Where in Greater Boston should I buy?

Asked by Peter R, Cambridge, MA Tue May 27, 2008

I am looking to buy a 2BR condo or townhouse for a max of 400K in the greater Boston area. I am single, in my early 30's and might start a family in the next 3-4 years. Where should I buy?

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Local Proper…, Agent, Boston, MA
Wed Apr 16, 2014
If you are still in the market, the Savin Hill area of Dorchester has really improved in the past for years. I have had a couple of clients start their home search in areas like Charlestown and Southie and settle into a few up and coming areas of Dorchester. Not all of Dorchester is gentrifying at the same pace, but there are some great locations that more budget friendly.
1 vote
Nancy Kueny, Agent, Charlestown, MA
Fri Mar 7, 2014
Southie and Charlestown are great, but a $400,000 budget might be difficult. I would suggest targeting the $300- $400,000 price range in Dorchester. It's a neighborhood of Boston where you will get more for your money!
1 vote
Key Realty G…, Agent, Boston, MA
Sat Jan 10, 2015
Boston has become a very competitive market. As a result, many of the surrounding neighborhoods' prices have started to rise. Owning will be more beneficial for you in the long run so, just establish how far you're willing to go out and look at all of your options. You may find that being just a couple of towns out of Boston that may still be connected on the T allows you to get the home you were looking for all within your budget.
0 votes
Voices Member, , Benton County, OR
Sun Dec 21, 2008
I'm thinking since Peter asked this question on May 27, 2008 he's already made his decision. Hopefully he decided to rent...
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Mike, , Boston, MA
Sat Dec 20, 2008
Quincy is another nice city.... I drove through Marina Bay the other day and almost forgot how nice it is! Check out Marina Bay there are nice 2-bedroom condos & townhomes with nice views of the water & downtown Boston skyline!
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Mike, , Boston, MA
Fri Jul 11, 2008
http://www.bostoncityproperties.com/sign_up.html has access to search all Boston & Cambridge condos for free.

Around $400,000... I would look in Winthrop.... its right next to East Boston, and is a beautiful sea-side community.... nice beaches, public transportation, great schools... definitely a nice town, and its a hop skip & a jump away from downtown Boston.
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Jennifer Has…, , Maine
Fri Jun 6, 2008
Hey Peter,

As a Single homebuyer, your current needs most likely include lifestyle, convenience, and location. These needs will most likely differ from your needs in several years when you "might" start a family...school system, security, extra space. So, you need to determine what your current needs are and be realistic about what you can live with and can't live without.

I am a Buyer's Broker in Boston specializing in single homebuyers. Get a jump start...You can do a free search of current listings or have them emailed to you nightly based on your criteria at my website. Learn more about why you should use a Buyer's Broker and the pros and cons of buying vs. owning at http://www.paragonproperties.com/ownyourhome.htm.

Best of luck with your search!

Jennifer Haskell
Paragon Properties
0 votes
Territory.c…, Agent, MA,
Fri May 30, 2008
I always suggest perusing the open house circuit for a couple weeks to get a feel for options in different areas and then get focused. It makes the process less stressful (no pressure) and usually more fun. There are so many intangibles when buying real estate: things agents can't necessarily put numbers on but that are important to you as a buyer. It's nice to figure out what those are without the pressure of an agent.

Somerville is an interesting alternative too ...
Here is an example of one that looks pretty interesting. Total gut reno and is walking distance to porter square/T. There is an open house for the place this weekend:

Another very different alternative is Jamaica Plain right near the jamaicaway/pond (very close proximity to downtown boston and a gorgeous area).
Here is an example of a place that is a new gut reno in a historic mansion pondside. There is also an open house this weekend:
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Jessica, , Boston, MA
Fri May 30, 2008
Hey Peter,

Have you checked out The Brickworks in Cambridge? They have a 3 bed / 2.5 bath Townhouse for $409K. They have some smaller, less expensive units also.

Take care,
0 votes
Peter R, Home Buyer, Cambridge, MA
Thu May 29, 2008
Thank you all for your responses. I looked at a few places in East Arlington , West Cambridge and North Waltham and will be looking in Charlestown and Brookline this weekend. I got the feeling I was priced out of (or barely able to make it into) the townhouse market in Cambridge and Arlington and single-levels are easier to come by in that price range.

Thanks again for the ideas.
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Cory Thomas, Agent, Melrose, MA
Wed May 28, 2008
Hello Peter....You should be asking yourself where in "Greater Boston" do you want to live. Do you want to be in a Boston neighborhood, i.e. Charlestown, Southie, JP, West Roxbury, etc.?

If you don't want Boston, but still want to have that "city" feel, Cambridge or Somerville might be a better fit.

If you want the Greater Boston suburbs, there are a lot of options as well.

The Newton/Wellesley area offers great proximity to Boston, superb school systems, and strong communities. The price of condo's & townhouses will reflect this in this much sought after area.

Boston's South Shore communities such as Weymouth, Quincy, & Milton are all nice communities too. There might be more bang for your buck in a condo or townhouse in this area. Keep in mind your commute to the city as well. Drive traffic on the SE Expressway is always tough, however the MBTA train and commuter boat shuttle to downtown Boston is a nice option.

North of Boston is close and convenient as well. Communities such as Melrose, Reading, Wakefield and Stoneham all offer close proximity to Boston, good school systems, and a strong re-sale market, especially with condo's & townhouses, which seem to be holding their value even in a downward market.

Wherever you decide to buy, it has to make sense to you and your family (and your future family!). The internet is a great tool for this. You can check out schools, crime rates, median household incomes, and any number of criteria you'd be interested in while checking out possible towns to buy in.

It really is a great time to buy due to low interest rates and a high inventory of properties. Enjoy the process and best of luck to you in your search!
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Louis King R…, , 02472
Wed May 28, 2008

Greater Boston is a huge area. What are your needs and wants? I second the previous agent regarding Somerville. I lived in Somerville for many years. With gasoline prices going up, it's great living in an area where stores are within walking distance and there's plenty of public transportation. Parts of Somerville are handy to the Red & Orange line subways as well as the commuter rail to North Station. Lots of buses too.

If you're starting a family in 3-4 years, have you thought about school systems and yard space? How about offstreet parking? After you have kids, will you stay or sell and buy a bigger home?
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Jon Ernest, , Brookline, MA
Wed May 28, 2008
I'm suprised no one's mentioned Somerville or Watertown. These are good areas that have declining markets. In my opinion the worst of the decline in prices is already behind us, so why not take advantage of an area who's prices have declined as opposed to paying more /sq ft in areas that have remained strong?

I think that you'll have a hard time finding a place in a good Charlestown location that you like. Ashland is pretty far out there (srry Ed). You might be priced out of the more desirable areas of Brookline (depending on what your expectations are in a condo).
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Territory.c…, Agent, MA,
Tue May 27, 2008
Brookline - specifically the Coolidge Corner area - has a lot of young professionals, great restaurants, etc, but also can be a great family place.
Cambridge is great (guessing you may already know that since your profile says you are from there) and has numerous options in your price range.
The South End is very nice and well located however it might be a little more difficult to find a true 2 bedroom for under 400K but if you are willing to trade square footage for location it could be a nice investment as the area continues to see appreciation in property values.
Charlestown is also great however one downside is the location to the T but there are bus services and water shuttles as alternatives.

Here are a couple examples of things on the market with your criteria ....

Beautiful 2 bedroom in Charlestown's monument square:

This Brookline condo has had some serious price drops. Well located and upgraded. Not far from Coolidge:
Another one that is smaller in square footage but high ceilings and lots of charm:

Nicely located 2 bedroom near Davis Square T, over 1000 square feet and looks upgraded:

Another great place to consider if you will be taking future children into consideration when buying your condo now is Arlington. A lot of young professionals and young families ( that is based on experience with past clients). Good schools, etc.
Here are examples of some places in your price range:

Near transportation, 3 bed condo:

Bright 2 bedroom townhouse in Arlington heights:

MLS 70767487, gorgeous new contemporary condo in East Arlington.

Hope that helps! Good luck!
Web Reference:  http://www.territoryre.com/
0 votes
Ed Hughes, M…, Agent, Ashland, OR
Tue May 27, 2008

There are some great Brand New condos/townhouses in Ashland that are now under $400K (up until last year they were over $400K but the developer is now making deals, I just sold one and negotiatd a great deal). Ashland has the commuter rail into Boston and it isn't far from Rt 9, Mass Pike.

These units have 2 car garage, 4 levels, 2000 sq ft, nice upgrades, nice community.

Regards, Ed
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Dru Akins, Agent, Roxbury, MA
Tue May 27, 2008
South Boston and Charlestown would be great places. I would also look into the Jamaica Plain, Allston, and West Roxbury areas. These may give you a little more bang for your buck.
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The_Bayou, , Newton, MA
Tue May 27, 2008

I am of the same age, but no longer single and have recently started a family. If I were still single, I would look at Charlestown. There are some great condos in Charlestown, you are close to the water, walking distance to good restaurants and bars, and a quick commute to downtown Boston and many other areas. I am not as big a fan of South Boston, but I do have friends that live there and love it.

If you want to be out of the city, but close, I would recommend a condo on Moody Street in Waltham. Fun area and easy commute to Boston. You should be able to at least get a 2bd for $400k in that area.
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Mary Crane, Agent, Dover, MA
Tue May 27, 2008
As close to the Waterfront as you can get!!!
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Jessica, , Boston, MA
Tue May 27, 2008
Hi there,

We've gotten a lot of similar requests lately! I'd say your best bet is South Boston / Charlestown....I just took a client around South Boston this past weekend with the same requirements and we found a lot of great units! A bunch with fabulous roof decks, patios, parking etc.

If you want to be "closer to the action" I'd check out the South End...the space will be smaller but its feasible to find a two bed in this price range. Let me know if you need any help...we are a buyers only brokerage with a focus on downtown Boston and a really cool business plan...check out the link below!

0 votes
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