Hampden

Hampden is Baltimore’s real estate darling. Since 2013 the average sale price of a residence has increased from $185,000 to $220,000 and with that said these days there is more inventory pushing the $300,000+ threshold than ever before.

I’ve walked the streets of Baltimore’s Hampden neighborhood since I was a teenager. Back then my afternoons were spent in search of counter culture and vintage clothing. It was the early 1990’s and Hampden was just entering its urban renaissance. Twenty years later Hampden is a ubiquitous Hipster destination.

Hampden is one of Baltimore’s most authentic neighborhoods apart from the whole “Hon” issue. It is the only neighborhood in Baltimore that has its own bonafide mascot, i.e. the “Hon”. She’s a patron saint of sorts. They even have festivals in her honor.

Even better than the marketing push to promote the “Hon” is the Hampden you’ll find all on your own, the Hampden of the long time residents who have a great affinity for kitsch. This is John Waters’ Hampden and its alive and kicking.

The Hampden Village Merchants Association deserves a great deal of credit for the media darling status that Hampden has achieved. The independent owned and operated boutiques and restaurants that are located along The Avenue have earned their due. I’ve witnessed the owners devote years of sweat equity into making the main street a success. One of my favorite shops is Ma Petit Shoe, a boutique that specializes in shoes and chocolate.

When selling Baltimore real estate to people who are relocating to Charm City it has become de rigeur to take clients on a walk down The Avenue past vintage clothing stores, trendy restaurants, dive bars, coffee shops, yoga studios, and antique stores.

Many of Hampden’s early 20th century rowhouses were designed as Millworkers houses. They have a smaller stature. This type of living hearkens back to a time before the suburbs existed. In fact if you grew up in the suburbs this type of living can be an adjustment.

And some of the oldest properties are made out of stone. Stone Hill, a pre-civil war hidden neighborhood within Hampden, is a national register historic district featuring 7 blocks of millworkers houses constructed between 1845-1847. These properties are special and they don’t come on the market very often.

Lets say you’re keen on Hampden but you’re in search of contemporary architecture? We’d take a short drive over to Overlook at Clipper Mill to see these sophisticated residences. Prices for these homes begin at approximately $675,000 and they border wooded acreage of Druid Hill Park.

Along the Jones Falls where the foliage gets thick you’ll encounter rural Hampden. Suddenly the landscape changes and for a split second you might be convinced you are deep in the country.

This corner of Hampden has urban farms and clandestine residences. It’s unlike anywhere else in Baltimore City.

Hampden resident and visitor parking is a challenge. There is not enough and while the city is working on solutions, if you find the option to acquire a property that includes a parking pad or parking space you should strongly take that into consideration. A few stellar restaurants offer valet parking, and while this seems like an obvious sign of progress, for a long-term Baltimorean the idea of valet parking on The Avenue might get an eye-roll.