5. RowleyAs in Wenham, Rowley's jump in condo prices can be attributed mainly to a couple of new 55-and-over developments - one of which was 90 percent sold in just 14 months, according to realtor Kerry Nicolls of RE/Max Prestige in Pelham, New Hampshire, who handled the 23-unit project. She says the condos were priced right but also notes that Rowley is close to New Hampshire, Maine, and Boston and is not overbuilt. People get to know their neighbors.
A daily commute to Boston might be challenging, at just under an hour with no traffic, but there's good access to major highways. Parker River National Wildlife Refuge is just 20 minutes away. The town's students have good MCAS scores. Its open space includes horse farms, trails, conservation land, salt marshes, and, crucially, large lot sizes for the area's housing stock, which generally runs in the $300,000 to $800,000 range. Rowley, says Nicolls, is a farm community, a horse community, a true bedroom community.