Boston neighborhoods have been booming in recent years. Fueled by the city’s thriving financial services, health care and biotech industries, as well as its numerous academic institutions, Boston’s job growth has been outperforming both Massachusetts and the nation, according to The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA).
Given that the city is in high demand by students and professionals of all ages, the housing market is tight. The price of single-family homes has been increasing about 8 percent per year, while condo prices have jumped by 10 percent, the BPDA reports.
However, due to significant new construction in neighborhoods such as Jamaica Plain, Fenway and the Seaport District, along with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s pledge to add 53,000 new housing units by 2030, Boston’s real estate market should see a greater supply of houses, condos and apartments for sale in coming years.
If you’re looking to make the move to the Bay State, take a look at this list of five greater Boston neighborhoods that appeal to a wide variety of lifestyles and budgets.
1. East Boston
- Average Sales Price: $528,824
- Average Difference (Sales Price to List Price): $53,970
- Price per Square Foot: $352
Walking through East Boston, known affectionately by locals as “Eastie,” it’s easy to see the impact that generations of immigrants — from Italy, Central and South America and Southeast Asia — have had on the neighborhood. The diversity of the restaurants and small businesses concentrated in its main commercial areas, Maverick Square and Central Square, tells the story. However, in recent years, more young professionals and families have moved into the neighborhood, attracted by both new condo developments and refurbished triple-decker homes.
Given its close proximity to downtown, it’s no surprise that its $352 price per square foot is the highest of any neighborhood on this list. Residents can commute to downtown using the MBTA Blue Line as well as multiple bus and ferry lines. There are also shuttles to nearby Boston Logan International Airport.
Even though the neighborhood is densely populated and there are significant construction projects underway, there’s plenty of natural beauty to be found in Eastie. The 6.5-acre Piers Park provides trails, a playground, amphitheater and sailing center, as well as spectacular views of the Boston Harbor and skyline. The East Boston Greenway, a shared-use path that runs along a former railroad line, connects Piers Park with other neighborhood parks, as well as three MTBA stations and the airport.
- Average Sales Price: $396,390
- Average Difference (Sales Price to List Price): $10,505
- Price per Square Foot: $235
Bordering East Boston is the town of Revere, just five miles from downtown Boston. The city’s main draw is Revere Beach, the oldest public beach in the U.S., which attracts hundreds of visitors each summer for the Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival. One of the world’s largest sand sculpting festivals, it features works of master sand sculptors from around the globe as well as live music, food trucks, amusement rides and fireworks. The town’s other claim to fame is the Kelly’s Roast Beef chain, which claims to have invented the roast beef sandwich and opened its first location on Revere Beach in 1951.
The housing market here appeals to both long-time residents and young professionals alike, with an inventory that consists of single-family homes, as well as a mix of new and old high-rise apartment buildings. Plus, the condominiums that line Revere Beach Boulevard and offer spectacular ocean views, and the average home price is the second-lowest on the list at $396,390.
The MBTA Blue Line ends in Revere, with stops at Wonderland, Revere Beach and Beachmont, so it’s a quick trip in and out of downtown Boston. Revere also is connected to the surrounding area by U.S. Route 1 and various state highways.
- Average Sales Price: $400,761
- Average Difference (Sales Price to List Price): $25,053
- Price per Square Foot: $254
Sitting on the other side of the Tobin Bridge from Boston is the city of Chelsea. It’s both the smallest city in Massachusetts by land area and the second most densely populated. A once-struggling industrial city, Chelsea in recent years has enjoyed significant economic growth thanks to commercial development, including hotels, offices, retail stores and restaurants. The first Starbucks opened in the city in 2012, and the FBI Boston Division opened a 268,000-square-foot facility in 2016.
Chelsea’s average home price of $400,761 puts it at the middle of our list, since new condo developments have attracted young professionals who enjoy a short commute to downtown Boston on the MTBA Orange Line and buses. There’s also been a recent push to revitalize Bellingham Square, the city’s center, and redesign surrounding roads to improve access to local businesses.
- Average Sales Price: $346,295
- Average Difference (Sales Price to List Price): -$4,405
- Price per Square Foot: $219
Sitting on the North Shore of Massachusetts, about 16 miles from Boston, is the city of Salem. A significant seaport during the 1700s, Salem was one of the largest and richest cities in colonial America. However, for centuries, the name Salem has remained most closely associated with the darkest period in the city’s past, the Salem Witch Trials.
More than one million tourists now flock to Salem each year from all over the world, particularly around Halloween for its various “Haunted Happenings” events. The city’s one-mile-wide historic center features a mixture of architecture dating back to the 17th century, kitschy souvenir shops and notable attractions like the Salem Maritime National Historic Site and the House of Seven Gables (made famous by Nathaniel Hawthorne in his novel by the same name).
Salem also is home to numerous restaurants, boutiques and cultural attractions, including the Peabody Essex Museum, as well as Salem State University, one of the largest state universities in Massachusetts. The spacious Salem Willows Park has everything to entertain families, from beaches to a picnic area and an arcade.
Even though Salem has a lot to offer, it has the lowest average home price on this list at $346,295, as well as the lowest average price per square foot at $219. The MBTA Commuter Rail connects Salem with Boston, as does the Salem Harbor Shuttle.
- Average Sales Price: $636,130
- Average Difference (Sales Price to List Price): -$11,191
- Price per Square Foot: $318
Next door to Salem is Marblehead, the neighborhood farthest from Boston on our list. Once home to a booming fishing industry, Marblehead’s rich history dates back to its founding in 1629. Today, you’ll find perfectly preserved 17th- and 18th-century buildings lining the narrow, winding streets of Old Town.
While no longer a commercial port, Marblehead Harbor is a popular spot for recreational activities like sailing, kayaking and fishing. Known as the yachting capital of the world, Marblehead is home to multiple yacht clubs, and every summer since 1889, it hosts the annual Marblehead Race Week competition. Dotting Marblehead’s extensive coastline are numerous beaches, the most popular being the Devereux Beach. There are also several conservation areas that provide space for strolling. Marblehead Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, which sits on the peninsula that extends into Massachusetts Bay, is a great spot for bird watching.
Vogue has called Marblehead “New England’s Best-Kept Seaside Secret,” highlighting its coastal New England charm. But that charm is not cheap — at $636,130, Marblehead’s average home price is the highest on our list. However, sales tend to come in under asking price by $11,191.
To see what’s available for sale in these Boston neighborhoods right now, check out the current listings on Owners.com.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Owners.com, Altisource or any other Altisource® business or entity. The foregoing content is not intended to constitute, and in fact does not constitute, financial, investment, tax or legal advice by the author, Owners.com, Altisource or any other business or entity.
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