After years of sitting on the edge of gentrification — or up-trending — three Boston neighborhoods are finally seeing home prices nudge upwards. No surprises which ones though: Allston, Brighton and Somerville’s Union Square were buzz ‘hoods for a while, but with the housing crash the buzz turned to zzzz. In 2015, the buzz is back.
“In Allston and Brighton, there's been an explosion of development activity, including huge projects like Boston Landing, which includes New Balance's new headquarters and sports complex,” says Michael DiMella, managing partner at the Back Bay-based Charlesgate Realty Group and president of the Greater Boston Association of Realtors.
“Residential projects have started to spring up, mostly rental apartments so far, but we're seeing the first of the new construction condo projects with The Lancaster — 55 new condos at 1501 Commonwealth Avenue,” says DiMella of the building, which is due to see sales start this winter. “Opportunities to live in the neighborhood have gone from predominantly rental and student housing to becoming what is one of Boston's hottest neighborhoods to buy a condo. ”
Conveniences, such as access to public transportation and great local restaurants and entertainment are what shapes modern neighborhoods. Somerville was long blighted by its lack of easy T access. That changed in September with the opening of the Orange Line in Assembly Square and with plans for the Green Line extension to Union Square going full steam ahead, the area’s housing market is gaining considerable momentum.
“Another neighborhood on the upturn is definitely Union Square in Somerville,” says DiMella. “With local re-zoning in the city of Somerville allowing for redevelopment in the area, the expected MBTA Green Line stop coming soon, and explosion of awesome restaurants and bars like Bronwyn and Journeyman and others, the Union Square market is rapidly growing.It's becoming one of the hippest places to live in Metro Boston for younger buyers. Somerville has gotten much of the overflow of buyers coming from Cambridge as prices there became higher, and Somerville as a city has done a terrific job allowing for appropriate development to attract buyers.”
With popularity comes an increase in home prices, which is good for sellers, but not for buyers. Average home prices in Union Square went from $367,000 in 2012 to $471,000 in 2014. In Allston and Brighton, the average price in 2012 was $287,000 and increased to $362,000 last year.