Charlestown’s reputation as being ground zero for bank robbers aside, this neighborhood is packed with history and has some of Boston’s most interesting traditional architecture. That, and its proximity to Boston proper, is what makes it one of the area’s hottest neighborhoods in which to live. 

“People have been flocking here in recent years,” says David Stenberg, senior vice president of Hammond Real Estate. “That’s been the case for a couple of years, but it’s certainly been true for the first half of this year. Homes have been selling at a very fast pace in Charlestown. I report on different neighborhoods around Boston and without question Charlestown has been hottest this year,” he says. “The prices still aren’t as high as the Back Bay, South End or Beacon Hill, and the housing stock is similar.” 

A game of cat and mouse

Since the housing market recovery this decade, over the past couple of years trying to find a home for sale in Charlestown has increasingly become a game of cat and mouse: When a condo hits the market, it’s usually snapped up immediately. Which means prices have increased and will likely remain strong for sellers. “I just updated my midyear report,” says Stenberg, “and the average condo price in Charlestown is $620,000. A year ago it was $590,00 and in June 2011 it was $450,000. That’s a 40% increase.” 

Home buyers, don’t despair

There is one piece of good news, though: 2015 saw an increase in homes up for sale. “This year, my figures for the end of June 2011 show 119 condos available. This year, there were 26. It is still limited, but that is starting to change. In fact, this year showed an increase, because at the end of June 2014 there were 17 condos. We started to see an increase of inventory this spring. While demand is strong, as inventory increases it gives balance between the buyer and seller,” says Stenberg.

What you can get

Currently on the market on Sullivan Street is a three-bedroom, three-bathroom penthouse, which is part of an 1880-built multi-family. It has a private entrance and about 2,200 square feet of living space. The open-plan living/dining area has nine-foot ceilings and a gas fireplace. The master bedroom suite features a walk-in closet, an additional sitting/reading area with a bay window, and a bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub and a custom built glass shower. The top floor has direct access to the private roof deck. Price: $899,000.