5 Most-Expensive Neighborhoods for MLB fans

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- You'll need a lot more than beer money to live near one of the five stadiums that Trulia.com recently found are in the most expensive neighborhoods among Major League Baseball parks.

"Many stadiums -- even those that have been rebuilt in recent years -- are in locations chosen long ago, and popular retail and restaurants have built up around them over the years," says economist Jed Kolko of Trulia ( TRLA) , which recently analyzed home prices near MLB ballparks. "They're also in downtown neighborhoods that tend to be expensive ... in particularly expensive parts of already-expensive cities"

Trulia found that houses and condos near Big League parks list for nearly 50% more per square foot on average than homes do overall in each metro area studied.

But the site also discovered that asking prices near stadiums range widely -- from as little as $28 per square foot in the cheapest MLB neighborhood to more than $650 a square foot in the priciest one -- found, of course, among East and West Coast cities that have fancy downtown neighborhoods popular with well-heeled urban professionals.

In honor of next week's All-Star Game, here's a rundown of the five U.S. metro areas that Trulia found have the most-expensive housing near their respective ballparks. (The study omitted Rogers Centre, home of the Toronto Blue Jays.)

Trulia looked at all residences listed for sale on its site during the 12 months ended Feb. 28 and located within roughly two miles of a Big League stadium. Prices per square foot refer to median asking prices for all houses, condos and townhouses other than foreclosures.

Fifth-most-expensive MLB neighborhood: Dodger Stadium area, Los Angeles
Price per square foot:
$387

You've heard of Beverly Hills, 90210, but did you know that the Los Angeles area also has a Dodgertown, 90090?

The L.A. City Council officially dubbed the downtown neighborhood in and around the Dodgers' home field as "Dodgertown" in 2008, and the U.S. Postal Service gave the area its own ZIP code a year later.

Trulia found that housing typically costs $387 a square foot there -- 60% more than the L.A. metro area's average -- and long-delayed development plans near the 51-year-old stadium could eventually send prices even higher.

Ex-Dodgers owner Frank McCourt had planned a $500 million project of shops, restaurants and stadium renovations before running into financial problems, but current team owner Guggenheim Partners appears likely to revive the plan in some form. There's also talk of building a football stadium nearby to attract an NFL team.

Fourth-most-expensive MLB neighborhood: Nationals Park area, Washington, D.C.
Price per square foot:
$392

Many streets near the Washington Nationals' 5-year-old home field are still struggling, but the redevelopment stadium backers promised the $500 million complex would attract to Washington's gritty Near Southeast neighborhood is slowly materializing.

Besides, the stadium sits just a mile or two from tony D.C. neighborhoods such as Capitol Hill (not to mention the White House). That's helped push median asking prices for homes around the ballpark to $392 a square foot -- 130% higher than the D.C. metro area's average.

Third-costliest MLB neighborhood: Petco Park area, San Diego
Price per square foot:
$435

Located just blocks from San Diego Bay, the Padres' home has attracted lots of development to the city's once-blighted East Village area since opening in 2004.

The $450 million ballpark also sits near San Diego's central business district, revitalized Gaslamp Quarter and other popular downtown locales. As a result, median asking prices within a mile or so of the field are $435 a square foot -- 90% above the metro San Diego average.

Second-costliest MLB neighborhood: Fenway Park area, Boston
Price per square foot:
$584

Major League Baseball's oldest stadium continues to attract Red Sox fans to Boston's Fenway neighborhood more than a century after opening.

The 101-year-old ballpark sits in the heart of downtown Boston just blocks from Boston University and nightclub-friendly Kenmore Square. It's also a mile or two from Beantown's posh Back Bay neighborhood and other high-end residential areas.

All of that means typical homes near Fenway Park list for $584 a square foot. That's 160% above the Boston-area median.

Costliest MLB neighborhood: AT&T Park area, San Francisco
Price per square foot:
$653

Buying a place near $357 million AT&T ( T) Park will cost you a lot more than the price of even the best San Francisco Giants season tickets.

That's because the 13-year-old stadium sits right along San Francisco Bay in the city's popular South of Market area.

Add in the fact that it's close to Frisco's BART and Muni light-rail systems (and less than an hour from Silicon Valley via CalTrain commuter-rail service) and the neighborhood is about as popular with San Franciscans as Rice-a-Roni. Nearby homes list for around $653 a square foot -- 30% above the overall Bay Area median.

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