Neigh­bor­hood Guide: South End.

Get the scoop on the Back Bay’s cooler cousin.

Metro USA (Boston) - - FRONT PAGE - CATHER­INE PERLOFF HENRY JANI @MetroBOS let­ters@metro.us

Bos­ton’s South End is rid­dled with con­tra­dic­tions, but prospec­tive home­own­ers and renters can’t seem to get enough.

The area fea­tures ev­ery­thing from pricy brown­stones to low­in­come hous­ing, with a prox­im­ity to Bos­ton that also of­fers a quiet, neigh­bor­hood feel. There are even stately Vic­to­rian homes that serve as back­drops for a vi­brant arts scene.

“Peo­ple who know the South End don’t want to live any­where else,” says Pe­ter Roth, de­vel­oper of the re­cently opened Gi­rard apart­ment com­plex.

An­drew McKin­ney, a real es­tate agent for Buy­ers Bro­kers Only LLC, says while peo­ple have al­ways been drawn to the South End, in re­cent years, prices have no­tice­ably risen, mak­ing it more dif­fi­cult for young pro­fes­sion­als to move in.

“It def­i­nitely ap­peals to peo­ple who are down­siz­ing, pro­fes­sion­als,” he says. “It’s a lit­tle harder for younger, first-time buy­ers to break in.”

Jen, a mom who lives in the brown­stone-lined Worces­ter Square, says she’s no­ticed a change in the neigh­bor­hood since she moved there in 2009.

“It’s a lot more up­scale de­vel­op­ment, and [there are] fewer col­lege kids,” she says of the neigh­bor­hood, which is sur­rounded by North­east­ern Univer­sity and the New Eng­land Con­ser­va­tory.

Although prices con­tinue to rise, McKin­ney says the South End has main­tained much of its di­ver­sity. The neigh­bor­hood has his­tor­i­cally been home to large im­mi­grant, African-Amer­i­can and LGBT pop­u­la­tions.

“The neigh­bor­hood is a great mix of all sorts of peo­ple in all stages of life,” says McKin­ney. “That’s prob­a­bly one of the great draws.”

Res­i­dents say that the eclec­tic mix of de­li­cious res­tau­rants is an­other big sell­ing point for the neigh­bor­hood. Bos­ton hot spots like Coppa and My­ers & Chang are lo­cated in the heart of the South End.

“[The best part of liv­ing here is] prob­a­bly the ac­cess to great res­tau­rants,” says South End res­i­dent Jen. “The amaz­ing thing is there’s al­ways a new place to try. There’s al­ways some­thing new open­ing and they’re al­ways high-qual­ity and fun.”

Those try­ing to make roots in one of Bos­ton’s hippest haunts may be in luck, as new apart­ment com­plexes like the Inkblot and Gi­rard re­cently opened their doors. McKin­ney says the lo­ca­tion of these build­ings, be­tween Har­ri­son Av­enue and Al­bany Street, is the South End’s hottest site for new con­struc­tion. He also fore­casts a lev­el­ing off in home prices over the next five years.

“It’s a step be­hind Back Bay and Bea­con Hill [in price],” he says. “But it’s not a big step.”

HENRY JANI

Ex­plore the South End’s real es­tate scene.

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