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Boston region’s terrible commutes changing the way brokers market

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No more ‘20 minutes into Boston’

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The Boston region’s increasingly awful commutes are forcing real estate brokers to reassess how they market properties beyond the commercial core.

A real estate agent in Waltham, for instance, told the Globe’s Beth Teitell that “we used to say ‘20 minutes into Boston,’ but we don’t give the time anymore — it’s too dangerous. You don’t know if there are going to be delays.”

Communities such as Waltham that are geographically close to downtown Boston were once desirable not only because of the amount of house that X amount of dollars could buy vs. what it could buy in downtown Boston—but precisely because the communities were close to that area.

Now, thanks to a number of factors—the region’s population and job growth, a paucity of housing, infrastructure that’s not getting any younger, including the delay-plagued, often poorly connected T—commutes from these communities are getting so long and so uncertain that that allure of proximity is wearing off or has worn off completely.

Even within Boston proper, drives and rides from places such as South Boston or Roslindale can run several minutes longer on average now than they did a few years or a decade back.

And once one gets beyond Boston proper and the first rim of suburbs, forget it. As Teitell notes: “In 2008, the 7:30 a.m. Boston Express bus from North Londonderry, N.H., to South Station arrived at 8:35, a 65-minute trip. Today the express gets in at 9:10, 100 minutes after departing.”

What can be done? Probably little to nothing in the short-term. In the long-term, the region has options: congestion pricing, tap-and-go on the T, mass transit expansions, more housing closer to the core.

Meanwhile, tell us again: Why do you live here?