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Finding the right property in the Back Bay can be confusing. The local real estate market is fast-paced and fiercely competitive. A property that's available now may be snatched up at any moment. Acting quickly is crucial, but having the right guidance is too. Fortunately, Boston City Properties has agents in the Back Bay and in all other Boston neighborhoods who are ready to give you the scoop. They know the Back Bay like the backs of their hands and can guide you toward properties that suit your budget and needs. There's no need to go it alone.
Up-to-the-Minute Real Estate Listings
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This neighborhood dates back to the 19th century, and it is included in the National Register of Historic Places for its architecturally significant Victorian brownstones. Here you will find one of the best kept examples of US urban design from the 1800s and early 1900s. Many of the classic brownstones are now used for commercial purposes, but they definitely still enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of this affluent Boston neighborhood.
Houses - Overall Real Estate Trends
The median listing price for homes of all types in this area is $3.7 million, but the median closing price is a more modest $1.3 million. These figures include attached condos, apartments, multi-unit condo buildings and the rare single-family home. The average cost per square foot is $1,000. This trend has stayed relatively stable since 2014, although the price per square foot is on the rise.
Homes in this neighborhood tend to sell within 50 to 70 days, although three-year trends show the overall range is 31 to 106 days on the market. Houses sell the most quickly in the spring and summer. Despite this, it is best to take fast action if you find a home that you really like.
Boston is one of the hottest housing markets in the nation, and many experts predict this will continue into the foreseeable future. In other words, the housing vacancy rate is likely to keep dropping, which will make it harder than ever to secure your dream home.
Attached Condominiums - Real Estate Trends
Attached condominiums are by far the most popular home choice in this neighborhood. In fact, it is difficult to find a single-family home, and apartments for sale are also much less prevalent. The average price per square foot for a condo is $1,188, making it slightly more expensive than non-condo houses. At the same time, condos tend to be smaller overall, making the median price since 2014 range from $950,000 to $1.2 million.
Thinking of putting in a bid for a condo that's lower than the asking price? Three-year trends indicate that the asking price to selling price ratio ranges from 95.75 percent to 99.6 percent. This variance is mostly due to the time of year, and the overall average is around 97 percent.
To put all these numbers into perspective, the median asking price per square foot in 2017 was $1,200.65. The median sales price was $1,188.65, representing a paltry $12 per square foot reduction. Therefore, it is probably best to stick close to the asking price to improve your odds of securing the perfect Boston home. Asking prices are also escalating rapidly; in 2013, the median asking price for a condo was $2.84 million.
At any given time, the number of condos available typically ranges from 44 to 100. This may seem like a large number, but the truth is that it is very low compared to the area's 24,000 households. Only 32 percent of local residents own a home; the rest are renters. This is a sign of how few housing opportunities there actually are. Again, if a home in this neighborhood catches your attention, it is always best to connect with the applicable real estate agent right away.
Investment Real Estate
In 2013, the median list price for all homes in this neighborhood, including condos, was $2.84 million. Within four years, this price shot up by almost $1 million. It is impossible to accurately predict where future real estate trends will take the market. However, if recent trends remain on track, it is fair to look at this neighborhood as a good investment that could potentially lead to a large profit.
Multi-Million-Dollar Sales Solidify the Neighborhood as a Good Investment
In 2017, three of the top 10 highest residential sales prices in Boston took place right here. Coming in at number one is a condo at 25 Commonwealth Ave. This five-bedroom, 7,554 square foot unit sold for a whopping $17.2 million. This particular attached condo has numerous noteworthy features that helped escalate the final sales price, including a private entrance, a built-in library with gorgeous woodworking, 32 windows, four garage spots, five fireplaces, six bathrooms and a 42-foot living room. To top it off, the historic condo was built in 1890.
Number two on the city's 2017 top 10 sales list is a 12-bedroom townhouse located at 197 Marlborough Street that fetched $13 million. Rounding out this neighborhood's staggering real estate success stories is 448 Beacon Street, #4, which sold for $9 million. This 11-room portion of the Hooper Mansion commanded the seventh highest final sales price in the city.
Buyers in 2017 were also presented with the option to purchase an $11 million, five-bedroom mansion owned by George Conrades, the chairman of Akamai Technologies. Other high-profile listings included a $13.5 million, three-bedroom condo in the Residences at Mandarin Oriental and a four-story, five-bedroom condo listed at $12.25 million.
Although sales of this magnitude are certainly an exception, not the rule, this does help highlight the potential for real estate investments. After all, condos that are currently worth a more modest $3.7 million could eventually become the next sale that climbs over the $10 million mark.
Homes may sell for as much as $17.2 million in this area, but you don't have to spend that much money to acquire a very nice place to live. For instance, several noteworthy listings in 2017 boasted a great location and high class living for less than $2.3 million. Most of the million-dollar units that were on the more affordable side came with one or two bedrooms, but it was also possible to get a larger home without adding an exorbitant amount to the sales price.
Buyers who want the many perks of this neighborhood without a million-dollar price tag are not out of luck, either. The average home value in this area is actually less than $959,000, and there often numerous six-figure condos listed that start around $650,000 and max out at $999,000. These prices will fluctuate and can vary greatly depending on several factors, but anyone who wants to find an affordable home in Boston's second most expensive neighborhood should be able to make their dream come true.
Affordable condos and apartments are also an ideal option for investors who want to flip a property in a couple of years. With current real estate trends, it seems likely that a condo purchased today for $650,000 would be well-positioned to command a higher sales price in the future. Remember: there are never any guarantees, but previous success stories can help predict future success.
The Victorian brownstones easily capture attention, but they are far from the only style found within this area. Elegant, luxurious condos are located in a diverse list of buildings, ranging from historic residences built in the 1800s to stunning examples of modern architecture that tower over their neighbors.
Are you looking for a home that no one else has ever lived in? New construction is also available. These homes tend to command a much higher price tag than the median average, but they are also typically well-appointed with luxury features.
Attached condos are the most prevalent in this particular real estate market. However, the occasional single-family home is also listed for sale. In one example, a 6,200-square foot townhouse hit the market. This would normally have included at least three condo or apartment units, but it was listed for single-family usage. Opportunities like this are very sparse and come with a multi-million-dollar list price. If this is what you are looking for, you will want to move quickly when one of these rarities hits the market.
Much like every other neighborhood in the country, the mixture of condos, apartments and single-family residential homes comes with a wide array of housing values. As a result, the average home value is $958,200. Values are steadily on the rise; between 2016 and 2017, there was a 9 percent increase. Industry experts expect an additional 3.7 percent increase to be added between 2017 and 2018.
To further illustrate the viability of the current real estate market, the average home value bottomed out at $571,000 in 2010. Since that time, average values have risen almost $400,000 in seven years, and they're expected to be just below $1 million by the end of 2018.
The charm of 19th century brownstones may bring people into the area, but local features are what make them stay. The Boston Public Library is housed here, as are several luxury hotels and Copley Square. Unique boutiques fill Newbury Street, and the entire commercial district boasts plentiful restaurants and high-end stores.
The neighborhood's walk score is a robust 96, and it also scores very high for public transit and bicycling. This makes the area ideal for environmentally conscious individuals who are looking to reduce their carbon footprint. Additionally, the immense walk-ability and public transit opportunities make owning a vehicle unnecessary for many residents.
Residents can easily walk to the Charles River for a stunning water view. During the summer, the river often contains several sailboats and kayaks. Trees line some residential areas, which adds a nice touch of nature into the city. There are several paths available for biking and running, and the Boston Marathon concludes each year on Boylston Street.
Future Real Estate Opportunities
If you are in the daydreaming stages of looking for a new home or if you are always in the market for new real estate investment opportunities, it is wise to keep an eye on future developments. As of November 2017, the massive South End Gateway project has received approval to move forward with new mixed-use construction.
It will likely be several years before the South End Gateway project is completed. However, when it is, buyers and investors will be able to pick up one of an estimated 600 new residential units. Overall, this 1.37 million square foot development will include two residential towers, one office space tower and plentiful retail space.
Quality of Life
Boston is regularly featured by US News as one of the top 10 best places to live in the nation. This particular neighborhood has numerous important factors that improve the quality of life for each resident, including reliable high-speed Internet access, a robust parks and recreation department, plentiful public transportation access points and numerous fitness centers. The entire city features a lower than average commute time, which means you are likely to spend less time in your car or using public transportation than your peers in other cities.
The Neighborhood's Climate
This area has four clearly defined seasons. Sun lovers will get an average of 98 clear days per year for sunbathing. Temperatures generally range from a low of 22 degrees Fahrenheit in January to a high of 82 degrees in July. The average amount of precipitation is between three and four inches per month. The one exception is March, when a mixture of rain and snow combines for an average of 4.32 inches of precipitation.
There are 474 beaches in the greater metropolitan area. Recreational opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts include hiking the Pack Monadnock Mountain, which is located approximately 75 miles away. There are also numerous cultural options such as the Museum of Fine Art. Boston is home to five major league professional teams, making it a popular choice for sports enthusiasts. There are 10 other sports represented by lower level professional teams, including tennis, roller derby and ultimate frisbee.
Nearby Institutes of Higher Learning
Anyone looking to advance their education will have ample options in the metropolitan area. There are 50 colleges and universities nearby. Some of the most noteworthy institutions are Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There are also numerous special focus schools and two community colleges.
Being in the National Register of Historic Places gives this area a claim to fame, but that is probably not how most people know the neighborhood. Instead, many are likely to recognize the iconic Victorian brownstones because they have helped provide Hollywood with an eye-catching backdrop on several occasions. The neighborhood's first appearance was in the 1952 film "Walk East on Beacon!" It was more recently featured in "21," starring Kate Bosworth and Jim Sturgess. Your new block just might be famous!