Luxury in the Burbs: What about $3 million gets you

Buying Luxury Brookline Hingham
This five-bedroom farmhouse in Hingham comes with modern amenities, a barn with stables, and a covered riding arena. Gibson Sotheby's International Realty

Real estate agents are finding fewer bidding wars in downtown Boston, but those working in the surrounding suburbs say their markets are going gangbusters.

Lanse Robb at LandVest, tells of two recent bidding wars on the North Shore, a phenomenon he hadn’t witnessed since before the 2008 crash. One property was a Wenham carriage house done to perfection. The other was for a waterfront home in Nahant. “Nahant,’’ he repeated. “Huh? It wasn’t even a turnkey property.’’ The explanation? “He knew he’d have to spend $4 million for something similar in other North Shore towns,’’ Robb said. “It’s becoming clear that Nahant is becoming more desirable for Boston professionals.’’

The South Shore is experiencing increased activity, too. Gail Petersen Bell at Compass notes that 27 homes sold for more than $2 million there in the past six months, which is more than last year at this time. And six more at $2 million-plus just went under agreement. In winter, a historically less-than-fruitful season. “That’s a good sign,’’ she said.

The market in Wellesley is also strong. Deb Benoit of Benoit Mizner Simon & Co. said that while there aren’t more bidding wars, the year is off to a great start. “We’re showing properties right out of the gate, with offers already on the table,’’ Benoit said. The most sought-after properties there are still new constructions. “The overabundance from several years ago has been absorbed,’’ she said. “Builders can’t build fast enough.’’

As in the city, a $3 million budget doesn’t stretch as far as one might imagine when it comes to waterfront homes. “For direct waterfront in Hingham or Cohasset, you’ll probably have to renovate, unless it’s a smaller summer house,’’ Bell said.

Same on the North Shore. “Properties for $2.7 to $3.2 million probably need work,’’ Robb said. “It’s hard to get excited about things in that range.’’

We scoured luxury listings north, south, and west of Boston. Here’s what we turned up:


75 Greenough St., No. 1, Brookline

Year built 2019

Square footage 2,700

Bedrooms 4

Baths 4 full

Taxes Not yet assessed

Skip the lawn but take advantage of the superior school system by living in this new contemporary four-bedroom condo roughly 430 feet from Brookline High School, not to mention shops, restaurants, and public transit. The second-level, floor-through, 2,700-square-foot open layout features floor-to-ceiling windows, 6-inch-wide white oak floorboards, sleek two-tone cabinetry, and on-trend tilework. A private deck and patio and two garage parking spaces with electric car-charging capabilities make this the ideal city-meets-suburban, family-friendly, two-working-parent solution.

■ Eric Tam, Compass, 126 Newbury St., Boston, 617-803-5683,



16 Rolling Lane, Dover

Year built 1988

Square footage 12,837

Bedrooms 6

Baths 6 full, 2 half

Taxes $47,661 (2019)

Last sold for $450,000 in 1987 (for only the lot)

This impeccable, nearly 13,000-square-foot abode set on 7.9 acres of gardens, glades, and rolling lawns, combines the feel of a country estate with the accessibility of a neighborhood home. Elegant but not overly formal, the home offers a spiral staircase, sun-drenched atrium, and mahogany-paneled library, along with a two-story family room with contemporary detailing and in-law quarters with an elevator. Amenities abound, indoors and out. The property includes a carriage house, a greenhouse, a pool with a cabana, a stone grotto, and a stream-fed pond.

■ Jay Boyle, LandVest, 10 Post Office Square, 617-648-5444,



86 Pleasant St., Hingham

Year built Circa 1750

Square footage 4,232

Bedrooms 5

Baths 3 full, 1 half

Taxes $24,123 (2019)

Last sold for $2,400,000 in 2016

The centerpiece of Pleasant Meadow Farm, a picturesque 3-acre horse farm by the sea, is a circa 1750 red clapboard Colonial that has been meticulously updated and restored. Wide pine-plank floors and wood beams add rustic charm to clean-lined, neutral interiors. A post-and-beam barn with stables and a hay loft ensure the horses are as comfortable as their owners. The gorgeous grounds also include a covered riding arena and fenced-in fields with access to parkland and riding trails.

■ Michael Moran, Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty, 277 Dartmouth St., Boston, 617-733-7660,



2 Nectar Place, Nahant

Year built 1988

Square footage 7,671

Bedrooms 5

Baths 5 full, 1 half

Taxes $25,372 (2019)

Last sold for $1,400,000 in 2001

A waterfront aerie is nothing less than magical, especially when set on half an acre with a private, rocky beach and a view of downtown Boston. The entire back side of this light-filled contemporary opens up to the water. Its 24 rooms include a living room with a 27-foot-high cedar ceiling, two kitchens, a game room, a wine room, and a movie theater, making it ideal for entertaining. The home also has five fireplaces, a gym, and a six-car garage with lifts. The listing agent said you can add a mooring right out front.

■ Annie Wachtel, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, 2 Atlantic Ave., Marblehead, 781-631-9511,

 Marni Elyse Katz blogs about design at Send comments to