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Pop Quiz, Hot Shots: the Hub Condo Market at the Start of 2015

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 and people you would not otherwise notice. Follow him on Twitter and check out his ebook, Context: Nine Key Condo Markets, 2.0.

I surveyed the first-quarter numbers for 13 Hub condo markets. They included Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Brighton, Brookline, Cambridge, Charlestown, Dorchester, East Boston, Jamaica Plain, Somerville, South Boston, South End and the Waterfront. Here's a quiz I came up with:
1. Which Hub condo market sold more than twice as many condos as it did in Q1 2014?
2. Which market put more $900,000 condos under agreement, Cambridge or South Boston?
3. Which Hub condo market had the worst Q1?
4. Which condo market listed more condos than it did in Q1 2014, Charlestown or Somerville?
5. What percentage of Boston listings came to market for less than $500,000?

1. In the first three months of 2015, most Hub condo markets had more snow than sales. Yet, despite more than 100 inches of reasons for buyers not to buy, East Boston was able to double the amount of condo sales that the market achieved in the first quarter of 2014. In the first three months of 2014, East Boston sold only 12 condos, but in the same time period this year 28 East Boston condos sold. Additionally, East Boston's median sales price jumped 18 percent in Q1 2015.

2. Like its streets, the South Boston high-end market is also moving in just one direction: up. In the first three months of 2014, South Boston listed only six condos for more than $900K, but in Q1 this year 27 South Boston listings came to market for more than $900,000. By the end of the quarter, the 17 South Boston listings that went under agreement for more $900,000 outnumbered the 15 listings Cambridge had put under agreement. How do you like those $900K condominium apples, Cambridge?

Related: How 100 Inches of Snow Affected Hub Real Estate Pros [Curbed Boston]

3. In the first three months of 2015, Dorchester took about a third fewer listings than it did in the same time period in 2014. And, while the cumulative condo sales for the 13 markets I surveyed dropped 14 percent for the quarter, Dorchester dropped much more steeply from Q1 2014. The 48 percent drop in Dorchester condo sales was by far the biggest of the 13 markets. Jamaica Plain's 35 percent drop was the second most precipitous fall in Q1 sales. Suggestion for Dorchester for Q1 2016: space-savers for potential buyers.

4. The 13 markets I surveyed took 17 percent fewer listings than they did in the first quarter of 2014; and, in Somerville, 24 percent fewer condos came to market. Yet, freezing temperatures had no impact on the red-hot Charlestown condo market. In the first three months of 2015, Charlestown listed a third more condos than it did in Q1 in 2014. The 33 percent increase was by far the biggest increase of the 13 markets I surveyed. South Boston's 1 percent increase in listings came in second.

5. In 2013, 60 percent of Boston listings taken in Q1 came to market for less than $500K. In 2014, 55 percent. But in Q1, 2015, only 45 percent of Boston listings were listed for under $500K.
· Our Bates By the Numbers archive [Curbed Boston]