By Ling-Mei Wong
Boston house prices have made a comeback this year, surpassing pre-recession levels.
According to Zillow’s home value index, median sale prices — values that fall in the middle of a range of numbers rather than taken as an average of all prices — were $418,300 for February 2014. Back in 2005, the peak median sale price for homes was $384,000.
Boston home values rose 10.7 percent over the past year, which Zillow forecasts will rise another 3.3 percent within the next year. The median price of homes currently listed in Boston is $499,000 while the median price of homes sold was $433,650.
Chinatown tops the list of Boston neighborhoods by median home value, clocking in at $794,000. However, this figure should be taken with a grain of salt, as Chinatown is defined by its 02111 zip code. This encompasses the Theater District and property across from the Boston Common, which is mostly luxury housing. Chinatown has more than 1,000 units of public housing, making it one of the city’s densest neighborhoods for affordable housing.
“There is never ‘enough’ affordable housing,” said Chau-ming Lee, executive director of the Asian American Civic Association since 1982. “However, keep in mind exactly who is eligible for affordable housing in view of real income versus ‘reported’ income in tax return. In addition, there are allegations that some of the occupants are homeowners with rental income. Scrutiny should be made to ensure that real needy people are eligible for affordable housing.”
Luxury apartment developers in Boston must pay into a city linkage fund, which has benefited job training, child care and housing development in Chinatown. These funds also help community groups, such as Asian Community Development Corporation and the Chinatown Economic Development Council develop affordable housing.
The median rent price in Boston is $2,415, which is higher than the Boston Metro median of $2,150. Metro Boston includes Newton, Quincy and Cambridge. Both Boston and Boston Metro rentals are above the national median rent price at $1,307.
While house prices are not as astronomical as Manhattan, Boston’s real estate market is on an upswing.
Top nine neighborhoods in Boston by median home sale price
|Name||Median Zillow home value index|
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