Looking for a bargain? Head west to 495.
I compared home prices along Greater Boston's two great technology and commercial beltways, 128 and 495 for a column I do for the Globe West, Forever 128.
Along 128, Burlington, with a median price of nearly $400,000, is closing on its 2005 price peak, while Weston, at $1.4 million, has surpassed its previous high-water mark of $1.3 million set that same year.
Other 128 towns such as Newton, Needham and Lexington all saw median prices drop this past year, yet all are within 10 percent of the highs reached during the height of the housing bubble in 2005-2006.
But along 495, it's a much different story.
Here's what I wrote:
A comparison of year-to-date values between this April and the same period in 2004, 2005, and 2006 reveals some dizzying home price declines along the I-495 corridor.
Just take US Senator Scott Brown?s hometown of Wrentham, where the median home price has dropped from a peak of just under $500,000 in April 2006 to $262,000 in April, according to the Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman.
Plainville saw an even bigger collapse, from a high of $460,000 in April 2006, to $201,000 this April.
Meanwhile, Milford has seen prices fall more than 30 percent since April 2006, when they stood at $334,750, to $210,000 in April. Franklin, in turn, has seen a 24 percent drop in its median price, from $444,000 in April 2006 to $338,750 this April, Warren Group figures show.
Towns along the western and northern stretches of 495 have also taken it on the chin with prices, with Bolton's median plunging from $600,000 in April 2004 to $397,000 this April.
Other 495 communities, such as Marlborough, Westborough, and Littleton, have fared somewhat better, but generally have seen declines of well beyond the 10 percent mark.
For buyers, this is potentially good news. The 495 towns obviously involve a bit more of a commute, but they are great places to live. When it comes to bargains, they may be the Boston area's best kept secret right now.
What's your take?
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