Buy a Boston bolthole: London’s closest US city has quality pied-à-terres in beautiful, historic streets
Cultured, artistic and packed with heritage, Boston is geographically the closest US city to London, where Brits can feel completely at home.
Handsome terraces of red-brick Georgian and Victorian houses in long-established neighbourhoods mix in with modern glass skyscrapers on the fast-developing waterfront, to provide the best of city living.
The combination of old and new is one reason why Boston is so special. This is where the American revolution began, which the city celebrates with pride. Yet Boston is also forward-thinking and thoroughly up to date.
It has a global pedigree for research across biotech, medicine, technology and education, world-famous Harvard is one of two Ivy League universities while tech giants Google, Amazon and Facebook all have offices there.
Historic Boston: Beacon Hill, the oldest part of the city, where many homes have skilfully modernised interiors (Leise Jones Photography/MOTT)
“Boston is booming, growing fast along the Seaport but retaining great charm in its older neighbourhoods,” says David Hacin, a Boston-based architect whose portfolio includes private homes and the newly opened Whitney Hotel.
“The traditional prestigious residential areas are Beacon Hill, one of the most regulated and protected US neighbourhoods, and Back Bay.”
Homes in the oldest part of Boston
The oldest part of Boston, Beacon Hill, also has some of its priciest properties. Substantial red-brick houses with carefully planted gardens are historic on the outside but internally many have been skilfully modernised to make fabulous multimillion-dollar family homes.
One of three apartments in a house in one of the best locations on Beacon Hill is £729,000. The one-bedroom home of 1,200sq ft has a south-facing balcony overlooking gardens, a fireplace and air conditioning. A two-bedroom penthouse with private roof deck on Hancock Street is £814,000, both with Knight Frank.
Feels like home: Boston has period and modern architecture (Kindra Clineff/MOTT)
Back Bay: compact and attractive
In the late 19th century as Beacon Hill became too cramped, Boston expanded to the west, creating the formal grid of Back Bay.
The grand Victorian buildings are a mix of substantial single homes and apartments, uniform in height and all set back from wide roads built in imitation of the boulevards of Paris.
Back Bay is compact and hugely attractive, conveniently close to shops and expansive parks and an airy part of this most liveable city. Designer shops line Newbury Street while restaurants include a large Eataly, the Italian marketplace.
It is, says Melanie Gagnier of Knight Frank’s associates Douglas Elliman, “the Knightsbridge of Boston”. Homes start from £500,000 for a 400sq ft studio — though these are quick to sell in a neighbourhood where single garages can cost £285,000.
A one-bedroom 657sq ft apartment with high ceilings, a marble fireplace and attractive mouldings in Beacon Street is £611,000 and a recently renovated split-level apartment, also with one bedroom, is £504,000, both through Knight Frank.
Spacious two-bedroom homes in top condition on prime Commonwealth Avenue with large windows and elegant period details are closer to £1,222,000.
Something for everyone in Seaport
“Successive waves of development since the late Nineties have transformed this historic part of South Boston, replacing 100-year old warehouses and railway yards with industrial-chic conversions and glass skyscrapers,” says George Jedlin of Douglas Elliman.
The Seaport is close to Boston’s Logan airport and 10 minutes’ walk from the Financial District, making this area popular with young professionals and also with buyers who are looking for a part-time base.
Typical loft-style apartments start from £468,000 for a 462sq ft one-bedroom modernised home with black wooden floors, exposed brick and huge windows, and from £650,000 for two bedrooms.
A bright and contemporary studio loft close to South Station is £285,000 through Robert Paul Properties, while a nicely designed two-bedroom duplex loft apartment of 1,930sq ft with 18ft-high ceilings, underground parking, and full concierge service is £1.3 million, available through Knight Frank.