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Happy Anniversary... Listing? Boston's Older For-Sale Signs

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 wrote about why so few deals were falling apart nowadays.)

Certain days of every calendar year inspire celebration: holidays, birthdays and memorializing marriage vows.

But the anniversary of the day an owner put his, her or their home on the market probably wouldn't spark a party, right? At the same time, a survey of market times shows that a number of Boston condominium owners who put homes up for sale will still be looking for a buyer a year later.

On Sept. 23, 2010, 298 Boston condos, representing every conceivable price range, had been on the market for at least a year without finding a buyer. A year later (9/23/11), 196 of the on-market Boston condos had endured a minimum of 365 consecutive days of marketing and come up sans buyer. Ditto on the price ranges.

Yet, this Sept. 23, only 33 on-market Boston condos had been up for sale for over a year having struck out with buyers. That's a huge drop! What's more, today there are no active Boston condominiums between the list prices of $350K and $699K which have had a one-year anniversary of their list date. That's "zero, zilch, nada"—down from 48 a year ago. Somebody please call iParty and tell them to move the "Happy Listing Anniversary" banners to the close-out section next to beach toys.

Can listings with such extraordinarily long market times still sell, though? The simple truth is that any listing can sell at any time. Times, tastes, inventory and opinions of value constantly change. In the first half of 2011, 70 Boston condo listings that were at least one year old sold.

They represented every conceivable price range. In the first half of 2012, 73 sold. Ditto on the price ranges. Heck, 18 Bayside, #2, in Dorchester closed on April 27 this year and that listing was more than three years old. Maybe the listing aged like fine wine?

If it did, it could be good news for 425 South Huntington, #9, a Jamaica Plain two-bedroom currently listed for $245K, which has accrued the most days on the market of any currently listed Boston condo. It technically had its Wood Anniversary (five years) on June 22, 2012, but, due to the way MLS tracks market time, it still might be appropriate to celebrate it on Oct. 9, which marks 1,825 days of MLS market time for this listing (which I understand is getting a lot of showings).

· Our Bates By the Numbers archive [Curbed Boston]