From the Boston Globe

By Globe Staff | November 14, 2004


151 Grove Street in Westwood listed at $7.8 million.

39 Buckmaster Road, listed at 489,000. (Globe photos)

Miles from Boston: 12
Population: 14,117
Median house price: $545,000
Tax rate: $12.96
Transportation: I-95, Routes 128, 109, 1, and 1A; MBTA commuter rail service.
Best things: Schools, transportation
Worst things: Housing costs
MCAS: Westwood's school system ranked 19th out of 373 school districts in Boston Globe analysis of 2004 MCAS results. Medfield achieved the same ranking.
Census facts: Median family income is $103,242, compared to national rate of $50,046; 57 percent of residents have a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to national rate of 24 percent.
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WESTWOOD -- Fueled by a historically successful school system, close proximity to Boston, and a property tax system split between residential and commercial rates, the price of a single-family home here starts at about $450,000. And there aren't many opportunities in that price range, said Josepha A. Jowdy, a RE/MAX Landmark Realtor and a 12-year veteran of the town's school committee.

"We are a town that allows couples who want a terrific school system to move to our town," said Jowdy, who has lived here since 1976. "Some of the other towns have just been out of the price range for young couples. It's still a lot of money -- I'm not suggesting a half million dollars is nothing -- but I think we are a bargain."

Housing costs have town officials restarting an affordable housing lottery, first begun in the 1990s when 38 single-family homes were built under a local initiative program in two developments. Town Administrator Michael A. Jaillet said Westwood is creating a waiting list should any of those homes come back on the market. No houses are available now, he said.

Jaillet said over the last decade, the percentage of commercial property has declined to 15 percent from about 35 percent because developers have shifted toward high-end residential. The split tax rate -- industrial rates are currently $23.36 -- has helped the town create and maintain numerous services not found elsewhere, such as curbside trash and recycling pickup, he said.

On recently, 66 single-family houses were listed, ranging in price from $489,900 for a three-bedroom, two-bath, 1,600-square-foot home to $7.8 million for a 10-bedroom, 4-bath, 9,000-square-foot home on 27 acres.

"I think the quality of life in Westwood is terrific," said Jowdy. "It's a wonderful place to bring up your kids and to grow old in."


Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.

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