Sales of Boston Three Beds Differ from the Rest of the Market

David Bates / September 18, 2012-11:14 am

In the first half of the year, sales transactions for Boston one bedroom condominiums were up 34%.Transactions for Boston two bedroom condominiums were up 23%.But transactions for Boston three bedrooms, that family-friendly sized condominium, were nearly flat, plus one percent.
Numbers like these — as well as the current development focus in the city on singletons and empty nesters — made me take a closer look at the dynamics of Boston’s three bedroom market.In the first half of the year, three bedroom condos made up 18% of Boston’s condominium sales. Jamaica Plain, by far, was the most popular Boston neighborhood for three bedroom condos. JP not only sold more three bedrooms than any Boston neighborhood (53), but it also had the highest percentage of its total condominium sales be three bedrooms (30%). Three bedroom condos, however, were hard to come buy on the Waterfront (2.63% of sales) in the Fenway (4.92%) and at the Leather District (5.56%). South Boston — the neighborhood which soon may become Boston’s micro-apartment capital — sold 30 three bedroom condominiums in the first half of the year (the same as it did in 2011), about 12% of total South Boston condominium sales.Boston neighborhoods didn’t just differ on the amount of three bedrooms they sold, the size and price of their three bedroom sales were also very different.

In the Back Bay, the average size of a three bedroom was around 2,400 square feet and the median price for a three bedroom was nearly $2 million. But in the South End, the average size was around 1,900 square feet and the median price was $1.2 million. In JP, three bedroom buyers received on average around 1,500 square feet in return for paying a median price in the $400Ks. In Dorchester, three beds were small in both size and price:  just under 1,300 square feet, $245K median.Probably, the most unusual aspect the numbers showed about the three bedroom market was that in some neighborhoods buyers paid more per square foot for a three bedroom condo than they did for a one or two bedroom condo (Back Bay, Beacon Hill, South End) but in other neighborhoods, buyers paid significantly less per square foot for a three bedroom than they did for a one or two bedroom (South Boston, Charlestown and Brighton). In Jamaica Plain, the price per square foot was nearly equal regardless of bedroom count.
(Based on an Analysis of MLSPIN numbers for 1/1/12-6/30/12)