Best Places to Live

Real estate, like life, has its phases.

[sidebar]Once upon a time, all you needed to call a place home was a nearby T stop and a bug-free shower. A few years later, utopia was a pad with extra guest/office/Guitar Hero space. Which later became a nursery. And then you craved a backyard for restless kids, and a stellar school system.

Or maybe you’ve already been through all of that. In which case, paradise for you right now is a downsized one-bedroom with a skyline view and a dedicated parking spot. “Best places” — a concept defined in these pages each year — is all about your stage in life, and your lifestyle.

“Approach real estate with your life’s priorities and opportunities in mind, and you’ll make a good buy,” says Jeff Simon, president of SalesApproach Real Estate. Yes, the housing market has had a bruising few years. But Massachusetts remains a solid buy. Since 2002 the median home price has risen $20,000, or 7 percent. And of the 150-plus towns we track, 61 percent saw the median rise in 2010. So whatever your taste or age, now is a good time to buy. Whether you’re looking to purchase a first home, a family-friendlier compound, or a retirement retreat, we’ve discovered ideal spots spanning city, shoreline, and suburbia. 

  • Carole

    My husband and I were the original developers of Tall Pines, Sudbury. Thank you for recognizing this fabulous neighborhood. Carole Daniels,VP Coldwell Banker

  • Carole

    My husband and I were the original developers of Tall Pines, Sudbury. Thank you for recognizing this fabulous neighborhood. Carole Daniels,VP Coldwell Banker

  • Bob

    You capture the essence of Hingham but there’s a lot more here. A great place to buy a home.

  • Mike

    “Since 2002 the median home price has risen $20,000, or 7 percent.” Lipstick on a pig – that’s a 0.75% compound annual rate in 9 years. Stick your money in a CD.

  • marilyn

    I was surprised that Lynnfield was not listed in your report. Its a great little town just north of Boston. It has much to offer.

  • Mary

    As always a whole segment was forgotten. What about those of us who are established singles or couples without kids. We aren’t interested in the school system and can get more bang for our buck because of it. If you don’t want to have a bunch of kids then you never get included in any of these articles.

  • Mary

    As always a whole segment was forgotten. What about those of us who are established singles or couples without kids. We aren’t interested in the school system and can get more bang for our buck because of it. If you don’t want to have a bunch of kids then you never get included in any of these articles.

  • Joe

    Tall Pines in Sudbury is a nice neighborhood in a great town, but a new house hasn’t been built there in years. Also, Atkinson Lane is not in North Sudbury. Fact checking is important if Boston Magazine wants to be taken seriously.

  • maggie

    That home looks might familiar. I doubt it would sell for as little as $660,000. Very misleading, perhaps a mistake via layout.

  • Felisha

    I’m twenty and just going to graduate from my university. I want to get my first apartment in Boston, I’ve been wanting to move to the East Coast. I am from California, and I’m single and love the city. What areas in Boston should I look into?

  • gerhard

    you should stay in California…

  • George

    A recent ASPS survey asked mothers, if cost were not an issue, would you consider a “mommy makeover?”62% of Mothers Would Consider Plastic Surgery

  • d.

    Starting out, you’re saying Marshfield is the best place to live? Out of all of the fabulous towns in the Boston Metro. Or Roslindale? Fenway? Why not suggest actual good neighborhoods in Boston that are affordable and up and coming. We recently bought a house in East Somerville near the Charlestown line for a fraction of what your article is stating as the expected amounts for a condo to pay. You’re called Boston.com, not Bostonsuburbs.com, and not all of your readers aspire to live in the suburbs. If I followed your lead and bought in the Fenway area, I’d move out of Boston as a next stop.

  • Bob

    who came up with Marshfield as a great place to live? If I was going to pick a suburb south of Boston, I would pick Duxbury, Norwell, Hingham or Hanover anyday over Marshfield! Marshfield is kind of dumpy.

  • FLAmoveGuide

    This may all be true but how do these places compare to other areas? In Florida you can buy the same kind of place for half or less and live free for many years on the difference. Best asset protection state in US, no state income tax, etc.

  • Finneas

    Melrose is nothing like moving to Winchester. The schools are in freefall, and if you talk to families living there, they are either moving or scraping money together for private school. Their MCAS scores stink, their High School is on warning status, and they were cited for ELL and SPED issues in their last review. Maybe if you are older without kids…