there, the only thing is? It's just SO expensive to live there and the property was always very expensive. Really beautiful older, very historical homes though, it's quite a town. There's also another town that you might like it's near it called Amesbury which has a really nice town center, it's not too far from Newburyport at all. Really quaint & charming town centers too! The schools are very good thru here and always were. You would be right off of both I-495 and I-95 for access to Boston, Cape Cod & northern New England, New Hampshire is right over the border a few miles up the road.

Further up the coast from Newburyport and Amesbury is the town of Hampton, NH right over the border from these two towns. It's actually Seabrook, NH then Hampton. You might find what you're looking for, but it depends. A lot of people think it's too far for getting in to downtown Boston. The commute down is about 45 minutes to an hour on I-95. If you would rather be over by I-93 then the town of Londonderry is where you might like and that commute in to Boston isn't as bad, it's actually less, BUT and there's always a BUT, no ones telling me they have less traffic, because they do have issues with their traffic, big time! The traffic over by that way is unbelievable compared to I-95 when you listen to the radio early in the morning! That's all you have to consider with this decision and keep an open mind with it because it might not even bother you guys coming from Brooklyn, NY! Make sure you do your homework with that while you're researching the different areas. It's that traffic that might sway you IF you or your husband plan on working in Boston at all. If NOT, then you're all set with living thru there.

Some day soon come here for a visit and take a ride up thru this whole area of northern MA and southern NH. You could start in the town of Londonderry for starters. It's a little less like a "bedroom community" than say Windham which is at Exit 3 while Londonderry's at Exit 4. There seems to be more stores in Londonderry that are convenient to get to. There's 3 grocery stores, 3 convenience stores, a Home Depot, several restaurants off 102 at I-93. There's Apple orchids, wonderful hiking trails and it's closer to Manchester airport and the Mall of NH. I myself like the Mall of NH because the Rockingham Mall in Salem gets so packed, especially around the holidays. Londonderry has a really cute Town Common too and for some reason it feels a little more established and homey there rather than say Windham the next town over, where the taxes are ridiculous compared to Londonderry, so remember that, plus the schools were always good in this town too!

You should compare the NH towns on this site:

NH Community Profiles (http://www.nh.gov/nhes/elmi/communpro.htm - broken link)

Good luck wherever you decide to live!
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-01-2009, 08:14 PM
 
4 posts, read 10,371 times
Reputation: 12
I believe you would find what you're looking for in Holliston, a nice little town with a walkable town center (library, general store, antique shops, cafe, small grocery, children's park, tennis courts, etc), good schools, lots of community activities, and reasonably priced homes.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-02-2009, 12:00 AM
 
5,817 posts, read 15,009,699 times
Reputation: 4699
It will be a challenge, to say the least, to find all that you are seeking in your price range within an hour's commute to downtown. Most areas where the usual cost of a detached single-family is within your price range will be more than an hour's drive away, especially if the commute would be during usual commuting hours, and/or in a somewhat rural area where few towns would have all the amenities you're seeking all within walking distance in the same town. The other areas where you might--maybe--find a house and yard in the 300k vicinity would be in inner suburbs, where you might have fewer choices if you wanted even a moderate-sized yard, and where the schools might well not be of the quality you'd like. The big maybe I emphasized has to do with the fact that properties even in somewhat gritty areas where the schools might not be first-rate are generally going to cost more as you get in closer to the city.

I'm telling you this not to discourage you, but so you're realistic about the possibility that you may have to make some compromises. How big a yard would you like if you could? How large a town with how great a variety of amenities close by? How much of a rural feel can you tolerate in the general area if you are located in a town with some features you'd enjoy within walking distance? Conversely, if you could find a property for the right price in a more urban inner suburb, how small a yard would work for you? With most parents, schools are of the highest priority, but it's worth at least asking how well you could handle the possibility of schools that would be adequate but not superior.

Phew! After all that, take a breather, and then let's get into the positive view of things. First, I agree with Citygirl that you may want to take a close look at southeastern New Hampshire. It would be a stretch to plan on an hour's commute to downtown Boston from there, especially during commuting hours, but you tend to get more for your money in NH than you usually do closer to Boston. The property costs in general tend to be lower, and you get further financial benefits from NH's lack of a general sales tax or any tax on earned income.

Within Mass., I checked City Data's info on the median housing price in Holliston. It looks kind of high, but take that info with a grain of salt. I'm no real estate expert, so I have no idea what the range of prices above and below the median is. I agree with HSGirl that if you could find a house at the right price in Holliston that town could work very well if you can handle more of a small town with no city feel but with a fair variety of stores in the town center. Holliston is also a nice clean, friendly middle-class town, which so far as I know has good schools.

You might also at least give a look to Hopkinton, right next door to Holliston. Hopkinton has the same nice middle-class, friendly small-town, good schools character of Holliston, with lower property costs. The trade-off for someone with your preferences is that Hopkinton has more low-density, semi-rural areas than Holliston, and has less of a downtown. For true walkability, you'd be looking at a somewhat limited portion of Hopkinton's area, and even if you found a property close to the town center, there would be less to walk to than in Holliston.

Another town which comes to mind as a maybe is Maynard. Maynard is in the exurbs out to the northwest of Boston. It's a small urban dot in the middle of orchard country. Maynard has a decent little downtown with some stores, a theater, and a variety of eateries. The catch is that it's an old blue-collar town which only recently has begun to be discovered by young professionals. Nothing at all wrong with blue-collar, except that for now at least Maynard's schools are not necessarily really first-rate. Again, though, there is the question of how much you are prepared to accept schools that fall short of being really the best as long as they basically get the job done. With young professionals beginning to have a little presence in Maynard, it's also possible that this demographic will push for upgrades in the school system, but it's always a bit of a gamble to count on something like that before it happens.

One recommendation I have is that you seriously consider using public transit for the commute. Parking in Boston can be difficult to find and/or expensive. From Holliston and Hopkinton you would need to drive to the commuter rail station in nearby Ashland. From Maynard it's a short drive to the train station in South Acton.

Two towns you might want to check out closer to Boston would be Medford and Malden. These towns are more urban in character, with more amenities within walking distance to a lot of the residences, than the other towns I've suggested. If you opted for a driving commute, it would be a shorter drive than from the other towns suggested, and a pub. transit commute would offer various options, and would be fairly quick. Unfortunately, the median housing costs are higher in Malden and Medford, due to proximity to the city, so you're looking again at the question of how far the range of prices extends below the median. There also would be a tradeoff in terms of the size yard you'd be likely to have, and I'm not sure about the quality of the schools.

Another possibility that comes to mind is Plymouth. I don't know a lot about Plymouth, so take what I say with a grain of salt, because it's based mostly on hearsay. According to the commuter rail timetable, the commute to Boston from Plymouth takes about an hour, but there are few trains from Plymouth. If the commute would be during usual commuting hours, a drive to a station in a nearby town would be needed, so the total commute would be longer than the hour's train ride. Driving from Plymouth would also be time-consuming, during rush hours in particular. On the other hand, you are likely to have to make some compromises if you want to be anywhere remotely close to Boston and keep within your preferred property costs. Again this is hearsay, but I hear that Plymouth is a nice pleasant town with a decent downtown. I don't know how the schools are, but a nice middle-class town is most likely going to have solid schools, so Plymouth may be worth investigating, with schools being something to research.

So, it's going to be tough to find everything you want anywhere near Boston, but the suggestions people have made so far are at least a starting point.

Last edited by ogre; 11-02-2009 at 12:09 AM..
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-03-2009, 05:05 AM
 
44 posts, read 130,096 times
Reputation: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ogre View Post
except that for now at least Maynard's schools are not necessarily really first-rate.
That might be the understatement of the year... I had the err privilege of substitute teaching for a day a few years ago at Maynard HS, and was utterly frightened when I left that day...
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-03-2009, 06:05 AM
 
34 posts, read 136,733 times
Reputation: 18
Thanks everyone for the great information. My family and I will be going to Boston next weekend to check out some of the towns you recommended. I never thought to look in New Hampshire - Thanks!I also looked on city data at the median home prices, but it doesn't seem to reflect the current prices of homes on realtor.com. I found many homes in our price range in the towns that are "expensive". Maybe in our case the economy is working in our favor, then again I've also been looking at NY and NJ houses an hour outside of the city that start at $500K.In regards to a yard, I'm just looking for enough room for the kids to run around. As of right now, the only grass we have is in a 6 inch planter on top of our apartment roof.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-03-2009, 09:18 AM
 
17,243 posts, read 30,304,374 times
Reputation: 32182
I don't think CD data reflects the astonishing changes in the economy in the past year.
Consider looking at trulia.com for the number of foreclosures, not to buy them, but just to see what is actually going on.
There is certainly no expense like North Jersey/NYC metro, that's for sure.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-03-2009, 02:26 PM
 
6 posts, read 12,863 times
Reputation: 10
I just moved to the Boston area from Brooklyn 2 years ago. Welcome. I have to say, wherever you go, it will be nothing like Brooklyn. It's been a transition for sure but given how expensive it is to be in Brooklyn and the lack of trees, I can understand moving up here. I left Brooklyn for similar reasons.

That said, I'd check out the Waltham and Newton areas. Depending on what sections, the houses can be really expensive or rather affordable - and Waltham has some up-and-coming sections. It would take about 20-25 minute drive to downtown Boston and, in traffic, perhaps closer to 45 min.
It is also accessible by public transit. I particularly like Waltham because it is diverse; some sections of Greater Boston and MA can be very segregated.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-04-2009, 11:17 AM
 
2 posts, read 8,475 times
Reputation: 11
I agree with abc200
I love it here, It's like the center of the clock you can go in any dirrection easily from this point.128(I-95) N/S or mass pike I-90
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-04-2009, 11:05 PM
 
5,817 posts, read 15,009,699 times
Reputation: 4699
Quote:
Originally Posted by StefferLang View Post
Thanks everyone for the great information. My family and I will be going to Boston next weekend to check out some of the towns you recommended. I never thought to look in New Hampshire - Thanks!I also looked on city data at the median home prices, but it doesn't seem to reflect the current prices of homes on realtor.com. I found many homes in our price range in the towns that are "expensive". Maybe in our case the economy is working in our favor, then again I've also been looking at NY and NJ houses an hour outside of the city that start at $500K.In regards to a yard, I'm just looking for enough room for the kids to run around. As of right now, the only grass we have is in a 6 inch planter on top of our apartment roof.
I'm curious now about which "expensive" towns you've looked at where Realtor.com shows houses in your price range. I'm no real estate expert, but it seems like common sense that if you can take advantage of a drop in housing costs to get in on a high-end town that has the features you're seeking, it might very well be a good investment to buy there. I'm thinking that people here would be happy to describe the pros and cons of towns that have not been suggested yet, if you want to name some other towns you're considering.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
>
Powered by Foreclosure.com
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Settings
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2020 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram


Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Massachusetts

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2022, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top