Often the hardest question to answer in real estate is where to look next for a potential deal. To help find an answer, Elliman Insider caught up with three Douglas Elliman experts to pick their brains about real estate trends of three neighborhoods that should be on everyone’s radar.
Q: What is Boston’s best-kept secret?
A: The most amazing hidden gem is our Emerald Necklace, 11,000 acres of parkland linked by parkways and waterways that run from Boston to Brookline, Jamaica Plain, and beyond. It looks like a necklace hanging from the neck of the Boston peninsula. Boston has amazing green space, including Boston Common, the nation’s oldest park. It has a great diversity of people. Boston also has the oldest botanical gardens in the nation (with swan boats) as well as the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, a 32-acre French boulevard–style linear park that runs through the city center. Boston’s Seaport and Midtown neighborhoods are super hot for new developments.
We also have the craziest sports fans (not surprising with our Red Sox and Patriots double win this year), top colleges and medical facilities, a thriving technology hub, world-class getaways in close proximity (Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, New Hampshire, Maine, and Newport, Rhode Island), and the world’s oldest marathon. The entire city shuts down for it! (The 124th Boston Marathon is scheduled for April 20, 2020.)
Myrna Rothman; Boston, MA
Q: What is there to do in Santa Barbara?
A: In the Santa Ynez Valley, ranches are wide and open, and horse trails exist between properties. Visitors come for the 200 wineries and the wildflowers in 1.8-million-acre Los Padres National Forest surrounding the valley. With a population of only 24,000 (limited in growth to 30,000 because of zoning), the culture here is one of generosity and well-being. Traffic doesn’t exist, and any commute is 10 minutes or less.
Solvang is an authentic Danish village established in the 1880s that looks like Disneyland. Many residents are fourth-generation Danes who own bakeries. There are seven bakeries and two chocolate shops!
With all this natural beauty, gourmet restaurants, fabulous wines, festivals, and entertainment, one would think that the law of supply and demand would increase housing prices. But for the past 20 years, there hasn’t been a significant increase in prices. A home that would cost $350,000 in Lompoc sells in the Santa Ynez Valley for $650,000 and $1,500,000 in Montecito. The areas are separated by 20 or 40 miles, but the prices vary greatly.
Jeanne Hollingsworth; Santa Barbara, CA
On Long Island
Q: Is Locust Valley an alternative to the Hamptons? If so, what makes it appealing?
A: People come to the North Shore for its picturesque landscape, great schools, and proximity to the Long Island Sound. Many of the small villages are incorporated with minimum zoning of two-plus-acre lots. With backyards that have pools, pool houses, and tennis courts, it has become a wonderful Hamptons alternative. Others are here for the golf and country clubs and the 50-minute commute to Manhattan. Quaint towns like Locust Valley and Oyster Bay offer great dining options and a variety of shops. Residents of Oyster Bay can access the local parks and beaches for a nominal fee. Peppered throughout the area are treasures like our nature preserves, which have endless miles of trails with incredible birds and animals. There are also Japanese gardens at Shu Swamp Nature Preserve, which is serene and peaceful and a great place to recharge your batteries and get away from the noise of daily life. The lifestyle is relaxed and the focal point is usually the outdoors, with boating, yacht clubs, golf, walking, and biking.
Regina Rogers; Locust Valley, Nassau County, NY