Hear the words “Jamaica Plain,” and it’s hard not to conjure up images of young hipster families on bikes drinking fair-trade coffee. But for those who want to put down roots in JP for the long term, be prepared to throw down the gauntlet, because competition is fierce.
There are currently only 47 properties on the market in JP, and less than 25 percent of those that are single-family homes, says Doug McClure, an agent with LAER Realty Partners. Over the last six months, the average sale price of a single family home in JP was $830,000, while the average sale price of a condo was $560,000.
As a result, realtors aren’t seeing the buyers that flocked to JP 10 years ago. Mary Wallace, a realtor with Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realty in Jamaica Plain, says young people simply can’t afford to buy in the area like they used to.
“Very few people have the down payment they need, unless they’ve inherited money or have families that can help,” says Wallace, who has lived in the area since 1985. “I’m not seeing young people show up with money.”
As a result, many JP residents ditch their hopes of staying in the neighborhood. Kate Plourd Johnson, 31, lives with her husband and their pug near the Jackson Square T stop. While she’d love to buy a home in JP, it’s hard to ignore the mass exodus of young families.
“Most of our friends who lived in JP and wanted to buy end up looking and buying in Roslindale,” says Plourd.
For renters, the majority of available units are in two and three unit multifamily homes. According to McClure, rental prices currently range from $1,700 to $5,000 per month, with an average in the past six months of $2,500 per month.
Alycia Buchheit, 28, is a mental health counselor that currently lives in a rented house with four other roommates in the Forest Hills neighborhood. Though she’s only been in JP for about a year, her rent has already increased once. Still, she says the proximity to green space and a diverse population is worth the price hike.
“I used to live in Allston and it was so monotonous,” says Buchheit. “The whole street was full of college kids, and all they ever did was party. Here in JP there are people of all different races, all different ages and ways of life, and I love that.”