With a housing shortage and brutally high price tags, the Boston area isn't the easiest place to find a new home these days. But the best finds come if you're willing to sift through listings and venture into new neighborhoods. Here's a few to check out.
Orient Heights, East Boston
To say that East Boston is still a bargain area would be untrue. Rents are rapidly climbing as luxury properties build up on the waterfront and longtime residents are pushed out.The Jeffries Point neighborhood has been developing rapidly, with Eagle Hill close behind, but prospective buyers and renters can find cheaper properties further out in Orient Heights.
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While the population in West Roxbury tends to skew a bit older, young professionals are taking note. "We are starting to see lots of turnover as a younger demographic moves in," says realtor Dana Bull. "Even in this competitive market, it's possible to score a lovely two bedroom condo for under $500k." Check out anything off of Centre Street, where you're close to local shops.
Within walking distance to both the ocean and the MBTA, the Beachmont section of Revere is filled with single and multi-family homes. Just over the East Boston border, it's tucked behind Suffolk Downs, which is set to rapidly develop whether or not Amazon lands there. "I think the Beachmont section of Revere is the next spot," says Ed Deveau of Century 21 Mario Real Estate. "It's a quick commute to Boston, and prices are cheaper compared to East Boston." Stellar views from atop the hill are a great bonus.
While East Boston's median home value is already up to $445,700 (and climbing), neighboring Chelsea is a good chunk lower at $343,500, which is 6.5 percent growth over the past year, according to Zillow. It may be the smallest city by area in Mass., but Chelsea its an extremely attractive option for buyers priced out of East Boston or Charlestown. "If buyers are looking for an urban, water-oriented property less than $500,000, that may need a little TLC, Chelsea is ripe for buyers with vision," says Lara Shuqom of Compass Real Estate.
Derby/Pickering Wharf, Salem
Buyers in Salem can nab a charming condo for a fraction of Boston pricing. "Several of my Boston-based buyers have opted for Salem and have purchased two-families for the price of a Boston condo," says Bull, who suggests checking out Derby Wharf and Pickering Wharf for the quintessential New England vibe on the waterfront. "I owned in this area and my monthly housing costs along with my mooring fee for the boat were still less than renting in Boston," she adds.
If you're looking for luxury housing with extensive amenities, Fenway is the place to be. New buildings like Pierce Boston and the Van Ness can offer everything from 24-hour concierges to pet washing stations. If you're gunning for a Fenway rental under $2000, be sure to check out the Peterborough Street area, where you're surrounded by cheap restaurants, Shaw's, and Target.