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Where does the average person buy?

Posted by Rona Fischman April 15, 2011 02:13 PM

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Today, I challenge you to find the best place for the “average” wage-earners in Massachusetts. You all have your favorite MLS interface, so get searching.

Within Ten Miles:
The single-earner household can borrow $100,000. He or she needs a 20 percent down payment. That makes a purchase price of $125,000. Within ten miles of Boston, $125,000 could have purchased houses in Boston, Chelsea, Dedham, Everett, Lynn, Malden, Quincy, Revere, and Saugus. Condos (at least a couple) could be had in Melrose, Winthrop and Winchester. (Data from the last six months.)

The two-income household can borrow $250,000. With their 20 percent down payment, their purchase power is about $313,000. I put some limits on the size of this two-person or more living space. It must have two bedrooms, five rooms and be 1000 square feet or more inside. In the past six months, there were houses in Arlington, Boston, Braintree, Chelsea, Dedham, Everett, Hull, Lynn, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Milton, Needham, Newton, Quincy, Revere, Saugus, Somerville, Stoneham, Wakefield, Waltham, Watertown, Weymouth, Winchester, Winthrop and Woburn. When I throw condos in, I get a lone Brookline condo to add to the town mix.

Where do properties in these towns fall, generally, on that size + location + condition (+ some for style in some cases) = price equation?

Close to Boston, you are going to find houses and condos in this price, lots of them! Some are tiny, but pretty in good spots. Some are big, but run down. Some are big, nice and in crowded areas, on busy streets, or in tough condition. What choice worked for you?

Beyond the city
If you go farther out, prices are even higher. The spaces between houses expands and so do the costs. When commuting time hits about 45 minutes to an hour, the prices go down again. What balance do you choose in regard to your commute? Where would you choose in the long-commute-to-Boston towns? Where do you own or rent, and why?

I’d like to hear from people who live in some of the towns within ten miles of Boston that have affordable properties for sale for the average wage-earner. Also, from the long commute crowd. (I also expect those who want to disparage the town to keep it civil.)

This blog is not written or edited by 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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