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Thank You for Not Selling My Boston Condo

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. And check out his new ebook, Context: Nine Key Condo Markets.

When a listed home fails to sell, it can be emotional. The owner may be prevented from taking the next step on the property ladder and all the work that was put toward keeping the home show-ready seems for naught, and all the time that was spent vacating the home for showings to prospective buyers seems wasted.

Some Hub owners whose condo didn't sell in the last housing downturn, however, shouldn't be mad—they should be glad. In fact, they might want to pick up the phone today and call their broker from way back when and say, "Thanks for not selling my home." That's because a new real estate market beats selling at a lower sales price in the old market any day of the week. And, of course, failing to sell in those bad markets means they have an opportunity to sell in today's better market.

Take, for instance, 2 Claremont Park, #1, in the South End, a condo that was on the market for 102 days as of the end of 2011, but failed to find a buyer willing to close at the list price of $369K. It took just 18 days this spring, however, for this condo to find a buyer willing to pay $389K. At minimum, assuming no one would have negotiated the previous $369K price, that's a $20,000 price improvement in just 18 months. In other words, that condo's value appreciated at a rate of more than $1,000 a month. A feat only made possible by the earlier sales fail.

The market changed even faster between 2012 and 2013. So the South End condo at 39 Worcester Street, #1, that couldn't find a buyer willing to pay $829K at the end of 2012 was easily able to find one willing to pay $872.5K in the first half of 2013. In other words, over a seven-month period, that condo's value was appreciating at least $6,000 a month. Another great sales fail.

Other would-be sellers had more than one epic failed sales attempt to be thankful for. While it often looked like they would never find the right buyer, in the end some of those sellers found out that persistence often pays off.

Take 360 Newbury Street, #602, in Back Bay, a condo which was listed every other year, like it was running for Congress. In '09, it ran for $639K; in '11, for $699K; and, in 2013, it ran for $720K and was elected as a "new sale" at $710K.

Unit 8 at 371 Beacon Street, also in Back Bay, was even more persistent. It failed to sell every year between 2010 and 2013. Its list prices were $399K, $425K, $439K, and $459K. This year it sold for $450K, a price that is at least $50K more than what the seller was willing to take when it first went on the market.

Back Bay's 387 Marlborough Street, #3, is one of the few condos that I found that has been on the market five times since 2009. As recently as 2011, the list price was $324,900. In the first half of 2013, this condo listed at $379K and sold for $410K. Incredible! The thank-you list for this condo might sound a little like Steve Martin's, the comedian who liked to thank each and every member of his audience. LOL.
· Our Bates By the Numbers archive [Curbed Boston]

360 Newbury Street

360 Newbury Street, Boston, MA