clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Downtown Boston condo market sees sharp drop in sales as median price hits $838,500

Sales down nearly 20 percent annually in fourth quarter of 2018 compared with a year before

A row of close-together three-story rowhouses. Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock

It took longer to sell a downtown Boston condo at the end of 2018 compared with a year before, and there were a lot fewer such sales. That is according to a newly released analysis from appraiser Miller Samuel and brokerage Douglas Elliman.

The number of closed condo sales in downtown Boston declined 19.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018, to 555, compared with the same period in 2017. The number of sales were also down 42.6 percent in the fourth quarter compared with the third quarter.

The Miller Samuel-Douglas Elliman report tracked neighborhoods such as Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Charlestown, Fenway, the North End, the West End, the South End, the Seaport District, and South Boston.

Some neighborhoods saw particularly pronounced sales drops. In Beacon Hill, sales dropped 41.9 percent annually in the fourth quarter. In Charlestown, they we're off 25 percent; in Southie, 19.9 percent.

The analysis also found that the average sales price for a downtown Boston condo was $1,123,745 in the fourth quarter of 2018, down 3.2 percent from the same period the year before but up 2.5 percent from the third quarter.

The average sale price per square foot was $1,020, up from both the fourth quarter of 2017 and from the third quarter of 2018.

The median condo sale price was $838,500—up 1.6 percent from the quarter before and 0.4 in the fourth quarter of 2017, when it was $835,000. (The median is probably the best measure of what it costs to buy because a big deal here and there doesn’t skew it that much.)

Those yearly and quarterly sales drops in the fourth quarter were the most striking facet of the report, however. And it’s those drops that led to what Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman described as the highest fourth-quarter inventory of unsold condos in downtown Boston in five years.

The inventory was up, in fact, 28.2 percent from the fourth quarter of 2017, though it was down 35.2 percent from the third quarter of last year. Meanwhile, it took 54 days from the original listing date to sell a downtown condo in the fourth quarter, up 31.7 percent from the quarter before and 12.5 percent from the fourth quarter of 2017.

The Miller Samuel-Douglas Elliman analysis also broke out the luxury condo market in downtown Boston—what they defined as the top 10 percent of the fourth quarter sales prices. Luxury sales were also down markedly: 42.3 percent quarter to quarter and 18.8 percent year over year.

The average sales price for a luxury condo was down 7.8 percent annually, to $3,388,866, in the fourth quarter, and the median was down 12.5 percent, to $2.8 million. The average per square foot, though, was up 14.2 percent, to $1,705.