For-sale homes near I-495 and Route-128 show varying market signs today

Real estate in Boston, MA, has been going through several transitional periods over the past few years. In some outlying communities, peak numbers in 2006 have fallen so drastically that purchasing for-sale homes in those areas may be lucrative investment opportunities for first-time homebuyers.

Recently, Boston Globe blogger Scott Van Voorhis covered the wavering median prices seen along Greater Boston's two technology and commercial beltways, Route 128 and I-495. What Voorhis found most interesting was the discrepancies in home prices between the two areas. In some cases, home values have fallen more than 50 percent over the past few years.

Along Route 128, Burlington has recovered almost entirely and is closing on its 2005 price peak of $400,000 for an average home. A few miles away, Weston has surpassed its previous high of $1.3 million and is now sitting comfortably at $1.4 million for a single-family home, The Boston Globe reports. While these two towns are the only jurisdictions along Route 128 to have met o exceeded past values, communities like Newton, Needham and Lexington are all within 10 percent of the highs they reached in the 2005 and 2006 years.

However, I-495 has seen a much different housing market take shape in 2012 with communities experiencing steep declines in home values. For example, Wrentham, where the median home price was nearly $500,000 in April 2006 has fallen to $262,000 in April 2012, according to the Warren Group. The town of Plainville saw a bigger collapse with homes falling from $460,000 in April 2006 to $201,000 this past April.

Prospective first-time homebuyers may want to look at these unfavorable declines as signs to invest in property now before values increase. The national housing market is finding stable ground and communities situated near major metro areas have the potential to rebound and surpass peak values. Purchasing homes for sale in these neighborhoods may prove to be lucrative in the future.

It's important to consider how low values may not speak to the true worth of a for-sale home. While it may be listed relatively weak when compared to similar properties in neighboring communities, if the structure is in sound shape and the area is primed for recovery, value increases may be just around the corner. It might be worthwhile to weigh financial standings and consider purchasing homes for sale in down housing markets.