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Old 08-08-2013, 09:30 AM
2 posts, read 3,235 times
Reputation: 10



I am a 30 year old male looking to live somewhere near the city. I have rented in South Boston before and really love the area, but the price is too much for a mortgage and so I have been looking in Dorchester and I had a few questions.

1.) Savin Hill looks really nice, but I am really looking to buy a place that might go up in value, have I missed my chance there? In other words, has Savin Hill already blown up in value and should I look elsewhere?

2.) What are the "good" areas of Savin Hill? It seems like prices vary greatly among similar condos that are only streets apart?

3.) How is Ashmont and Lower Mills? I know the commute is a bit far, but I figured I would see what people's thoughts are on the area.

4.) I work in Arlington and I am not looking for a brutal commute, does anyone have any other recommendations?

I know that an area like Dorchester is hard to categorize and it takes expertise on the area, but it seems like there are some knowledgeable locals (e.g. Goyguy) who know the area and I really could use your help.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 08-08-2013, 01:52 PM
Location: Everett, Massachusetts
316 posts, read 623,664 times
Reputation: 569
I'll try to answer your questions as best as I can.

#1: I wouldn't be able to wager a guess as to the long-term value of condos in Savin Hill, but I would say that the long-term trend toward city living would seem positive as fuel prices increase. Most of Boston and its more urban "suburbs", mostly to the north and northwest, would probably benefit from this trend, so I don't think you'd lose a ton in Savin Hill if things really tanked in the real estate market.

#2: Traditionally, the most desirable area of Savin Hill has been the "over-the-bridge" portion east of Route 93. This is a lovely almost suburban enclave, but it's not too different from South Boston in terms of prices. The area between Dot Ave and 93 is not quite as desirable (though mostly still nice) and is consequently a bit cheaper, but it's still pretty pricey for what you get in my opinion.

#3: The Ashmont area varies considerably depending on the block. Carruth Street and its environs, which are sort of behind Ashmont Station heading toward the Adams Corner area (which is very nice and worthy of consideration, though it is quite a ways outside of Downtown Boston) is by and large very peaceful and beautiful, with huge homes - and probably not too many condos. Across from Ashmont Station off Dot Ave are some nice blocks heading up around the Ashmont Hill area, but there are also some pretty sketchy streets. I'd explore this area deeply and carefully and ask people who actually live there about what they're feeling and noticing now.

Lower Mills is a mostly quiet and pretty trendy area, but I will defer to others who can be more specific about it because I haven't spent a huge amount of time in that particular nook of Dorchester.

#4: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I would consider looking just to the north of the city, especially since you work in Arlington. East Somerville, Medford, Malden, Everett and even parts of Chelsea are on an upswing in my opinion. I rented in South Boston for years, considered Dorchester briefly but ended up buying a 3 bedroom/2 bath single family house in Everett because:

a) I got way more for my money here - a single family house in good shape with a driveway and back yard for the same price as a 1 BR with no parking in South Boston or a small 2 BR in Dorchester.

b) I work just north of town, so it's much more convenient for me to live up this way.

c) Even though it's somewhat gritty in patches up here, it's largely very friendly and quiet. I feel safe, and I can still walk to many conveniences as well as numerous bus lines (and in good weather, I make the 20-25 minute walk to the orange line in Malden.)

d) After hearing some horror stories from very low-key, cooperative friends about nightmarish condo associations with hideous neighbors in small buildings, I was a bit freaked out by buying a condo - but of course this could have been just my issue.

e) I am a bit of a gentrification-phobe - though I appreciated some of the changes in my thirteen year stint in South Boston, on the whole I felt that many of the changes diminished the sense of community there. Again, this is a very personal slant I realize, but if you're sensitive to that sort of thing, you might appreciate knowing.

Hope this has been helpful. Best of luck to you!
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Old 08-08-2013, 05:00 PM
Location: Quincy, Mass. (near Boston)
2,562 posts, read 4,330,130 times
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Very interesting post, professeur.

Yeah, Everett isn't bad in most cases despite its perception. In fact, about five years ago, channel 5's Chronicle mentioned maybe three of the regions bedt real estate values -- and Everett was listed.

But the OP is young, and I really don't sense many educated yuppies in Everett. But, perhaps it has greater price appreciation than Dot or Southie, as they've been discovered. Not many condos, though.

Ashmont is near some suspect areas but lovely ones also, as mentioned. It has a sparkling new T station along with Ashmont Grille and Tavolo restaurant nearby, plus it's close to desirable Milton and Lower Mills and a couple branch libraries; iit 's even close to some N. Quincy conveniences and within easy access to South Shore Plaza, the Blue Hills and Pope John Paul Park and nearby canoeing on the Neponset

Gosh, if working in Arlington, I'd live there. So close to Bos, Cambridge and Som amenities...
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Old 08-08-2013, 05:10 PM
Location: Boston, MA
3,061 posts, read 4,337,698 times
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I don't think any neighborhood in Boston will see declining values anytime soon. As I mentioned before in other posts, Dorchester, while slowly gaining young professionals priced out of other places, is still very much a working class neighborhood.

The part of Savin Hill that is the hill itself to the east of the Red Line Station is safe but you'd find mostly houses there. Condos and apartments are more likely found to the west of the station which is a mixed bag in my opinion.

I live just to the east of Ashmont Station and it's a safe and wonderful family oriented neighborhood if that's what you like but nothing much if anything for young single people to do. Maybe the best bet for you is Lower Mills. Try looking for property around the Baker Chocolate Factory right by Milton's border. That part has a bikepath and some interesting shops and restaurants as well as readily accessible public transportation.

BTW the commute by Red Line is quick and convenient. The Ashmont branch is not nearly as crowded as the Braintree branch either.
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Old 08-08-2013, 05:31 PM
Location: Everett, Massachusetts
316 posts, read 623,664 times
Reputation: 569
Thanks, Bostonguy. For what it's worth, I'm thirty-six, but I'm a bit of an odd duck I guess. I'm very content out here in Everett, but I recognize that it's not for everyone. In terms of appreciation, it seems like it could increase in value, primarily because it seems relatively undervalued. But I didn't buy my house with the intention of making a real estate killing - I just wanted to settle somewhere that had a chill, multicultural, calm, family-ish vibe near my place of work. And I got it

That said, Dorchester has a lot of cool little nooks and crannies to it, and the OP may well find something worthwhile in one of those.
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