Depending on who you talk to, you’re going to get a different opinion on where the best place to purchase a home might be. However, when you look at the unbiased data, you’ll find that opinions and facts might be close, but there are some differences, too.
The purpose of the research today is to determine which cities in the great state of Massachusetts are the best for homeowners. We’re going to talk about sunshines and rainbows. The great places in Massachusetts. The kind of cities anyone would want to live in.
After analyzing the 224 most populous cities, we came up with this list as the 10 best places in Massachusetts for homeowners:
I know what you’re probably thinking. If you live in one of these cities, you agree with the reasoning, and if your ‘wonderful’ city isn’t on this list, you think we’re nuts. Well, buckle up and read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your town ranked. It will make sense. I promise.
How do you decide if a place is awesome or not?
In order to rank the best places for homeowners in Massachusetts, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. It isn’t a stretch to assume that people like low crime, solid education, things to do and a stable economy.
So we scraped the internet for those criteria, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.
How we crunched the numbers
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data, the government census, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Sperling’s Best Places, this is the criteria we used:
- Population Density (The higher the better. Meaning there’s lots to do.)
- Lowest Unemployment Rates
- Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
- Education (High expenditures per student and low Student Teacher Ratio)
- Low Crime
- Highest Cost of Homes in the area
If you’d like to see the complete list of cities, from best to best, scroll to the bottom of this post to see the abridged chart. And if you’re wondering where Boston fared, it was somewhere in the middle of the pack. Larger cities typically do trend that direction when we run this data.
The worst city to live in Massachusetts? That’d be New Bedford. More on that later.
An additional note: We get the crime numbers from the FBI, which gets its crime numbers from the cities themselves. We simply did a calculation to determine the chances a person has of being the victim of a crime, based on number of violent crimes and property crimes per capita.
Median income: $176,875
Crime: 9th lowest in the state
Unemployment rate: 3.4%
Average home cost: $1.2 million
Let’s just put this to rest right now. No matter how passionate you are about where you live in Massachusetts, the town of Weston is by far the best place to live. At least according to science.
That is if you can afford it.
The residents of Weston are the wealthiest, most employed, and just about safest of anyone in the state. Plus, their kids go to some of the best-funded schools. The get the benefits of living in the Boston area without having to rub elbows with the masses.
If you live here, you probably won’t brag about this ranking. You secretly already knew.
Education: 20th best in terms of student support
Household income: $131,507
Unemployment rate: 3.8%
We’re going to see a pattern here, so if you want to skim, we understand. The Town of Concord is a wealthy Boston suburb with great schools and low crime.
The difference: Concord residents are far less wealthy than those in Weston. But it’s still a very safe place, where you’ll be neighbors with lots of successful people with solid educations.
Unemployment rate: 3.8%
Median household income: $124,702
Crime: 2nd lowest in the state
Seems like the further away you get from Boston, the safer it gets. At least that’s the case with the Town of Wayland. There’s only one other city in the state that’s statistically safer. Anyone want to guess?
It’s Pinehurst, a tiny blip of 7,000 people that isn’t even considered a city. It’s a village south of Lowell.
In any event, consider yourself lucky if you live in Wayland, where there were only five violent crimes in all of 2013.
Household income: $138,095
Average home cost: $748,700
Unemployment rate: 3.5%
The Town of Lexington has the fifth-lowest unemployment rate in Massachusetts. The population growth here has been 8% over the last 15 years, meaning a lot of people want to live here. But only if they can afford it; the cost of living in Lexington is 128% higher than the national average.
That seems to be pretty standard in these Boston suburbs.
Average home values: $564,100
Unemployment rate: 4%
Median household income: $104,623
The town of Bedford has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state, and some of the most successful residents. Scientifically, it’s one of the best places to live in the state, and quite, frankly, the entire country.
Again, the cost of living is high, but not as high as in some of the cities listed above.
Unemployment rate: 3.9%
Education: 10th best in the state for student support
Median household value: $888,300
The town of Lincoln is the smallest of the Boston suburbs to top our list.
It can make a case that it has the smartest students (or at least the most nurtured students). The public school education is ranked 10th best in terms of student support, and the student-teacher ratio is second best in Massachusetts.
There are 9.9 students per teacher in Lincoln schools. Talk about some real attention.
Unemployment rate: 3.5%
Average home price: $994,200
Median household income: $155,000
The unemployment rate in Wellesley is almost as low as you can get.
If you lived in Wellesley, you’d be surrounded by not just the smartest people in the state, but some of the smartest people in the entire nation. More than 80% of the residents of Wellesley have a college degree.
Median household income: $164,337
Average home cost: $654,600
Crime: 5th lowest in the state
Sudbury is perhaps the safest community in the state of Massachusetts. In addition to that, there are lots of amenities in the area where a resident can stay active.
If you’re into the arts or personal fitness, you’d fit right in in Sudbury.
Median household income: $105,090
Unemployment rate: 3.8%
Average household cost: $529.000
The only real difference between Marblehead and the cities above is that Marblehead residents make less money and the crime is slightly higher.
In fact, of all of the cities at the top of this list, Marblehead is statistically the most dangerous. But you have to put things into perspective here. Every place on this list is probably the safest place you could possibly live in Massachusetts.
Median income: $123,942
Home cost: $450,500
Crime: 7th lowest in Massachusetts
Sharon is a really awesome place to live when you look at the numbers. The crime is extremely low across the board.
Homes are relatively affordable if you have a successful career in the city, and you’re close enough to the city that you can enjoy downtown without having to commute too far.
There You Have It
If you’re analyzing places in Massachusetts with the best economic situations, where there’s high crime and there’s not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places for homeowners in Massachusetts, according to science.
- New Bedford (Pop. 94,952)
- Fall River (Pop. 89,049)
- Gardner (Pop. 20,250)
- North Adams (Pop. 13,725)
- Fitchburg (40,314)
Here’s a complete list of the best cities to live for homeowners in Massachusetts
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