The Condo Market is On Fire in Boston and Beyond

David McCarthy, Principal of 5 Keller Williams Realty Offices in Boston/Newton
David McCarthy, Principal of 5 Keller Williams Realty Offices in Boston/Newton

For ten months running, the Massachusetts condo market has been on fire with both the downtown core and surrounding suburbs seeing brisk sales, buyer demand and rising prices. A popular real estate option for many consumers - condo demand has risen even more so in the past year. According to Banker and Tradesman, a highly regarded Boston area real estate publication, condo sales rose in April by 7% with a total of 1,596 transactions in the state. Year to date 5,018 condos sold in Massachusetts, reflecting a 10.7% increase over 2013 statistics. What’s more – Bay State sales prices have seen an impressive uptick of 15% over last year’s sales prices with the average cost of a condo now at $310,000. In fact, in April the median cost of a condo was just $5,000 below the median price of a single family home – and that’s quite impressive when you consider that the difference between condo sales prices and single family home prices was $72,000 ten years ago.

When you consider the statistics above keep in mind that these condos probably went under agreement in February - during one of the worst winters on record. During that timeframe, single home sales volume dipped slightly but condo seekers - knowing the intensity of the market – continued to trudge through snow and weather severe conditions to attend open houses and maintain an active, ambitious home search. So what’s making the condo market so hot right now – and not just in Boston?

Boston has one of the largest supplies of condos in the nation. The city’s historic properties and limited open space have prompted a large condo base. Yet there is approximately one third of the condos on the market today than we saw in 2010. With more buyers vying for less inventory – is it any wonder that the downtown real estate market is smoking? Other factors that have created today’s competitive condo landscape include a stronger economy, low interest rates and improved consumer confidence. Then there is the influx of buyers and would-be-homeowners that are drawn to a downtown condo as a new lifestyle choice. Today’s condo buyers in Boston include single females, international investors, empty-nesters and the city’s professional workers. City residents and prospective buyers are drawn to Boston’s safe and scenic access to cultural attractions, high-paying jobs, fine dining, nightlife, architectural delights and historic charm. Moreover, with baby boomers looking at lifestyle changes, especially over the next ten years, Boston promises to be a hot condo market for years to come. For these reasons and more, purchasing real estate in Beantown is a wise investment and great housing choice, if you can afford it.

With new condo developments underway in attractive neighborhoods like the Seaport and Charlestown, some pressure may come off traditionally alluring areas such as the Back Bay, Beacon Hill and South End.  But other condo-seekers have increasingly set their sights outside of city limits. In fact, the North Shore and Merrimack Valley were among the top condo markets in April while West of Boston, South of Boston and the Worcester area remained flat. Some of these outlying buyers want to stay in familiar territories but downscale, and others are seeking modern amenities with open space that are often found in newer suburban condo developments.  

Regardless of whether you seek city living, suburban splendor or a move towards the New Hampshire border – condo living seems to be a strong consideration for many Bay Staters. It’s important to remember if you are looking to land a condo sometime in 2014, a strategic, proactive game plan and the assistance of a reputable, market-savvy realtor is paramount. With the average sales time in Massachusetts 81 days in April (10 days shorter than last year’s transaction period) – managing time, expectations and real estate resources is today’s condo buyer’s best bet.

David McCarthy knows the market – and the industry - and can offer perspective on Boston’s historic neighborhoods as well as the west of Boston suburbs. McCarthy is principal of five synergistic Keller Williams Realty offices in Newton and Boston’s Back Bay, Beacon Hill, South End and Charlestown neighborhoods. As Vice President of the Greater Boston Association of REALTORS, he also offers a bird’s eye view of the real estate industry. A respected and engaged leader, McCarthy has created a refreshing real estate culture that is entrepreneurial, agent-centric, education based and progressive. Keller Williams Realty is the largest real estate franchise company in the United States with approximately 700 offices and 80,000 associates around the world. For more details on David McCarthy visit http://www.reinma.com/atj/user/AdditionalGetAction.do?pageId=329117


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