Historicaly real estate goes up in value, the longer you hold it the more it is worth. Home values double just about every ten years. So look for towns that meet your needs if you have children you may want to focus on schools, parks, and youth services, Here are some reference resources to learn more about the local real estate markets.
First for median price trends check out http://www.Boston.com/realestate/specials/06_07_sales_single This was published on March 19th 2008. It is interesting to note both the number of sales and the median price. Even though we are in a "slow down" or "correction" there were some market that had median price gains. To paraphrase the great speaker of the house, Tip O'Neill; "all real estate is local".
The other good resource is the Massachusetts Department of Education web site profiles page http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/. There you can search every district in the state. Find out the class size, spending per student, budget information, etc.
Choosing a city, town or neighborhood has so many factors to consider. These two links can be helpful in what might be the most important criteria;home values and quality education.
Clinton: 12 months of SF inventory on the market
Bolton: 10 months of SF inventory on the market
Boxborough: 11 months of SF inventory on the market
Franklin: 6 months of SF inventory on the market
Marlborough: 10 months of SF inventory
Based on this quick analysis, out of the neighborhoods you have chosen above Franklin seems to be the hottest market with the most demand.
I can walk you through this analysis just let me know.
Things to consider: Affluence of community (indicator of loan to value ratios, likelihood of foreclosures, median income); Local economic factors (i.e, where is the local employment coming from and how are they fairing? opportunities or dwindling? every town is different); Proximity to a city (everyone knows that commute to places of high employment is a huge bonus); and lastly Schools (http://www.greatschools.net/). When you start to identify actual properties, get information as focused as the street (your agent can help you with this as well).
Good luck! (Don't forget to hire an exclusive buyer agent: an expert on your side of the transaction)
http://www.JeanSOLDMyHouse.com or comment on my blog below
Homes in Boxborough, Bolton and Clinton have pretty stable prices. Homes have been holding value so far, and personally I do not think that much fluctuation is to come. Consider Stow, Acton and Westford too since they are all in the similar price range and have no traffic hassles, ticket, parking issues, just good olâ€™ burbs. Great schools too.
Greg is absolutely correct - go with the area that appeals most to you and certainly other buyers will follow,
for the exact same reasons. I'd love to sell you Cape Cod but it is a great distance to go if you are working near the areas you listed. No sense spinning your wheels. Good luck with your search.
The "get-off-the-hook easy" answer to your question is (and I pull out my propaganda book): "There has never been a five consecutive year period in MA in which homes have decreased in value in Massachusetts."
I strongly encourage you to make the decision solely and completely on which community will add the most value to your personal quality of life. Those factors which will improve your life should not change too much over time and they will be similar to the factors that the person who eventually buys your house from you will also be looking for. The community with the most mass-appeal, whether it be schools, access to Boston, separation from Boston, or something else. If you make the choice that provides the most value to your life, you can relax and know that the next person to live there will see the same benefits and be willing to pay for them.