Boston Condominium Inventory is so Low…(Insert Punchline Here)

David Bates / August 27, 2012-10:56 am

The Greater Boston condominium inventory is becoming a joke, and a bad one.

To illustrate how low current inventory is, I thought I would share the cruel results of a couple of recent MLS searches I did on behalf of active buyers.

In Brighton, a market which sold 232 condominiums in 2011 and which is also one of Boston’ s most sought after rental markets, there are 10 condominiums on the market under $300K that have more than 500 square feet and are on the second floor or higher. None, however, are in a building which listing agents have indicated has more than 50% owner occupancy — a necessary characteristic for most buyers who want to obtain a loan with less than 20% down.

Under $500K, Brighton has only one 2-bedroom condominium situated on the 2nd floor or above with more than 825 square feet of living space whose MLS profile shows it is in a building with reasonable owner occupancy.  So if you want a two-bedroom condo with this profile, but are hoping for a short walking distance to the B line: fuhgetaboutit.  There are none available.

In 02446, a Brookline zip code which includes Coolidge Corner, there are no condominiums whatsoever on the market under $300K that are on the second floor or higher and have more than 500 square feet. The entry level price for this location and features is $335K. The Coolidge Corner market is so tight that if a buyer wants a reasonably sized two-bedroom condominium (more than 825 square feet) with secured parking (assigned or deeded), there are currently only two available (as of July 22). One is new to market and priced at $583K, and the other is listed at $945K and has a condo fee in excess of $1,000 a month.

South Boston offers a little more selection than Brighton or Coolidge Corner… but the condos there go fast. There are currently three, two-bedrooms priced under $400K which have more than 825 square feet and are on the second floor or above. According to MLS statistics, however, seven sold in the last month. That’s an unheard of absorption rate of .4! Will you have better luck in Southie if you go up a little in price? Well, if you increase your search to $499K, an additional seven properties become available. Yet, eight sold in the last month. Simply put: In South Boston, they are selling them faster than they can list them.

I’m betting inventory in your community is low too. So on the next scorching hot day, if you see someone looking weak at the knees, don’t offer them a glass of water. Be kind and offer them a moderately priced condominium in your neighborhood. It just might be the answer to putting a kick back in their step. LOL.