Here is the latest 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 takes a look at condo fees for two-bedroom condos in Back Bay. (Last week, he broke down where in Boston three-bedrooms were selling right now.)
I compared the condo fees of Back Bay two-bedroom condominiums that sold in the first half of 2002 with the condo fees of those that sold in the first half of 2012. What did I find out?
In the first half of 2002, the median fee for a Back Bay two-bedroom condo that sold was $343. Only two such fees topped $1,000 a month. Citywide, five two-bedroom condos sold in the first half of 2002 with condo fees in excess of $1,000 a month.
In the first half of 2012, the median fee for a Back Bay two-bedroom condo that sold had increased to $602 and, of the 113 Back Bay two-bedroom condos sold then, nearly one-quarter (26) had fees in excess of $1,000 a month. Nine topped $2,000 a month. It gets better (LOL). Four topped $3,000 a month, and one had a condo fee in excess of $5,500 a month. In fact, for the sake of comparison, I counted more than 75 two-bedroom condos that sold then that had condo fees of more than $1,000 a month. That's 15 times the total I found citywide in the first half of 2002.
Undoubtedly, the increases in the costs of condo fee staples such as energy, insurance, water and sewer, etc. were part of the reason for the increase in the median fee. For example, when Unit 6-7 at 338 Beacon sold in 2002, it had a condo fee of $516 a month. When it sold in 2012, the fee was $847.
Another factor, however, that had a significant impact on the median fee—and which was also the instigator of super-high condo fees—was the development of several full-service buildings in Back Bay. Buildings such as One Charles, the Clarendon, and the Mandarin Oriental, which weren't around in 2002, accounted for about 70 percent of the Back Bay condo fees of over $1,000 a month in the first half of 2012.
When you take these newer full-service buildings out of the equation, the median condo fee for a Back Bay two-bedroom sold in the first half of 2012 is under $500 a month, a significant increase from the same period 10 years ago for sure, but a bargain perhaps compared to the increase in the price of gas since 2002 (which, according to Wiki answers, was only $1.36 a gallon back then).
· Our By the Numbers archive [Curbed Boston]