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The Most Active Boston Neighborhoods by Price Range

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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.

In the first half of 2013, the multiple-listing service recorded more than 2,000 Boston condominium sales.

I divided them into 10 different price ranges, about 200 sales for each.

Listing agents had used 28 different neighborhoods to indicate in which Boston neighborhood the listings were located, so I tallied the sales to see which neighborhood was the most active in each price range. What I observed was that as sales prices increased, the neighborhood that had the most sales often changed.

In the chart above, Brighton was by far the most prolific neighborhood for sales between $236K and $283K (44 sales), but Jamaica Plain was the leader for sales between $330K and $380K (42 sales). South Boston was the top seller for the price range $493K to $580K (48 sales); and the South End was the most prolific neighborhood for condos between $740K and $1.125 million (69 sales). Finally, and not surprisingly, Back Bay topped the chart for sales exceeding $1.125 million (84 sales). Five price ranges, five different neighborhoods.

If the price ranges became more general—in other words, if a few price ranges were combined to form categories like low (under $330K), medium ($380K-$580K) and high (over $740K)—typically, a limited amount of neighborhoods would comprise the majority of sales for the entire city in these general price ranges.

For the three price points that represented condos sold below $330K, Brighton was the leader, accounting for nearly 20 percent of all the Boston condos sold in that range. Dorchester came in second with a market share of around 14 percent; and Jamaica Plain and South Boston had market shares in the 10 percent range. These four neighborhoods represented more than half of the Boston condo sales under $330K. Of course, what you got for the money changed by neighborhood. For example, in Brighton, it was unusual to see a condo with 1,000 square feet in that price range, but in Dorchester you could trip over the 1,000-plus-square-foot condo offerings.

For condos with middling price points, $380K-$580K, South Boston was the go-to neighborhood, with over 20 percent market share. The South End was second with nearly 15 percent of the sales; and Charlestown (11 percent) and Jamaica Plain (11 percent) also demonstrated they were good neighborhoods for purchasing condos in this price range.

At the high-end, the neighborhoods are even more dominant within the price ranges. For Boston condo sales over $740,000, Back Bay and South End represented about 60% of the total sales (and an even higher percentage of the sales over $1.125 million). When the luxury building-laden Waterfront and Midtown sales are added to Back Bay and South End, it totals almost 80 percent of the transactions. Of course, that's not even including Beacon Hill sales. Elite Beacon Hill placed only fifth for the most sales in this elite price range. Can you believe it?

When buyers can't find what they are looking for in a price range, it's not uncommon for them to consider spending more. But would they change neighborhoods to make the most of the buying opportunity? You be the judge.
· Our Bates By the Numbers archive [Curbed Boston]