Cheap, boring, unhip housing needed in Boston or Metro West
February 25, 2017 8:57 AM   Subscribe

Looking for an affordable place to live in the Boston or Metro West area for a childless couple on a single income who don't mind living someplace dull or unhip. Our main constraint is a commute to Natick.

We're looking for a one- or two-bedroom, and our circumstances make it very difficult to have roommates. Our absolute this-is-a-big-stretch maximum budget is $1400 a month, and if we could manage substantially less we'd be quite happy.

Other than that, our main constraint is a daily commute to Natick — preferably mostly on public transit, meaning we'd ideally live on the Worcester commuter rail line, in the Metro West Transit Authority bus service area, or someplace that was a <30 minute bike or a <15 minute drive from one of those places.

We don't care at all about being in a good school district, a fun or trendy or walkable neighborhood, etc., and we're fine with being in a "bad" neighborhood if "bad" means "it's working-class" or "there's graffiti" or "there's kids hanging out unsupervised" or whatever. It's fine if we need to get in the car to get groceries or takeout.

Most of our friends live in Somerville. We've accepted that we will see them a lot less frequently after we move. A place that wasn't a terribly long drive from Somerville would be nice, though — so, like, going all the way out to Worcester isn't ideal.

Where should we consider?
posted by nebulawindphone to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
With that price range, you could do pretty well in Framingham, which is a quick bus ride to Natick. Framingham has a nice enough town center but it's also right off the Pike or Route 9 to get into the city easily.

And what about Natick itself? Prices seem comparable to Framingham.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 9:06 AM on February 25, 2017

Honestly, I think all of those suburbs between Natick and Worcester are worth looking into. They are all fairly boring and run into each other, but are relatively inexpensive due to their boringness and distance from Boston/Cambridge.

If access to the commuter rail is the most important thing after price, I'd do a craigslist search with $1,400 as the high limit and use the map feature to identify apartments near commuter rail stops.

There are also a few suburbs north that might be worth looking into buses for - Hudson and Maynard come to mind. Both have small downtowns and are fairly working-class.
posted by lunasol at 9:20 AM on February 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

There are also a few suburbs north that might be worth looking into buses for - Hudson and Maynard come to mind. Both have small downtowns and are fairly working-class.

My sister lives one town over from Hudson and works in Maynard and I grew up in that area. Hudson is really trying to style itself as an up and coming location but only doing so-so at it. Maynard has always been a favorite place of mine. Great library, small downtown, good highway access. I like both of those towns a great deal. Likewise Marlboro and Southboro which are in that area. But yeah if you work in Natick I might push to live in Natick (keep a eye peeled from stuff in your price range and be ready to jump on it). Then you'd have one "home base" and could stretch to see friends in Somerville on occasion but not have to hustle between three places friends-work-home.
posted by jessamyn at 9:34 AM on February 25, 2017 [4 favorites]

You could find something pretty easily in Framingham, and probably Natick too if you are eagle eyed and jump on it. Short commutes to work are soooo worth it.
posted by katypickle at 11:39 AM on February 25, 2017

Woburn is more Northwest, but surprisingly affordable given it's proximity to Boston.
posted by COD at 11:54 AM on February 25, 2017

Woburn is at least a 40 minute drive to Natick, unfortunately.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 12:33 PM on February 25, 2017

Maynard is very affordable compared to surrounding towns. It may be an option for you.
posted by ReluctantViking at 4:59 PM on February 25, 2017

Natick resident here, though I own and don't rent, and I don't really know much about what rents are going for. I would think though that you'd be able to find something in any of the towns along the Framingham / Worcester commuter rail. Also nearby towns like Ashland, Holliston or Milford might fit the bill.

If you're commuting to Natick you probably want to stay in Metrowest. Crossing the Pike or coming in beyond Rt. 95 could be a pretty dicy commute. I used to commute from Natick to Woburn and it was... bad.

There are a ton of apartments around downtown Natick and in the Western part of the town. Same goes for Framingham. There's a lot of older victorian houses in the area where people rent out the upstairs or may have an apartment available so check things like Craigslist for stuff like that.

And Somerville is only like a 30-40 minute car ride. Your friends will think you live in the sticks but getting into the city really isn't a big deal. And no town is boring if you don't let it be, just different. I love my suburban town.

Natick just acquired land for a rail trail that will connect the downtown area to the Saxonville area in Framingham. It's been a LONG time coming and now it's a reality. The land is approved for access and you can walk on it now but it will be a couple of years before it's finished. So the Saxonville area in Framingham along with apartments in Natick on Speen St. (look into the Cloverleaf Apartments) would be an ideal place to live if the Cochituate Rail Trail will be helpful to your commute.

Feel free to drop me a MeMail if you have any questions about the area.
posted by bondcliff at 5:09 PM on February 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

For that rent you may be able to find a decent 1-bedroom in Waltham.
posted by chestnut-haired-sunfish at 6:20 PM on February 26, 2017

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