7. NatickThough single-family home prices declined since the peak of the market, the town's real estate picture is looking brighter, says John Prescott, a vice president with Century 21 Commonwealth in Wellesley and a Natick resident. I've been in the business 16 years, he says, and inventory is at close to the lowest numbers I've ever seen. Low inventory, of course, drives up prices.
According to the Warren Group, the median price declined by only about half a percentage point between 2008 and 2009, and sales in December 2009 were 50 percent higher than in December 2008. Natick is the first affordable town when you head west out of the city, Prescott says. And we're surrounded by Weston, Wellesley, Dover, Sherborn, and Wayland - all considerably pricier communities.
Natick students have good MCAS scores, and the town has something for everyone, from miles of walking trails to the upscale Natick Collection shopping mall (which also features condos) to a quaint downtown filled with stately brick commercial buildings. We do have high-end housing, says Prescott, but the average house is $450,000, $500,000. It's still a lot of money, but it's more affordable than a lot of similar towns with similar amenities.