By Globe Staff | November 14, 2004
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 Realtor.com 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." JOHN ELLEMENT © Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.