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Slow Going So Far for Dorchester's Condo Market in 2015

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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 and people you would not otherwise notice. Follow him on Twitter and check out his ebook, CONTEXT 2015: 14 Hub Condo Markets



Someone may want to put out an APB for Dorchester condominium owners. Through the first five months of the year, far too few Dot sellers could be found. As a result, 36 percent fewer Dorchester condominiums closed compared with the same time period in 2014. Clearly, that's not the type of sales performance that you would expect from a market that over the past few years has increasingly looked like a value compared to many other Hub neighborhoods, let alone a neighborhood of the year. But also gone missing in the first five months of 2015 were much of the condo markets in Somerville (29 percent fewer sales), Brighton (33 percent fewer) and JP (19 percent fewer).

Sure, some would like to blame it on the weather. But through the first five months of the year Greater Boston condo sales as a whole were off only 15 percent from the 2014 pace, meaning that the city's sales were apparently impacted much less than some of its most vied-for neighborhoods and markets.

On the other end of the spectrum, bad weather didn't stop East Boston from selling 30 percent more condos than it did in the first five months of 2014 or three times as many as the first five months of 2013. And a record winter didn't stop Medford from selling 23 percent more, Charlestown from selling 36 percent more, or Everett from selling 76 percent more this year to May 31 vs. the first five months of '14. Certainly, the reigning logic in today's inventory-deprived Hub market is that if there's a reasonable price tag on a move-in condition condo with a half-decent location, there's not a snow storm, hurricane or funnel cloud that's going to stop a few Greater Boston home-shoppers from submitting an acceptable offer for it.

Yet, in the first two weeks of June, the number of Dot condos going under agreement dropped from 30 in 2014 to just 23 in 2015. Try to blame that on the weather. Even on June 15, with less than a week left in spring, Dorchester's for-sale inventory was down 20 percent compared with June 15, 2014. Folks, regardless of weather conditions, if you don't have it, you can't sell it.

The good news, however, is that Dot's median condo price is up 10 percent from last year and 26 percent from the first five months of 2013, appreciation which, according to Dorchester super-agent Kerry Dowlin, "will dramatically increase over the next couple of months when a lot of the higher end pendings close." So, rest assured that great prices will soon start to do what great weather never could: improve these less than impressive Dorchester condo numbers. How? By drawing sellers into the market.
· Our Bates By the Numbers archive [Curbed Boston]