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CHARLESTOWN

This page is not cluttered with historical or demographic data. That information is available elsewhere. The focus here is on the things which you should find important. Instructions for viewing Charlestown real estate listings are found at the bottom of this article...

Old Ironsides

Charlestown is one of Boston's oldest and most storied neighborhoods. A living tapestry of American history, Charlestown is perhaps best known as the home of the historic Bunker Hill monument, the U.S.S. Constitution - or "Old Ironsides", the oldest commissioned floating ship in the world - and the setting for the film, "The Town" - and residents beg to differ with the movie’s portrayal of the area! Since we do not live in a perfect world, surely there is crime about us, but Charlestown is fairly quiet in this respect. However, it might be helpful to check on crime reports wherever you choose to live.

Situated on a penisula between the Charles River and the Mystic River, the neighborhood was founded as an independent city by the Puritans in 1628. In 1775, the city made history as the site of the Battle of Bunker Hill, one of the first major conflicts of the American Revolutionary War. The historic battle was forever memorialized by the 220-foot Bunker Hill Monument, erected in 1825 and still towering atop the penisula today.

Charlestown's City Square

Annexed by the city of Boston in 1873, the contemporary neighborhood developed around the now-decommissioned Navy Yard, experiencing dramatic shifts in population and industry over the past several decades. The Navy Yard, also a national historic landmark, has been converted to residential and office space, and an increasing number of young professionals are relocating there, joining families who have lived in the area for years. These newcomers are discovering the neighborhood's renovated rowhouses and its accessibility to downtown Boston and the North End. Many residents walk to work in downtown or simply down to the nearby waterfront, both of which are only minutes away.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) initiated plans to demolish and redevelop sixty percent of the housing in Charlestown, but vociferous Charlestown residents opposed the plan by an overwhelming majority. Consequently, the plan was reduced to tearing down only eleven percent of the neighborhood. Any housing that the BRA had a hand in requires sellers to ante up 2% of the sale price back into the BRA kitty.

Drawn to its proximity to downtown and its colonial, red-brick, row-house housing stock, similar to that of Beacon Hill, many upper-middle class professionals have moved into the neighborhood. Today the neighborhood is a mix of upper-middle and middle-class residences, housing projects, and remnants of the large, working class Irish-American demographic who settled in Charlestown.

There are plenty of sights to see while strolling through Charlestown’s narrow, gas-lamp-lined streets. Charlestown has two very distinct types of architecture. Along Main Street, you will find traditional townhouses and brownstones; but, as you make your way to the Navy Yard, you will be surrounded by new luxury developments not only boasting high-end amenities, but also some of the most amazing city views you will find anywhere!

So, for that Beacon Hill or Back Bay charm but without the high price tag, Charlestown is the perfect alternative for you. Large homes from 1600 square feet range are still available under $700,000 - amazing the value you get just by crossing over the Charles River - single family homes with 3 bedrooms and 2 or more bathrooms in "Boston" for well under a million dollars and we are not talking tear downs; some have been gut renovated within recently. However, off-street parking can be hard to come by. 

If walking to work is not your thing, you can also find public transit in Charlestown.

Boston is a city of neighborhoods by means of annexation. Access the City of Boston's official website, including the neighborhood of Charlestown. If you have school-age children, Charlestown lies in the Boston Public School district. Its transportation policies are outlined here.

The Boston Police have a web page dedicated to Charlestown which you can access for their latest news. You might wish to visit this web site which has helpful information and links for Charlestown.

To keep up with daily goings on you can check in online with the Charlestown Patriot-Bridge, Boston City Paper, The Patch, or, of course, the Boston Globe, and the Boston Herald.

If you have a specific property in mind that you think you might like to buy, The City of Boston maintains a database for the City Assessor which you can access to see what value the City gives the property and what the annual taxes are. Boston does offer a residential tax break for primary residences for which you might need to apply after your purchase.

Sold Statistics for Charlestown

Single Family:
2012 - 76 sales. List Price - $742,334 Sale Price - $727,888   Market Time - 94 days
2011 - 49 sales. List Price - $693,279 Sale Price - $659,178   Market Time - 97 days
2010 - 64 sales. List Price - $763,417 Sale Price - $731,795   Market Time - 113 days

Charlestown suffered steep declines in sales and values of single-family homes in 2011 but both came roaring back in 2012, eclipsing the volume of sales in 2010 but not quite catching up to the average sale price in 2010. Let's hope for an even better 2013!

Condominiums:
2012 - 334 sales. List Price - $480,594 Sale Price - $471,187   Market Time - 87 days
2011 - 223 sales. List Price - $473,448 Sale Price - $461,563   Market Time - 109 days
2010 - 230 sales. List Price - $480,574 Sale Price - $467,666   Market Time - 118 days

Condominium sales in Charlestown increased dramatically in 2012 over 2011 and 2010 with a 2% improvement in average sales price. Days on market has been decreasing each year!

Multi-Family Listings:
2012 - 6 sales. List Price - $1,063,000 Sale Price - $1,023,000   Market Time - 80 days
2011 - 9 sales. List Price - $643,533 Sale Price - $608,553   Market Time - 58 days
2010 - 9 sales. List Price - $662,989 Sale Price - $640,711   Market Time - 37 days

Although there are consistently just a few sales of multi-family properties in Charlestown, those few that sold in 2012 were higher priced than those of 2010 and 2011.

To view all current MLS real estate listings in Charlestown, you will need an ID which is "2433185" and the password "Jim". You can login here anonymously anytime, daily or weekly, as often as you wish. If you should see any properties you would like to view in person, give Jim a call or send a text or email indicating which properties and a couple of time frames and Jim will try to schedule you appropriately - please keep in mind that some owners and/or agents require 24-48 hrs advance notice and additionally keeping within a 30-60 minute window if they also require an accompanied showing.

Don't forget to pop into the oldest tavern in Massachusetts, the Warren Tavern of Paul Revere fame!