Looking for a One-Bedroom Condo in Boston? Here’s the Scoop.

Courtesy of flickr.com

I’m often asked, “So, what does it cost to get a one bedroom condo in Boston?”  My response is, “That depends on the neighborhood.”  Using Boston’s South End neighborhood as an example, at this point in time, there are about 27 one-bedroom condos on the market.  They range in price from a low of $309,000 (402 square feet) to a high of $679,000 (1,168 square feet). Within this broad price range, the variations of what the dollar buys is huge. Most one-bedroom options include one full bathroom and have an average living area of 737 square feet, but more than half listed are under 700 square feet. Some come with a private outdoor space, such as a patio or deck. Some homes are totally renovated, while others might be in need of upgrades, from minor cosmetic to major gut renovations. While many are in brownstone buildings with three to four units, for example, with no elevator and no parking (except for street parking with a resident’s permit), there are several options within larger full-service buildings that include an elevator, concierge and garage parking. Those, however, are a rarity in the price range.

Here’s a glance at the current one-bedroom market in the South End:

I’m also asked by clients, “How quickly do one bedrooms sell?”  Currently, in the South End, there are 38 listings Under Agreement, which generally means that at a minimum, there is an accepted offer or that a Purchase and Sale Agreement has been executed.  The “average days on market”  is 22, but in this market, some properties have an accepted offer posted within as few as two days on the market while other brokers wait until there is a signed Purchase and Sale Agreement before changing the status. The sharp decrease in the average days on market is demonstrated in graph to the right, where you can see the dramatic decline between three months ending on 5/19/12 in both 2012 and 2013 respectivley. Since there is variation in reporting, the days on market should be considered directional. In the past, we would look to properties sold in the past six to nine months for comparison, but now, we need to look at a much more compressed time frame since the market has changed so dramatically. While we can look at properties sold, properties Under Agreement in a quick time frame provide a better source of data for comparison.

Lastly, my clients often ask the price at which a property that is Under Agreement will sell. Until the transaction is “on record” (recorded at the Suffolk County Registry of Deeds), this information is not public. Recently, my experience has been that one-bedroom condos priced well are going Under Agreement quickly at – or above – asking price, even as much as $30K over asking price. In fact, clients are starting their bids above asking price and in some cases, with their best or close to their best offers from the get-go in order to have a shot at landing the property they want.  Buyers should anticipate and expect that one-bedroom condos will sell above asking price.  This trend is illustrated in the graph above, where the median price for one-bedroom condos in the South End increased from $429,000 (for the three months ending 5/9/12) to today’s $459,000 based on three months of data ending 5/9/14.  Similarly, during these same periods, the average selling price for a one-bedroom South End condo increased from $430, 437 to $481,065 respectively. The Boston condo market continues to soar and the pace is incredibly fast as buyers battle over a shrinking housing stock, driving up prices.

Through knowledge of the market and up-to-the-minute research, I guide buyers on the best strategy to land the property they want in light of this strong and unpredictable Seller’s market.