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Bargains under $250,000?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis February 21, 2014 07:42 AM

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If you needed any more convincing that Greater Boston is one of the most expensive housing markets in the country, just take a look at open house listings.

I did a search on for all open houses this Sunday within 20 miles of Boston and came up a grand total of 1,331.

I then knocked the price range down to $500,000 and roughly halved that number. OK, pricey, but still manageable.

But when go below that rough median point, the pickings get slimmer fast. Less than a quarter of all open houses feature listings under $300,000, or 264 out of 1,331.

Knock that price down to $250,000, and that pool shrinks again, to 141. That's still a pretty high number given the median U.S. home price stood at just under $200,000 at the end of 2013.

So what's available for under $250,000?

Condos and townhouses make up the bulk of the listings, like this 1,848 square foot townhouse in Marlborough listed at just under $250,000. For the single or newly hitched crowd, I thought this $169,000, two bed, one-and-a-half bath condo in a neat old house in downtown Salem was intriguing, but then again I have a thing for older homes.

If you want a traditional single family, you are going to be looking mostly at ranches and tiny capes. Geographically, it's a toss up between close-in, old industrial cities and towns like Everett and Lynn and mill towns a bit farther out like Brockton and Lowell.

This $239,000 raised ranch in Brocton looks spiffy, though it's billed as "fully furnished." Not sure what that means if I don't want the last owner's stuff.

If you are ready for a longer commute, there are smaller ranches available out in Milford, Rockland, Abington and other farther flung burbs. Here's a 938-square-foot, two bedroom cape in Marshfield listed at just under $180,000.

For size, you can't beat this 2,097-square-foot ranch in Milford listed at $248,000. It looks a bit like two homes fused into one - it has an interesting, horseshoe like layout.

Happy house hunting!

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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