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    Top Spots to Live 2014

    Greater Boston homes for $250,000 and up

    Inventory is low so buyers are scrambling. Here’s a sampling of properties on the market.

    > FOR $250,000


    37 A STREET / HULL

    SQUARE FEET 1,176

    LOT SIZE 0.12 acre


    BEDROOMS 2 BATHS 1 full

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    LAST SOLD FOR $135,000 in 1999

    PROS With Hingham Bay at one end of the street and Massachusetts Bay capping the other, the ocean is only a few minutes’ walk from this turn-of-the-last-century renovated bungalow. The front door opens onto a three-season porch (great for drying beach towels) that leads to (ahh, central air) the family room with gas fireplace and a kitchen with a surprising number of cabinets, a pantry, window seat, and decorative molding true to the home’s character. A large deck overlooks the fenced-in backyard. The driveway parks four, and the front is suffused with perennials. CONS The drawback of living near the beach? Summer crowds.

    Kathleen Welch, Jack Conway, 617-529-5282,



    SQUARE FEET 1,517


    LOT SIZE 0.12 acre

    BEDROOMS 3 BATHS 1 full, 1 half

    LAST SOLD FOR $244,900 in 2004

    PROS This dormered Colonial, built in 1900 in this Merrimack River city, has been lovingly restored room by room, from the crown molding to the hardwood floors. The interior walls and the windows are new, however, and the plumbing and electrical have been updated. Much of the home’s charm has been retained, including the twist doorbell out front and the original five-panel doors. Look for other bells and whistles here: a fully remodeled eat-in kitchen with granite counters, updated baths, fresh paint, a walk-in closet in the master, fenced-in yard, and a garage. CONS The back deck needs cosmetic work.

    Ed Mahoney, RE/Max Main Street Associates, 508-783-9472,

    > FOR $500,000




    SQUARE FEET 2,366

    LOT SIZE 0.07 acre

    BEDROOMS 4 BATHS 1 full, 1 half

    LAST SOLD FOR $175,000 in 2001

    PROS Befitting its position among the other stately Victorians in Melville Park, every inch of this restored 1892 cherry-red beauty by architect Arthur H. Vinal is elegant, from the spider-web window in the master down to the gardens encircled with wrought-iron fencing. The kitchen has been updated with today’s big draws (granite counters, stainless appliances, and warm cherry cabinetry), but the dining room is the attention grabber: 1918 Southern yellow pine floors, a stained-glass window, original ceiling medallion, built-in china cabinet, and fireplace with glass-glazed ceramic tile surround. CONS Many of the closets are triangular, necessitating a creative use of space.

    Lee Robinson, Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty, 617-875-0763,



    SQUARE FEET 3,624

    LOT SIZE 2.03 acres

    BEDROOMS 4 BATHS 3 full

    LAST SOLD FOR $445,000 in 2003

    PROS The family room in this 1999 ranch shares a two-sided fireplace with the living room and a cathedral post-and-beam ceiling with the kitchen, which has granite counters and an island seating five. Don’t like stairs? Two of the four bedrooms — including the master suite with “yours and mine” walk-in closets and a jetted tub — are on the first floor. Along with a three-car heated garage, the owners built a great room and an office, which could be a fifth bedroom. The walkout basement adds 600 square feet of living space, including a bar. CONS The backyard isn’t flat, but the expansive front yard is.

    Beth Fay, RE/Max Right Choice, 774-644-5080,

    > FOR $1,000,000



    SQUARE FEET 3,113

    LOT SIZE 0.42 acre

    BEDROOMS 5 BATHS 2 full, 2 half

    LAST SOLD FOR $44,000 in 1972 (including additional parcel since sold)

    PROS Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Samuel Wheat House, a pre-Revolutionary Georgian built in 1735, exudes warmth: Much of this gambrel, particularly the kitchen, is sunny, five rooms (including two bedrooms) have fireplaces, and the original wide-plank hardwood flooring is golden. Amid all of this history (the dining room was once used as a doctor’s office, and the original doorway, ornate and stately, still graces the front entrance) are modern conveniences, such as the stainless appliances in the kitchen and the sink in a mudroom closet. It’s a five-minute walk to the commuter rail. CONS Take care pulling out of the driveway.

    Ilene Solomon, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, 617-431-5553,



    SQUARE FEET 4,618

    LOT SIZE 1.08 acres

    BEDROOMS 4 BATHS 3 full, 2 half

    LAST SOLD FOR First time on the market

    PROS Let’s all go to the lobby . . . really, there is one. It’s where you’ll find the ticket counter and concession stand at the entrance to the THX home theater in this hillside contemporary, built in 1989. Far from cookie-cutter, this home is a toast to Tinseltown, including a movie projector in the coffee table of the master suite sitting room. The screen drops in front of a backstage-worthy makeup table. Also worthy of viewing are the perennial gardens, visible from every window. A wing of the house holds an in-law suite with full kitchen over the four-car garage. CONS The baths upstairs are nice but not star-caliber.

    Fay A. Salt, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, 978-882-4482,

    Eileen McEleney Woods is the editor of the Globe’s Sunday real estate section, Address. Send comments to