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Rent here and buy elsewhere: One readerís idea for escaping the Greater Boston home price trap

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis March 31, 2011 08:00 AM

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Here's an idea tossed to me by a renter sitting on the sidelines.

Yearning for a meaningful decline in Greater Boston's perpetually inflated home prices, but apparently tired of waiting, he's looking into buying a vacation home while continuing to rent here.

Not necessarily here in Massachusetts, but in another state where prices are easier to get your arms around.

It's an intriguing idea, to say the least. Rent here and avoid breaking the bank to buy in Newton or Arlington and instead become a homeowner in pretty little East Nowheresville.

The fact is, armed with $150,000 - roughly the median price nationally of a home - and you can do well for yourself in many other states and metro markets.(Here that gets you a grim looking one bedroom, garden style apartment/condo along a busy highway.)

And really, unless you believe the world ends at 495, there are actually a lot of other nice places to live in this world.

After all, it's not hard to beat our crummy weather and terrible traffic.

Here's a sample of what you can find in sunny Orlando for around $150,000 - there's a wide selection of new three bedroom, Florida-style town homes to pick from.

If New England is more your thing, I don't think you'd have too hard a time finding a $150,000 getaway/potential retirement home in Maine, New Hampshire or Vermont. Just avoid the ski areas - I have a painter uncle who has a gorgeous house on a hill on a sprawling wooded lot overlooking St. Johnsbury,the capital of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. I don't know what he paid, but St. J is hardly trendy and having seen what other homes go for there, it's right in our ballpark.

It would be nice to think that if we keep waiting, home prices here in Greater Boston will somehow fall to more affordable levels

But so far, it has yet to happen in a big way, especially along and inside the 128 corridor.

So I'd say if the vacation home strategy works for you, go for it.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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