Massachusetts Real Estate

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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No matter which way you look at it, Massachusetts real estate is very attractive. If you appreciate the premise of snow in winter--yearly accumulation averages 40 inches--then it becomes even more attractive. Packed with history, the state's 10,555 acres rise from a well-known and well-loved ragged coastline, move across the rolling farmlands into the rocky pastures of the Berkshires, and roll into the Taconic Mountains and the state of New York. Whether you are moving in from out of state or across state, the first thing to do is narrow your focus.

You're buying into Massachusetts real estate. You might want to look northwest to the Berkshires and the Mohawk Trail, where you'll find beautiful landscapes, great skiing, covered bridges and small towns. Central Massachusetts offers rolling meadows and hills and the Blackstone Valley. Its city of Worcester, the state's second-largest, lies about an hour from Boston, Providence, Rhode Island and Hartford, Connecticut, and three hours from New York city.

Where do you want to live? You'll be buying and settling down for a good while. Your choice of Massachusetts real estate might be Boston. Boston, however, is something of a broad concept. For some, the eastern third of Massachusetts--excluding Cape Cod--is more or less Boston. There is what is known as "North of Boston" and "South of Boston." Then there is Boston itself.

Boston: the Home Base of Massachusetts Real Estate

Greater Boston, in Massachusetts real estate terminology, consists of old Boston proper--the one where my many times great-grandfather and uncle settled as teenagers in 1635--and its 85 suburban municipalities. Geographically, this means 48.4 square miles in Suffolk County, stretching perhaps 25 miles along the coast from Lynn in the north to Quincy in the south.

In the heart of Boston and all of Massachusetts real estate are Fenway Park and the Red Sox. The Park has shifted and Boston has sprawled but the Red Sox have stayed. (For the Sox, like the Chicago Cubs, hope springs eternal.) But baseball came to Boston only in 1912. There is, as you know while you look for property, much more to the city than that.

The city of Boston is about its neighborhoods. The greater Boston is about those cities and towns that surround it. The city itself has a population of some 600,000, and is the country's 20th largest. Add the municipalities and it becomes the seventh largest. Each of the towns has its own government, history, and identity.

FAQ: Behind Massachusetts Real Estate

As of the summer of 2003 Boston trailed only San Francisco and Honolulu as the most costly city in the United States in which to buy a house. But real estate has always been a wise investment. You almost can't go wrong in investing in Massachusetts.

Mean commuting time for Massachusetts adults is about 27 minutes. There are some 2.6 million housing units statewide. Home ownership rate is about 61.7 percent. Median household income is $50,500. There are four seasons, about 40 to 50 inches of precipitation, and an annual temperature range from about 15 degrees to 82 degrees. The loftiest Massachusetts real estate is Mount Graylock, at 3,487 feet. It is not for sale.

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