Either-Or: A Harbor Tower Condo vs. a Woodsy Escape in Vermont

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.

Photos via Photo via Keller Williams Realty Boston Northwest and Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Realty

It’s no secret that you get more bang for your buck if you buy a house anywhere that isn’t Boston. But if you’ve been house-hunting in the city’s crazy real estate market for a little too long, it’s easy to forget that a home asking $1.1 million in Brighton is not normal. That’s why we’ve been presenting two homes listed at the same price from time to time—to remind you that price tags around Boston are a special breed.

This round, it’s a battle between a spic-and-span condo in the Harbor Towers and a tranquil Vermont hideaway. Perched on Boston’s waterfront, the city pad boasts amazing views from every window, not to mention access to a heated pool. The second home is a beautifully designed Craftsman abode in the hinterlands of Vermont. It’s built over a gushing trout stream, almost making it too idyllic for its own good. Both share a price tag of $850,000.

85 E India Row Unit 40H, Boston
Price: $850,000
Size: 879 square feet
Bedrooms: 1
Baths: 1

374 Snipe Ireland Rd., Richmond, VT
Price: $850,000
Size: 2,996 square feet
Bedrooms: 2
Baths: 2


While some consider the Harbor Towers a Brutalist eyesore on the waterfront, we happen to love them—and ranked the duo the 34th-best buildings in Boston. This unit for sale is pretty nice on the inside, too, with an open, airy living and dining area, built-ins, and shining hardwoods. Amenities include a leafy green courtyard with grills, an outdoor pool with chairs for lounging, in-building laundry, and a concierge service.

But up north in Richmond, Vt., a house more than three times the size of the condo was designed with relaxation in mind. For one, it’s built above a picture-perfect stream, and is accessible via a very adorable footbridge. Inside, light streams in from an abundance of windows, and according to its listing, the home’s connection to the outdoors creates a “spa-like ambiance.” That’s especially true on the wraparound deck, where there are porch swings, skylights, and framed views of the forest. When temps plummet, the place offers radiant floors and a cozy fireplace to warm up beside.

Both residences have their pros and cons. Living on the 40th floor of a building that overlooks the harbor should certainly come at a premium, but almost $1,000 per square foot might be pushing it. However, the Boston condo is the definition of centrally located and is steps from dozens of top-notch restaurants.

Meanwhile, in Vermont, you’d need to hop in a car to dine out. Still, the house is only a short drive to the powder-topped slopes of Stowe Mountain Resort. The place also asks $284 per square foot as opposed to $967. It’s your choice: would you rather downsize to live in the hustle and bustle of downtown, or luxuriate far, far away, where a only a short drive separates you and wild, untamed beauty?