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When Size Matters: the Cost of Livin' Large in Boston

Here is the latest installment of Bates By the Numbers, a weekly feature by broker David Bates that drills down into the Hub's housing market to uncover those trends you would not otherwise see. This week, David looks at what it costs to buy a bigger Boston condo. (Last week, he revealed the Hub's busiest price points by neighborhood.)

More than 3,000 condos sold in Boston in the first eight months of 2012, and only about half of them measured at least 1,000 square feet. About one out of every six had at least 1,500 square feet. And only about one out of every 20—maybe 5 percent—was more than 2,000 square feet.

Simply put: It's hard to live large in Boston.

So, if size matters, be prepared to break out the checkbook. In the first eight months of the year, the median sales price of a 2,000- to 2,499-square-foot condominium in Boston was $1,145,000. Based on these sales, it looks like if you want to super-size your condominium order, but not pay an extra-large price, you should consider buying in Dorchester (five sales of condos from 2,000 and 2,499 square feet at a median of $350K); Jamaica Plain (19 sales, median $633K); or South Boston (17 sales, median $665K).

If you can get your personal life in order in less than a 2,499-square-foot condo, well, then you're pretty much part of the other 99 percent. That's because fewer than two out of every 100 of Boston's sold condominiums offered more than 2,500 square feet. In Beantown, these "Texas Big" condos commanded Beverly Hills prices.

The median price of sold Boston condos measuring from 2,500 to 2,999 square feet was $2.2 million in the first eight months of 2012. The median price of sold Boston condos measuring more than 3,000 square feet was $4.2 million.

Only one in a thousand Boston condo buyers decided to live like Tom Brady and purchase a condo with more than 5,000 square feet of living space. Those buyers paid a median price of $9.2 million.

In the first eight months of 2012, only one condo in more than 3,000 Boston neighborhood sales was over 6,000 square feet. So the prize for living the largest goes to the buyer of Unit W-11B in the Mandarin Oriental at 776 Boylston. Living in 6,111 square feet, with fabulous views of Back Bay and the Charles River, is—no doubt—"livin' large," but paying $10.3 million for the condo is living "La Vida Loca."

· Our Bates By the Numbers archive [Curbed Boston]

Mandarin Oriental, Boston

776 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02199