Submitted by zacharykoala t3_11bsbr0 in massachusetts

Hi all, after a couple years of frequently traveling to MA for work, my wife and I are looking to move our family there permanently. However, we've mostly only been close to Boston proper for work reasons so haven't had a chance to explore more suburb type places before.

Ideally, we'd be looking for something similar to what we have now, but here's our shortlist:

  • budget of 1M
  • currently in a suburb with 1/3 acre, 4 bedroom house
  • excellent school district, public schools are fine (2 young kids)
  • safe vibe
  • commuting is not an issue so doesn't have to be close to Boston, not looking for an urban setting anyhow
  • close to parks and green space options

What else am I missing/not thinking about? We're like 40 minutes from the nearest city now. Drive 10 minutes in one direction and we hit farms to give an idea of current location.

Update Thank you all for the suggestions and background info, super helpful for us!



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charons-voyage t1_j9zsitk wrote

Acton/Boxborough would be good bet. All public schools in MA are pretty good though compare to 95% of the USA. We live in Quincy which people scoff at but all our neighbors have older kids who have high paying jobs and went to Quincy public. But yeah if you want a big house and lots of land and budget is $1M you should try A/B.


DRZ36 t1_ja10urn wrote

Add Harvard next door to Boxborough. If I didn’t have to commute, I’d easily live in Harvard. Beautiful town that feels like it is the berkshires dropped into Eastern MA.

Would add Hopkinton, Westbrough, Northborough towns here. Hopkinton has best schools, but I love the westborough / northborough vibes.

Might find something in Carlisle as well, although I think that is pricier.

Sherborn has top end schools but is significantly cheaper than Dover (though still expensive). But Sherborn seems to be returning to pre pandemic levels where no houses go up for sale there


Golfball_whacker_guy t1_j9zyiwg wrote

Westford, Littleton, Acton

More west Shirley, you’ll def get a lot more gif your money


emdog927 t1_j9zt1sq wrote

In acton you’ll get great schools and more for your budget than you would in other metrowest towns


geminimad4 t1_j9zqung wrote

Unfortunately housing stock is low right now, so your choices are pretty limited. Belmont, Newton, Needham, Lexington are all towns that are known for their excellent school districts. However, a quick search on resulted in no 4-BR homes priced at $1M or less; a small handful of 3-BRs could be found. Also you're probably going to need to forego the acreage in these towns in that budget and bedroom configuration. Another person mentioned Arlington; its schools are very good, and it's a great community. There's one house in your price range w/ 4 BRs on the market (just to give you an idea of what $1M gets you).

Natick seems to have good schools, and you might be able to find something in your price range w/ 4 BRs (and maybe even a little more acreage).

Since you're OK with being far away from Boston, look at West Newbury. Here's a house on the market that might check a number of boxes for you.


Undecidedbutsure t1_j9ztaua wrote

Westford. $1M won’t get you new..but there’s a listing that just came up that’s walking distance to the center of town, on a cul de sac with a pool. Westford Academy is an excellent HS, as are the elementary and middle schools.


PrettyKittyKatt t1_ja60aso wrote

The center of westford isn’t anything. And there’s hardly any sidewalks here anyways. But spot on otherwise.

I just don’t think we have a lot of green spaces here. Then again I live in western MA now so my perspective is different.


Unique-Public-8594 t1_j9zjvpu wrote

You need to drive through downtown Newburyport, Salem, and Manchester-by-the-Sea. Nothing else compares. Pick one, others will be near enough to enjoy.


lotusblossom60 t1_j9zle9d wrote

Teacher here, for suburbs Lexington has some of the best schools. Salem has gangs and poor schools. Newburyport is lovely but you’ll get a two bedroom condo with no yard for a million.


EtonRd t1_ja04epq wrote

Acton, Sudbury, Holliston, Natick, Medfield are all good possibilities at that price range, all are west of Boston but inside 495.

Housing stock right now is the lowest it’s been for quite some time. Things should be picking up in about a month or so.


b34rman t1_ja04jej wrote

Sturbridge, MA $1M is luxury house level. Great schools. Safe town. Plenty of hiking spots and lakes close by. 1hr from Boston and 45 minutes from Hartford, CT.


Humble-Koala-5853 t1_j9zxx15 wrote

Hudson comes to mind. We live in Sudbury. MetroWest is great, really not going to find bad schools anywhere in MA. If you don’t need to commute into Boston, towns along 495 should work for you


Nanotude t1_ja19w21 wrote

Sounds like you're looking for Sudbury. Maybe Lexington or Concord. Or if you enjoy the coast, Georgetown to Essex on the North Shore. Duxbury to Scituate on the South Shore.


Seaworthiness222 t1_j9zzn1b wrote

Groton is so pretty in in top 5% of schools. If you want green space and hiking, rowing, etc it would be hard to beat.

Great restaurants around. Nice little downtown. 20 minutes to all the of shopping in Nashua.


bigredthesnorer t1_ja0p2cg wrote

OP - The Groton-Dunstable school system is financially strapped, as well as the two towns. I am glad that my last kid is graduating. I do not recommend GD for the school system anymore. There is very little commercial tax revenue in each town, so revenue falls 99% on residential real estate tax. Taxes on a $1M house will be at least $14k a year. A new elementary school is being built, but that will add another $1k yearly to your Groton taxes over the next few years.

Be careful of regional school districts, as each town needs to be able to afford its share of the budget and can cause serious problems if one town cannot pass an override.


pilotJKX t1_ja14nfq wrote

Yeah but groton has a couple steak places and a couple great farmers markets, so I think that about settles that.


Seaworthiness222 t1_ja0q0my wrote

If they can save 300K and interest on a house I dont think the taxes will matter. especially the difference in home cost will likely save them taxes- or be able the same.

There's a lot higher tax rates out there. I'm one of em.


the-court-house t1_ja0gaxm wrote

Welcome! Glad you're making the move. You might want to check out Plymouth. It's the largest town by area in the state, so you'll have plenty of options, from small city, to cookie-cutter suburbia, to farmland. I live here now and I love it.

A million dollar budget can get you a great house. After a quick zillow search, I found a new construction, 4 bed, 4 bath, 3900 sqft, home for $979,000. And that was the most expensive.

Schools are great. I'm a product of, and a teacher in, the school system. Sports/clubs are REALLY big here. Lots of ways for your kids to be involved.

We're 35 miles south of Boston, with access to two MBTA (train) stops.

The downtown is like a small city: shops, restaurants, museums, etc. However, 15 minutes south of downtown is farm land. There are a handful of forest and nature preserves, too. Lots of hiking. Along with miles and miles of beaches, both public and private.

DM if you have any questions.


rattiestthatuknow t1_j9zm820 wrote

4 bed and $1M is solid, but probably not what you think it is. It doesn’t get you into the “excellent schools” category, but damn near close.

The mass pike is the mason dixon line of MA when it comes to north shore/south shore. If you want to be close to the water, look at those. Closer to water in your range is smaller lots.

I’m a MetroWest kid so I’m partial to the towns between 95/128 and 495. Lots are usually 1/2 acre plus.

Almost all towns have plenty of parks. Less have smaller “downtowns” or “centers of town” which I would argue are more important for kids. Every town has enough conservation land to explore to keep you entertained.

From where I am (intersection of 95/90) in 40 minutes you can get to Boston, either shore, NH or RI if it’s the right time of day.


Seaworthiness222 t1_j9zyps1 wrote

It def gets into excellent schools - especially since commute isn't a big issue.

I get not 1% of performing schools - but totally lots of top 5% schools.


mynameisnoteliza t1_j9zo4qe wrote

We have a similar house that meets all of these in Easton.


One-Knitter-15 t1_j9zusz1 wrote

Sudbury. 40 min outside, pretty rural, between 95&495, schools are excellent.


Thisbymaster t1_j9zlnbj wrote

Arlington is the 5th safest in the country and the third safest in MA. Schools are highly rated. But houses are also in demand, granted not as in demand as before.


fun_guy02142 t1_ja2snsh wrote

It’s going to be tough getting 4 bds on 1/3 of an acre for under $1M in Arlington


Golfball_whacker_guy t1_j9zyjnz wrote

Westford, Littleton, Acton

More west Shirley, you’ll def get a lot more gif your money


lurkandpounce t1_ja0ry5p wrote

Sharon MA is a good choice in that vibe and price range also having a great school system. A quick check of zillow shows several homes currently on the market.


Initial_Dimension541 t1_j9zr5jy wrote

Topsfield, boxford and Middleton. North of the city, close to many trails as well as beaches and great school systems. Easy access to Boston but also smaller cities haverhill and Beverly which both have great food/bar scenes


Quirky_Butterfly_946 t1_ja03bva wrote

Your not getting anything in Beverly that has any kind of yard. Town is over built and getting worse. You can add Salem, Danvers, Peabody cities along with Beverly.


Initial_Dimension541 t1_ja0apod wrote

I was saying how the tri town has access to Beverly not to live there. I jumped ship on Beverly in 2020 and enjoying my peaceful acre 15 mins down the road


Katd75 t1_j9zvs8o wrote

Amherst is lovely.


mari815 t1_ja0isar wrote



cbandes t1_ja0uga2 wrote

We recently moved to Acton, which meets most of your criteria. Property values are lower than the suburbs closer to Boston, and the schools are fantastic. Similar to Concord, but a little more affordable and not really that much further away. One thing I love about Acton is how much green space and conservation land there is. It would be similar in many ways to your current location.


JSchecter11 t1_ja0448r wrote

Your budget and needs sound like a good fit for Foxborough/medfield and the areas around/between.


dabba722 t1_ja0a4gn wrote


North Andover



asmithey t1_ja0hylh wrote

It's a solid list except for that 1/3 acre thing. That's a pretty big lot in eastern MA, especially inside 128. If you're OK with outside 128 in North Andover, Groton, and other such areas it can be found, but it's going to be an older home. And by older I mean probably late 1800s/early 1900s homes.

Inside 128, with the desire for good school systems, you'll be lucky to find 1/4 acre, most lots of that price range and bedrooms will be 1/10th or less. And age will vary from 1800 to 1950s as far as age. Newer homes will be much higher.


bigredthesnorer t1_ja0pqi5 wrote

Whatever town you pick, be sure that you study the town's finances, especially the school system's budget and history, especially history of override attempts, budget cuts, reduced funding, teacher cuts, etc. People fall in love with Groton, for example, and pay a premium to live there, and then are surprised when there are school funding issues and many unhappy teachers.


ilickthings t1_ja0qpqz wrote



organic_salamander t1_ja2584x wrote

South shore is wonderful, Duxbury, Marshfield, Norwell, Scituate, hingham


shrinktb t1_ja49per wrote

Harvard, MA and Lincoln are two of my favorite burbs. Also Carlisle. All more ruralish than suburban.


tesky02 t1_ja09i8m wrote

Commuting at all? Deciding which train station, North or South, will be important.


Catamounter t1_ja0gv3y wrote

Newbury / Newburyport is the answer.


Daily_the_Project21 t1_ja2oge6 wrote

Franklin, Medfield, and Medway are decent options for what you're looking for.


Banea-Vaedr t1_ja357yv wrote

You'll be happy to mover further west. The further west you go, the better the prices, the better the safety, and generally the better the schools


WeekendOk6724 t1_ja0klgl wrote

Concord. It has a downtown. Wellesley Lexington Arlington is ok.. Belmont


Davidicus12 t1_ja1bn5t wrote

New Hampshire. We’re all set.


BeardiesRule112 t1_ja05la3 wrote

How does one mute these non stop posts 15x a day. Holy shit.


Affectionate-Row6 t1_ja0d2yr wrote

Sorry, reddit only feeds garbage to conspiracy nuts like you.


BeardiesRule112 t1_ja0edya wrote



[deleted] t1_ja0f2pf wrote



BeardiesRule112 t1_ja0fn5f wrote

I can’t, too covered by chemtrails! 🤣


[deleted] t1_ja0fwc4 wrote



BeardiesRule112 t1_ja0fzrs wrote

Insane in the membrane! Insane in the brain 🧠


pillbinge t1_j9zp8l6 wrote


So pretty much the idea for everyone in the area, including those who are getting priced out by transplants who want to buy their way in? At this point, people need to post what they don't want that everyone else typically does.