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The Hub's Condo Menu: From Deli to Five-Star Restaurant

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, 2.0.

I took a look at what condos are available to buy in the Hub, the menu, and noticed the Hub condo menu has changed. Dramatically!

There's no more comfort food. Apparently, the Hub condo market is now serving strictly gourmet condos at five-star restaurant prices. From the same date a year ago, the median list price of a "For Sale" condo in the City of Boston, according to the Multiple Listing Service, is up $68,000 (or 14 percent). And, in the nine markets I write most about*, the cumulative median list price for actively marketed condos is up $173,000 (or 31 percent versus a year ago). Frankly, if the price acceleration keeps up, we'll all be begging Market Basket to go into real estate.

Still, in the most valuable Hub condo neighborhoods, median condo list prices went up even more. MORE than $173K? Incredible! A year ago, the median cost of actively marketed condos in the South End was $579K. As of Tuesday, it was $829K. That's a $250K increase, folks. You might think it an almost unfathomable increase... That is, until you learn that in those 12 short months the median list in Brookline went up $500,000 and the median list in Back Bay increased $688,000. Clearly, my fellow Hubsters, it won't be long before Robin Leach starts doing voice-overs for the Greater Boston MLS.

Local consumers are starving for home ownership, their slice of the American dream, but with these price increases will Bostonians be able to afford it?

As an indication of how expensive on market condos have become in the Hub, consider this: Despite the fact that Boston has only about 40 percent as many condos as it had on the market two years ago, now there are actually more condos priced at more than $1,000 a square foot than there were two years ago. In Back Bay, two out of every three condos on the market are priced at more than $1,000 a square foot.

New developments haven't really hit the Boston condo market, but new prices have. You don't like the prices? Well, no soup for…er… no condo for you.
*Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Brookline, Cambridge, Charlestown, Jamaica Plain, Somerville, South End, South Boston.
· Our Bates By the Numbers archive [Curbed Boston]