Tough Real Estate Market? Not for These Folks.

David Bates / June 22, 2011-11:21 am

For many, it’s the toughest real estate market in years.

But for a few, it’s apparently a walk in the park.

MLS shows nearly 15,000 listings that have failed to sell in the last six months. Those owners might describe the market in terms of gloom and doom — but what about the nearly 1,500 home sellers that MLS shows found buyers in a week or less? For them, selling their home amidst fears of a double-dip in the housing market seems like a stroll on the beach.

Through the first five months of the year, Boston condominium “under agreements” are down 16 percent. Bad market? Not if you live in Beacon Hill where, compared to the same period in 2010, condominium transactions are up 13 percent and median pricing is up 10 percent. For an idea of how bulletproof the housing market is in this enviable city neighborhood, consider that compared to the pre-financial meltdown market of 2007, Beacon Hill is currently only one transaction off the under agreement pace and nearly 4 percent ahead on median pricing.

While finding funding for real estate development has become an endeavor that needs handicapping, there are a number of local developers who are selling with the wind at their backs. For example, the lot at 42-44 Oakview Terrace, Jamaica Plain, sold in August 2010 for $240K. The two new townhouses built on the lot sold in May 2011 for a total exceeding $1.37 million. No bubble in that price… Just the right product in the right place at the right time. Oakview Terrace is not the only developer doing well in this market. The developer at Marrett Road in Lexington recently closed on 7 of the 8 condos he had put on market. And “The Modern 2,” a development at 265 Northampton in the South End, has been finding buyers faster than you can say “Stanley Cup Champions.” Since the end of April, this ground-up building has put 13 units under agreement. For a less expensive example of development success, consider the six units put under agreement at Louis Terrace in Dorchester, the highest of which was on market for $239K.

While most home sellers are adjusting their prices down to meet the expectations and fears of buyers, a 12th floor condo at the Mandarin Oriental in Back Bay set the record for price paid per square foot in city: $2,478 per square foot. Before that, the all-time high in MLS was a Four Seasons condo that garnered $1,843 a square foot in 2000. In this market, getting $635 a square foot more than the previous record takes the cake. Sellers of 776 Boylston W12-B, time for your cake walk!

Why do some people and properties thrive when most can barely manage to survive? Stay tuned to this blog to find out.