Do you want to buy a condo in the Back Bay? Then get ready to drop around $1,000 per square foot of space.
It takes a pretty hefty checkbook to buy in the historic neighborhood, where the average one-bedroom unit sells for $700,000. But those who are willing to drop major dimes to live in a Back Bay condo certainly have options: There are 64 units available for sale in the neighborhood, ranging in price from $449,000 to $11,900,000.
But if you’re one of the lucky few looking to snap up a whole brownstone, then the pickings are quite slim.
“Single families and multifamilies are not commonly available,” says Ryan Glass, a realtor at Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty in Boston. “There are currently only six single family homes listed for sale, ranging from $3,990,000 to $7,500,000.”
While most neighborhoods are divided up into blocks, Back Bay is all about what street you live on.
“Many buyers love to be able to walk down ‘The Mall’ of Commonwealth Avenue for the beautiful tree-lined scenery. Other buyers prefer Marlborough Street for the charming brick sidewalks, gas lamps, and because it is a less busy street of the neighborhood,” explains Glass. “Beacon Street is also popular because of its proximity to the esplanade and waterfront views of the Charles River.”
And while many people assume Back Bay is filled with stuffy Brahmins named Muffy in St. John suits, real estate agents and residents alike are quick to point out that the times have changed.
“Millennials are a large population living in the notable neighborhood,” says Glass, who adds that the largest age group living in Back Bay is 25 to 34, while the largest household type is married couples without children.
“Young professionals are demonstrating they care more about being in a prime location of the city, than the size of their property.”
Sean Donovan, 28, is one of those millennials: a project manager for an interior design firm in Newton, he’s lived in the Back Bay for the past eight years.
“Back Bay used to be very similar to Beacon Hill — older Brahmins and ‘yuppies.’ I feel like it has become a little younger,” says Donovan.
In the past, he compromised space for a prime location, paying $1,600 per month for a 300-square-foot studio at Commonwealth Ave. and Gloucester St. Now, he now calls a bright 450-square-foot studio with high ceilings and tall windows at Beacon and Hereford home. But with the average one-bedroom apartment in Back Bay renting for $2,600 a month, and the average two-bed renting for $4,500 a month, Donovan is well aware that price increases could be right around the corner.
“There has been a huge boom in redevelopment along my block. Every other brownstone has been purchased, gutted and turned into luxury condos. This is great because they exteriors get a facelift,” says Donovan. “But I just know it is only a matter of time before I am priced out of my block.”