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The Fastest Sales in the Hub

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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 wrote about what it costs now to live large in Boston.)

The lightning-sales speed of the Boston condo market reminds me of an old Billy Crystal joke—but with a real estate twist. In this version, an agent is bragging to a seller, "I'm so fast I can hit the light switch in my bedroom, put your condo on the market, get a signed offer, and be in my bed before it gets dark in the room." LOL?.

I had previously posted that 11 percent of Boston's July condo sales had found buyers in seven days or less. The 11 percent was a huge increase from the previous four Julys, months when roughly 5 to 9 percent of Boston condo sales had found buyers this quickly. For September, however, my analysis shows that 16 percent of the Boston condos that went under agreement found buyers in seven days or less. Incredible!

Although 16 percent (about one in six) seems like an outrageously high ratio of inventory selling super-fast, some Boston neighborhoods have an even higher percentage of their under agreements occur at this breakneck speed.

In the South End, 20 percent (10 of 50) of September under-agreements found buyers in seven days or fewer. In Back Bay, almost 24 percent (10 of 42) of September under-agreements found buyers in seven days or fewer. And, in Brookline, that enviable market just outside of Boston proper, 27.5 percent (11 of 40) did so.

Speedy market times are not just geographically focused. Some Boston price points have an equally high percentage of super-fast sales.

In the $400K to $449K listing range, 26 percent of Boston's September under-agreements found buyers in seven days or fewer. In the $600K to $699K listing range (a sales range I dubbed "Boston's Hottest Price Range" in my Oct. 3 post) 29 percent of September under-agreements found buyers in less than a full week of marketing. And the folks that have the money to act fast are doing just that: In the $1.5 million to $2.99 million range, 35 percent of the under-agreements (6 of 17) found buyers in seven days or fewer.

If the breakneck pace keeps up, "Days-on-Market (DOM)"—the MLS measure for market time—might become obsolete. The Greater Boston Real Estate Board may have to implement "Hours-on-Market (HOM)." Who knows, maybe even "Minutes-on-Market (MOM)?" Can you imagine buyers showing up at open houses asking, "How many hours has this home been on the market? 100?! ... Why so long? What's wrong with it?" LOL.

· Michael Phelps and Boston Condos: They Move Fast [Curbed Boston]
· Boston's Hottest Price Range [Curbed Boston]
· Our Bates By the Numbers archive [Curbed Boston]