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Boston’s Housing Market: 66% Price Growth in a Decade & a Look Beyond COVID-19 to 2030

Key Takeaways: 

  • Boston’s 2019 median home sale price was $625,000; by 2030, it could exceed $1 million.
  • East Boston, Roxbury and Mattapan medians more than doubled in the past decade to approximately $500,000; they could exceed $1 million by 2030.
  • In 2019, medians surpassed $1 million in three neighborhoods; by 2030, that number could increase to 13 neighborhoods.
  • Bay Village was 2019’s priciest neighborhood with a $1.6 million median, which could reach nearly $3 million by 2030.
  • Medians in Bay Village and the Downtown-Financial District could surpass $2 million in next 10 years.
  • By 2030, West End Boston could replace Mattapan as the most affordable neighborhood in Boston.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had unprecedented effects on the global economy, and historic Boston was no exception. Yet, for the time being, the city’s real estate market seems to be on the road to recovery. And, just as there is no surefire way to predict the progression of the pandemic, there’s also no way to anticipate the progression of home prices in the next decade. However, a precedent — such as the city’s median home sale price growth in the decade since 2009 — could help determine what prices might be in 2030.

With this in mind, we looked into home price growth in the decade between 2009 and 2019. During this timeframe, Boston’s median home sale price rose to $625,000 in 2019 — up 66% from 2009. Notably, this significant increase strongly outpaced the nation’s 19% overall growth rate of home prices.

Additionally, to further gauge the progression of prices, we also analyzed home price evolution from 2009 to 2019 in all Boston neighborhoods. In particular, we reviewed all residential sales across the following property types: single-family homes, two-family homes and condominium units. In doing so, we found that home price growth in all Boston neighborhoods had outpaced inflation.

Finally, we used the same price growth from the past decade to estimate the potential long-term home price growth by 2030. Specifically, we started with the median home sale price in 2019 and used the same rate of price growth per neighborhood to see what Boston’s residential prices could be at the beginning of 2030. In doing so, we discovered that if prices for the city as a whole continued to grow at the same rate as they did in the past decade, they could rise to a $1,039,000 median by 2030.

Furthermore, because we used the same growth rate for the next decade as was experienced during the 2009 through 2019 period, we did not assume that the pandemic would lower prices. Rather, we were looking to see what could happen if prices continued to grow in the same manner. We also based this on the roughly 6% growth that China’s resilient real estate market has experienced in 2020.   

10 Years Later: Home Prices Double in East Boston, Roxbury & Mattapan 

Each neighborhood in our study experienced double-digit price expansion so dramatic that, in more than half of the neighborhoods, the increase was 50% or more. In fact, three neighborhoods — East Boston, Roxbury and Mattapan — more than doubled their growth in terms of their prices, and Dorchester wasn’t far behind. 

Specifically, East Boston — home to Logan International Airport — led the way with a 120% increase since 2009. Contributing to its spike is the neighborhood’s proximity to downtown and a real estate renaissance with luxury developments in the area. 

Roxbury had the second-largest price growth, with prices here skyrocketing 115% to a $499,000 median in 2019. The third-largest price expansion was in Mattapan, which experienced a 110% change in 10 years to bring it up to a $438,000 median in 2019. Mattapan was actually the least-expensive neighborhood in 2009 and, despite having the third-largest price expansion in the last decade, it still remains the least expensive neighborhood on our list.  

Meanwhile, coming in with a 99% price increase in the last decade is Boston’s largest neighborhood, Dorchester. Although its 2009 median sale price was $255,000, its 2019 median sale price was $508,000.

The $1 Million Mark: Bay Village Remains Boston’s Most Expensive Neighborhood at $1.6 Million

In 2009, the most expensive neighborhood in Boston was Bay Village, with an $882,000 median sale price. But, by 2019, median prices in seven neighborhoods had surpassed $882,000 — which means that one-third of Boston’s neighborhoods now exceed the highest median from a decade earlier. In particular, three neighborhoods surpassed the $1 million mark: Bay Village, the Downtown-Financial District and Back Bay. Several others also recorded medians close to $1 million, including the South End, the Chinatown-Leather District, North End Boston and Beacon Hill.

In 2019, Bay Village held onto its title as the most expensive Boston neighborhood with a $1,615,000 median price. Known for its historic brick rowhouses — as well as being the birthplace of Edgar Allan Poe — prices here surged 83% in the last decade. And, with just more than 1,000 residents, prices likely increased due to the size of and demand for the neighborhood. 

Next up is the Downtown-Financial District, which had a $1,298,000 median sale price in 2019 compared to its $834,000 median in 2009. Famous for its history and ultra-luxe high rises like the Millennium Tower, it’s the second-most expensive neighborhood in Boston. An increase in luxury condominiums and developments contributed to the neighborhood’s 56% price growth.

Back Bay, Boston’s third-most expensive neighborhood, had a $1,100,000 median sale price in 2019, up from its $732,000 median in 2009.The area’s 50% price increase can be attributed to its distinguished brownstones listed on the National Register of Historic Places and recognition in Henry James’ “The Bostonians.” 

Not far behind, several neighborhoods came in just below the $1 million mark. In particular, the South End — which boasts the largest district of intact Victorian houses in the U.S. — registered a 45% price growth with a $950,000 median in 2019. 

Similarly, the Chinatown-Leather District’s 2019 median sale price grew 48% to a $935,000 median in 2019. This growth was largely due to luxury developments in Chinatown and the conversion of many of the Leather District’s 19th-century warehouses into lofts reminiscent of those in New York’s SoHo. 

Finally, North End Boston — often referred to as Little Italy — had a $910,000 median sale price and 53% price growth. And, at exactly $900,000, the exclusive Beacon Hill registered a 39% 10-year price growth. 

By 2030, Home Prices in Half of Boston’s Neighborhoods Could Exceed $1 Million

Next, we used the 2009 to 2019 price growth per neighborhood to gauge potential median home sales prices at the beginning of 2030. This relies on the premise was that there will not be a significant drop due to the pandemic. Therefore, we calculated what the residential property values in Boston’s neighborhoods could be in a decade from 2020, or by the beginning of 2030.

In this scenario, prices would more than double in East Boston, Roxbury and Mattapan with 10-year growth rates of 120%, 115% and 110%, respectively. Specifically, while medians in East Boston and Roxbury hovered around half a million in 2019, this model suggests that they could surpass the $1 million mark by 2030 with medians of $1,206,000 and $1,073,000, respectively. Likewise, Mattapan’s $438,000 median in 2019 would also inch toward the $1 million mark by 2030 with a $918,000 median.

In particular, Bay Village and the Downtown-Financial District might continue to be the city’s first- and second-most expensive neighborhoods. As such, they would also be the only two Boston neighborhoods where prices could hit the $2 million mark, with medians reaching $2,957,000 and $2,020,000, respectively. In fact, while only three neighborhoods hit the $1 million mark in 2019, by 2030, median prices in more than half of Boston’s neighborhoods could surpass $1 million.

If the median in the Chinatown-Leather District were to rise by 48%, prices here could increase from $935,000 to $1,385,000 — holding steady as the fifth-most expensive neighborhood in both 2019 and 2030. Along the same lines, medians in South End Boston and Charlestown could also surpass the $1 million mark by 2030. In 2019, South End Boston was close and had the highest median of the two neighborhoods at $950,000.

In terms of affordability, of all the neighborhoods in our study, West End Boston may well have both the smallest percentage growth rate (23%) and the lowest median potential home sale price in 2030 at $625,000.

For comparison, in 2019, Mattapan’s $438,000 median made it the most affordable area. However, with a projected 110% price increase by 2030, Mattapan’s median would rise to $918,000 and, as a result, plunge to the eighth-most affordable neighborhood. Consequently, the second-most affordable neighborhood, Hyde Park, could be the only other area with a median below $700,000 in 2030 ($692,000), as Mission Hill’s $700,000 median would rank it as the third-most affordable.

NeighborhoodMedian Sale Price 2019Median Sale Price 2009Previous 10-Year Change10-Year Estimate (2030)
Bay Village$1,615,000 $882,000 83%$2,957,000
Downtown - Financial District$1,298,000 $834,000 56%$2,020,000
Back Bay$1,100,000 $732,000 50%$1,653,000
North End Boston$910,000 $595,000 53%$1,392,000
Chinatown - Leather District$935,000 $631,000 48%$1,385,000
South End Boston$950,000 $654,000 45%$1,380,000
South Boston$715,000 $402,000 78%$1,272,000
Beacon Hill$900,000 $646,000 39%$1,254,000
East Boston$549,000 $250,000 120%$1,206,000
Roxbury$499,000 $232,000 115%$1,073,000
Charlestown$706,000 $486,000 45%$1,026,000
Jamaica Plain$668,000 $437,000 53%$1,021,000
Dorchester$508,000 $255,000 99%$1,012,000
Mattapan$438,000 $209,000 110%$918,000
Fenway - Kenmore$560,000 $386,000 45%$812,000
Allston - Brighton$518,000 $333,000 56%$806,000
Roslindale$516,000 $346,000 49%$770,000
West Roxbury$563,000 $414,000 36%$766,000
Mission Hill$500,000 $357,000 40%$700,000
Hyde Park$445,000 $286,000 56%$692,000
West End Boston$510,000 $416,000 23%$625,000
Boston$625,000 $376,069 66%$1,039,000

Methodology

This report included home sales from 2009 and 2019. We looked at sales in all 21 Boston neighborhoods; Allston and Brighton were joined as one neighborhood, as were Dorchester and Mid-Dorchester. 

The median sale price for each neighborhood was calculated for the following residential property types: single-family homes, two-family homes and condominium units. 

To calculate the changes in median sale prices, the median sale price for 2009 was adjusted with a 19% inflation rate — the annualized inflation rate between December 2009 and December 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculator.  

To calculate the prices at the beginning of 2030, we started with the median home sale prices as of December 2019 and applied the same price growth per neighborhood and city as was experienced between 2009 and 2019.

Disclaimer: Information provided in this article is not, and should not be regarded as, investment advice.

Andreea Popescu

Andreea Popescu

Andreea Popescu is a copywriter with ten years of legal experience, including real estate and marketing. She is an ABA-certified paralegal and has an MBA with a concentration in Marketing from California State University, Northridge. She worked as a legal manager at a marketing firm and as a legal writer. Currently, Andreea brings her combined knowledge of the fields to report on real estate developments for CommercialEdge and PropertyShark. Reach her at [email protected]