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Downtown Boston condo prices by neighborhood reveal pre-spring gains

But the coronavirus pandemic has upended just about everything housing market-wise

A row of rowhouses along a city street. Shutterstock

Everyone pretty much agrees that the novel coronavirus pandemic has hit pause on the traditionally busy spring real estate market in Boston—and no one’s quite sure the extent of the pandemic’s effects on measures such as housing sales and prices.

So these latest statistics on condo prices in various downtown Boston neighborhoods should be understood accordingly. They likely each represent a highwater mark for their respective areas—gargantuan double-digit percentage gains in these pricing measures were not uncommon—though it’s unclear how long before they rise again (and history tells us they will).

The figures come from a report from appraiser Miller Samuel and brokerage Douglas Elliman covering closed deals in downtown Boston during the first three months of 2020. Overall, that report showed a strong market, from a seller’s perspective, and one amping up to the spring activity. Again, though, in came the coronavirus and out went certainty.


Back Bay. The average condo sales price here in the first quarter was $3,360,285, a 77.3 percent annual increase, and the average price per foot was $1,902—a 26 percent gain from the first quarter of 2019. The median sales price—probably the best measure since a few deals wouldn’t skew it like with the average—was $2,113,500, a 76 percent gain.

Beacon Hill. The average condo price was $2,147,769, a 61.2 percent annual rise, and the average was $1,572, a 25.5 percent increase from a year ago. The median price was $1,073,000, up 47.2 percent annually.

Charlestown. The average price was $764,711 here, up 1.3 percent annually, and the average per foot was $705, up 1 percent. The median price was $755,000, a 6.5 percent gain from the year before.

Fenway. Here the average sales price was $716,708, a 7.1 percent annual decline. And the average per foot was $906—also a decline, of 9.4 percent. The median condo price was up, though, 14.2 percent, to $668,000.

Downtown Crossing (the Miller Samuel-Douglas Elliman report calls it Midtown). The average price was $1,917,286, a 49.6 percent increase from the first quarter of 2019, and the average per foot was $1,218, an 18 percent increase. The median was $1,670,000, a 77.1 percent gain.

North End. The average sales prices was $777,800, a 28.3 percent annual increase, and the average per foot was $866, 0.1 percent up from last year (so basically unchanged). The median was $699,000, a 42.9 percent gain.

Seaport District. Here the average sales price was $1,692,328, a 56.1 percent annual increase, and the average per foot was $1,570, a 94.1 percent gain. The median was $1,369,978, a 49.1 percent increase.

South Boston. The average sales price in the first quarter was $854,065, a 22.5 percent increase, and the average per foot was up 8.5 percent, to $737. The median price was $797,000, a 22.1 percent increase from the year before.

South End. The average price was $1,298,141 in the first quarter, up 2.7 percent annually, and the average per foot was $1,069—an 8.6 percent gain. The median was $1,055,750, a decline of 3.6 percent compared with the same quarter a year ago.

Waterfront. The average price was $1,267,559, a 12.8 percent annual decline, and the average per foot was $1,112, a 3.2 percent rise. The median price was $924,500, a 23.6 percent decline from the year before.

West End. And here the average sales price was $552,962, down 14.2 percent annually. The average per foot was $627, a decline of 20 percent; and the median was $525,000, up 4.6 percent year over year.