Market Reports

Boston Market Update: Aspirational Pricing, Bid Wars & Everything In Between

 

 

Here we will take a closer look at first quarter sales activity in the following neighborhoods: Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway, Midtown, North End, Seaport, South End, Waterfront, West End. Select neighborhoods are reporting record prices, both in terms of selling prices and prices per square foot (largely achieved by the delivery of brand new luxury developments), but a decrease in the overall pace of sales may be a sign that we are heading toward a cooling period from the growth that has dominated the past 6 years or so. 

Comparing the first quarters of 2018 to 2017 (including all condominium and co-op price points):

  • the number of closings was down 10% from last year
  • the number of properties being put under agreement was down 16% from last year

Since 2018's first quarter saw fewer new listings than both 2017 and 2016, limited inventory is one explanation for the decrease in sales. In a limited inventory market, days on market statistics typically remain low, as has been the case in recent years. But for the properties that have sold in Q1 2018 compared to last year, days on market is actually up over 15%. Now, even with fewer listings to choose from and compete for, buyers are taking more time to watch the market. Whether it is due to expectations of rising interest rates, anxieties over the current political climate, or concerns if we’ve already reached a high point in the cyclical nature of the market, Boston's buyers are increasingly wary of overpaying. 

An era of aspirational pricing? 

Buyers are especially taking their time in the top of the market, a segment dominated by boutique and large-scale new developments of Boston’s recent building boom.  In the last few years, developers have been able to command premiums for their product by offering superior product and superior services in high-demand downtown locations (all this in the face of rising construction costs). The term, “aspirational pricing,” has been gaining ground for listings that have been priced at dramatic premiums above current market conditions. In a softening luxury market, the question stands if the “aspirational” pricing of developers reflects conditions of the years past more so than the current reality. Some aspirations will continue to be realized - albeit with longer market time - if true value is realized in the location, views, finishes and amenities the property offers.

Others will be left to sit on the market. 

In the first quarter, only seven properties closed above $5million citywide while twenty-six remain active on the market. It took an average of 48 more days for these properties to sell than all others priced below $5million.

In other segments of the market, would-be buyers do not have the luxury of being overly price conscious. Specific areas and price points have and will continue to draw bid wars and over-asks immediately once a property is listed. This is especially the case regarding properties in or below the $1million to $2million range, even more so if they include multiple bedrooms. A common formula stands for these types of properties: list the property mid week; hold open houses and private shows through the weekend; collect bids early in the following week. Because of the intense appeal of Boston among a wide range of clientele – from suburban empty nesters to young urban professionals to international investors – this formula is likely to hold.

Sources: LINK; MLS

Average Price Per Square Foot by Neighborhood in Boston

This snapshot provides average asking prices per square foot in 13 Boston neighborhoods. The prices listed are for the first quarter of 2018, below which are the percent changes from the same period last year. 

For the neighborhoods in this analysis—which does not include all of the neighborhoods of Boston—the overall price range for the city through the first 3 months of 2018 ranges from $510 per square foot in East Boston to $1,528 per square foot in Beacon Hill, where boutique luxury developments have just been completed and are setting records in the neighborhood.

Because Boston's product is very limited, individual buildings can have a large effect on price per square foot statistics. In addition to boutique luxury developments driving numbers in Beacon Hill, the delivery of units at Fifty Liberty in the Seaport has helped to raise average pricing there over 100% from last year's first quarter.

Click the below graphic to expand.

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Top 1st Quarter Condo Sales

Boston’s 10 most expensive condominium sales of 2018's First Quarter

The city's top condominium sales are spread throughout five neighborhoods and represent a mix of boutique and full-service homes. All properties except Penthouse 2A at the Ritz Carlton and Unit 4 at 301 Berkeley Street are either brand new construction, or were recently built within the last few years.  

Sale Price

Address

Area

Beds

Baths

SF

Closed

$15,110,000     

Maison Vernon # PH

Beacon Hill

4

4.5

4,025

03/29/2018

$10,200,000

25 Beacon # 2*

Beacon Hill     

3+       

3.5       

4,015     

03/16/2018     

$10,200,000

Ritz Tower II # PH2A*

Midtown

5

5.5

4,703

02/12/2018

$6,777,000

Millennium Tower # 5102    

Midtown

3

4.5

3,172

03/14/2018

$6,461,800

50 Liberty # 11B

Seaport

3

3.5

2,083

03/21/2018

$5,600,000

Maison Vernon # V

Beacon Hill

3

3.5

2,903

03/02/2018

$5,295,000

50 Liberty # 8B

Seaport

2

2.5

2,083

03/22/2018

$4,960,000

301 Berkeley St # 4*

Back Bay

4

3.5

3,550

01/24/2018

$4,843,900

Pierce Boston # PH 28E

Fenway

3

3.5

2,548

03/08/2018

$4,838,500

50 Liberty # 7B

Seaport

2

2.5

2,083

03/20/2018

 

*Indicates sales for which Campion and Company represented the Seller and/or Buyer. 

Source: LINK

Over-Ask in 2017: Back Bay

Back Bay remains one of Boston's most desirable residential neighborhoods, as evidenced by the number of transactions that take place at or above a property's asking price.

On average in Back Bay during 2017....

  • All studios traded 2.3% above asking price
  • All 1-bed condos traded 0.5% above asking price
  • All 2-bed condos traded 0.5% below asking price
  • All 3-bed condos traded 2.5% below asking price
  • All 4-plus-bed condos traded 6.1% below asking price

   By price point...

  • Condos that closed between $500,000 and $1,000,000 traded 0.9% above asking price
  • Condos that closed between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000 traded 1% below asking price
  • Condos that closed between $2,000,000 and $3,000,000 traded 2.6% below asking price
  • Condos that closed between $3,000,000 and $4,000,000 traded 2.6% below asking price
  • Condos that closed between $4,000,000 and $5,000,000 traded 4.8% below asking price
  • Condos that closed above $5,000,000 traded 5.6% below asking price

All condo types in Back Bay sold for 99.5% of asking price in an average of 48 days. In 2016, for comparison, condos sold for 98.5% of asking price in an average of 59 days.

Multiple offer scenarios and bidding wars are likely to remain a common occurrence for those looking to purchase in Back Bay, particularly for properties in or below the $1M - $2M range. 

Source: MLS

 

416 Marlborough Street, Unit 3. Sold over asking price by Campion and Company.

416 Marlborough Street, Unit 3. Sold over asking price by Campion and Company.

Top Townhouse and Single-Family Sales of 2017

Boston’s 10 most expensive townhouse and single-family sales of 2017

Back Bay, Beacon Hill and South End contain the city's top townhouse and single-family sales. Properties marked with an asterisk (*) represent sales for which Campion and Company represented the Seller and/or Buyer. 

Selling Price       

Address                            

Area                   

Beds     

Baths     

SF           

Closed               

$13,000,000

197 Marlborough St

Back Bay

5

5+

7,575

11/30/2017

$8,000,000

6 Mt Vernon Pl

Beacon Hill

6+

6+

7,500

09/26/2017

$7,025,000

22 W Cedar St 

Beacon Hill

5+

4.5

5,365

06/20/2017

$6,850,000

9 Walnut St 

Beacon Hill

5+

4+

6,032

07/31/2017

$6,600,000

225 Beacon St*

Back Bay

5+

5+

6,383

03/21/2017

$6,000,000

144 W Canton St

South End

3

2.5

3,078

10/16/2017

$5,890,000

43 Chestnut St*

Beacon Hill

4

4

4,290

04/28/2017

$5,750,000

78 Mt Vernon St 

Beacon Hill

4+

3.5

3,750

07/24/2017

$5,325,000

29 Hereford St*

Back Bay

4

4.5

3,737

07/17/2017

$5,200,000

321 Beacon St

Back Bay

4

3.5

4,439

02/10/2017

Source: LINK

Top Condominium Sales of 2017

Boston’s 10 most expensive condominium sales of 2017

The city's top condominium sales are concentrated within Back Bay, Beacon Hill and Midtown and represent a mix of boutique and full-service homes. All properties except the sale at 25-27 Commonwealth Avenue are either brand new construction, or were recently built within the last few years.  

Selling Price       

Address                                                

Area              

Beds     

Baths    

SF           

Closed          

$17,200,000

25-27 Commonwealth Ave # 25

Back Bay

5

4+

7,554

6/22/17

$13,540,000

6 Newbury St # 301

Back Bay

4

6

6,095

11/15/17

$11,833,303

25 Beacon # B/PH*

Beacon Hill

3

3.5

4,044

9/27/17

$10,650,000

Millennium Tower # PH3B 

Midtown

3

4.5

4,110

11/30/17

$9,250,000

Millennium Tower # PH4E 

Midtown

3

4.5

3,435

6/22/17

$9,035,000

Whitwell, The # 5A 

Beacon Hill

3

3.5

6,129

2/24/17

$9,000,000

Millennium Tower # PH3E 

Midtown

3

4.5

3,435

9/15/17

$9,000,000

448 Beacon St # 8 

Back Bay

4

5

4,069

4/25/17

$8,950,000

Millennium Tower # PH3A

Midtown

 

 

4,172

1/12/17

$8,850,000

25 Beacon # 3*

Beacon Hill

3

3.5

3,583

9/26/17

*Indicates sales for which Campion and Company represented the Seller and/or Buyer. 

Source: LINK

Average Price Per Square Foot by Neighborhood in Boston

This snapshot provides average asking prices per square foot in 13 Boston neighborhoods. The prices listed are for the first three quarters of 2017, below which are the percent changes from the same period last year. 

For the neighborhoods in this analysis—which does not include all of the neighborhoods of Boston—the overall price range for the city through September ranges from $488 per square foot in East Boston to $1,219 per square foot in Midtown. Because Boston's product is very limited, individual buildings can have a large effect on price per square foot statistics. In West End, for example, the delivery of units at Forecaster 121 has helped to raise average pricing there over 22%.

Click the below graphic to expand.

Campion & Company Market Report: 3Q 2017

JUST RELEASED!

Q3 2017 Condominium Sales Reports for Metro Boston (Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway, Midtown, North End, Seaport, South End, Waterfront and West End) 

Campion and Company, The Premier Luxury Boston Real Estate Brokerage consistently delivers the most comprehensive and objective market research and insights available.

Download the 3Q - Boston Market Report Here

Campion & Company Market Report: 3Q 2016

JUST RELEASED!

Q3 2016 Condominium Sales Reports for Metro Boston (Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway, Midtown, North End, Seaport, South End, Waterfront and West End) 

Campion and Company, The Premier Luxury Boston Real Estate Brokerage consistently delivers the most comprehensive and objective market research and insights available.

Key highlights:

  • As anticipated, Millennium Tower closings have had a significant effect on Metro Boston's 3rd Quarter and year-to-date sales. Nearly 90% of the Millennium Tower residences have hit public record, averaging over $1,400 per square foot.
    • Including Millennium Tower: Both average and median sales prices in Boston's urban core rose nearly 50% above their year-ago levels.
    • Excluding Millennium Tower: Average and median sales prices were up 14% and 12%, respectively.
  • Millennium Tower is just one example of a new building completion that has helped push the number of Metro Boston sales up over 50% over the previous year. Excluding just the Tower, however, sales volume in Boston's core urban market is down 6%, due to factors such as ongoing inventory constraints and general uncertainty of an election year.
  • Even with election year slow-downs, a robust seller's market continues, particularly for properties priced below $3M.
  • On average, properties sold between $1M & $2M trade for 99.4% of list price.
  • Luxury properties sold above $3M trade for 93% of list price.

Download the 3Q - Boston Market Report Here

 

Campion and Company Market Report: 2Q 2016

JUST RELEASED!

Q2 2016 Condominium Sales Reports for Metro Boston (Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway, Midtown, North End, Seaport, South End, Waterfront and West End) 

Campion and Company, The Premier Luxury Boston Real Estate Brokerage consistently delivers the most comprehensive and objective market research and insights available.

Key highlights:

  • Median sales price this quarter rose 6.5% above its year ago level to reach its second highest in history.
  • Average price per square foot increased 5.7% over last year, and 3.1% over this year’s first quarter.
  • The numbers of sales is up slightly as inventory levels surpass those of 2015.
  • South End has the highest transaction volume, followed by Back Bay & Midtown.
  • Properties sold between $1M & $2M are trading for 99.6% of list price.
  • Properties sold above $3M are trading for 93% of list price.
  • The overwhelming draw in the market now is toward newer buildings offering one-floor living, elevator access & garage parking. 

Download the 2Q - Boston Market Report Here.