October 31, 2005

Real Estate to die for

It's not just residential real estate that's going through the roof, so are burial plots, especially at prestigious cemeteries like Mt. Auburn in Cambridge. I lived in both Back Bay and Beacon Hill in Boston before the 80's before prices went crazy. I laughed at a parking condo that offered parking spaces inside for $20,000. Today, they go for about $200,000. It never entered my mind that you could invest in and speculate on burial plots.

Mary Fifield didn't have investment on her mind when she bought a plot a few years ago, she writes in the Boston Globe.

Mt. Auburn isn't just any cemetery. Self-dubbed ''America's First Garden Cemetery," its 175 acres feature more species of native and nonnative plants than most arboretums. It boasts a score of architectural follies, including a 13-foot-tall granite sphinx, the gift in 1872 of an enthusiastic board member. A score of triple-name luminaries, including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Mary Baker Eddy, Isabella Stewart Gardner, Charles Dana Gibson, and James Russell Lowell call it home, in a manner of speaking. Its motto, ''Still a Unique Choice for Burial," strikes the only downscale note in its otherwise upscale identity campaign.
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while the housing market in Boston has been soaring over the past few years, the post-life housing market, as it were, has been keeping pace. While residential real estate prices are up by triple digits, so is the real estate at Mt. Auburn.
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The spot on Willow Pond, my post-mortal-coil co-op, represents something more: a comforting constant in a world that seems to grow more complex and challenging with each passing month. It also confirms that the time-honored first maxim of real estate, ''Location, location, location," applies to the hereafter as much as it does to here and now.

Posted by Jill Fallon at October 31, 2005 9:49 PM | Permalink