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Boston's Hottest Price Range

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 whether the oldest condos on the Boston market will ever find a taker. (Last week, he tackled the oldest condo listings in Boston.)

My informal survey of Boston MLS condominium sales for the first eight months of the year shows that 23 percent more condos have sold in the city than during the same period in 2011. That's hot!

While the buying temperature has undoubtedly changed, a few price points have been even hotter.

Sales in the $400K to $499K range were up 37 percent. Sales in the $1 million to $1.499 million range were up over 50 percent.

Boston's hottest price point, however, may be $600K to $699K. In the first eight months of 2012, the city notched an additional 85 sales in this price range. That's a 67 percent increase over the same period in 2011. As a result of this torrid sales pace, the current inventory of 40 available condos should only last until mid-November—an absorption rate of just over 1.5 months. Incredible!

The South End accounted for around 30 percent of the sales in this price range, and in the first eight months of 2012, South End sales from $600K to $699K increased 77 percent.

That's fantastic, but it doesn't compare to the 300 percent jump in Jamaica Plain. A year ago, there was no market for JP condos in the $600K to $699K price range. Based on the sales pace over the first eight months of 2011, at the end of September 2011, JP had a one-year supply of condos available for purchase in the sixes. No one orders more when they have a one-year supply, you know what I mean? Yet at the end of September this year, JP had only a 1.77-month supply of on-market condos in the sixes. In Boston real estate jargon: "That's a friggin' wicked-hot market!"

Why are buyers in this price range choosing JP over other city destinations? Well, it could be what you get for the money. Back Bay had the second largest amount of sales in the sixes. A Back Bay sale in this range was on average around 950 square feet, and, depending on the strength of location, had one or two bedrooms. If you spent in the sixes in the South End, you might have gotten two bedrooms, but it would have been rare to get more than 1,300 square feet. Also, about 40 percent of the South End condos sold in this price range had only one bathroom.

What did you get in JP in the sixes? Three-plus bedrooms, two-plus bathrooms, 2,000 square feet, 1 to 2 parking spaces and spanking-new, cool finishes... Slight difference, ya think?

· Our Bates By the Numbers archive [Curbed Boston]

[Pictured: the kitchen of a 3-BR at 85 Boylston in Jamaica Plain that traded for $640K over the summer]