Greater Boston is the area surrounding the city of Boston, consisting most of the eastern third of Massachusetts, excluding the South Coast, Cape Cod & The Islands. The area can be characterized as the metropolitan statistical area (MSA)
“Greater Boston” usually at least overlaps the North and South Shores, as well as MetroWest and the Merrimack Valley.
Greater Boston is tenth in population among U.S. metropolitan statistical areas in the United States, home to 4,552,402 people as of the 2010 U.S. Census and is ranked sixth among CSAs, having 7,893,376 people.
Greater Boston has many sites and people significant to American history and culture, particularly the American Revolution, civil rights, literature, and politics, and is one of the nation’s centers of education, finance, industry, and tourism, with the sixth-largest Gross metropolitan product in the country and twelfth-largest in the world.
The urbanized area surrounding Boston serves as the core of a definition used by the U.S. Census Bureau known as the New England city and town area (NECTA). The set of towns containing the core urbanized area plus surrounding towns with strong social and economic ties to the core area is defined as the Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH Metropolitan NECTA. The Boston NECTA is further subdivided into several NECTA divisions, which are listed below. The Boston, Framingham, and Peabody NECTA divisions together correspond roughly to the MAPC area. The total population of the Boston NECTA was 4,540,941 (as of 2000).
• Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA NECTA Division (92 towns)
• Framingham, MA NECTA Division (12 towns)
• Peabody-Salem-Beverly, MA NECTA Division (4 towns)
• Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, MA NECTA Division (Old Colony region) (8 towns)
• Haverhill-Newburyport-Amesbury, MA-NH NECTA Division (Merrimack Valley region) (21 towns)
• Lawrence-Methuen-Salem, MA-NH NECTA Division (part of Merrimack Valley region) (4 towns)
• Lowell-Billerica-Chelmsford, MA-NH NECTA Division (Northern Middlesex region) (15 towns)
• Nashua, NH-MA NECTA Division (21 towns)
• Taunton-Middleborough-Norton, MA NECTA Division (part of Southeastern region) (9 towns)
• Lynn-Saugus-Marblehead, MA NECTA Division (5 towns)
Home to many of Boston’s historic sites, such as Faneuil Hall, downtown is Boston’s center of business and government. Made up of three distinct areas, Downtown Crossing, the Financial District, and Government center, downtown was known as an upscale neighborhood in the 18th and 19th centuries, housing residents in many fashionable town homes. Today, housing options downtown are varied, ranging from historic apartment buildings to modern glass towers.
While a buyer can expect higher property prices due to the convenient location, they can also expect many amenities in the area. Because downtown is an area comprised of several smaller areas, residents can expect multiple subway stations, public garden spaces, and a variety of restaurants. Downtown has served as Boston’s hub since the 1700’s, and as such, is home to City Hall, numerous corporate headquarters, and some of Boston’s most beloved tourist attractions—including the historic Freedom Trail and Faneuil Hall. Theaters, restaurants, cafes, and 5.5 miles of magnificent waterfront are always within comfortable walking distance. The Rose Kennedy Greenway, Dewey Square, and Boston Common offer substantial green space and places of reprieve amidst the activity. In the summer, City Hall Plaza buzzes with concerts and festivals. Additionally, Suffolk University, Emerson College, and Urban College are also major tenants of Downtown.
Like it’s neighbors, Back Bay and Beacon Hill, the price tags of the housing downtown can be steep. People interested in buying a home in downtown Boston should expect to pay around $650,000, or $733 a square foot for a condo. Some of the more popular high-rises include Millenium Place, a luxury condominium building rising 38 stories, and The Lofts at Atlantic Wharf, an 80-unit condominium building on the waterfront of the Boston Harbor. Additionally, Row’s Wharf, Harbor Towers, Ritz Carlton Boston, Tudor on the Park, 45 Province Street, Park Lane Seaport, FP3, 315 on A, and Greenway Place are other excellent condo choices for those wanting to live downtown.
Children living downtown are zoned to attend the Boston Public School District. Should parents decide to send their children to private school, there are many private schools in the area, as well.Search for homes
The North End, Boston’s oldest residential community, has been continuously inhabited since it was originally settled in the 1630’s. Known for it’s Italian restaurants, bakeries, small shops, and plethora of historic buildings and tourist attractions, the North End is only about .36 square miles.
The architecture in the North End consists of a mixture from all periods of American history with buildings such as the Old North Church built in 1780, the Paul Revere House, built in 1680, the Pierce-Hichborn House, built in 1711, and the Clough House built in 1712, and the bulk of the architecture from the late 19th to early 20th centuries.
The North End is home to approximately 10,000 residents. While the North End is sometimes know as “Little Italy”, the neighborhoods population is a mix of Italian-Americans, young professionals, college.
Like many neighborhoods in Boston, the property values in the North End are quite high, however, they are what is considered “affordable” for that area. Homes range in price from $250,000 to $4 million and are generally an average of $498,000 with the average price per sq. foot being $698.
Children who live in the North End are zoned to attend schools in the Boston Public School District.
Named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England, Cambridge is located directly north of Boston, across the Charles River.
Known for it’s institutions for higher education, Cambridge is home to two of the world’s most prominent universities, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology- or MIT.
Cambridge is the fifth most populous city in Massachusetts, with a population of just over 105,000.
Called “the city of squares” by some, Cambridge has 5 distinct squares, otherwise known as major intersections, in which the city is divided by. Central Square, Harvard Square, Inman Square, Kendall Square, Porter Square, and Lechmere Square are the major squares of the city, with each consisting of several smaller squares within them. The most commonly known squares include Harvard Square, the primary site of Harvard University and a major Cambridge shopping area, Inman Square, a funky, upbeat community with an urban flair and many diverse restaurants, bars, music, venues, and boutiques, and Lechmere Square, home to the CambridgeSide Galleria shopping mall and the terminating name of the RedLine train.
Cambridge consists largely of densely built residential space and is considered one of the most densely populated cities in the U.S. Even so, the city houses many beautiful open spaces for it’s residents to enjoy. Harvard Yard, Radcliffe Yard, Fresh Pond, Cambridge Common, and MIT’s Great Lawn are all considered to be easily accessible areas to get out and enjoy nature. Additionally, the Mount Auburn Cemetery, known for it’s superb landscaping, is a first-rate arboretum. In fact, the cemetery is the oldest planned landscape in the country and was the first garden cemetery.
Children living in Cambridge are zoned to attend the Cambridge Public School District, which consists of 12 elementary schools and 5 upper schools, following a variety of different educational systems. Not surprisingly, the city also has many private schools including North Cambridge Catholic High School, Cambridge Friends School, Malik Academy, the International School of Boston, Cambridge Montessori, The Haggerty School, Henry Buckner School, The Castle School, and many others.
Homes in Cambridge range in price from $300,000 for a very small condo, to $7.7 million, with an average price of $550,000 at $569 a square foot.
Best known for historic Fenway Park, home of Boston’s beloved Red Sox, Fenway is a residential and commercial hub of Boston. Like other areas of Boston, Fenway is an extremely walkable community, making it desirable to residents in all stages of life.
Forming the link between Downtown Boston to the east and Allston and Brighton to the west, Fenway and its sub-neighborhoods of Kenmore Square and Audubon Circle are home to a mix of families, young professionals, and students. Housing stock includes splendid brick row houses lining the Charles River and Emerald Necklace, alongside modern new apartment and condominium towers near Fenway Park. The commercial hubs include Kenmore Square and Landsdowne Street. Brookline Avenue and Boylston Street are emerging as vibrant mixed-use corridors.
Celebrated as Boston’s “Avenue of the Arts”, Huntington Avenue, which forms the southeast edge of the neighborhood, is lined by Symphony Hall, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Huntington Theater, and New England Conservatory.
Fenway is home to numerous academic institutions, including Boston Latin School, Emmanuel, Simmons, and Wheelock Colleges; Northeastern and Boston Universities; Wentworth Institution of Technology; and Mass College of Pharmacy. Throughout the year, Kenmore abounds with students and visitors enjoying the square’s many restaurants and hotels.
Perhaps because of the plethora of higher learning institutions, many undergraduate students are drawn to Lansdowne Street, a street famous for its music venues and nightlife, including the House of Blues. On game days the street comes alive with outdoor vendors.
A buyer who is looking to buy a home in Fenway should anticipate homes ranging from $350,000 all the way up to $1 million. The average price per square foot in Fenway is $601.
Children who reside in Fenway are zoned to attend the Boston Public School District. Among the public schools in Fenway is Boston Latin School, America’s first public school and oldest existing school in the United States. With admission based on entrance examination scores, Boston Latin is a prestigious institution serving grades 7-12. Additionally, there are many private schools in the area as well.
Famous for it’s rows of Victorian era brownstone home, Back Bay is considered one of the best-preserved examples of 19th-century urban design in the U.S. Situated just north-east of Back Bay, this neighborhood of about 14,000 people is bound by the Charles River on the North; Arlington Street to Park Square on the East, Columbus Avenue to the New York/ New Haven and Hartford right-of-way, Dalton Street and the Massachusetts Turnpike on the South, and Charlesgate East on the West.
Back Bay is considered a fashionable shopping destination and is home to many architecturally significant buildings and cultural institutions including the Boston Public Library.
Like its neighboring Beacon Hill, Back Bay is one of Boston’s most expensive residential neighborhoods with homes ranging from $252,000 to $13 Million, and the average home price being $700,000, with the average price per square foot being $891.
Children living in Back Bay are zoned to attend the Boston Public School District. There are many private schools located in Back Bay, including The Learning Project, Kingsley Montessori, and Park Street School.
Located on the western edge of the city, Brookline is considered a suburb of Boston. With a population of almost 59,000, the town is considered urban in character with highly walkable infrastructure and easily accessible public transportation. Brookline is a desirable place to live for many because of it’s proximity to Boston with the mix of suburban amenities and vibrant urban life.
Brookline has 4 distinctive areas, Brookline Village, Chestnut Hill, Coolidge Corner, St. Mary’s Station, and Washington Square. Each area boasts of unique amenities, from country clubs and sprawling mansions to a bustling city center with condos and apartment buildings.
There are many things to do in Brookline, including visiting the birthplace of John F. Kennedy, taking a look at some of the oldest cars in the country at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum, enjoying the open space of a 64 acre park, perusing the historical sites on Coolidge Corner, and watching a show with the kids at The Puppet Showplace Theatre.
The prices of homes in Brookline range from $395,000 to $5 million, with an average price of $575,000. The average price per square foot in Brookline is $531.
Children living in Brookline are zoned to attend Brookline Public schools, which is made up of 8 elementary schools, grades K-8, and 1 high school. The student body at Brookline High School is highly diverse and includes students from more than 50 countries.
A 19th century, downtown Boston residential neighborhood, Beacon Hill is located just north of the Boston Common and the Boston Public Garden.
With nearly 10,000 people, Beacon Hill has the charm of a village situated in a big city. This one-half mile square is bound by Beacon Street, Bowdoin Street, Cambridge Street and Storrow Drive and is known for it’s picturesque style. While walking through Beacon hill, one would notice it’s beautiful doors, brass door knocker, decorative iron work brick sidewalks, gas lights, flowering pear trees, window boxes, and hidden gardens. The architecture in Beacon Hill includes mostly brick row houses in the style of the Federal, Greek Revival, and Victorian Periods, as well as early 20th-century colonial revival homes and tenements.
Beacon Hill is the location of Boston Common, the oldest public park in America (est. 1633), and Boston Public Garden, a 24-acre public garden and one of the oldest botanical gardens in the U.S. Both offering superb recreational activities for anyone wanting a space to enjoy the outdoors in.
Because of it’s charm, location, and mix of residential and commercial property, Beacon Hill is one of Boston’s most desirable, and expensive, neighborhoods with homes ranging in price from $450,000 to $14 million. The average price of a home in Beacon Hill is around $700,000- $800,000, with an average price for square foot coming in at $784.
Children who live in Beacon Hill are zoned to attend the Boston Public School District.