Why young professionals are flocking to Charlestown

Boston’s oldest neighborhood is nothing like "The Town."
Charlestown
Check out Boston's oldest neighborhood. Photo by Getty Images

Forget what you saw in Ben Affleck movies, because in modern day Charlestown, you're more likely to be run over by a $700 stroller than a gang of fleeing bank robbers.

 

"More and more young professionals seem to be migrating to the area to put down roots," says Dana Bull, a realtor with Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty. "My clients often say that they have 'grown out' of Southie and want to be in a more mature neighborhood."

 

But naturally, that influx is affecting price tags. In 2015, the median price for a Charlestown condo was $589,000. In 2016, it rose to $599,000. And by this past spring, median prices shot up to $674,000, with units going under agreement within 24 hours, says Bull.

 

Danielle McNally, 33, moved to Charlestown six months ago after a couple of years on the South Shore. She chose to rent in a townhouse by the Navy Yard, which is one of the most highly coveted sections of the neighborhood.

 

"It checked all the boxes in terms of convenience, and for my lifestyle," says McNally, who works as marketing manger for Smith & Wollensky. "It’s 10 minutes to work on the Orange Line, and a short walk to downtown. It has everything I need – grocery store, pharmacy, cycling and yoga studios, and a growing number of restaurants and bars."

There are currently 69 properties on the market in Charlestown. 49 of those are condos, ranging in price from $400,000 for a one bedroom in the Charlestown Neck to $2 million by the Navy Yard. And while the neighborhood may have skyrocketing price tags, it's the sense of community that really makes residents love the area.

"One of the reasons people like living in Charlestown is that it feels like a small town," says Deidre Malloy, a broker and agent for Coldwell Banker, who has lived in Charlestown for over forty years. "People know each other. It's only one square mile, and the housing stock only occupies a little more than half of that."

It wasn't always smooth sailing among the residents of Charlestown, says Malloy, who cites busing and "the pain, sacrifice and trials of property development in the early days of Charlestown restoration" as particularly tumultuous periods. But nowadays, it's a much more serene place to live.

"The mix of old Irish families and the new works. The townies are mostly from hardworking stock: longshoreman, blue collar workers," adds Malloy, who spends the winter months and holidays in Ireland visiting her husband, a cattle farmer. "And many of our old families have their share of hugely successful entrepreneurs, politicians, attorneys and CEO's. And the same families might have a bank robber."