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Market Basket Towns: More Value for Your Dollar

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis August 7, 2014 03:56 PM

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OK, calling it the "Market Basket effect" sounds a bit silly.

Still, there is an advantage to having two, or even three Market Baskets in town, and yes, there are some with three stores. Not only are the canned peaches and hamburger a bit less expensive, so are the home prices. 

OK, that's my super sleuth, back-of-the-envelope survey,  matching up the latest home numbers with a list of towns where Market Baskets are located.

I say you are lucky if you have one Market Basket in town. I was driving a half hour from Natick through Framingham center to the Ashland Market Basket before the latest chapter in the Demoulas family feud erupted, bypassing at least three other pricier chains. Maybe that makes me a Market Basket groupie, but it's also a very effective way of feeding a family of five and not going broke.

But if you have two or even three Market Baskets in town, well then you have really hit the jackpot, especially if you are house hunting and don't want to spend more than $350,000. The median price in most of these Market Basket towns is down around even more affordable $250,000 mark.

Amazingly, seven towns in Eastern Massachusetts have at least two Market Baskets, with three hitting a triple, Haverhill, Billerica and Lowell. Hitting doubles were Tewskbury, where Market Basket is headquartered, Westford, Methuen and Fitchburg.

Who knew?

Of these Market Basket towns, Billerica, has second highest median home price, topping out at $337,000 after a hardly stunning 3 percent increase over the first six months of 2014, reports The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman.

So what about towns with just one Market Basket? Some have lower median prices like those double and triple Market Basket towns, but others, like Somerville, Newburyport, Middleton, Wilmington, feature somewhat loftier prices in $360,000-to-$650,000 range.

Here's Billerica center, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Billerica center.jpg

And the prices go down from there. Up in the Merrimack Valley, one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution and still one of the state's top workshops, Haverhill's median home price just reached $260,000 after a 2.7 percent increase. Merrimack Valley sister city Lowell is a bargain by comparison, with a median price of $220,000, despite a 4.7 percent jump, according to The Warren Group.

Here's downtown Haverhill, as seen from the Merrimack River, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Haverhill waterfront, wikimedia.jpg

Towns with two Market Baskets also boast lower home prices. Methuen, another valley town, saw its median price jump more than 9 percent in the first six months of the year, to nearly $269,000, while Tewksbury is closing in on $340,000 after a 7 percent rise. Not exactly budget busters in a state where the median price of a home is nearly $360,000.

However, the one town really bucking the Market Basket effect is Westford, which, you may recall has two Market Baskets. Westford's median price, at over $457,000, is way up there compared to other Market Basket towns.

Here's downtown Westford's historic district.

Westford history district, First_Parish_Church_United_of_Westford_MA.jpg

Looking to escape escalating home prices? Well you could do a lot worse than simply picking out the towns with a couple Market Baskets, hopping in your car, and heading to some open houses.

Who knows, maybe there really is a Market Basket effect. You just never know.

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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