Best Places to Live 2014: Starting Out

Didn’t snap up a home during the recession, when mortgage rates were in the threes? Don’t despair: They’re still historically low, at less than 5 percent. If you’re tired of brokering fridge space with a persnickety roommate, it’s time to get in the game.

best places to live boston starting out

Photograph by Greig Cranna

— Winner —


Median home price: $395,000
One-year change: +11%

If you didn’t have the foresight or the cash to buy in ultra-hot Arlington 10 years ago, console yourself with the possibility of neighboring Medford—especially West Medford, which has its own commuter-rail station and is just a short drive over the river to Arlington’s cultural charms. Townwide, the median price for a single-family home remains a reasonable $395,000—a steal compared with Arlington’s $550,000. Find larger, rambling homes on the Winchester side of town; smaller single families and condos, in the hills close to I-93. Other fringe benefits include proximity to the Middlesex Fells Reservation, the urban appeal of independent businesses in Medford and West Medford centers, and Orange Line access to Boston. As these home values steadily increase, it’s a savvy—and centrally located—investment.


On the Market

Address: 99 George St., Medford
Stats: Three bedrooms, two baths
Listing Price: $449,000


— Also worth a look —


Median home price: $462,000
One-year change: +9%

For less than the price of a Cambridge condo, you can snap up an entire single-family next door in Watertown. Enjoy easy access to the Mass. Pike and Route 128; bus service into Harvard Square via Mount Auburn Street (or commuter- rail service just over the Belmont line); and streets lined with ethnic restaurants, shops, and small businesses. Residents are passionate about improving the community. Activist group Sustainable Watertown aims to make the town a “walkable and human- scaled place to live and work” by discouraging big-box stores. People are catching on: The number of homes sold spiked by 37 percent last year. Condos are even more budget-friendly, with a median price of just $351,000.


Median home price: $410,000
One-year change: +25%

If you’re looking to turn a profit in Boston—on a budget, while pretending you live in the suburbs—serene Roslindale is your Shangri- La. Popular neighborhoods include Metropolitan and Prospect hills, which boast a mix of single- families, condos, and old Victorians. The diverse community is ideal for young families: Roslindale Village’s eateries are tot-friendly, and there’s plenty of romping space, thanks to Adams Park and Fallon Field. There’s also lots to sate gourmet shoppers (Fornax Bread Company for baked goods, Tony’s Market for sausages); outdoorsy types (Arnold Arboretum); and devoted urbanites. Oh, and it’s not as hyped as Jamaica Plain.

Check out more of our Best Places to Live 2014 coverage.