Prices go up, inventory goes down in Boston real estate

Wayne Braverman
Link Boston Homes
The Sudbury Condominiums is a luxury new construction tower offering the best of boutique and resort living with only 55 condos in the heart of downtown Boston.

2022’s Boston real estate market has started off with higher price and lower inventory.

According to LINK, there were 707 homes sold in the first quarter in the neighborhoods it covers. That’s down 9 percent from the same time last year. No surprise since inventory hit a low point not seen in the city in a long time.

At one point early in the quarter, only 134 homes were available for homebuyers. The picture got a bit better late in the quarter, rising to 169 units as the market headed into April. This marks the fourth straight quarter with a sharp decline in inventory.

Those who are selling are probably all smiles since prices are skyrocketing.

Miller Samuel Inc., which released its report on the state of the real estate market in Boston for Douglas Elliman, said that in the condo market, "All price trend indicators rose significantly from prior-year levels as listing inventory fell sharply." They also note that one in four sales went through bidding wars for the fourth straight quarter.

However, as high as prices seem at the moment, Miller Samuel Inc. points out, “Condo price trend indicators saw significant annual gains, but remain short of pre-pandemic levels.”

This is the lobby of Haddon Hall at 29 Commonwealth Ave. in the Back Bay. This new building offers nine luxury homes. Four of the top biggest sales in the city during the first quarter happened here.

The average selling price of condos in Boston was up 23 percent, closing at $1,314,910 while the median ticked up 6 percent as compared to last year’s first quarter to $849,000.

The average price per quarter foot jumped up 10 percent to $1,016 and the median landed at $907.

Sales rose only in three neighborhoods covered by LINK – Midtown, Back Bay and the South End. The biggest jump in sales citywide was in homes with three-plus bedrooms, rising 26 percent to 150 sold. However, the most popular condos selling were those of the two-bedroom variety – 311 of those sold during the first three months of the year.

Echelon Seaport residents enjoy a lot of great amenities, including one indoor and two outdoor pools as well as state of the art fitness facilities containing an indoor basketball court, a golf simulator and yoga studio. The Club Level features a fireplace lounge, private dining room and outdoor terraces with grill stations and fire pits. Services include 24/7 concierge, doormen, porters and 24/7 valet parking.

Luxury condos

This category was hot during the first quarter. Sales mounted 13 percent from last year to 140 units changing hands. The average selling price soared upwards an amazing 59 percent to $2,569,366 while the median zoomed up 37 percent to $1,710,000. The average price per square foot is now $1,569 – lofting 14 percent while the median ascended 13 percent to $1,499.

The luxe category includes the full-service buildings such as the InterContinental, Four Seasons, Ritz, Rowes Wharf, One Dalton, The Lucas, Pierce Boston, The Lyndon, The Whitwell, 50 Liberty, Lovejoy Wharf, Millennium Tower and 180 Beacon. These places typically include valet parking and concierge service along with lifestyle amenities such as social clubs, theaters, gyms and pools. Some even include an array of special events.

Here is the breakdown of overall sales per neighborhood covered by LINK and Boston Homes:

The tops two sales in Boston during the first quarter both occurred at The Mandarin in the Back Bay. This is the living room in PH 2C, which sold on March 28 for $13,350,000.

Back Bay

Condo sales were lively in the Back Bay during first quarter. Sales rose 15 percent to 85 units sold. The top six sales and nine of the top 10 sales during the first three months of the year were in this neighborhood.

The average selling price in the Back Bay dashed up 29 percent to a city-high $2,575,395 and the median increased 20 percent to $1,390,000.

The average price per square foot went up 15 percent to $1,460 (second highest in Boston) and the median jumped to $1,254.

Homes stayed on the market an average of 76 days.

Though dwarfing its neighbors, The Tudor unifies a diversity of Beacon Hill and Back Bay styles – brick bowfront, French Second Empire, Queen Anne and Richardsonian Romanesque - into a captivating castle that “fits into the hill perfectly” and “provides an abundance of outlooks, nooks and bays for every apartment.”

Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill saw sales slip 14 percent to 32 homes sold. That’s not for lack of interest – it’s because of the shortage of homes to purchase.

The average selling price trickled down 3 percent to $1,602,508, but the median hopped up 6 percent to $892,000. The average price per square foot is now $1,259 and the median is $1,173. Homes here stay on the market an average of 74 days.

Charlestown

Charlestown remains a popular place to call home. During the first quarter, 66 homes changed hands – behind 20 percent from the opening quarter of last year. Once again, if there were more homes available, they would sell.

Competition for what is available is zealous. The average selling price ($995,628) and median price ($845,000) both initiated new neighborhood records.

The average price per square foot for a home in this part of the city is $796 and the median is $777.

“The outlook for Charlestown is strong as buyer pressure and pent-up demand remains high, particularly in the single-family home product set,” said Gibson Sotheby agent Nancy Roth earlier in the year about what to expect this year in Charlestown.

East Boston

With new developments and a lot of interest from prospective buyers, East Boston is among the city’s trendiest neighborhoods. During the first quarter, 109 homes sold. The average selling price here is the more affordable in the LINK coverage area – $597,947 and the median is $610,000.

The average price per square foot is also the lowest at $625 as is the median at $620.  

This neighborhood has grown significantly in popularity for those buying homes. East Boston, which at one time was a place home-shoppers pretty much ignored, is now very much in demand.

A home at Pierce Boston could be convenient and appealing to the professionals flocking to the Fenway. And this neighborhood is not just for the museums, colleges and Red Sox games - Pierce Boston provides residents looking for high quality luxury living a perfect place to live.

Fenway 

The Fenway saw sales plummet 50 percent during the quarter. Only 22 units sold during the first three months. The average selling price dwindled 19 percent to $649,250 and the median shed 23 percent, now at $542,500 – the most affordable among the LINK neighborhoods. The average PSF is now $1,031 and the median is $978.

Midtown

Midtown had an impressive quarter with sales burgeoning 63 percent to 44 homes with new owners. The average selling price zipped up 38 percent to $2,056,676 – second highest in the city. The median selling price vaulted up 25 percent to $1,532,000.

The average price per square foot spiraled up 19 percent to $1,268 and the median glided up 12 percent to $1,199.

This exceptional PH residence at 45 Province in Midtown is one of only two homes on the 30th floor. PH 3A was one of the top sales in this part of the city. This home features spectacular panoramic exposures via floor-to-ceiling windows in each room with views ranging from Boston Harbor to the Financial District, Boston Common, Charles River, Back Bay, Beacon Hill and the North End. The spacious layout also offers two terraces plus a Juliet balcony along with three bedrooms and three baths.

North End

North End sales sunk 61 percent to only seven units sold. The average selling price is now $706,429 and the median is $610,000 – tied with East Boston as the second most affordable in the coverage area.

The price per square foot ticked up to $831 for the average and $857 for the median.

One of the reasons for the low sales number is that there wasn’t much to buy. Homes in this neighborhood usually sell fast.

Twenty Two Liberty is a great place to call home in the Seaport neighborhood. This luxury haven’s attentive concierge staff offers a wide range of services. Building amenities include an owners' library with a board room and a well-equipped fitness facility.

Seaport

This area of the city saw 50 home sales, down 12 percent from the same time last year. The average selling price leapt up 17 percent to $1,812,902. The median selling price of $1,433,213 is tops in Boston.

The price per square foot is also the highest in Boston, now standing at $1,491 while the median is $1,584.

The average time on the market was the fastest in Boston – only 26 days.

South Boston

Southie continues to be a sizzling spot for those seeking new homes. As the city’s top selling area, 130 homes were sold in the first quarter, which is actually a 25 percent descent from last year. However, that’s not because the market is cold – that’s due to lower inventory.

It was a record quarter in two categories in Southie. The list includes:

– Average selling price ($914,046)

– Median selling price ($826,000)

The average price per square foot is now $772 and the median is $764.

Homes in South Boston generally don’t stay on the market for long – demand is heavy in this very family-friendly neighborhood. The average time to sell a home here was 62 days in the opening three months of the year.

South End

The South End continues to be a place where many people want to live. Homes in this neighborhood sold in an average of 58 days – the second fastest turnaround time in the city.

In the year’s opening period, the South End set a new neighborhood record with an average selling price of $1,405,466 – a 21 percent hike from the same time last year.

This was one of the city’s only three neighborhoods with an increase of sales from a year ago. This time, 125 homes sold.

The median sales price was $955,000. The average price per square foot was $1,133 and the median PSF was $1,087.

Waterfront

Sales in the Waterfront dropped 18 percent with only 28 units sold. The average selling price descended 20 percent to $988,575 while the median did a dip dive of 26 percent to $826,260.

The average PSF is now at $949 and the median is $912. Homes in this part of Boston stuck around on the market an average of 98 days.

West End

The West End saw sales decline 18 percent to 9 units sold for the quarter. The average selling price tumbled 17 percent to $667,556 and median lost a percent, falling to $690,000.

The average PSF ($667) and median PSF ($652) were second lowest in the coverage area.