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A Beginner's Guide to Hub Neighborhoods and Sales Prices

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Curbed University: We guarantee it to be the most non-boring expert advice you have ever gotten about buying, selling and renting a home in the Hub (not a guarantee). Additional questions welcomed through the ever-trusty tipline.

If only there were a saying in real estate about location, location, location? In Greater Boston, there is a myriad variety of cities and towns and, within each, neighborhoods and enclaves. Here are stats from early 2012, courtesy of our pals at

Allston is a neighborhood along the Charles River known for a heavy—and heavily transient—student population. Their move-out/move-in days in September are known locally as Allston Christmas—a lot of free stuff can be had.
Median sales price: $296,000
Average price per square foot: $229

Back Bay
Located on the Charles and in the middle of the northern middle of the city, it’s the toniest of Greater Boston’s tony neighborhoods (probably without anyone named Tony, though). It’s home famously to many local notables, not least of whom are Tom Brady and Giselle Bundchen, who have been trying to sell their penthouse on Beacon Street since last fall.
MSP: $617,250
APPSF: $756
Bay Village
We think that Boston keeps this neighborhood around as some kind of historical curiosity, like Europe keeps Monaco. It’s the tiniest neighborhood recognized by City Hall.
MSP: $572,000
APPSF: $590

Beacon Hill The seat of Massachusetts government, you can almost smell the corruption as you stroll amid quite possible the most aesthetically pleasing urban neighborhood in North America.
MSP: $917,500
APPSF: $749
The town of roughly 25,000 west of Cambridge and north of Watertown.
MSP: $605,000
APPSF: $337
Close to being Boston’s farthest west neighborhood (see also: West Roxbury). Plan commutes accordingly with all of these more suburban towns/cities/nabes.
MSP: $337,102
APPSF: $544
A separate town very serious about remaining so: It’s the birthplace of JFK and has never really lost that conscious exclusivity element about it, even though it’s nearly surrounded by Boston.
MSP: $550,500
APPSF: $390

The city is home to M.I.T. and Harvard, and a remarkably diverse housing stock. Do not think, in other words, that the two universities are necessarily synonymous with the real estate. For more on Cambridge's neighborhoods, click here.
MSP: $455,000
APPSF: $433

It’s got the Navy Yard, the Bunker Hill Memorial and the banks of the Mystic, plus (for now) some of the most scenic ferry commutes in Boston.
MSP: $424,000
APPSF: $411
Northeast of Charlestown and west of East Boston (got it?), this city of 35,000 is one of the most densely populated in the U.S.
MSP: $158,200
APPSF: $112
Chinatown/Leather District
They seem to get smaller every year, but these fashionable slivers are home to some of the most expensive and cheapest residential real estate in the Hub.
MSP: $1,101,000
APPSF: $968
The neighborhood is big in area and relatively inexpensive by Boston standards, especially considering the large single-families that can be had.
MSP: $229,750
APPSF: $144
Downtown Crossing
Boston’s main shopping district, and home to some of its biggest new towers, like the soon-to-be apartment and retail one over the old Filene’s flagship site.
MSP: $892,500
APPSF: $815
This can mean a collection of neighborhoods—basically from the South End northward—or it can mean that area of central Boston from the Common to the Fort Point Channel waterfront.
MSP: $892,500
APPSF: $815
East Boston
Buy in now, ‘cause the city and private developers have big plans for East Boston, especially its waterfront.
MSP: $240,000
APPSF: $153
A city of 41,000-plus northwest of Chelsea and northeast of Somerville.
MSP: $215,000
APPSF: $139

They’re not just home to the ballpark. There’s the Museum of Fine Arts and Symphony Hall, too—and one heck of a short commute to downtown. There is also some serious new development about to get started there.
MSP: $380,000
APPSF: $528
Hyde Park
Boston’s southernmost neighborhood (and it’s youngest—it joined the city in 1912).
MSP: $242,500
APPSF: $152
Jamaica Plain
Probably the most diverse housing stock in Boston, JP is also probably the city’s most diverse demographically. Seriously good eats all over the place, and close to downtown.
MSP: $320,000
APPSF: $356
The city of nearly 60,000 east of Medford, Businessweek in 2009 ranked it the best place in Massachusetts to raise children.
MSP: $244,525
APPSF: $156
Dorchester’s leafier western neighbor. Though—and take this as you will—a slice of Hyde Park couldn't wait to leave the neighborhood via a ZIP code change.
MSP: $185,000
APPSF: $225
Mission Hill
Between JP and Fenway/Kenmore, the neighborhood is on a tear of a rebound, with new condos next to old brick row houses.
Tony western neighbor to Brookline, the town is unabashed suburbia.
MSP: $563,000
APPSF: $356

The North End
The old (and, in some places, current) Italian neighborhood, it has some of Boston’s most achingly beautiful homes.
MSP: $635,000
APPSF: $586
A lot of rental and condo conversions going on in this leafy neighborhood.
MSP: $257,000
APPSF: $198
Boston’s centrally located neighborhood, and one, with the city’s formidable help, undergoing a lot of redevelopment.
MSP: $545,000
APPSF: $636
It's the city of more than 50,000 north of East Boston and Chelsea, and it has one of the oldest public beaches in the U.S.
MSP: $214,306
APPSF: $137

Cambridge’s northern neighbor, the town is set for some big commercial and residential development along its northern border with the Mystic. Plus, if the Green and Orange lines ever make it out there, look out!
MSP: $378,500
APPSF: $234
South Boston
The old Irish neighborhood that was once shorthand for “gritty” when people were talking about cities. It’s now quite gentrified and getting more so. Home to the Innovation District and the Seaport District (and the new Seaport Square developments). Southie is probably Boston’s busiest neighborhood in terms of transformation.
MSP: $367,625
APPSF: $506
The South End
Curbed Boston readers in 2011 voted this the No. 1 neighborhood in Greater Boston. A thoroughly gentrified addendum to Back Bay.
MSP: $580,000
APPSF: $659
Western/northwestern neighbor to Allston, Brighton and Cambridge, it’s a town with a very suburban feel.
MSP: $350,500
APPSF: $239
The West End
The small, grittier (relatively speaking—this is downtown Boston) neighbor to the North End.
MSP: $368,500
APPSF: $441
West Roxbury
West of Hyde Park, the city’s westernmost neighborhood (see also: Brighton).
MSP: $340,000
APPSF: $255

· Our complete Curbed University syllabus [Curbed Boston]
· Rookie Roosts Week 2012 [Curbed Boston]
· More of our housing market coverage [Curbed Boston]