Affordability, diverse housing options lure talent to region.
Affordability and a diverse housing market helped land Baltimore on the 2019 Livability.com list of the Top 100 Best Places to Live.
The region offers residents a wide range of housing options, from downtown lofts to single-family homes in historic neighborhoods and distinct communities – all with a sticker price much less than cities of similar size. The city’s quality-of-life amenities, including outdoor recreation, nightlife, retail and local cuisine, only add to the appeal, particularly for millennials and young families.
“We are the most affordable housing market in our metro region for home buyers,â€ says Annie Milli, executive director of Live Baltimore, an organization that promotes the benefits of living in Baltimore City.
“Our median home price last year was just around $150,000. We are a very affordable city and why that matters is … a first-year teacher making approximately $50,000 can afford to buy a home on their own as a single person. Or a first-year police officer, who also makes around $50,000 a year, can afford to purchase a home as a single person. Affordability is a big deal, and it’s especially a big deal for young professionals.”
The Right Addresses
Milli says the diversity of options is also a major selling point for families looking to relocate.
“We have incredible historic properties all across the city of different types – row homes, detached homes and even condos and apartments in historic buildings. You can buy a house right on a golf course and do so affordably, or you can buy a house facing one of our beautiful lakes,â€ Milli says. “There are many unique places to live, and you just can’t find those types of homes anywhere else. We have them here.”
“Our identity is so closely tied to the place that we choose to live, and so we see a lot of people who are attracted to the city because it says something about who they are,â€ she says. “Plus, our city is incredibly convenient for folks who work here, and so many who are working in the city chose to live here to reduce their commute time. Many folks working in the region also chose to be here because Baltimore is very convenient to other cities up and down the East Coast and certainly to Washington, D.C., as well.”
Quality-of-life conveniences are a definite draw for the region’s residents. In Towson, for example, mixed-use developments, such as the $350 million, 1.2 million-square-foot Towson Row, are luring new residents downtown. The property, anchored by Whole Foods, features luxury apartments, restaurants and shops as well as office space for a truly live- work-play residential experience. In walking distance to Towson University, the development attracts students as well as young professionals.
“Towson Row will be a transformational project for this community and Baltimore County,â€ says Brian Gibbons, chairman and CEO of Greenberg Gibbons, the developer of Towson Row. “It will be a gateway to Towson, bridging downtown Towson to the university and creating a new heartbeat and fresh energy right here in the center of this community.”
Close to Everything
The Bozzuto Group, a real estate company founded in 1988, also has its hands in mixed-use projects. One of its many developments in the Greater Baltimore area, Anthem House, includes a grand lobby that opens up into an adjacent restaurant, mixing the public and private realms within a space that had historically been exclusive to residents. The building also includes social lounges, a fitness area and coworking spaces.
“Mixed-use developments are designed in a manner that provides a sense of sanctuary and community immediately upon entering,â€ says Jeff Kayce, Bozzuto’s senior vice president, managing director. “We’ve found a tight-knit community naturally grows when residents can find everything they need within steps of their home, whether grabbing a bite to eat with neighbors at the restaurant downstairs or meeting residents for a workout class next door.”