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As Downtown Boston Condo Prices Sizzle, Some Cold Water

Well, that is that [downtown Boston wipes its collective hands and walks away]. The median sales price for condos in the toniest of Boston neighborhoods—think Beacon Hill, Back Bay, Bay Village the North End, the South End, Southie and Fenway/Kenmorereached reached its highest level ($515,000) in the second quarter of 2012 since before the Great Recession, according to a new report from LINK. Downtown housing is back, you guys!

Guys? No, seriously. More or less. First, the median is a much better measure than the mean/average as one big deal there can upend the whole thing. Also, the median price is higher than even during the real estate boom of the middle of the previous decade; and a lot higher than in 2009 and 2010, when the feds were offering first-time homebuyer incentives and that skewed everything. And inventory's tighter than a snare drum (on the last day of June, 531 homes were for sale downtown, about half the number the same day the year before). That would explain the bidding wars, etc.
We would toss some cold water on the numbers. One big, undeniable thing: a lot of buyers are not getting the prices they want, however much they're ultimately selling their homes for; a new report from Zillow showed that nearly one-third of Greater Boston homes in June traded for a loss, and sellers of downtown luxury condos have been particularly beholden to the price-chop (think Tom Brady asking $10.5M and getting $9.2M). That, and the number of downtown condo sales was about even in the second quarter with the same time in 2006, but well below that in 2007. Finally, we have to wonder how much of this recent trading is due simply to the historically—and, some would say, artificially—low mortgage rates. Those shift and this whole thing could go.

· Condo Prices in Boston Hit a High [Globe]
· Boston's Luxury Market: Hold the Champagne, Grab the Cava? [Curbed Boston]
· Downtown's Biggest Recent Condo Deals: Price-Chops All! [Curbed Boston]
· It's a Seller's Market in the Hub Again! Anecdotally! [Curbed Boston]
· Is Boston's Housing Market Just ... Normal? [Curbed Boston]