While having lunch with a friend recently, she put forth a potentially disarming question: Have Beacon Hill condo home prices ever actually gone down for any significant period? Not just wobbly month-to-month dips, but a real drop?
Her tone was one of almost unvarnished disbelief: She was of an age where she could not remember Beacon Hill condominium housing prices ever getting cheaper but only spiking to greater and greater heights year after year.
Well of course the answer is yes, even downtown Boston home prices do take a tumble sometimes. But when?
I decided as a Boston condo broker to investigate in the most basic possible terms: By compiling the median sale price of all Beacon Hill condominium sales combined over a 20-year period and letting the chips fall where they may.
This is the average of every property traded on MLS since 2001, no gimmicks and no qualifiers, for better or worse.
So Far in 2022: $1,035,000
Now, this is admittedly a very simplistic approach, and it has its limitations: Thanks to inflation, for example, half a million dollars in 2001 is not really the same sum as half a million dollars in 2011.
That said, the year-over-year comparisons each time remain striking: The median price of a Boston condominium home hasn’t declined (only a few times) year-to-year in over a decade, NOT EVEN DURING 2020, when the bottom dropped out of basically everything else. However, it did drop during The Great Recession of 2008 and COVD-19 in 2019 and 2021.
While we did see some drops in the decade I studied, these are perhaps bemusing in their own right, as they signal an incredible financial and Covid crisis during that period, one that (we would hope) is unlikely to ever repeat.
During this period there were of course minor lulls, stalls, and price depressions in the short term, but they never lasted–it almost defies economic law.
So the answer is yes, Beacon Hill condo prices are indeed vulnerable to market forces, as we always knew they were. But if you’re the sort of person who doesn’t believe it, frankly, you’ve got a lot to work with proving that investing in a Beacon Hill condo is long-term safe bet.