2018 Q3 Boston Quarterly Market Report

Updated: Jan 23, 2019

We are excited to announce the release of the Compass Q3 2018 Boston Quarterly Market Insights Report. This report highlights the prevailing trends shaping the market for each neighborhood.

01. Boston Inventory


Boston condo inventory levels rose 2% year-over-year (Y-o-Y) to 935 available units at a median asking price of $998K in Q3 2018. While the net Y-o-Y change in the total number of listings is small, some neighborhoods experienced substantial inventory increases (Seaport District, +147% Y-o-Y to 42 listings and North End/Waterfront, +46% Y-o-Y to 54 listings), but some others saw substantial decreases (Cambridge, -44% Y-o-Y to 54 listings, East Boston and Back Bay, -25% Y-o-Y to 44 listings and 85 listings, respectively). New development projects, such as Echelon Seaport at 133 Seaport Blvd., The Muse at 63 Melcher St., and Pier 4 at 300 Pier 4 Blvd, were primarily responsible for the sharp increases in available listings in Seaport District. Nearly half of the inventory in Boston is comprised of two-bedroom units, however there has been an increase in available one-bedroom units when compared to Q3 2017 (+18% Y-o-Y to 195 units).

Asking PPSF increased a noticeable 8% Y-o-Y to $849 in Q3 2018, swinging up in every neighborhood in Compass’ universe of coverage but Back Bay (-4% to $1,258/SF) and Beacon Hill (-1% to $1,181/SF). Neighborhoods with increased valuations which primarily drove the overall upward trend Y-o-Y included West End (+46% to $948/SF), Seaport District (+20% to $1,297/SF) and East Boston (+20% to $610/SF). 

Single Family

Significantly low levels of single family inventory continued to characterize the Boston market in Q3 2018, with 6% Y-o-Y decrease to 234 active residences. Over half of the available inventory was located in Newton (+9% Y-o-Y to 125 homes), while the rest of the neighborhoods are still extremely inventory constrained. The largest absolute Y-o-Y decreases of available residences occurred in East Boston (-75% to 4 units) and South End/Bay Village (-67% to 5 units available).

Asking prices jumped up 14% Y-o-Y to $2M as sellers responded to buyers’ competing offers due to low inventory levels. Marketwide, median asking PPSF increased 7% Y-o-Y to $548/SF, most prominently impacted by increases in South End/Bay Village (+32% Y-o-Y to $1,276/SF) and Somerville (+24% Y-o-Y to $555/SF).

02. Boston Closings


There were 1,566 condos closed in Q3 2018, an increase of 25% Y-o-Y, as more new construction comes online in response to years of pent-up demand. The 309 closings in South Boston this quarter represented a 64% Y-o-Y increase and 121 more sold units compared to Q3 2017, almost half of the 312 increased sales in Boston’s condo market. This notable rise was mainly driven by the opening of a new development project, Port45, which closed 75 units this quarter. A few neighborhoods experienced significant swings in the number of closings, including Seaport District (+142% Y-o-Y to 29 closings), North End/Waterfront (+73% Y-o-Y to 71 closings) and West End (-71% Y-o-Y to 8 closings). Median PPSF increased 10% Y-o-Y to $785/SF, most substantially in Seaport District (+42% to $1,146/SF), which was inflated by new development closings at 50 Liberty Dr. and The Muse at 63 Melcher St.

Marketwide, Boston condos spent 20 days on the market, up 1 day compared to Q3 2017, but still a relatively short period compared to other major cities. 51% of condos sold in Q3 2018 were two-bedroom units, which sold at a median valuation of $777/SF, an increase of 11% Y-o-Y. These metrics indicate that Boston’s strong condo demand continues to put upward pressure on prices in the face of historically low supply.

Single Family

Despite inventory constraints, the single family home market in Boston experienced a robust third quarter, with the number of single family closings increasing 5% Y-o-Y to 362 sales at a median sales price of $1.2M. The majority of closings in Q3 2018 occurred in Newton (+8% Y-o-Y to 208 closings), which historically has a more active single family market compared to other neighborhoods.

Overall, valuations increased only slightly, up 2% Y-o-Y to $492/SF, driven partially by strong increases in East Boston (+41% Y-o-Y to $384/SF) and Back Bay (+27% Y-o-Y to $1,231/SF). Marketwide, homes in Boston spent 20 days on market in Q3 2018, with no net change Y-o-Y. Among all neighborhoods, homes in South End/Bay Village spent the longest time on market this quarter – 59 days compared to 34 days in the same period last year. However, on a positive note, homes in Back Bay and Brookline both spent only 19 days on market this quarter, decreasing from 33 and 34 days in Q3 2017, respectively.

Be sure to check out the marketing report for your neighborhood (or the report in it’s entirety) at the links provided below, and feel free to reach out with any questions. If you'd like to be the first to receive your edition of the report each quarter, please be sure to subscribe to our Market Report Newsletter!

Back Bay Market Report

Beacon Hill Market Report

South End Market Report

Downtown Boston Market Report

Seaport Market Report

Charlestown Market Report

2018 Boston Quarterly Market Insights Report

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