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Here's Where Hub Buyers Migrate When Condo Prices Rise

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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


Through the first five months of 2012, the median sales price of a South Boston condo was $390,000. But in the first five months of 2015, South Boston's median condo sale was $555,000. That's a 42 percent increase. Incredible!

And, in the first five months of 2012, the median price of a condo in Somerville was $390,500, almost identical to the South Boston median. But three years and 40 percent later, Somerville's median condo sale price is $540,000.

In a little bit of time, Hub condo prices have changed a lot. It kind of makes you wonder where all those $390,000 buyers went. Some Somerville condo-buying wannabes probably ended up in Medford, where a 37 percent increase in the median condo price in recent years put it at $384,000 through the first five months of 2015. And those that were in a South Boston condo-buying state of mind may have often found themselves moving to Dorchester, where the median price increased from $228,000 to $343,000.

Of course, a significant change in a market's price often leads to a change in a buyer's destination. And a lot of times that buyer's new destination is called "the next market over." So, if yesterday's South Boston buyer is buying in Dorchester today and it's making you wonder which 2012 market is presently losing buyers to South Boston, look no farther than the South End. In the first five months of 2012, the median price of a South End condo was $575,000, a price that is suspiciously similar to the $555,000 median price in South Boston today.

And, of course, if yesterday's South End buyer is buying in South Boston today, where are a lot of today's South End buyers coming from? A good guess would be buyers who previously wanted to live in Back Bay. That certainly explains why today's South End median price of $784,000 is so reminiscent of the $786,000 median price buyers paid to acquire condos in Back Bay in the first five months of 2012.

In the first five months of 2015, the median Back Bay sales price is $1.2 million. Where are those buyers coming from? As we have gone all the way up the Hub condo buying food chain, it's clear many have to be coming from markets outside of Boston, including the suburbs and Asia.
· Our Bates By the Numbers archive [Curbed Boston]