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Get the scoop on the South End, the Back Bay’s cooler cousin

Prices are going up in this diverse and artsy Boston neighborhood.
South End
Explore the South End's real estate scene. Photo by Henry Jani

Boston’s South End is riddled with contradictions, but prospective homeowners and renters can’t seem to get enough.

The area features everything from pricy brownstones to low-income housing, with a proximity to Boston that also offers a quiet, neighborhood feel. There are even stately, Victorian homes that serve as backdrops for a vibrant arts scene.

 “People who know the South End don’t want to live anywhere else,” says Peter Roth, developer of the recently opened Girard apartment complex.

Andrew McKinney, a real estate agent for Buyers Brokers Only LLC, says that while people have always been drawn to the South End, in recent years, prices have noticeably risen, making it more difficult for young professionals to move in.

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“It definitely appeals to people who are downsizing, professionals,” he says. “It’s a little harder for younger, first-time buyers to break in.”

Jen, a mom who lives in the brownstone-lined Worcester Square, says she’s noticed a change in the neighborhood since she moved there in 2009.

“It’s a lot more upscale development and [there are] fewer college kids,” she says of the neighborhood, which is surrounded by Northeastern University and the New England Conservatory.

Although prices continue to rise, McKinney says that the South End has maintained much of its diversity. The neighborhood has historically been home to large immigrant, African American and LGBT populations.

“The neighborhood is a great mix of all sorts of people in all stages of life,” says McKinney. “That’s probably one of the great draws.”

Residents say that the eclectic mix of delicious restaurants is another big selling point for the neighborhood. Boston hot spots like Coppa and Myers + Chang are located in the heart of the South End.

“[The best part of living here is] probably the access to great restaurants,” says South End resident Jen. “The amazing thing is there’s always a new place to try. There’s always something new opening and they’re always high quality and fun.”

Those trying to make roots in one of Boston’s hippest haunts may be in luck, as new apartment complexes like the Inkblot and Girard recently opened their doors.  McKinney says the location of these buildings, between Harrison Ave. and Albany St., is the South End’s hottest site for new construction. He also forecasts a leveling off in home prices over the next five years.              

“It’s a step behind Back Bay and Beacon Hill [in price]," he says. "But it’s not a big step."

 
 
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