A Guide to Boston’s Hottest Suburbs: Falmouth
Thinking of moving outside the city? Here's what you need to know about Falmouth, which is gaining in popularity in today's housing market.
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that buying a home in the greater Boston area is a costly endeavor (unless you live under a rock, in which case, congrats on finding an affordable home). This reality means by the time many city-dwellers are ready for home ownership, they’re looking more in the suburbs than the South End. When COVID-19 hit and everyone fled from the city to the comfort of a single-family home out in the ‘burbs (or further afield), this only drove home prices up more. Between the competitive market and the newfound ability to skip the commuter rail in favor of working from home, people are spreading further and further throughout the state, venturing into towns they’d only dream of living in (but not commuting from) before.
Alternatively, you may be looking through Zillow and filled with dread and confusion as you expand your house hunting radius further and further into affordable parts unknown. But never fear: We’re bringing you a guide each month to towns you may have heard of, but never considered as a home before now.
This month, we’re looking at Falmouth. Even before COVID had everyone scrambling for the ‘burbs, this beachside beauty was seeing a bit of growth. Just ask Kerrie Marzot, a Sotheby’s International Realty agent, who’s been selling in the town for decades and living there even longer. A Falmouth native, Marzot has seen this sleepy beach town go from a place that only blossomed in the summer to a year-round home for families and retirees alike. “I’ve seen it grow…in the last 50 years,” she says. “A lot of people vacation or have a second house in Falmouth. In COVID, people analyzed their lives and realized they could work from home…and work in the place they vacation.”
And thanks to its many perks (diverse neighborhoods, beach access, and a spot right by the bridge being a few), it’s becoming even more of a destination for people who want a beachy lifestyle now that they’re not chained to their office in Boston anymore. Not convinced to make the move yet? Just keep reading.
Median listing home price: $849,500
Median sold home price: $639,000
Source: Massachusetts Association of Realtors, October 2021
Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $1,800
What Your Money Gets You:
395 Carriage Shop Road, East Falmouth
Size: 1,470 square feet
For more information, contact Vanessa Walker, Compass, compass.com.
Drive: The drive to Boston from Falmouth can take 90 minutes to two hours depending on traffic. The commute is shorter from North Falmouth.
Commuter rail/bus: There’s no commuter rail option from Falmouth, but there’s a Peter Pan bus line that goes from South Station to Woods Hole.
Average commute time: 24.6 minutes
Source: US census data
Walking score: 74/100 – Most errands can be accomplished on foot.
The walkability of Falmouth varies depending on where you live, but Marzot says one of the biggest draws to the community is the Shining Sea Bike Path, which can take you all the way from North Falmouth to Woods Hole without ever hopping in a car. And thanks to its history as a tourism hotspot, many restaurants by the beach are quite easy to walk to in case you need a post-beach day snack.
Of Falmouth’s villages, Woods Hole and Falmouth Village are where you’ll find the most bustling downtown areas. Head down there on a summer day and you’ll be able to visit clothing boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, and bakeries with lines out the door, Marzot says. But most of the town’s neighborhoods have some degree of walkability and that “downtown” feel.
Weighing the Pros and Cons:
It sounds like a cheesy tagline, but it’s true: There’s something for everyone here, Marzot says. With eight distinct neighborhoods throughout, which are known as local “villages,” you can take your pick for what kind of lifestyle you want to live. Want to be in the middle of everything? Try Falmouth Village. Want more of a country lifestyle? Hatchville is your place. “There’s many, many, areas with sidewalks (that are) very pedestrian-friendly,” Marzot says. “It’s a beautiful, beautiful town where you find yourself in different villages. They all have something different to offer somebody.”
And no matter where you go, you’ll be close to either A) one of the town’s many public beaches (because be honest: you’re not moving here because you hate the sand) and B) the Sagamore Bridge, which Marzot says is a huge draw for people who need to get to the city or other parts of the mainland.
But if you’re looking for more bang for your buck than you’d get in Boston, you may benefit from looking elsewhere. Falmouth’s housing prices were high even before COVID and have only gotten worse as people fled to the Cape when they realized they were going to be stuck at home for a good, long while. “Affordable housing is a downside,” Marzot says. “We all struggle with that and that’s been the biggest gripe with Falmouth.”
There’s the beaches—obviously—but if you want a really local feel, check out the Village Green on Main Street and Falmouth Heights, where you can often spot people flying kites and tourist boats taking off. Depending on the time of year, you can also catch the farmer’s market or a town event like the annual Falmouth Road Race. And of course, there’s all the marine life research centers and museums in Woods Hole like the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (which is a draw in and of itself).
Think Boston and Boston alone can lay claim to Ben Affleck? Think again. He and Casey actually lived with their family in Falmouth before settling in Cambridge.