4 Reasons Millennials Are Moving to Jamaica Plain

Jamaica Plain, or JP as the locals call it, is a classic "streetcar suburb" that has evolved into one of Boston's most desirable and diverse neighborhoods. Particularly popular among younger generations, JP is a hot neighborhood for millennials who have graduated and are just starting their career. We sat down with accomplished real estate agent Dave Mogielnicki to get an insider's perspective on why millennials are moving to Jamaica Plain.

Millennials love living in JP. We chatted with local expert Dave Mogielnicki to find out why.

What's the hype with JP?

Jamaica Plain is a hot real estate market for a number of reasons. From the diverse mix of people who call JP home, to the ease of public transportation and natural beauty, it's no wonder millennials flock to JP to rent or even make their first home investment. Read on for the 4 key reasons millennials are moving to JP.

1. College grads, "yuppies" and artists coexist in JP.

"People love living in Jamaica Plain for several reasons," explains Mogielnicki. "First and foremost, there's something for everyone here." Indeed, JP has earned its reputation as a hub for younger generations pursuing academics, business or the arts. The trend began in the 80s when students, particularly those attending liberal arts institutions like the Museum School, Mass Art or Northeastern, were attracted to the neighborhood by its low rent prices. Artists and musicians also flocked to JP for its affordability, and the area soon become home to a diverse mix of local galleries, bookstores, art centers and other functional communal spaces.

All of these trends have shaped JP into the eclectic and vibrant borough that it is today. "Millennials who are just starting their career, young professionals, singles and couples all gravitate here," Mogielnicki says. "In terms of real estate, it's significantly less expensive than Fenway and Back Bay." Currently, there are over 15 single family homes on the market ranging from $700,000 to over $2.5 million. Alternatively, you'll find around 30 condos; a one bedroom condo will start at $300,000 while two bedrooms will begin in the $350,000 - 400,000 range.

"Condos and single family properties in JP are extremely diverse, just like its residents," Mogielnicki reflects. "If a young person is looking to invest in their first home, a condo may be the way to start. Prices continue to go up each year, so you can be sure your investment will appreciate in value in the long term."

2. JP is a melting pot of races and cultures.

Gentrification in Jamaica Plain really took off in the 90s, drawing residents of all cultures and backgrounds. As of 2010, the ethnic make-up was 38% White, 33% Latino, 20% African-American, 6% Asian-American and 3% other. Large Spanish-speaking populations from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Cuba have formed communities in the sub-neighborhoods of Hyde, Jackson and Egleston Squares.

Moreover, JP is home to one of Boston's strongest LGBT communities. Not only was Massachusetts the first U.S. state to legalize gay marriage, but it was also rated second in the nation for LGBT travel. While Somerville and the South End are also gay-friendly neighborhoods, JP in particular is defined by its mix of young lesbian families and gay students from nearby Northeastern and Emerson College. "It's truly a community where everyone is welcome, and residents take great pride in that," Mogielnicki affirms.

A bonus: if you're a foodie, look no further than JP. The neighborhood offers a plethora of Boston's best off-the-beaten-path restaurants for any budget. Peruse this list for an in-depth look at 8 tasty spots to discover in Jamaica Plain.

3. JP's public transportation lets you get around Boston for cheap.

"One of the best things about Jamaica Plain is its convenient access to public transportation," Mogielnicki says. The Orange Line runs through the middle of the city, stopping at 4 different T stations. The Green Line's "E" Branch also terminates in the area. Buses provide additional access to other parts of JP that aren't served by the MBTA. "You just don't find this amount of public transit access in other neighborhoods."

Another thing residents love about JP is that it offers a quieter, slower-paced atmosphere compared to many areas closer to downtown. "I live on Centre Street, right in the heart of the neighborhood," Mogielnicki adds. "If you take a walk around the area, you'll find that the houses are set back on side streets and the community has a strong neighborhood feel. It's a breath of fresh air once you leave the city, and people who live here value that."

4. Boston's Emerald Necklace parks give the 'hood natural beauty.

Many people moving to Boston don't know that Jamaica Plain was once called "the Eden of America". Indeed, JP has bragging rights as one of the greenest neighborhoods in Boston. Geographically blessed with a large portion of Boston's Emerald Necklace parks, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in the 19th century, JP offers residents an abundance of parks and waterways to enjoy. To name a notable few: Jamaica Pond has 60 acres of surface area and is the largest and deepest body of fresh water in Boston. Arnold Arboretum is a 265-acre arboretum maintained by Harvard University, and Franklin Park is the largest park in the city and home to New England's biggest zoo.

"The natural beauty of JP is yet another attraction," Mogielnicki comments. "Not only does it provide recreational space for jogging, hiking or walking your dog, but it allows residents to avoid traffic by biking to and from the city." The Southwest Corridor, which originates in the Forest Hills section of Jamaica Plain and extends 5 miles to the South End and Back Bay, provides a straight shot to downtown Boston for cyclists or runners.

The Southwest Corridor allows JP residents to bike all the way to downtown Boston | Todd Van Hoosear via Flickr

Moving to JP? Work with a local expert.

"I live in Jamaica Plain myself, and I love helping my clients find the right home for them in the neighborhood," says Mogielnicki. A Bostonian born and raised, he grew up in the North Shore until he left to study at UMass Amherst. "I've always had an interest in the value of buildings, and what makes one property more desirable than another. I ended up earning my degree in Building and Construction Technology, and graduated Magna Com Laude in my class."

"My technical background has allowed me to understand buildings as a system, something not all realtors can claim," he continues. "I notice issues in a home down to the micro level: if there's a floor deflection, window conditions or foundation settling, I take note of these things. This allows me to make educated assumptions on the home's condition, which I can then pass on to my clients."

When helping clients relocate to Jamaica Plain, Mogielnicki always encourages them to educate themselves on the local market and be ready to make a competitive offer. "Particularly if you are a millennial investing in  your first property, it's important to work with someone who has your best interest at heart. Most properties in JP are selling above asking, so working with a local expert will ensure you make a decision you can feel confident about."

We'd like to thank Dave Mogielnicki for sharing with us his local knowledge of Jamaica Plain. With proven experience in Boston's real estate market and a technical background in building construction and technology, Mogielnicki offers his clients the highest quality service in the market. If you're interested in working with Dave Mogielnicki, you can contact him directly via his Navut Professional Profile.

Broker and Co-owner of Penrose Realty as well as Penrose PM&D