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Sure beats condo living

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis May 17, 2012 06:35 AM

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That's how Jonathan in Millbury feels about his decision to buy in Central Massachusetts.

After all, he works as a project management consultant in Kendall Square and could have easily settled for a condo in the Boston area.

But instead, he's now living his version of the American Dream in a three bedroom, 1,500-square-foot ranch he bought for the low $200,000s in 2007, complete with a "nice level yard with woods."

After reading my recent post on bargain towns below $200,000, Jonathan fired off an email asking why I had left out Millbury. (No slight, just missed it as I was looking over median price records.)

Sure, I could have purchased a condo in the Boston area. But I don't see the value of living in a condo and paying a condo fee. I like having a yard and taking care of my home. And my neighbors are awesome.

OK, Millbury sounds like a hike to me if you are commuting into Cambridge or Boston. But it really isn't, Jonathan insists, pointing to the nearby Mass Pike and a commuter rail station in next door Grafton - a 50 minute drive to Boston and 40 minutes to Providence.

Better yet, the bursting of the housing bubble, while it has wreaked havoc on real estate values in town, has opened up lots of affordable opportunities for young families, he argues.

The median home price in Millbury fell to $180,000 in April, down more than 15 percent over the last year. Back in 2005, it was a hefty $333,750, according to The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman.

The housing bubble has wrecked havoc on home values though. However, people generally want to stay in the area as it is a good value even during these times. There is a $120,000 3br ranch that needs some sweat equity and a $158,000 ranch with an in-ground pool available on my street.

Here's more from Jonathan on life in Mayberry - oops, scratch that, Millbury.

The town is small enough that I get recognized at the hardware store, grocery store, pharmacy and even town hall, but the outdoor mall (The Shoppes @ Blackstone Valley) offers a wide array of retail (Sephora, Coldwater Creek, Target, Best Buy, Staples) and gets a lot of traffic from others towns in central MA. The town is a half hour from Wachusett Mountain to ski / hike, 40 minutes to Providence or 50 minutes to Boston (Federal Hill vs. the North End, Logan Airport vs. TF Green), Minutes to Worcester (concerts / sporting events at the DCU or Hanover Theater).

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

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

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