"It's a little bit ugly and very crowded, but it's cheap and gets the job done if you're a real city person. Not nearly as bad as people would lead you to believe. Come check it out!"
Everett is not yet up-and-coming, but it's an underrated place that is handy to many other areas. The housing stock is cheap by Boston-area standards, and the area, while a bit rough-and-tumble, is relatively safe and tranquil for the price. This is an "American dream" type of city - lots of immigrants buy their first home here, and that is reflected in the local businesses and mom-and-pop eateries. Picture Somerville 20-25 years ago and you have Everett. The bus lines run to three different orange line stations depending on where you are, and the westernmost reaches of the city are also walkable to Malden station in a pinch (a mile or just over). If you love city life and are in the non-profit or teaching world, come check out Everett because it may be in your price range. It's a little grungy and isn't trendy at all, but that's part of the charm when you can at least pay the bills.