Tag Archives: Beacon Hill

New Rental Listings in Boston’s Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and Leather District

Spring has sprung and the warmer weather brings with it new rental listings!

In Back Bay, located at 41 Commonwealth Avenue #3 is a lofted one bed with high ceilings and a fireplace featuring period details. If this sounds familiar it may be because The Matthew and Alisa Group listed the condo for sale earlier this year. The building has common laundry and private storage deeded to the unit. Available for rent May 1st for $2600.

Apartment for Rent at 41 Commonwealth Ave #3

In Beacon Hill, located on the 3rd floor of Anderson Street at the corner of Phillips Street is a beautiful 1 bedroom plus study. This unique layout has windows facing north and south, a spacious kitchen, and generous bedroom. The building has common laundry and a common roof deck.  Available for rent June 1st for $2400.

Apartment for Rent at 27 Anderson St #6

In the Leather District, 181 Essex Street offers a beautiful new construction one bedroom in a professionally managed elevator building. Every room gets incredible afternoon light. The kitchen offers gas cooking, granite counter tops, and stainless steel appliances. Laundry is in unit and private storage is included in the building. Pets are possible with references. Available for rent June 1st for $2900.

Apartment for Rent at 181 Essex Street #405

If you have any questions or would like schedule a private showing, contact Alisa Peterson at alisa.peterson@sothebysrealty.com or 617-997-2414. If none of these are quite what you are looking for you can search apartments for rent in Boston on our site. Or contact us as we may have other options for you.

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What Can You Buy For $2.5 Million in Boston's Beacon Hill?

Depending on where you live in the world, $2.5 million can buy something special and in Boston”s Beacon Hill neighborhood this is no exception. Over the last 3 months, according to MLS, 6 condos sold between $2 million and $3 million with an average of 2,666 square feet and the condos sold at an average of $875 per square foot.

107 Chestnut Street #5

This unique 3145 square foot 4th floor duplex features 3 beds, 3 baths, 2 fireplaces, and a parking space. Built in 1913 to resemble an Italian Villa, this condo was a beautiful contrast to the traditional brick town homes in the neighborhood. Originally listed for $3,050,000, it sold for $2,250,000 after 45 days on the market.

107 Chestnut Street #5

107 Chestnut Street #5 – Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

 

34.5 Beacon Street #7N

Located on the 7th floor, this 3 bed, 2.5 bath condo is in one of the online casino very few concierge buildings in Beacon Hill. At 2,355 square feet, this condo was listed for $2,375,000 and sold for $2,325,000 after 87 days on the market.

34.5 Beacon Street #7N

34.5 Beacon Street #7N – First Boston Realty Group

 

37 Brimmer Street #1

This lower triplex located on the corner of Mount Vernon features 2 beds, 2 baths, 3 fireplaces, and a private patio. This 3133 square foot condo was listed for $2,495,000 and sold for $2,400,000 after 208 days on the market.

37 Brimmer Street #1

37 Brimmer Street #1 – Gibson Sotheby”s International Realty

 

33 Chestnut Street #3&4

Located on the sunny side of Chestnut street, this recently renovated 2 level condo features 3 beds plus an office, 2.5 baths, and a large private deck. Listed for $2,695,000, it sold for $2,500,000 after 113 days on the market.

33 Chestnut Street #3&4

33 Chestnut Street #3&4 – Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

 

The higher the price point the smaller the pool of buyers becomes, which accounts for why the days on market for a couple of these listings are higher than the Beacon Hill average of 91 days on market during the last three months. With that being said, buyers who appreciate unique homes in Beacon Hill are never too far away.

For a lower price point, see what you can buy for $1 million in Beacon Hill.

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What Can You Buy for $1 Million in Beacon Hill?

One of the most prestigious neighborhoods in Boston is Beacon Hill and the property there can be some of the most sought after in the city. Matthew Gaskill wrote about the Mt Vernon Proprietors and how they shaped Beacon Hill into the neighborhood as we still know it today. Properties in Beacon Hill tend to have a smaller footprint, making living area more vertical and narrow. Properties in Beacon Hill also have strict guidelines to follow when doing renovations, restrictions that sometimes prevent the owners from making improvements to the property.

Let’s break down the data!

Over the last 6 months there have been 26 condos and 2 single-family homes sold in Beacon Hill between $800,000 and $1,200,000. The average sale price for the condos was $972,156 while the average sale price per square foot was $695. If you remember from when I wrote about what $1 million buys you in Back Bay, the average sale price for condos was $953,039 and the average sale price per square foot was $758. The reason for the difference in price per square foot is parking! Getting a condo that comes with parking in Beacon Hill is like finding a unicorn wearing a four-leafed clover garland with a golden ticket to Wonka-Land in it’s mouth. Maybe not THAT unlikely but not too far off.

Mount Vernon Street

Originally built in 1804, this 2 bed 2.5 bath duplex on Mount Vernon Street was listed at $899,00o and sold in just over a month for $875,000. This 1625 square foot condo featured 2 fireplaces, a private patio, and is located just behind the state house on the top of the hill. However, the property does not have central air conditioning, so in the balmy summers window units will have to suffice.

Sold Condo on Mt Vernon Street

51 Mount Vernon Street – Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

 

Chestnut Street

Since Boston is a old town with historic properties, many buildings have been converted from their original intended use. In the South End, warehouses have turned into large open lofts. In both Back Bay and Beacon Hill, single family mansions have been broken into condos. This particular 2 bed 2 bath on Chestnut Street was once a Gothic church built in 1880. Converted to condos in 1965, this 1220 square foot was listed at $950,000 and sold for $920,000 in under one month.

Sold Condo on Chestnut Street

27 Chestnut St – Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

 

Revere Street

This sunny penthouse duplex on Revere Street featured 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, and 2 fireplaces. Originally built in 1900, this 1500 square foot corner condo has 3 exposures and a roof deck with gorgeous views from Back Bay to Cambridge. It was listed at $1,199,000 and sold for $1,190,000 in 13 days.

Sold Condo on Revere Street

93 Revere Street – Hammond Residential

 

Beacon Street

Located across from the Boston Common, this Beacon Street penthouse condo featured 2 private decks, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 1 fireplace. Originally built in 1860, this 1750 square foot condo also had an elevator with direct access to the unit and vaulted ceilings. It first came onto the sales market for $1,250,000 and sold in 7 days for $1,200,000.

Sold Condo on Beacon Street

36 Beacon Street – CL Waterfront Properties

To learn more about Beacon Hill and other Boston neighborhoods, visit our where to live page.

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How Real Estate Developers Shaped Beacon Hill and America

The Mt. Vernon Proprietors developed Boston’s Beacon Hill into the neighborhood we know today and in the process they shaped the way real estate development would function during the formative years of the United States as a nation. Although we can see their legacy in the development of Beacon hill, their contributions to real estate development in the United States is even greater. As what was probably the first real estate syndicate in America, their model shaped the way America was built.

A real estate syndicate is a group of investors pooling money and using the funds as a whole to fund real estate projects. The funds could be used to acquire property in its entirety or as an equity contribution to the project along with a mortgage, which would fund some portion of the project.

The Mt. Vernon Proprietors were founded in 1795 by Harrison Gray Otis, Jonathan Mason, Charles Ward Apthorp, and Joseph Woodward. Members of the group changed frequently, but partners included the famed architect Charles Bulfinch, Hepzibah Swan, William Scollay, Dr. Benjamin Joy, and Henry Jackson. In the same year they founded, the Mt. Vernon Proprietors bought an 18.5 acre cow pasture from an agent working on behalf of the painter John Singleton Copley, who had been living in England for the previous 20 years. When it took place, it was the largest land transaction that had taken place in Boston and included the land bordered today by Mt Vernon Street, Louisburg Square, down Pinckney Street to the Charles River, along the shoreline to Beacon Street, and up Beacon Street to Walnut Street, which connects with Mt. Vernon Street. This was such a large plot of land that it would be 30 years before Louisburg Square and the land west of it was laid out.

Massachusetts State House on Beacon Hill in BostonThe majority of the tract was hilly pasture, not valuable until the Massachusetts State House was built at the top of Beacon Hill in 1798. The plot of land where the State House was to be built was bought from the heirs of John Hancock, the first Governor of Massachusetts and the man with the world’s most famous signature.

Harrison Gray Otis had been appointed to a town committee to select the new site of the Massachusetts State House and a scandal ensued when it was discovered he was involved in the purchase of the newly valuable land. John Singleton Copley protested the sale, but after a decade of legal arguments the sale was upheld.

The Mt. Vernon Proprietors planned to use their land as a new residential area for those whose fortunes had grown due to Boston’s merchant trade. The group’s surveyor, Mather Withington, and Charles Bulfinch created separate development plans, but both proposed large lots ranging from 60 by 160 to 100 by 200. Bulfinch’s plan focused on freestanding mansions with lots large enough for stables and gardens, as was common practice in the South End and West End at the time, and a few homes were built following Bulfinch’s specifications. Withington’s development plan was eventually chosen, a plan which proposed the laying of Mt. Vernon Street, Chestnut Street, Pinckney Street, and Walnut Street as they are today.

The work of laying the streets began in 1799, with the streets aligned in an east-west orientation with limited access from the less desirable North Slope, which was referred to as “Mt. Whoredom” at the time. During this early stage of development, Mount Vernon, the Western peak of Boston’s three hills cut by 50-60 feet. The country’s first gravity railroad was used to transport the dirt downhill and into the water, increasing the developer’s land by filling in the area now occupied by Charles Street and part of the Flat of the Hill.

Beacon Hill map as planned by the Mt. Vernon ProprietorsThe early homes built on the Mt. Vernon Proprietor land were of great dimensions, following the vision of Charles Bulfinch. Harrison Gray Otis commissioned Bulfinch to build a home at 85 Mt. Vernon Street. Bulfinch bought the parcel west of Otis in 1805 and divided it into the two lots at 87 and 89 Mt. Vernon Street on which he built large freestanding mansions with a shared driveway.

Along with these homes, the Massachusetts State House at the top of Beacon Hill was also designed by Charles Bulfinch. At the time architecture was more of a hobby than an occupation and Bulfinch was employed as a member of the city’s Board of Selectman and Boston’s Chief of Police. Although, Bulfinch would go on to become the first American to practice architecture as an occupation and he would design many more buildings around Boston before heading to Washington D.C. to work on the Capitol.

After the initial estate sized lots were sold and developed on Mt. Vernon Street, the Mt. Vernon Proprietors decided these homes were not in the best interest of their investment. Because of this the rest of the land was laid out in more dense blocks of row houses and even the gardens of the original estates were developed, thus the mansions at 89, 87, and 85 Mt. Vernon Street appear to be incorporated within a developed block.

Among the houses associated with the Mt. Vernon Proprietors surviving today are:

  • 29A Chestnut Street, built on a speculative basis in 1799
  • 70, 71, 72, 73, 75, and 74 Beacon Street were built in on a speculative basis in 1828 after being designed by architect Asher Benjamin.

Other homes in the Beacon Hill neighborhood are associated with individual members, but these represent efforts of the group.

For more information on property for sale in Beacon Hill or to own your own piece of history, contact a Realtor from our team.

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Train with a View: Things to Do in Boston

When thinking of public transportation, the mind can flash to long delays, loud crowds, tight crammed spaces, uncomfortable heat, and odd smells, nothing really to look forward to doing. However there is one small trip on the T that features Boston unlike anywhere else.

Between the Charles/MGH T stop in Beacon Hill and the Kendall Square/MIT T stop in Cambridge, the red line goes above ground and travels over the Longfellow Bridge. If you get on the T at Charles/ MGH and travel west toward Kendall Square/MIT and face south, you will see an incredible view of Boston’s Back Bay with the Charles River simmering before it.

Viking Ship with Boston and Cambridge seals on Longfellow BridgeThe Longfellow Bridge, also known as the Salt and Pepper Shaker Bridge because the of the shape of the towers in the center of the bridge, was constructed in 1900 and connects Boston and Cambridge. The Longfellow Bridge’s design was influenced by the designs of famous bridges in Europe. The towers not only have the seals of Boston and Cambridge, they also have decorative motifs of Viking ships that reference the voyage of the famous historical figure, Leif Eriksson, up the Charles River during the 1st century AD. Along with the red line, cars on Route 3 drive across, pedestrians can go for a stroll on it, and the bridge even has bike lanes. Because you don’t have to watch where you are going while on the train, the smooth and graceful ride on the T is where you can really enjoy the unobstructed view of Boston’s skyline.

Boston has many different things to do and a less than a minute trip on the T is usually not something to go out of your way for, but in this case it is. Any time of year and any time of day it is worth the trip for the view.

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Investment Property: Where to Start

Buying Investment PropertyOne of the biggest misconceptions I’ve heard from clients who are interested in buying investment property, is they are going to make livable income from their investment right away. More people have the desire to take advantage of the low mortgage rates and feel buying investment property is a safer investment than buying stocks. This is can be true, however, investing in real estate should be thought of as a long term commitment and must be done wisely.

Depending on what type of property you invest in you may be able to start a steady cash flow, but when you buy investment property, you should think of it as a way to build wealth not get rich quick.

If you buy an investment property in an established neighborhood, this would be considered a low risk investment. In Boston an example would be Back Bay or Beacon Hill. A possible drawback would be the prices would be higher to buy an investment property. However, the positive side is in Boston, where the rents are only going up, the tenant’s rent would cover most is not all of your operating costs, which include mortgage, condo fees, maintenance, and taxes. Little to nothing will be left over for shopping, but after your mortgage is paid off (by someone else), the investment property is now worth a lot more than you originally paid. The goal in these established areas is a safe investment with appreciation and key metric is appreciation rate.

If you buy an investment property in an area that doesn’t have the demand as the established neighborhoods, the risk is higher. In Boston an example could be areas of Roxbury or areas of Dorchester. The drawback would be that you wouldn’t be able to charge as high for rent but the buy in would be less and the money you do collect from rent would more than cover your mortgage and leave some extra cash on hand. Your investment property may not be worth much more than you paid for but the capital of your mortgage would be paid off quicker and you would be able to generate a profit quicker. The goal in riskier areas that do not offer the same appreciation rate as the most established areas is cash flow and the key metric in determining cash flow potential is cap rate (or capitalization rate if you aren’t into the whole brevity thing).

Buying either type of investment property should not be rushed into. Once you buy a property, you are still responsible for maintaining it. If your only experience with how to be a landlord comes from The Ropers on reruns of Three’s Company, we can help. For more information about buying investment property, contact the Realtors of Matthew and Alisa Group Real Estate.

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Is the Benjamin Mansion Boston’s Finest Restoration?

It is not often I walk through a home and see so many correct choices made on a development project.

I recently had the honor of previewing the single-family home for sale at 74 Beacon Street for an international buyer client I have been working with. The townhouse was originally built in 1828 by architect Asher Benjamin, who was best known for the Old West Church and the Charles Street Meeting House. Some say the wealthy buyers of these Asher Benjamin mansions chose the Beacon Street location because they viewed the newly formed “flat of Beacon Hill” as a superior location to the steep slope of Mt. Vernon Street. Although, in reality, these mansions were located near the city dump at the bottom of Beacon Street when built. Not until Back Bay was filled in did the area start to transform into the prime real estate we consider it today.

The Benjamin Mansion at 74 Beacon Street

One of the developers involved in the restoration grew up in a townhouse in London and her knowledge was an asset as the development team undertook a three-year gut-renovation project. The result was a restoration blending old-world detail and modern amenities. Some of those amenities include a heated rooftop endless infinity lap pool, deeded parking and a Brimmer Street garage space, an elevator, two roof decks, a patio, smart home technology, and a laundry room GQ found worthy of a Tom Brady photo shoot.

The price does reflect the quality at $1769 a square foot which is a price usually reserved for the first block of Comm Ave, Louisburg Square, and high-end buildings such as the Mandarin Oriental or the Carlton House.

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Parking in Boston: Parking Options at Every Price

Parking in Boston can be difficult, expensive, and time consumingParking in Boston can be a nightmare. Let’s get that out of the way right now.

In order to qualify for a resident permit that allows for parking on the street in one of Boston’s neighborhoods, the car has to be registered and insured in Boston. Unless the car was previously registered in New York City, insurance premiums will most likely increase with a Boston registration.

Resident street parking can be more or less painful depending on the neighborhood. The worst neighborhoods for parking in Boston are Beacon Hill and the North End, and honorable mention goes to Back Bay. All three have more residents with cars than streets for parking.

Once you find a parking spot you have to remember which day of the week street cleaning occurs in the neighborhood or it will be towed. In a snow emergency, the car cannot be parked on a main street or it will be towed. The good news is you can sign up for email alerts through the City of Boston’s No Tow program.

If searching for parking in Boston does not sound appealing, renting a parking space is an option. There are parking spaces to rent all over Boston with prices varying all over the city. One uncovered full parking space can start at $250 a month in Back Bay. The starting rate for a garage parking space in Back Bay can be $375 a month and valet garage spaces are even higher.

If you are flexible, there are a couple ways to save some money on renting a parking spot. Renting a tandem spot can cost $200 a month. A tandem parking space is wide enough for one car but long enough for two. To prevent either driver from blocking the other, each will each exchange keys with the other. Also, many garages offer a reverse commute option which is ideal for those who live in the city and work outside the city. These reverse commuting options have different hours depending on the garage but the standard allows for access between 4pm-8am during the week and anytime on weekends and holidays. The garage will usually allow for one or two sick days a month. These reverse commute spots can start as low as $115 a month.

Buying a parking space in Boston can also be an option but those price tags can come as a bigger surprise. One space in Boston can start at $30,000 but it can also go as high as $300,000. In 2009, an outdoor, uncovered parking space, one block from the Public Garden, was sold for $300,000. This sale beat the previous record of $250,000 for a spot at 31-33 Commonwealth Ave.

If you are relocating to Boston and are not ready to live car free, contact the Realtors of Matthew and Alisa Group Real Estate. We will be happy to either help find properties that include parking or help navigate parking solutions in Boston.

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C’est Chic Pet Boutiques

Cat has a Home but No Toys

Once you and your furry friend(s) have found a new pet-friendly home, it’s time to find where to get everything your pets need. Sure you can go the Petco or PetSmart super store route, but since your little ones are now pets in the city, spoil them at the chic pet boutiques!

In the South End, you have the pet boutiques Polka Dog Bakery, The Urban Hound, and Bark Place.

The Polka Dog Bakery found on Shawmut Avenue has a wide selection of toys and accessories for both dogs and cats. Additionally this bakery makes the best and most unique dog treats in Boston. Since it’s located around the corner from the Peter’s Park and the Joe Wex Dog Recreation Space I’ll give you fair warning, you can’t walk your dog by and not go in. With their great sense of smell they know irresistible treats are inside even if they have never set a paw in the front door. Trust me: you will not be able to say no.

Bark Place on Washington Avenue has toys, treats, and accessories for your pooch but they also offer grooming. They have a drop off option where you have their groomers make your dog all shiny and new. They also have a do-it-yourself option where they provide the tub, brushes, towels, and blow dryer which is perfect if your dog is like mine and little too high strung to have someone else clean her.

Found on Malden Street between Albany Street and Harrison Avenue, the Urban Hound also offers little treats and grooming as well as a doggie day care if you don’t want to leave your pooch at home while working.

In Back Bay, you’ll find Fish & Bone and Pawsh Dog Boutique and Spa. Both pet boutiques are highly reviewed for their services, have wonderful accessories and treats, and are conveniently located on/near Newbury Street.

Four Preppy Paws caters to the Beacon Hill pet-owning crowd. A wonderful pet boutique on Charles Street that has all the food, treats, and accessories you need to spoil your pet.

Kitten Playing with Designer Toy

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