Boston’s Top 10

Boston Magazine through a system of analytics, annually ranks all the 155 High Schools within the 495 belt. Small class sizes, lower Student / Teacher ratios, and a strong sports program are weighted more heavily.  Boston Magazine shares these rankings each year in their September issue. The complete 2016  ranking is attached here.

The 2016 Top Schools list is fairly consistent with 2015 Top Ten.  Westborough and Concord / Carlisle fell out of the top 10, while Acton/Boxborough and Winchester found their elite spots.

Our top 10 towns continue to offer a wide range of Single Family Average Selling Price (ASP) as well as commuting times.  The real estate mantra of “Location, Location, Location” definitely applies here when considering ASP vs. commute times for our Top 10.

Lexington 10 Yr ASP
Lexington MA Average Sales Price – 10 yr

When choosing a town, schools are key. But other important factors such as housing affordability and commute times should also be considered.  It’s no surprise communities closer to downtown Boston have more public transportation options (Newton, Winchester), offering both commuter rail and bus options with a smaller drive times as well.   Towns farther out; Dover, Boxborough, Harvard, etc.  have much longer commute times, and often only by car.  However, home affordability is much easier on the bank account.  Additionally, the farther you live from Boston, the more land you tend to get with a home.  All these factors are important when deciding towns you’d like to pursue.

There are several towns sharing a High School.  There are two examples on the Boston Magazine list;  Dover/Sherborn and Acton/Boxborough. Other examples of shared schools: Concord/Carlisle and Lincoln/Sudbury.  Often the sharing towns have very different feels and ASP’s.

Concord MA 10 Yr ASP
Concord 10 Yr Average Single Family sales price

Concord has a very dynamic town center (actually 2 centers……Concord and the up and coming “West Concord” home of the newest hot spot,  a Farm to Table restaurant, Woods Hill Table …Plan ahead, the choice times are often not available)  with  artisanal  “mom and pop shops”.

Carlisle 10 Yr ASP
Carlisle, MA 10 Yr ASP – Single Family Homes

 

Carlisle typically has a 2 acre minimum and is fairly wooded.  No public transportation of any kind, other than a school bus!  Carlisle is a town with a single store, “Fern’s”.  A one stop shop, providing a decent deli and wine assortment.   Also good for last minute bread, eggs, and milk!

 

Boston Magazine HS Ranking

 

Community

Average 2016 Sales Price of a Single-Family Home

Average Commute time to DT Boston

Public Transportation Option

1

Dover $1,285,800 40 Minutes none

1

Sherborn $803,800 43 Minutes

none

2

Lexington $1,207,000 30 minutes

Bus to Alewife

3 Weston $1,887,700 25 minutes

Train

4 Wayland $835,800 33 minutes None
5 Newton South $1,249,300 25 minutes Train / Bus
6 Wellesley $1,478,800 35 minutes Train
7 Harvard $601,100 53 minutes none
8 Acton $596,700 43 minutes Train
8 Boxborough $626,000 45 minutes none
9 Bedford $775,300 33 minutes Bus to Alewife
10 Winchester $1,174,100 23 minutes Train / Bus

I’ve only indicated whether there are train or bus stops actually within a specific community. There are commuter options for many of the above if you’re willing to drive to an adjacent town.  For example, Bedford residents can drive to nearby Concord to take the train/Commuter Rail into Boston.  Boxborough residents can drive to either the Littleton or Acton station, etc.  Please visit MBTA Map & Schedules for additional information.

Homes come with far more emotional weight than any other investment we make.

Our home is a refuge from the world, a place to raise your family, full of memories and cherished belongings.  We fall in love with a home the way we never would with a stock portfolio.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the physical features of the houses you’re looking at.  However, please stop to consider how the places you’re considering would shape your social relationships within and outside the family. One of the biggest tradeoffs is commuting.  People focus on a home that’s a certain size or style, ignoring the fact they want to spend as much time as possible with family.  That “Perfect” house may require a longer commute, keeping them away from home for an extra hour or two each working day!

Also – when looking at affordability, please include the costs of any renovations or new furniture you may need / want.  When you’re thinking about a house, think about the furnishings at the same time.

Dr. Robert Shiller, a professor of economics at Yale, wrote about recent home buyers around the country and their expectations on future values of their homes.

He found most home buyers have very high long term price expectations.  This could lead to someone buying a home not because it’s a good fit, but because a buyer deems it as a good investment. Some even plan on using the equity in their homes to fund their retirement.  Remember, you still need a place to live in retirement!