A Guide to Boston’s Hottest Suburbs: Hopkinton
Thinking of moving outside the city? Here's what you need to know about Hopkinton, 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 to towns you may have heard of, but never considered as a home before now.
This month, we’re looking at Hopkinton. Maybe you’ve heard of it before. It’s the starting point of this thing called the Boston Marathon. But outside of that, what do you know about Hopkinton? One of the first things you’ll realize is it’s a place people want to be. Brenda Demers, a realtor with Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty, says home prices in the town increased 173 percent over the last 15 years, to the point where it can be hard to find something for less than $800,000. What’s drawing people there? Read on to find out.
Average listing single-family home price: $915,750
Average sold single-family home price: $968,559
Average listing condo price: $672,612
Average sold condo price: $686,782
Source: MLS Property Information Network (MLS PIN) via Massachusetts Association of Realtors, September 2021-September 2022
Average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment: $2,713
What Your Money Gets You:
2 Whisper Way, Hopkinton
Size: 6,147 square feet
Bathrooms: 5 full, 1 half
For more information, contact Trina Macchi and Co., William Raveis R.E. & Home Services, raveis.com.
Drive: Hopkinton is about 31 miles from Boston via I-90 West (or 26.2 if you’re going from the Boston Marathon start line to the finish line). The drive can take close to 50 minutes, depending on traffic. The run can take several hours.
Public transit: You can take the Framingham/Worcester commuter rail line out to Framingham or Ashland and drive, or take a MetroWest Regional Transit bus from there, resulting in a commute that’s a little over an hour.
Average commute time: 37.9 minutes
Source: US census data
Walkability: 49 – While slightly better than other suburbs, you still need a car living in Hopkinton. The biking infrastructure is minimal as well. But, if you’re in the downtown area, you can get away with walking to a few places, rather than getting in your car between every errand.
It’s not just a cliché: Small businesses really do make a community, and in Hopkinton, there’s no shortage of these, Demers says. While Hopkinton itself is a car-dependent community, you can stroll between the library, the dry cleaners, and the hair salon down here, plus a selection of eateries (including a bakery) and the all-important local brewery. That’s how you know you’ve made it.
Weighing the Pros and Cons:
Hopkinton has a lot of the same draws as neighboring towns. Like Wellesley and Newton, it boasts excellent schools and close proximity to more than just Boston. (Demers says Worcester and parts of Rhode Island are a convenient commute for people living here.) But it’s a little more affordable than places closer to Boston, so you won’t have to cough up seven figures just for a single-family home. “You’re going to get phenomenal home prices compared to those towns,” Demers says.
The downside is you’ll be facing more traffic—and not just during your weekday commute. Aside from shutting down around the marathon, Demers says Hopkinton State Park brings in a lot of traffic on a more regular basis.
It’s hardly a secret, but if you want to spend get a feel for the best of Hopkinton, fuel up with a breakfast downtown and then go work up a sweat in Hopkinton State Park, a 1,200+ acre sprawl with kayaking, fishing, hiking, and more.
Hopkinton High’s mascot is the Hillers (yes, a hill), but they used to be the Stonethrowers. Their football team began its career in 1931, according to the Hopkinton Historical Society, and ended the season undefeated and untied. They went on to form a semi-pro team and went undefeated for another 26 games playing against other teams in eastern Massachusetts.