Campus, City, News

Allston Living: Popular, Hip, Cheap

Living in Allston remains an attractive housing option for Boston University students, as witnessed by an increase of college-aged residents in the past decade.

From 2000 to 2010, the population of Allston spiked 14 percent, with 60.4 percent of residents of Allston residents now between the ages of 20 and 34.

Especially for BU students, the location is ideal, said Richard O’Brien, real estate agent at Boston Prime Realty.

“Anything that’s close to Commonwealth Avenue, from Packard’s Corner and about a block into Allston, is always in high demand because it’s easiest to get to the T and to school from there,” O’Brien said.

Emily Schreibman, real estate agent at Advantage Real Estate, said the residences on Commonwealth Avenue, St. Paul Street and Gardner, Ashford and Pratt Streets are always rented out by January.

“Most of the properties we manage got rented out in the beginning of March,” she said. “Last year, we still had some available in the summer, so it’s definitely moving quicker this year.”

Despite the expensiveness of housing in the area, some students said the proximity to campus and diversity of the people contributes to the rising popularity of Allston.

Maryssa Hartsgrove, 19, an Allston resident, said she enjoys living in the same area with all of her friends.

“I love that all my friends live around here,” Hartsgrove said. “There’s always a lot going on. I went to school in New York, and [living in Allston] reminds me of being in New York, in a small section of Boston.”

Other residents said the influx of students decreases the value of the Allston area.

“With the college students being the majority it trashes Allston, so it gets rowdy sometimes,” said Victoria Guida, 23, Allston resident and recent BU graduate.

Lisa Timberlake, of the Boston Inspectional Services Housing Department, said trash, lack of parking and traffic congestion are primary issues in Allston, but the city no longer considers it a problem.

“From time to time, we might come upon various housing, building issues or what have you,” Timberlake said. “But that’s the same with every part of the city, so it’s not as if we designate Allston as a problem area.”

Guida said although things can get trashed on the streets at times, her apartment is in good condition.

“I live with my friends, so my house isn’t too rowdy,” she said. “My building seems up to code.”

Timberlake said ISD inspects houses and apartments randomly every 45 days to ensure good living conditions.

Hartsgrove said one change she would like to see in Allston is a reduction in trash and rodents.

“[I would definitely get rid of] the amount of rats and trash,” she said.

Suffolk County, which encompasses Allston, is two times higher than the national average total crime risk, according to the 2010 Allston crime rate indexes.

Guida said despite some of the problems, she likes Allston’s community feel.

“Living in Allston is interesting. It’s a college town and the college students are the majority,” she said. “It does have a great community kind of feel because everyone knows everyone.”

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