Rare foreclosure auction takes place at Ritz-Carlton Towers, Boston
Feb 2011 15


If you were walking through the Boston Common on the way to the Financial District earlier today you caught a glimpse of something as rare as the white winged dove: a real-life foreclosure auction in the city of Boston.

Unit #906 at 3 Avery Street was set to be auctioned today. I’m getting the information second-hand, but, if sold, it appears the final price was somewhere near $685,000.

The original owner purchased the 1,240-square foot condo back in 2005 for $1.1 million, which was a lot of money for what is a two-bedroom, two-bathroom unit. I’m confused as to why it would be for so much, given what other units were selling for. And, the original loan looks to have been for $1.144 million, more than the actual purchase price. Something was going on there, not sure what.

Subsequently, the loan was refinanced and, apparently, reduced to $805,000, with Mt Washington Bank (now a part of Eastern Bank, according to the public record). But, the owner wasn’t able to keep up with the monthly payments, it seems. In 2007, the owner received a past-due property tax bill from the city of Boston for $6,446, an amount that was never paid off, apparently.

The condo association was also on the hook for past-due condo fees that eventually totaled $21,391.90. With few options, it filed a petition to foreclose. The auction today was the final step in that process.

Five units are currently on the market for prices in the $486-$619 range (three closer to $486 and two closer to $619). Unit #806, which may have the same floorplan but slightly more square footage, is listed at $649,000. Presumably, unit #906 would be “worth” more than that if only for its 1,200-square foot private balcony.

A couple of things of note. For one, the unit is located at 3 Avery Street, so it’s not part of the “main” Ritz-Carlton Towers; it’s across the street. It has its own condo association, the ‘Millennium Place North Low-rise Residential Condominium Association’. Plus, it was originally built as extended-stay units for the hotel and only turned into condos when the real estate market got hot. The interiors were redone and fixtures and appliances upgraded, but the building doesn’t have the “cache” of the other two towers. A great place to live, but you still need to have realistic expectations and recognize its real value.

There hasn’t been a sale at 3 Avery since early 2010, when unit #506 sold for $623,000.

Condo fees in the building run high, from $1.25 to $1.50 per square foot. Even people who spend a million dollars on a property don’t like paying high condo fees, unless the amenities outweigh the costs.

This is a case of something going terribly awry, I’m not sure how.

An interesting event on an otherwise quiet February afternoon.

Oh, and the name of the corporation under which the property was purchased?

Tulip Acquisitions.

There’s a joke there, somewhere.

P.S. The image above is not of the Ritz-Carlton Towers in Boston; it’s from their tower in Hong Kong.

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