— Winner —
Median home price: $496,000
One-year change: +32%
Newburyport has it all: a navigable downtown filled with independent boutiques, stunning beaches on Plum Island, cross-country skiing and bird-watching at Maudslay State Park, and easy access to New Hampshire and Maine via I-95. And because the commuter rail to Boston originates here, there’s a good chance you’ll snag a seat. The town is also working on a new senior community center. Oh, and no generic over-55 communities here: Some Federal-style homes, like the ones on High Street, have been transformed into downsized condos while retaining their architectural integrity (the town’s median condo price is a reasonable $318,500). Best of all, the jaunty seaport community has seen favorable price increases—a windfall for your heirs, perhaps?
— Also worth a look —
Median home price: $653,000
One-year change: 0.4%
If you crave the life aquatic without the maddening fray of tourists, you’ll find happiness in Hingham, where prices are holding remarkably steady. Quiet beaches, the Hingham Yacht Club, World’s End peninsula, and multiple marinas make it a seafaring paradise. Top-quality restaurants and charming boutiques abound. Naturally, you can live on the water, too: The posh Hewitts Landing community offers scenic access to Boston, with ferry service from Hewitts Cove to Rowes Wharf in 35 minutes.
On the Market
Address: 309 Whiting St., Hingham
Stats: Four bedrooms, three baths
Listing Price: $499,974
Median home price: $726,500 / One-year home change: +14%
Median condo price: $499,000 / One-year condo change: +13%
Boston’s waterfront annex is a smart choice for those who want cosmopolitan bragging rights coupled with a small-town aesthetic. Cobblestone streets lit by lanterns, an active restaurant scene, and many condos and homes that overlook the water give the area an urban- vacation vibe. And while single-family homes aren’t cheap, the median price for condos hovers just below the $500,000 mark.