How Features Impact Condo Fees

David Bates / May 7, 2012-10:59 am

Buyers at 186 Beacon Street in the Back Bay hit the condo fee JACKPOT! That building has no condo fees. Apparently, the income from two rental studios owned by the association pay the building’s expenses. Out of more than 400 MLS Back Bay condominium sales that I reviewed which occurred in 2011, the two units at 186 Beacon were the only ones I could find that had no condo fee. The rest had a condo fee that cost owners between $85 and $10,246 a month (see my previous post on Boston’s highest condo fee). The median condo fee for Back Bay,  Boston’s most established condominium market, was $565 a month.

This Back Bay condominium association has no condo fees.

While high condo fees always seem to provoke concern with buyers it’s not the size of the fee that counts, it’s what you get for the money. So, I did a breakdown of the median fee based on the specific feature the condo fee covered. I have attached below a list of features, and what the median fee was for a condominium whose association included that specific feature in the fee.

When a specific feature is included in the condo fee, how does it affect the fee? Well, when Back Bay condominium fees included heat in the condo fee, the median condo fee went from $565 to $578 a month. That’s a nominal increase. Not all amenities, however, provoke such modest movement in the median fee. For example, Back Bay condominium associations with exercise rooms have median fees that are more than double the median for all of Back Bay condominium sales. And when valet parking is involved, the fee on average  is 2 1/2 times the median.

Check out the median Back Bay fee by the feature included in the fee.


Feature Included: Median Fee +/-
Back Bay $565
Heat $578
Extra Storage $722
Elevator $732
Pool $933
Air Conditioning $1,016
Exercise Room $1,264
Valet Parking $1,419

(Numbers are based on a BatesRealEstateReport analysis of MLS Back Bay condominium sales settled between 1/1/11 and 12/31/11.)