There are only two words to describe the real estate scene in Jamaica Plain: red hot.
With the major city excitement, green spaces, excellent restaurants, vibrant arts community, and of course – location, location, location – Jamaica has become one of the most desired neighborhoods in which to live.
Local real estate agents are as busy as ever, working hard to find their clients the best value for their investment in homes and condominiums or apartment rentals.
The Jamaica Plain Gazette talked with some of the leading realtors about the increasing popularity of JP and the outlook for the future of the real estate market:
Alex Lacroix, branch
manager of Coldwell Banker, Jamaica Plain
Alex Lacroix said the reason many people are considering JP for home ownership and residences is “the nice blend of being an urban feel, but also having the green spaces it’s famous for: the Jamaica Pond, the Arboretum, Emerald Necklace – and a thriving arts community. It’s got a little bit of everything.”
He said people have been inquiring about single-family homes and condominums – “and the rental market has picked up quite a bit, there are a lot of rental units available.”
Lacroix said the price of a single-family home depends on the neighborhood, “but I think over the last six months or so, the average sale price on a single-family home has been around a million dollars.”
For single-family homes, Sumner Hill has emerged as one of the most popular neighborhoods, according to Lacroix.
“Anything close to transportation is always going to be hot in terms of condos and rental units,” he added. “Anything near Forest Hills (MBTA Station) or ‘T’ stations in general is always attractive.”
Lacroix said there are currently several home and condominium ownership opportunities available in Jamaica Plain.
“And interest rates are still very low as well – between 4.3 and 4.5 percent – that’s really low. The interest rates haven’t jumped the way people were afraid, so that really helps buyers as well,” he said.
John Maxfield, Maxfield
& Company Real Estate
John Maxfield said the Jamaica Plain real estate market “has been booming since 2008.”
“It’s been unbelievable. Everyone keeps asking, ‘when is it going to turn, when is it going to soften,’ because everyone understands it has to happen at some – and it depends on so many factors: supply versus demand, interest rates, political happenings, the weather – there are so many things that impact the market – but nothing is hurting it right now.”
Maxfield, former owner of the Prudential Real Estate Offices in Boston, cited a recent sale of a property as an example of the rising reputation of JP as one of the places to live in Boston.
“I went in to appointment to present nine offers to a seller, who got 10 percent above the asking price ultimately,” said Maxfield. “Every single offer was the asking price, but two of them were 10 percent above and she accepted one of those. That’s crazy.”
In fact, Maxfield said, the entire real estate market in the area “is heating up.”
“It’s Brookline, West Roxbury, Roslindale – it goes up to Cambridge and Medford – Revere and Winthrop are going crazy. It happened in East Boston and then Chelsea.”
He attributes the continuing resurgence of Jamaica Plain market to the same factors that have always been attributed to Jamaica Plain. “It (JP) has location, it’s very close to the South End, it’s bordered by Brookline, but it’s also bordered by parks. It’s got green all the way around it, from the Arboretum to the Frederick Olmstead Riverway, to Franklin Park.”
“And there’s not a single parking meter in all of Jamaica Plain. It’s accessible by train. Parking is easy. And it has a quaint downtown district with a nice restaurant scene,” said Maxfield, a board member of the Jamaica Plain Business and Professional Association (JPBAPA).
An interesting mix of architecture also characterizes Jamaica Plain, added Maxfield. “It’s created this aura about Jamaica Plain.”
Rob Oteri, owner, and Rachael Kulik, office manager of Jamaica Plain
Rentals and Sales, Inc.
The rental market in Jamaica Plain is also hitting new heights as doctors, doctors in residency, young families, medical school students and college graduate students, and young families seek apartments in the various neighborhoods.
“We’re getting a lot of people looking for apartments in Jamaica Plain,” said Kulik.
Why the adoration for JP as a highly-sought address?
“Proximity to the hospitals (Boston VA Hospital in JP, Beth Israel Deaconess, Brigham and Women’s) is a big draw,” said Oteri.
“Jamaica Plain also has some great restaurants,” said Kulik. Jamaica Pond is a popular attraction. And Ponside, Jamaica Plain is where the most expensive luxury units are for us. Everybody wants to live in the Pond. Condos go for over $1 million here.”
Oteri said a lot of young families are moving in to Jamaica Plain. “A lot of the doctors that are doing their residency and fellowship program at the local hospitals – they tend to have young families or they’re starting young families, so the JP area because it’s got such a nice mix of green space and city living, it tends to attract those types of clients.”
Kulik said Boston neighborhoods such as Jamaica Plain “have their own vibe.”
“It’s a big arts community here. It’s a great working professional community. JP has a lot of unique, converted multi-family homes. And a lot of the homes have great history to them. It’s its own world, I guess you could say. JP is a very hot place.”
Oteri agrees, saying JP properties have much more character and history than in other areas of Boston.
“You’ll get more unique-type units here, than the cookie-cutter, luxury condos that are going up in the Seaport District,” said Oteri.
The rental prices vary but Kulik said the agency’s least expensive one-bedroom apartment this year was $1,950 per month. Jamaica Plain Rentals and Sales currently has a two-bedroom unit on the marker for $3,600 per month.
“They range from $2,300 all the way up to $4,000,” noted Oteri.
Property investment opportunities are also on the rise. JP has a lot of two-and-three-family homes, which has become a big draw for investors.
“Because we do both, rentals and sales, we have a lot of people that will ask us: ‘What we could potentially rent this for?” said Kulik.
Sarah Carroll, Coldwell Banker, Jamaica Plain
Sarah Carroll attributes the increasing popularity of Jamaica Plain to its “proximity to public transportation, green spaces, the new restaurants and shops – and there is a great energy here.
“People like being close to the downtown, Longwood Medical, all the colleges and universities,” said Carroll. “You can also go outside of the city and go south and be on many different highways in under 30 minutes.”
Carroll said the transformation of JP has been exciting to watch.
“When I first moved in to JP, the cabs wouldn’t come to JP, and there was no such thing as Uber,” she said. “They wouldn’t drive me home, but that’s all long, long gone. That was in 2002.”
Carroll said the most popular properties she is selling are in the American Brewery Lofts (Heath Street, Jamaica Plain), along with Roslindale, southern JP (near the Forest Hills T stop).
“All of that makes it easier to sell because of the proximity to public transportation,” said Carroll.
She also praised Whole Foods as a key component in the JP community. “They (Whole Foods) give back to the community,” said Carroll. “They hire local residents as their employees. They give back to the schools and the neighborhoods. They hire local farmers for their produce. When they first moved here, there was some controversy – but Whole Foods came in to the town and brought so much by way of healthy food options, and their prices are affordable.”