Prepare for Takeoff: East Boston
Just a couple of subway stops from downtown, East Boston offers one of the best combinations of proximity and price in the city, says Jamie Cholette, an Eastie resident and broker/owner at Boston Harbor Real Estate. “We’re never more than a 15-minute walk to the Blue Line from most areas of East Boston,” she says. And despite a 73.2 percent surge in median home prices since 2014, Eastie is still relatively affordable compared with South Boston or Charlestown.
And, of course, there’s the waterfront, with its million-dollar view of the Boston skyline. Luxury condo developments along the harbor, like Slip45 and The Mark, have no doubt helped buoy home prices, but they’ve also added new landscapes to Eastie’s already plentiful public space. “We have lots of great green and open space — waterfront parks, Harborwalk, the Greenway, the Shipyard, athletic fields, dog parks, Constitution Beach, tennis and street hockey courts,” Cholette says.
Two other Boston neighborhoods, both packed with twentysomethings, rivaled Eastie’s explosive price growth. In Allston, near where a commuter rail station opened in 2017, the median price soared 73.1 percent to $691,000. And tucked between Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, and the Longwood Medical Area, Mission Hill saw median prices rise 71.8 percent, to $658,000.
Commuter Heaven: South Boston
South Boston has become one of the city’s premier enclaves, partly because it offers proximity to downtown at a relative discount, says Kiernan Middleman, of Warren Residential — at least when compared with the South End or Back Bay. With much of the neighborhood adjacent to downtown, some 13 percent of commuters walk to work.
While some of those rapid price gains can be attributed to the fast-growing luxury high-rises of the Seaport District, old Southie has its share of high-end condo complexes clustered near the Red Line, too. And Fort Point offers “warehouses and factories that were redeveloped into sleek, exposed brick and beam lofts,” says Middleman.
Fort Point, in particular, “is a highly desirable little pocket of South Boston,” says Joe Rogers, a longtime resident and realtor with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Boston. He loves the artsy atmosphere of the place, the character of its converted brick warehouses, and its position wedged between South Boston proper, the Seaport, and the South End — our runner-up in this price category.
The South End is famous for its Victorian row houses and stalwarts of the city’s restaurant scene, but new construction has helped push up prices there, too. The Ink Block development, Rogers says, has brought the South End even closer to his Fort Point doorstep.
Country in the City: Hyde Park
Further southwest, Hyde Park is our budget category winner for the second year running. Despite median home prices that have climbed 41.5 percent over the past five years, “It’s one of the last neighborhoods in the city that still has affordable prices,” says Celdra Allen, an agent with Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realty in Jamaica Plain. (Which explains why there isn’t a runner-up in this category.)
Allen says first-time buyers, especially those with kids or extended families, are drawn to Hyde Park’s larger lot sizes and abundance of single-family homes—many priced refreshingly within reach. While a renovated 1,500-square-foot, three-bedroom house might cost close to $600,000 in Dedham and at least $700,000 in Jamaica Plain, Allen says buyers can expect to pay in the high $400,000s for something similar in Hyde Park.
Though it lacks subway service, Hyde Park has three stops on the commuter rail’s Fairmount Line, which was slated to add eight train trips a day in May (although COVID-19 could disrupt that timeline). And between the shops and restaurants of Cleary Square and the forested trails of the Stony Brook Reservation (“I like to call it ‘country in the city,’ ” Allen says), there’s plenty to explore close to home, too.
WINNERS IN THREE PRICE CATEGORIES IN CITY NEIGHBORHOODS
> Under $500,000: Hyde Park
Median home price: $462,000
Change since 2014: +41.5 percent
> Runner-up: None
> $500,000–$750,000: East Boston
Median home price: $609,000
Change since 2014: +73.2 percent
> First runner-up: Allston
Median home price: $691,000
Change since 2014: +73.1 percent
> Second runner-up: Mission Hill
Median home price: $658,000
Change since 2014: +71.8 percent
> Over $750,000: South Boston
Median home price: $847,000
Change since 2014: +62.5 percent
> Runner-up: South End
Median home price: $1,075,000
Change since 2014: +47.5 percent
WHAT YOU GET FOR ABOUT $620,000 IN BOSTON
55 Bateman Street | Roslindale
Square feet: 1,466
Lot size: 0.13 acre
Bedrooms: 3 Baths: 1 full, 1 half
This bright 1962 Colonial includes a whitewashed fireplace, first-floor powder room, and remodeled kitchen with white quartz counters and Shaker cabinets.
Jon Gorey is a regular contributor to the Globe Magazine. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.