Known for its cutting-edge restaurants and fine boutiques, there is no denying the South End is one of the hottest neighborhoods in the state. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it also contains North America’s largest surviving Victorian residential district. Its buildings serve as a social document, a reflection of the tastes and lifestyle of a bygone era and a testament to its desirability today. This socio-culturally diverse neighborhood is minutes away from Downtown Boston and, with nearly 30 parks parks and a thriving arts community, attracts young professionals, families, and empty nesters alike.
The South End was developed in the mid-19th century as a means to relieve overcrowding in downtown Boston and Beacon Hill. Until then, the neighborhood was a narrow strip of land called The Neck (now Washington Street) surrounded by salt marshes and connecting Boston to Roxbury. The fledgling South End was created with landfill from nearby Needham and designed by Charles Bulfinch, one of the nation’s most prominent architects (the Massachusetts State House, the Boston Common, and much of the US Capitol).
Bulfinch’s imprint can still be found in the neighborhood today. Tree-lined streets are framed by connected brick bow-front townhouses surrounded by wrought iron gates, built around a series of shaded pocket parks, many with elegant fountains. In 1973, the South End was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as “the largest urban Victorian neighborhood in the country.”
By the 1880s many of its wealthy founding families had been replaced by waves of immigrants from Ireland, Lebanon, and Greece, and tenements and settlement houses were built to accommodate them. During the 1940s, the South End became home to a vibrant African American middle class and a thriving gay and lesbian community.
Since the 1840s, the South End’s contribution to Boston’s property tax base has fluctuated in measure with its perceived desirability. The relatively high early assessed values reflected the city’s ambitions for the neighborhood, jump-started by a city-sponsored development program. By the 1870s, however, the South End had gone from an enclave of single-family homes to a collection of rooming houses and small apartments. Assessed values dropped. The massive urban renewal programs of the 1960s coincided with further decline and represented a low point in the neighborhood’s popularity.
The 1970s renewed interest in urban living. Shorter commutes, low interest rate loans for homeowners, and a greater appreciation for the South End’s period architecture led to condominium development and an influx of new residents. By the early 1980s, assessed values had soared 40 times their mid-century lows. Today, the annual tax bills sent to South End property owners are multiple times higher than what they would have paid for the same properties 50 years ago.
- Median Sale Price: $960,000
- Average Sale Price: $1,274,500
- Average Price Per Square Foot: $981
- Single-Family Homes Sold: 36
- Highest Single-Family Home Sale Price: $6,000,000
- Condominiums Sold: 610
- Highest Condominium Sale Price: $3,950,000
*For the most up-to-date real estate market analysis of the neighborhood, contact us directly.
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South End Lifestyle
As one of Boston's most vibrant communities, the South End of today is known for its fine dining, art galleries, open market, and smiling faces. This tree-lined, walkable neighborhood has a little something for everyone.
- SoWa Art & Design District
- Olives & Grace
- Patch NYC
- Boomerangs Special Edition
- Sault New England
- Ash & Rose
- The Beehive - New American
- Toro - Tapas
- Gaslight - French Brasserie
- The Gallows - American Gastropub
- Myers & Chang - Asian-Inspired
- Barcelona Wine Bar - Spanish Small Plates
- Stella - Italian
- B&G Oysters - Raw Bar and Seafood
- Oishii - Sushi
- Aquataine - Parisian-Style Bistro