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Michael Phelps and Boston Condos: They Move Fast

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Here is the third installment of 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 how fast Boston condos are selling. (Last week, he looked at just how low condo inventory has gotten.)

Boston condominiums that closed in July* found buyers on average 120 percent faster than during the same time period a year ago. A year ago, it took Boston condos on average 83 days of marketing to secure a contract with a ready, willing and able buyer. This year, the average for the same period wasonly 66 days. With more than 420 sales closing over the month, nearly 20 years of cumulative market time was saved.

The average market time of 66 days is the fastest for July closings since 2005. Speeding up the average market time is the fact that a higher percentage of inventory is selling within a week of being on the market. More than 11 percent of the Boston condos that closed in July found buyers within the first seven days of coming to market. In the previous four years, only 5.7 percent to 8.4 percent of those closing in July found buyers within seven days. When you put days on the end of a time, it might not seem so fast, but keep in mind these condos have a market time that is at minimum about one-tenth of the average time it takes to sell a Boston condo. That’s Michael Phelps fast!

Drilling down into the neighborhoods, South Boston (26 percent), Jamaica Plain (23 percent) and the South End (18 percent) had a high percentage of sales finding buyers within two weeks. Back Bay had a slower average-days-on-market time (149 days) than other parts of Boston, but 30 percent of the listings there that sold between $1 million and $2 million found buyers within two weeks. Outside of Boston, Cambridge (22 percent) and Somerville (19 percent) had a high percentage of condos selling within two weeks, but all these numbers can’t compare to Brookline, Greater Boston’s market-time speed demon. The average market time in Brookline was just 39 days, and 42 percent of the condos which changed ownership in July went under agreement in less than two weeks.

I fear that if the market time gets any faster, even Usain Bolt wouldn’t be fast enough to buy a Hub condo.

· Boston Condo Inventory Is So Low [Insert Punchline Here] [Curbed Boston]

* Numbers based on MLS analysis occurring on 8/6/12 for July Greater Boston condominium closings.

[Thaines via Flickr]