Good-Bye Modestly Priced Hub Condos

David Bates / March 10, 2014-9:51 pm

Under $500K ListingsIt wasn’t too long ago that you could find a reasonably priced condo in the Hub, that is if you consider anything under $500K reasonable. But looking at today’s “For Sale” inventory, I’d say somebody should call the World Wild Life Fund because that Hub price point is an endangered species.

Starting with the city of Boston, for every condo listed under $500K today, there were at least five on market just three years ago (3/5/11). In the nine markets I cover most*, however, the depletion of moderately priced inventory is even worse. For every $500K or less listed condo that is on market today, there were more than eight on market three years ago.

Those numbers, of course, are really bad. REALLY, REALLY BAD. But the lack of inventory becomes truly horrifying when you drill down to some specific neighborhoods. For every under $500K listed condo today, three years ago there were 10 available in Charlestown, about 12 available in Brookline, and 19 available in the South End. You read those ratios right. In the South End, three years ago there were 57 sub $500K listings on the market. Today? There are just three.  In terms of percentage, that’s about a 94% drop in inventory.

Now, when I say $500K and under, I’m including all condo sizes, everything from studios to five bedrooms. But of course, Jim Carrey has a better chance of getting a date with Lauren Holly in Dumb and Dumber than the Hub buyer has of finding a condo of a decent size in today’s market.

For example, in the nine markets I cover most, if you were looking for a two to four bedroom condo with at least 1200 square feet, three years ago, 94 were available. Today?  There are just 4. If that condo had to be on at least the second floor, three years ago there were still 48 to choose from. Today, zip, zilch, nada, bupkis. Is it any wonder development companies and financial institutions are vying to break ground in the Hub? The city of champions is turning dirt into gold. Show me  500 square feet of living space and I’ll show you $500,000.

Good-bye modest price points. First time home buyers and the working class are going to miss you!


*Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Brookline, Cambridge, Charlestown, Jamaica Plain, Somerville, South Boston, South End