Charlestown - 02129
Housing in Charlestown – 02129
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. Charlestown is served by District 15A of the Boston Police Department. Situated on a peninsula 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 peninsula today.
Charlestown was annexed by the city of Boston in 1873 and over recent decades is becoming a contemporary neighborhood developed around the now-decommissioned Navy Yard. Consequently, dramatic shifts in population of young professionals, joining families who have lived in the area for years, along with shifts in industry came with the Navy Yard’s conversion to residential and office space. These newcomers are discovering the neighborhood’s renovated rowhouses and its accessibility to downtown Boston and the North End. In fact, many residents walk to work in downtown or simply down to the nearby waterfront, both of which are only minutes away. The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) 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. The above photo is a rendering of the new Bunker Hill Housing Project. Please note, any housing that the BPDA has a hand in creates a 2% sales tax on future sales of that housing to replenish the BPDA kitty. Many of the upper-middle class professionals who have moved into the neighborhood, have been drawn to its proximity to downtown and its colonial, red-brick, row-house housing stock found in Beacon Hill. Today the neighborhood is a mix of middle and upper, middle-class residences, of housing projects, and of 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, if you want Beacon Hill or Back Bay charm but without the high price tag, Charlestown is the perfect alternative for you. Many condominiums and homes are still available under $700,000 – amazing the value you get just by crossing over the Charles River! However, single-family homes do range from $1 to $2 million. Multi-families have been running $1,100,000 to $4,000,000. Rentals are many and run from $1,500 to $7,600. Sadly, street parking can be hard to come by. Naturally, pricing varies depending upon size, location, and amenities. If walking to work is not your thing, you can also find public transit in Charlestown. Info on the harbor ferry can be found here. Charlestown lies in the Boston Public School district. Its transportation policies are outlined here. Great Schools provides ratings for most schools in the United States. Below, you can see what schools are near the address you are thinking of buying and then compare it to other neighboring schools.
Area SchoolsTo keep up with daily goings on you can check in online with the Charlestown Patriot-Bridge, The Patch, or, of course, the Boston Globe, and the Boston Herald. If you have a specific property in mind that you are considering buying, 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 also offers a residential tax break for primary residences. Apply if your purchase qualifies.
Real estate markets are very fluid and can fluctuate in a matter of hours because homes can come on and off the market daily… even hourly. The following chart is a visual, historical representation of the cyclical nature of real estate and compares the ups and downs of Charlestown to those of the entire city of Boston. The taller the column the better it is for buyers. The shorter the column the better it is for sellers. Hence 2006 was the best time for a buyer to buy in Charlestown, while 2013-2018 were great years for sellers. However, buyers will be happy to know that the graphic below indicates a weakening seller’s market.