Ev­ery­thing you need to know about mov­ing to Ja­maica Plain.

Metro USA (Boston) - - FRONT PAGE - ME­GAN JOHN­SON @MetroBOS let­ters@metro.us

Hear the words “Ja­maica Plain,” and it’s hard not to con­jure up im­ages of young hip­ster fam­i­lies on bikes drink­ing fair-trade cof­fee. But for those who want to put down roots in JP for the long term, be pre­pared to throw down the gaunt­let, be­cause competition is fierce.

There are cur­rently only 47 prop­er­ties on the mar­ket in JP, and less than 25 per­cent of those that are sin­gle­fam­ily homes, says Doug Mc­Clure, an agent with LAER Realty Part­ners. Over the last six months, the av­er­age sale price of a sin­gle fam­ily home in JP was $830,000, while the av­er­age sale price of a condo was $560,000.

As a re­sult, real­tors aren’t see­ing the buy­ers that flocked to JP 10 years ago. Mary Wal­lace, a real­tor with Un­lim­ited Sotheby’s In­ter­na­tional Realty in Ja­maica Plain, says young peo­ple sim­ply can’t af­ford to buy in the area like they used to.

“Very few peo­ple have the down pay­ment they need, un­less they’ve in­her­ited money or have fam­i­lies that can help,” says Wal­lace, who has lived in the area since 1985. “I’m not see­ing young peo­ple show up with money.”

As a re­sult, many JP res­i­dents ditch their hopes of stay­ing in the neigh­bor­hood. Kate Plourd John­son, 31, lives with her hus­band and their pug near the Jack­son Square T stop. While she’d love to buy a home in JP, it’s hard to ig­nore the mass ex­o­dus of young fam­i­lies.

“Most of our friends who lived in JP and wanted to buy end up look­ing and buy­ing in Roslin­dale,” says Plourd.

For renters, the ma­jor­ity of avail­able units are in two and three unit multifamily homes. Ac­cord­ing to Mc­Clure, rental prices cur­rently range from $1,700 to $5,000 per month, with an av­er­age in the past six months of $2,500 per month.

Aly­cia Buch­heit, 28, is a men­tal health coun­selor that cur­rently lives in a rented house with four other room­mates in the For­est Hills neigh­bor­hood. Though she’s only been in JP for about a year, her rent has al­ready in­creased once. Still, she says the prox­im­ity to green space and a di­verse pop­u­la­tion is worth the price hike.

“I used to live in All­ston and it was so mo­not­o­nous,” says Buch­heit. “The whole street was full of col­lege kids, and all they ever did was party. Here in JP there are peo­ple of all dif­fer­ent races, all dif­fer­ent ages and ways of life, and I love that.”

Set­ting sail on Ja­maica Pond.

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