Hey Jon. If you are looking to purchase an investment property close to Boston, your best bet is probably going to be in Dorchester, South Boston, or Somerville. Dorchester will be the least expensive and have the largest inventory to choose from (200+ multi-families on the market), but some locations are not great. There are quite of few foreclosures there also, but where you don't know the market or locations well, I would not recommend purchasing a foreclosed property. South Boston is a great area, and the rents are very strong, but there are probably only 25 or so multi-families on the market. When I say multi-families, I mean 2-3 Family homes.
As far as the market, Boston is holding up rather well. If you have the funds, it is definitely a good time to buy. The most difficult thing right now is financing. Your purchase would be cash, so that would make things much easier. Banks here are now requiring 20-25% for investment properties, where as a year ago, you could have purchased a multi-family with 0-5% down.
Shoot me an email, or grab my contact info from http://www.ttgre.com.
Once you contact me I can give you some additional info on different investment opportunities. I deal with a lot of international investors, so I'd be more than happy to assist you.