High end million-dollar Boston homes for sale
Oct 2011 11

The high-end Boston condominium and single-family homes’ market has remained strong despite this grueling recession.

Using MLSPIN data provided and collected from third-party sources, I see that there were 242 condos and single-family homes sold during the past six months for more than $1 million. Of these, 72 were sold for more than $2 million, and eight for more than $5 million. Four homes sold for more than $8 million. A single-family home at 20 Louisburg Square sold for $11.5 million and a condominium in the Mandarin Oriental at 776 Boylston Street sold for $13.2 million (another sold for $12.2 million).

There are currently 287 homes for sale for more than $1 million. This includes 69 single-family homes and 218 condominiums. Of the 287 homes, 112 are priced at more than $2 million. Twenty-one are listed for more than $5 million. Six are priced at $10 million or more. Currently, there are two single-family homes listed for more than $15 million, This includes a $15.9 million listing at 15 Commonwealth Ave and a $23 million property at 306 Dartmouth Street, the Ames-Webster mansion.

Please contact me for more information on high-end condo and single-family home sales in Boston, to discuss ways in which I can help you as a buyer’s agent, and for advice on listing your high-end home for sale.

Above, 56 Beacon Street, listed at $12,500,000. Jeannemarie Conley of Otis & Ahearn is the listing agent.

Back Bay open houses for Sunday, October 2, 2011
Sep 2011 30

A complete list of all open houses scheduled for the weekend of October 2, 2011 in the Back Bay.

Please contact me for complete details and to set up private showings.

MLS # Address Description List Price Time/Date
71216431 367 Beacon St 12 room, 5 bed, 4.5 bath Victorian $3,950,000 Oct 2 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM
71216285 52 Bay State Road 9 room, 4 bed, 3.5 bath Other (See Remarks) $2,599,000 Oct 2 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
71071409 1 Exeter Street 12 room, 5 bed, 4 full, 2 half bath Other (See Remarks) $3,599,000 Oct 2 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
71293854 7 Bay State Road U:2C 5 room, 2 bed, 2 bath Brownstone $699,000 Oct 2 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM
71293302 6 Arlington St U:2M 6 room, 2 bed, 2 bath Mid-Rise $2,100,000 Oct 2 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM
71293330 337 Commonwealth Ave U:40 4 room, 2 bed, 2 bath Townhouse $1,029,000 Oct 2 12:30 PM to 2:00 PM
71293405 483 Beacon St U:35 3 room, 2 bed, 1 bath Mid-Rise $449,000 Oct 2 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM
71293455 483 Beacon St U:11 5 room, 2 bed, 1.5 bath Mid-Rise $629,000 Oct 2 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM
71293606 180 Commonwealth U:B 3 room, 2 bed, 1 bath Mid-Rise $539,000 Oct 2 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM
71293707 407 Marlborough St U:3A 3 room, 1 bed, 1 bath Rowhouse $495,000 Oct 2 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM
71292461 280 Beacon Street U:71 6 room, 3 bed, 3 bath Mid-Rise $1,399,000 Oct 2 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
71290881 360 Marlborough St U:3 4 room, 2 bed, 2.5 bath Townhouse $1,199,000 Oct 2 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
71290409 34 Commonwealth Avenue U:3 3 room, 1 bed, 1 bath Townhouse $824,000 Oct 2 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
71290704 483 Beacon U:71 4 room, 2 bed, 1 bath Hi-Rise $585,000 Oct 2 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM
71287282 8 Gloucester St U:11 5 room, 2 bed, 2 bath Mid-Rise $900,000 Oct 2 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM
71287466 236 Beacon St U:4D 4 room, 2 bed, 2 bath Mid-Rise $1,375,000 Oct 2 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM
71286700 168 Marlborough Street U:1 5 room, 2 bed, 2.5 bath Brownstone $1,725,000 Oct 2 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM
71286473 311 Commonwealth Ave U:41 5 room, 2 bed, 1.5 bath Mid-Rise $749,000 Oct 2 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM
71285355 195 Marlborough St U:1 6 room, 2 bed, 2 bath Brownstone $1,075,000 Oct 2 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
71284322 127 Marlborough Street U:2 4 room, 2 bed, 1.5 bath Brownstone $959,000 Oct 2 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM
71284397 76 Marlborough Street U:4 4 room, 2 bed, 1.5 bath Brownstone $840,000 Oct 2 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
71283585 347 Commonwealth U:B 7 room, 2 bed, 2.5 bath Brownstone $2,400,000 Oct 2 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
71283677 293-295 Commonwealth Avenue U:1C 4 room, 2 bed, 1 bath Rowhouse $499,000 Oct 2 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM
71283344 146 Marlborough St U:5 3 room, 1 bed, 1 bath Brownstone $495,000 Oct 2 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM
71278281 14 Follen St U:1 3 room, 2 bed, 1.5 bath Rowhouse $849,000 Oct 2 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
71274023 464-466 Commonwealth Ave. U:PH91 3 room, 1 bed, 1 bath Mid-Rise $449,000 Oct 2 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
71275188 338 Beacon Street U:6/7 6 room, 2 bed, 2 bath Rowhouse $1,190,000 Oct 2 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
71267774 135 Marlborough Street U:8 4 room, 2 bed, 1 bath Other (See Remarks) $749,000 Oct 2 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM
71264529 80 Marlborough Street U:8 3 room, 1 bed, 1 bath Rowhouse $725,000 Oct 2 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
71264788 501 Beacon St U:3 2 room, 0 bed, 1 bath Rowhouse $299,000 Oct 2 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM
71259897 257 Marlborough Street U:11 5 room, 2 bed, 2 bath Rowhouse $824,000 Oct 2 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
71290401 133 Commonwealth U:1 4 room, 1 bed, 1 bath Brownstone $409,000 Oct 2 1:30 PM to 3:00 PM
71255222 416 Marlborough U:501 4 room, 2 bed, 2 bath Mid-Rise $669,000 Oct 2 1:15 PM to 2:30 PM
71248963 416 Marlborough St. U:202 3 room, 1 bed, 1 bath Mid-Rise $475,000 Oct 2 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
71246875 285 Beacon Street U:3A 6 room, 3 bed, 2 bath Rowhouse $999,000 Oct 2 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
71239403 413 Beacon Street U:5 4 room, 1 bed, 1 bath Rowhouse $485,000 Oct 2 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
71241126 416 Marlborough U:505 3 room, 1 bed, 1 bath Mid-Rise $495,000 Oct 2 1:15 PM to 2:30 PM
71274483 24 Marlborough Street U:5 4 room, 2 bed, 1.5 bath Mid-Rise $809,000 Oct 2 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
71268680 1 Charles St S U:705 3 room, 1 bed, 1.5 bath Mid-Rise $725,000 Oct 2 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
71231376 327 Beacon U:1 4 room, 2 bed, 2.5 bath Townhouse $995,000 Oct 2 12:00 PM to 2:30 PM
71230491 133 Marlborough St U:10 3 room, 1 bed, 1 bath Mid-Rise $499,900 Oct 2 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM
71231065 313 Commonwealth Ave U:3 7 room, 3 bed, 2.5 bath Rowhouse $4,200,000 Oct 2 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM
71226873 280 Beacon St U:2 5 room, 1 bed, 1 bath Mid-Rise $449,000 Oct 2 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
71226293 313 Commonwealth Ave U:1 7 room, 3 bed, 3.5 bath Rowhouse $2,875,000 Oct 2 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
71216226 290 Commonwealth Ave U:15 3 room, 1 bed, 1 bath Mid-Rise $479,000 Oct 2 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM
71215457 146 Marlborough Street U:7 3 room, 1 bed, 1 bath Brownstone $493,000 Oct 2 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM
71211897 340 Commonwealth Ave U:3 5 room, 2 bed, 2 bath Rowhouse $895,000 Oct 2 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
71208914 285 Columbus Ave U:703 4 room, 2 bed, 2 bath Mid-Rise $849,900 Oct 2 1:15 PM to 2:30 PM
71206431 416 Marlborough St U:702 4 room, 2 bed, 2 bath Mid-Rise $640,000 Oct 2 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
71198681 1 Charles Street South U:15H 4 room, 2 bed, 2 bath Mid-Rise $1,549,000 Oct 2 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
71198814 192 Marlborough Street U:1 5 room, 3 bed, 3.5 bath Townhouse $2,999,000 Oct 2 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM
71292449 242 Beacon St U:3 4 room, 2 bed, 1.5 bath Brownstone $799,000 Oct 2 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM
71258949 285 Beacon Street U:4B 5 room, 2 bed, 2 bath Low-Rise $1,250,000 Oct 2 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
71059793 45 Commonwealth Avenue U:3 8 room, 3 bed, 3.5 bath Brownstone $4,450,000 Oct 2 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
71189322 373 marlborough st. U:1 6 room, 3 bed, 2.5 bath Townhouse $1,095,000 Oct 1 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
70997544 285 Columbus Avenue U:208 4 room, 2 bed, 2 bath Mid-Rise $874,000 Oct 2 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM

Above, 483 Beacon Street, Back Bay, Boston, Massachusetts. Bill Gehan of Campion & Company Fine Homes Real Estate is the listing agent.

Radar Logic home values report show increase in Greater Boston prices
Sep 2011 22

Radar Logic, which tracks and estimates US home values and values in 25 metropolitan areas, released its latest findings, earlier today.

The RPX Composite price most likely peaked for the year in June, according to the July 2011 RPX Monthly Housing Market Report. The RPX Composite, which tracks housing values in 25 US metropolitan areas, reached $188.11 per square foot on June 24 and has declined ever since.

The authors of the report see trouble in the near future, with foreclosure filings rising as the economy founders and home prices remain depressed.

Things are quite different in the Greater Boston area, however, based on my reading of the RPX Composite.

Prices rose 2% in the Boston Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) between July 2010 and July 2011, the second best result of the 25 areas covered by the company.

Activity jumped, as well, up 23.3% between those two dates, the fourth best in the country.

Year on year comparisons are a bit tough since last year’s spring market was an anomaly due to the expiring tax credit program that encouraged lots of people to buy properties sooner versus later. So, July sales might be higher this year than last because last year’s sales closed in May and June, and fewer in July. This seems to be true since Radar Logic show July 2010 closings to be 28.3% down from July 2009.

So, based on my back of the envelope calculations, July 2011 transactions are below 2009 levels.

Fewer sales.

Low inventory level puts upward pressure on South End condo prices
Sep 2011 20

It’s the fall real estate market and this means that many buyers are out in the Boston neighborhoods looking for a new home.

It looks to be a busy, but short, fall season, based on what I see going under agreement and by the number of inquiries I’ve been getting. It’s hard to make comparisons to prior years, though, since they were unique. Last year, for example, we were still feeling the after-effects of the expiring tax credit program that pushed many people to buy in the spring who may otherwise have waited until fall. So, the fall sales volume was lower than normal. And, in 2009, we were about 12 months into the bottom trough of the recession, following the September 2008 implosion of Lehman Brothers and the beginning of “bad times” for many people.

So, we’re busier this year, but that’s only because things were so slow before.

There may be more buyers, but I don’t see a lot of inventory out there, which will make things difficult for many. Although buyers may have (finally) been able to get their lenders to agree to lend, they are now faced with an unexpected problem: no homes to buy.

Or, at least, no homes at prices they can afford.

Sadly, for many people, prices in the downtown Boston real estate neighborhoods have not fallen by as much as in other parts of the city, state or country.

For example, if you’re looking for a two-bedroom home with 1,000 square feet or more but under $650,000, there’s just 55 from which to choose. This isn’t a lot, given that 165 condos fitting these criteria sold within the past six months. So, there’s a three month supply of housing. In a perfect market, you’d have five to eight months of supply. Less than that and there are too many buyers for the “good” properties and too much demand for sellers to be willing to negotiate. There’s always someone else, they’ll think.

My best advice is, be ready to go when you find the home of your dreams. See as many properties as you can, now, so that when you see the home you love, you know its value compared to what else is out there. Have your pre-approval in hand and already have talked to your co-buyers, lender, lawyer, and real estate agent about your plans.

Go in strong.

Above, 392 Marlborough Street #1, Back Bay, Boston, Massachusetts. Will Montero of Warren Residential Group. It is listed for $1.695 million.

Condominium living area calculations always questionable
Sep 2011 13

You’d think something as simple as the square footage of a condominium unit would be simple to calculate.

Unfortunately, it’s not.

The best way to know the size of a condo is to check the public record, the Registry of Deeds. Look at the original master deed for the building. Included will be square footage of each of the units along with the percentage ownership in the building.

Contractors’ designs often have this information, as well. And, City Hall records it as part of each parcel’s property tax information.

Real estate agents include the square footage on each sales listing, but the information may be questionable at best. Often, the seller provides the information, either from memory or best guess. The agent wants to be honest, but might be in a rush or unwilling to do the work necessary to find out an accurate number.

Which is why you will see it always as “estimated living area” or “estimated square footage”. There agent is abdicating responsibility for the accuracy of the number. And, that’s not a bad thing. The buyer should confirm any and all information when buying a home.

Does it matter the square footage? In some ways, no. Are you buying square footage or are you buying a condo? The amount of square footage doesn’t have anything to do with number of bedrooms or bathrooms or how many windows it has. But, square footage is a good way of comparing similar properties, which is why it matters. It matters when you are buying, it matters when you’re selling.

Before making an offer, check the details. Review the master deed (it’s available online). Your attorney should check it out after you have an accepted offer, but you should read it beforehand, so that there’s no surprises.

The more information you have, the better equipped you are to make a wise and prudent home-buying decision.

Above, a model unit at The Clarendon, in Back Bay Boston.

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