Known for its striking brownstones, great restaurants, boutiques, art galleries, open markets, green spaces (11 residential parks) and diversity, there is no denying the South End is one of the most desirable residential neighborhoods in Boston. Despite the allure of new, super-luxury high-rises being built elsewhere in the city, the South End’s condo market is stronger than ever, and it keeps getting hotter, with brownstones and boutique properties alike attracting top dollar.
To get a sense of the temperature here, let’s start by taking a look at some numbers. Average closing prices in the South End increased considerably over the past five years and continued to rise through the first quarter of 2016, reaching an all time high. Bidding wars have moderated slightly, but it’s still common for condos here to have multiple offers and sell for over asking price, largely due to the demand relative to available inventory.
Another indicator of the strength of the South End’s condo market is price per square foot, and this metric also surged over the past five years. The neighborhood’s average price per square foot reached $860 in 2015 and has kept pace through the first quarter of 2016, as illustrated in the graph below.
There’s been significant growth in the South End’s luxury market as well. In fact, year-to-date (as of July 9, 2016), 68 condos here sold above $1,000 per square foot—an indicator of luxury sales—nearly double the amount during the same period in 2015 when only 37 condos sold at this price point. Despite the opening of Sepia at Ink Block late last year, most of the sales in the $1000-plus-per-square-foot range were predominantly brownstones. This is evidence that South End condos don’t necessarily need premium views or amenities to command top dollar.
Though most buyers in the South End find homes in the neighborhood’s Federal style and bow-front brick row houses, the historic housing stock is now coupled with a growing number of newly built—and under construction—boutique residences and a few, modern mid-rises, complete with concierge, garage parking and an abundance of full-service amenities. The Lucas, an
elegant, 33-unit conversion of the Holy Trinity Church on Shawmut Ave, and the Jordan Lofts, which has transformed an historic, commercial space into 18 luxury units, are selling for premium prices (in some cases pushing $1,500 a square foot). In the high-style Ink Block community in the neighborhood’s expanding northeast corner, nearly every residence in the 79-unit Sepia condo component of the development sold before its opening this year and its Siena condos are now on the market with price ranges from $645,000 for a studio to $2,173,000 for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,713-square-foot penthouse (not including coveted garage parking).
The most important driving force in the South End’s condo market, which holds true for downtown Boston overall, is a lack of inventory coupled with high demand. The graph below, illustrating a decrease in the number of condominium sales traded throughout the neighborhood over the past three years, is the reality that buyers in the South End have been experiencing… limited supply!
The simple laws of economics are driving up prices and fueling the strong market. It remains a sellers’ market and steady appreciation is expected to continue. Buyers, it’s important to be prepared, knowledgeable and nimble if you want to land your dream home in the South End. Buying a condo in this neighborhood, in this market, can be done however. It would be my pleasure to guide you through each step of the process while helping you understand the market dynamics at play.
Note: All data in these graphs was compiled by the Compass research team. All information was obtained from sources considered reliable, but it is subject to errors, commissions, changes in price, condition, sales or withdraw without notice.