Either-Or: A Skylit Waterfront Condo vs. an English Colonial in Needham

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.

Photo via Compass and William Raveis

To remind you that price tags around Boston are a special breed, we’ve been presenting two homes listed at the same price from time to time. This round, it’s a battle between a skylit one-bedroom on the Boston Waterfront and an adorable single-family in Needham, where the decision could come down to whether you want the Rose Kennedy Greenway as your backyard or a private lawn with your own putting green. Both of these easy-to-love homes are asking for $749,000.

99-105 Broad St. #6E, Boston
Price: $749,000
Size: 759 square feet
Bedrooms: 1
Baths: 1

538 Great Plain Ave., Needham
Price: $749,000
Size: 1,648 square feet
Bedrooms: 3
Baths: 2


Slightly outside of the buzz of downtown, the one-bedroom condo resides inside of a Waterfront elevator building, one minute from the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Though the spick and span unit doesn’t indicate it, the building has lived quite a few lives: as a publishing company, a liquor distributor, a chemical supplier, and even a lucky survivor of the Great Boston Fire of 1872, which consumed many of the buildings in the vicinity. Now the condo serves as a sunny homebase, with five skylights illuminating the living room alone. Below the skylights, large slabs of granite make up an original parapet wall. Exposed brick and beams, recessed lighting, and maple floors are among the other building blocks that may make this top-floor and pet-friendly residence worth it.

Twice the size of its counterpart, the Needham house makes room for three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Elegant wainscoting dating back to 1927 hugs the walls of the living area, and the kitchen features natural wooden cabinetry. If you’ve always pictured your dream home with a picket fence around it, this grayish blue English Colonial has that. In the lower tier of the yard, stone walls and bushes enclose a private putting green—practice your short-range shots on the 3-hole turf course, then take your skills to the Needham Golf Club less than a mile away.

It’s a tough choice to make. While the single-family, with its diamond pane windows and idyllic yard, affords a price per square foot of $454, the one-bedroom’s wonderful Waterfront locale demands $986 per square foot. What’s more worth it to you?