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Neighborhood guide: East Boston

With trendy restaurants and high-rise luxury on the market — just call it ‘alt-Southie.’

In booming East Boston, prospective homebuyers and real-estate investors are snapping up existing properties at breakneck speed. It’s no wonder that homes in the Jeffries Point section of Eastie are commanding north of $500 per square foot, says Ed Deveau, a Realtor at Century 21 Mario Real Estate.

“To be honest, I’m in desperate need of homes to sell to keep up with demand,” says Deveau. “We’ve hit a point where even the most modest three-family home in is the $600-$700K range. But the million-dollar listing is certainly starting to become a reality — in fact, I sold a three-family on Cottage Street for $1.25 million in December.”

The times are changing in the neighborhood, largely known for its close-knit immigrant community. It’s not unusual for residents to find letters in their mailboxes from developers asking to buy their property without even stepping foot inside. And with attractive features like a short commute on the Blue Line to downtown Boston and restaurants like Cunard Tavern opening soon, the neighborhood is enticing for those looking to avoid the exorbitant prices of South Boston and Charlestown.

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So who, exactly, is flocking to the neighborhood?

“I have experienced an influx of college students, hipsters, single professionals, couples with a dog, and even young families,” explains Kevin Concannon, real estate agent and East Boston resident. “Three of my late-20s friends have moved to Eastie from Arlington, Allston and Southie, respectively, over the last few years, which has been awesome. I guess you might classify their demographic as ‘thoughtful bros.’ The ‘alt-Southie’ crowd seem to be the most common in Jeffries Point.”

But it’s not just Jeffries Point that’s flourishing. Condos in Eagle Hill are selling for over $600,000, while single-family homes in Orient Heights fetch well into the mid $500,000s.

And if you’re looking to rent, you’ll have to spend a pretty penny, too. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom in East Boston is $1,876, an increase from last year’s average of $1,682, says Concannon. And if you want a taste of true luxury in Eastie, the Eddy offers a mix of studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments with amenities like a dog-washing station and bike-maintenance facilities. Of course, the prices are steep: Studios start at $1,825 a month, and two-bedrooms start at $3,200 a month.

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But rapid luxury development often comes with some strain for the existing community. Some current and longtime residents are unable to pay the skyrocketing rents, threatening the diversity the neighborhood is known for.

Still, residents say that Eastie is teeming with character.

“Although there is a ton of investment going on, East Boston has been able to really keep its identity,” adds Deveau. “For a lack of a better term, it still feels like a neighborhood.”

 
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