Best Places to Live
The lawn is growing shaggier than Justin Bieber’s hair, and, frankly, you don’t need to be close to madam’s école de ballet anymore. Most downsizers are empty-nesters ready to shed suburban maintenance and rejoin the urban world of fabulous restaurants and art-house flicks. For them, the holy trinity of city living is ELG: elevator, laundry, garage. Though no longer the urban-market fire sale of 2009, solid deals remain for units in Boston’s full-service buildings.
Median Condo Price: $470,000
One-Year Difference: +1%
Downsizers put off by the Back Bay’s prices opt for Brookline’s A-plus real estate market. It still ain’t cheap, but your money goes further here — and you’ll be minutes away from a historic movie theater, a phenomenal independent bookstore, and some of the best restaurant meals in the Boston area. Where you should be looking: Coolidge Corner is, in theory, the town’s hottest neighborhood to buy in. But the Park Street Condominiums, at 70 to 80 Park, have elevators, a concierge, and an open parkway just outside the door. And you’re only steps from Beacon Street and the Green Line.
Median Condo Price: $539,500
One-Year Difference: +5%
The food lover’s paradise has an ardent following among hipsters — and their suburb-fleeing parents. In fact, it’s common for the older generation to outbid the younger, which has kept the neighborhood’s property values buoyant (to the tune of $600,000 and up for a two-bedroom). Where you should be looking: The so-called Eight Streets Neighborhood: Waltham, Hanson, Milford, et cetera. The area is full of the townhouses the South End is known for, and is within spoon’s reach of Tremont Street’s restaurants. For those who want to skip the stairs, Wilkes Passage on Washington Street and the Penmark on Father Francis Gilday Street are two new condo developments with the sort of ELG that boomers favor. For roughly the same price as a sprawling suburban estate, you’ll have the best of city living.
Median Condo Price: $748,000
One-Year Difference: +16%
Behold, the gilded life: immediate access to Newbury Street and Copley Place’s shopping and restaurants; day spa and salon services; strolls in the Public Garden; and the gorgeous-in-all-seasons Commonwealth Avenue Mall. Where you should be looking: Two addresses on Beacon Street: 180 and 330. These are high-rises constructed just before the Back Bay Architectural Commission banned such buildings. Today they have all the swank an empty-nester would want, without the price tag of, say, a One Charles condo. Plus, you’re living on top of the city.
Median Condo Price*: $2.1 million
One-Year Difference: +18%
For downsizers willing to navigate around the gaping hole of the old Filene’s building, this area is a comer. Textile-supply buildings have been transformed into chic lofts starting in the $400,000s. What these areas lack in a Trader Joe’s or a Whole Foods, they make up for in theaters and restaurants galore. And of course, the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton embody all the services and fabulousness you’ll ever need. Where you should be looking: The Metropolitan on Harrison Avenue in Chinatown. The high-rise is near the Theater District, the Orange and Silver lines, and scores of ethnic restaurants; plus, there’s 24-hour concierge service. It’s like the Ritz, but closer to everything, and cheaper.
*Figures for the zip code 02111 only