Boston condos for sale and real estate sales report for week ending April 22, 2012

The following is Boston Proper condo and real estate sales data for the week ending April 22 2011, (April 15 2011), (April 24 2011), (April 24 2010), and (April 22, 2009) where available. All condominium closings recorded by our local MLS during the past month.

Number of units currently on the market: 617 (620) (919) (1,300) (n/a)
Average days on market: 105 (109) (126) (110) (n/a)
Median list price: $759,000 ($749,000) ($639,000) ($584,500) (n/a)
Average list price: $1,099,498 ($1,107,815) ($972,532) ($956,787) (n/a)

Number of units under agreement: 202 (191) (157) (188) (n/a)

Number of units sold (past 30 days): 123 (139) (113) (121) (83)
Average days on market: 109 (127) (137) (116) (119)
Median close price: $575,000 ($579,000) ($682,000) ($524,000) ($510,000)
Average close price: $843,231 ($810,542) ($941,435) ($840,810) ($756,473)
Original list to close price: 95% (94%) (94%) (94%) (94%)
Sales velocity: $103,717,384 ($112,665,280) ($106,382,148) ($101,738,044) ($62,787,235)

Thoughts: We can expect under agreements to increase during the coming six weeks as buyers make their final decisions. Units sold will increase after that, as buyers move from making offers to closing deals.

Notice that original list to close price is at 95% – this is high. This means that, from the original list price (not taking into account any price drops) to closing, buyers were only able to negotiate prices down about 5%, on average. In fact, between $450,000 and $700,000, the averages were 97-99%. This is because there isn’t a lot of inventory from which to choose – sellers don’t have to negotiate.

This report includes sales and inventory information for condominiums located in the following downtown Boston neighborhoods: South End, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, West End, North End, Waterfront, Seaport District, Chinatown, Leather District, Midtown, and Fenway.

Data collected from third-party sources by the Multiple Listing Service Property Information Network, Inc.

Boston condo prices up, volume down by 1/3 in 2012

There were fewer condo sales but higher average and median prices in Boston during the first-quarter of 2012, when compared to years past.

Year Sales Median$ Average$
2012 620 $402,000 $558,474
2011 572 $370,000 $561,232
2010 728 $345,000 $517,307
2009 523 $298,500 $401,985
2008 659 $385,000 $546,300
2007 920 $363,500 $494,877
2006 834 $365,000 $458,523
2005 792 $338,500 $441,074

What we can’t see from above is the level of inventory on the market at any one time. This year, for sure, there are fewer condominiums for sale than in some of the previous years. So, although volume is down compared to some years (off a third from 2007), so are the number of condos listed for sale.

There are 1,473 condos listed for sale in the city of Boston today. If there have been ~200 sales during each of the past three months, then there might be 2,400 sales during 2012. This means there is about a seven month supply of condos available. That’s a fair number (an even market is 5-8 months of supply) but the selection available to buyers in the downtown Boston neighborhoods is more restricted than what you’d see in the outer boroughs. (More to follow.)

Meaning the problem we had with too few condos available to too many buyers continues …

Many Boston condos going under agreement are old and tired listings

The Boston real estate market is as strong as it ever has been – stronger, even. Condos sold during the past thirty days in the Boston Proper neighborhoods is at a level higher than in 2011, 2010, or 2009 (and, for all years back to 2003 except for 2007, the height of the bubble).

What’s changed this year is that total units listed for sale is down from prior years. There were 620 condos on the market as of this past Sunday, whereas there were 937 (50% more) condos on the market on the same date back in 2010. There were twice as many condos listed for sale this week in 2009.

Looking at the units that have gone under agreement during just the past seven days, I’m struck by how varied the activity has been – some of the condos are going under agreement within just a couple days of being listed while others have been on the market for three or four months, but some have been on the market for a year or longer.

boston condos under agreement

I don’t have prior years’ data at hand so I can’t say whether this situation is any different from what we’ve seen in earlier years. But, it sticks out to me as something unusual, so I feel it is significant.

The properties that have been listed a long time are getting acceptable offers, even after all this time. Interestingly, several of the listings that finally went under agreement never had price changes – their owners kept the listings close to or at their original prices. (The several I researched had drops of $5-$10,000, so nothing significant.) Eventually, the homeowners’ stubbornness paid off and they have evidently found suitable buyers.

This leads me to believe that it’s because there’s limited supply out there from which buyers can choose. When the economy cratered, many owners took their properties off the market and decided to wait for better times. Others just kept their properties listed the entire time.

Now it looks as though some aged listings are seeing activity. What’s changed is that there are more buyers out there looking, pre-approvals in hand, ready to pounce when they see a property they like.

Usually, the “good” properties (priced accurately, nice quality, appealing interiors, right size) go under agreement within a period of weeks or within the first four to six weeks. That’s pretty much true in any market we’ve seen in the last decade. Then, there are those that drag on, and eventually the owners will reduce the prices, but it might be too late. The listings look old and tired and picked over. The owners might just leave their homes listed for sale or pull them from the market.

Again, I think the “old” listings” getting offers are condos that are being looked at seriously by buyers who can’t find enough of the type of properties they are looking for.

Boston condos for sale and real estate sales report for week ending April 15, 2012

The following is Boston Proper condo and real estate sales data for the week ending April 15 2011, (April 8 2011), (April 17 2011), (April 17 2010), and (April 17, 2009) where available. All condominium closings recorded by our local MLS during the past month.

Number of units currently on the market: 620 (583) (937) (1,291) (n/a)
Average days on market: 109 (115) (123) (109) (n/a)
Median list price: $749,000 ($749,900) ($629,000) ($579,000) (n/a)
Average list price: $1,107,815 ($1,133,932) ($969,818) ($955,058) (n/a)

Number of units under agreement: 191 (184) (152) (186) (n/a)

Number of units sold (past 30 days): 139 (129) (110) (120) (103)
Average days on market: 127 (134) (147) (117) (123)
Median close price: $579,000 ($579,000) ($687,250) ($538,250) ($505,000)
Average close price: $810,542 ($780,628) ($999,638) ($870,655) ($755,774)
Original list to close price: 94% (94%) (94%) (94%) (93%)
Sales velocity: $112,665,280 ($100,700,980) ($109,960,231) ($104,478,544) ($77,844,735)

Thoughts: Keep n mind that average and median closing prices typically drop when there is more business since you get a lot more closings in the mid-price range of condos. (Although we didn’t see that this week.)

This report includes sales and inventory information for condominiums located in the following downtown Boston neighborhoods: South End, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, West End, North End, Waterfront, Seaport District, Chinatown, Leather District, Midtown, and Fenway.

Data collected from third-party sources by the Multiple Listing Service Property Information Network, Inc.