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What's Propping Up the Downtown Boston Condo Market

Everyone knows there has not been a lot of big-time condo construction anywhere in the Hub since the 2007 credit crunch hit; and much of what has been built has, through the magic of marketing and phone calls from the bank, turned into luxury rentals. This is no more truer than in the downtown Boston neighborhoods of Downtown Crossing, Beacon Hill, the Financial District and Back Bay.

Jennifer Athas at The Herald reports that “there’s a six-month supply of inventory in the over $1 million downtown Boston condominium market.” But! That’s not necessarily a bad thing, see, as the six-month window falls right in the meaty part of the curve that tracks the health of a housing market—any more months’ worth of unsold inventory and things would, indeed, be dicey downtown, with prices likely plunging or more condos turning into rentals.
· The W residences have 123 units and 52 of them have sold. The developer, Otis and Ahearn, told Athas they expect to be 50 percent sold by the end of 2011. Condos range from $400,000 to $3.7 million, and buyers have included empty-nesters and foreigners.
· The tower 45 Province, at the intersection of the Financial District and Beacon Hill has 137 units, and 34 sales there have closed. Most of those were in 2011 (only 12 moved in 2010). Condos there range from the $700,000s to around $4 million for penthouses.
· Back Bay's The Clarendon has 102 condos, and the developer, a partnership between the Beal Cos. and the Related Cos., expects to have sold 80 percent of them by the end of 2011. Condos range from just below $800,000 to $7 million. (And just check out the views above!)

A new report earlier this week showed that downtown luxury condo sales had jumped over 27 percent annually during the three months ending Nov. 1. We think it has little to do with the condos themselves, which seem perfectly pleasant and probably worth money, and more to do with the historically low mortgage rates and a lending climate decidedly thawed from the frigidity of 2007, when everything downtown just stalled. If the mild economic good news continues and the rates stay low, hello robust luxury condo sales! Take that, Occupy Boston!

· Downtown Condo Market Tightens Up [Herald]
· Why Condo Sales, Prices Jumped in Back Bay, Beacon Hill... [Curbed Boston]