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Three Alternative Greater Boston Markets Seeing Soaring Sales

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Here's the latest installment of Bates By the Numbers, a weekly feature by Boston real estate agent David Bates that drills down into the Hub's housing market to uncover those trends you would not otherwise see. Check out his ebook, Context: Nine Key Condo Markets.

Does the condo search have you a bit down? Is every property you look at getting dozens of offers and going tens of thousands of dollars over ask? If that's the case, maybe it's time to take your search out of the mainstream condo neighborhoods and consider buying in a few alternative markets.

If Cambridge's median price point is just too high and Somerville's vibe is just too cool, could be time to consider a condo in Medford? "Medfah?," you ask dumbfounded. Well, Medford was a good enough home for billionaire NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Tufts University and the always delicious Bob's Food Store. Could it be home for you, too?

John Veneziano, a top Medford agent, points out the newer higher-end construction and retail in Wellington Square, the Orange line stop, and tells me that young couples and singles in their thirties are moving to Medford, many of them making cash offers. Medford's median condo price is $100,000 below Somerville's and $200,000 below Cambridge's; and Medford's condo sales were up 50 percent in the first 11 months of 2013, compared with the same period in 2011.

If the South End has become too expensive and you can't get what you want in Jamaica Plain, it could be time to consider buying a condo in Roslindale. "Rozzie?," you react in knee-jerk fashion. Kris MacDonald, a top agent in the Roslindale market for 12 years, tells me that in 2013 Roslindale has been "phenomenal." Multiple-listing numbers show Roslindale's transaction count up nearly 90 percent compared with the first 11 months of 2012 (from 72 sales to 135). Kris says a lot of people end up in Roslindale because of the comparative value; the median price per square foot in Roslindale was just over $270, making it on average about $75 a square foot cheaper than JP and way, way cheaper than other parts of Boston.

If the South Boston is market is too crazy, maybe Quincy instead? You reply, "Quincy?," shocked. Michael Flavin, a Quincy broker for 17 years, says the condo market there "is very good," and points out that Quincy has four MBTA stations, two new middle schools, a new high school, and that it's not just close to Boston, it's close to the ocean. According to the MLS, the median price for a Quincy condo is only $258K. Additionally, over 90 percent of the sold Quincy condos I looked at had parking. Quincy condo sales were up this year 75 percent compared with the first 11 months of 2011, and even though the city has bidding wars only 10 of Quincy's 385 condos sold in those 11 months were able to garner even $10K over ask.

When everyone in the condo market is zigging, it's time to consider zagging.
· Our Bates By the Numbers archive [Curbed Boston]