Median home price Single family, $189,900; Condominiums, $124,000
Residential tax rate $11.10
Average tax bill $2,658
Choice location D. W. Field Park, seven acres and generations of stories
Cocktail party nugget Thomas Edison pioneered the concepts underlying electrical grids by building the first power grid in Brockton in 1883
SOURCES: Warren Group, City of Brockton, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, US Census Bureau
THE GOODS The official motto is "City of Champions" and like the famous boxers who inspired that slogan, this city gets knocked down and picks itself up again. The previous economic downturn lasted longer here because of a water shortage, a shortage that has been fixed but still needs long-term attention. Immigrants once flocked to shoe factories and that welcoming heritage is reflected in one of the most ethnically and racially diverse communities in the state. Nearly 34 percent speak a language other than English at home. Like Brockton, the Westgate Mall has been revived and is flourishing. The Good Samaritan Medical Center provides healthcare in this proudly working-class city and Veterans Affairs has a large hospital and recovery facility. The MBTA provides commuter rail, the Brockton Area Transit provides buses, and Route 24 provides superhighway access.
THE PROS Housing here is affordable, extensive, and in a variety of styles reflecting waves of development over time. Streets radiating off downtown, the older part of the city, offer Victorians with soaring ceilings and New England farmhouses. There are also a huge number of concrete slab-floored ranches. A quick check of listings shows asking prices as low as $49,000 and some 300 houses available, with the topping off price of $629,000. There is a steady rental demand as 42 percent of housing is renter occupied.
THE CONS Brockton is confronting the issues facing every community - just in larger doses. Crime and municipal finance concerns are chronic but get aggressive attention. Housing values are usually slower to recover than other communities. Overall scores in MCAS place the city's schools in the lower third of systems statewide, according to a Globe ranking of 2007 results.
JOHN R. ELLEMENT