Either-Or: West Newton vs. Shirley

Two listings. The same price. What’s worth it?

Welcome to Either-Or, where we compare two listings with the same price—one in Boston and one outside. Build your own conclusions.

Exorbitant housing costs in Boston are nothing new. It’s really, really expensive to live here. With tiny condos going for millions without a second thought, it’s entirely possible that Bostonians are becoming conditioned to accept outrageously high prices.

To remind you that price tags in Boston are a special breed, we’ve been presenting two homes listed at the same price from time to time. This round, the decision comes down to time versus money. The first home is a perfectly pleasant condo in West Newton. The second is a more than seven acre farm in Shirley. Both are asking $674,900, yet one property requires significantly more maintenance than the other.

The Snapshot Comparison

95 Waltham Street #2, West Newton
Price: $674,900
Size: 1,864 square feet
Bedrooms: 3
Baths: 3.5

13 Spaulding Road, Shirley
Price: $674,900
Size: 4,803 square feet
Bedrooms: 5
Baths: 4.5



The unit in Newton is a recently renovated abode with shiny hardwood floors throughout. It’s situated close to the Waltham line and multiple bus stops. Built in 1930, the condo has a spacious lower-level family room with a full bath as well as a garage parking spot. The unit is on the second floor of a multi-family building.

On the other hand, tranquil Hickory Farm in Shirley boasts almost 8 green acres. It abuts a conservation area that has plenty of hiking trails. The oversized, antique colonial farmhouse has been recently updated, and includes a separate apartment. Located about an hour’s drive outside of the city, the property has a three-stall horse barn with a heated tack and grain room, fenced paddocks, and a detached two-car garage with a loft.

Established fruit trees, perennial plantings, and a small pond on the sprawling property in Shirley make it attractive to buyers. However, its acreage comes with a hefty to-do list, as the land and the horses require constant attention. The condo in Newton offers relatively easy upkeep.

Both homes have central air as well as a fireplace in the living room, though the 1806 farmhouse has five others throughout the home. Hickory Farm surely has more green space, but the Newton home is close to shops, restaurants, and parks.

The biggest difference between the two properties can be found in the price breakdown. The Shirley home is $141 per square foot, whereas Newton’s condo is more than double that at $362 per square foot. So, which place packs a harder punch? Spending time with farm upkeep, or spending money on a condo in the suburbs?