Boston Real Estate for Sale

Last week, I mentioned a Fox 25 story that claimed that Downtown Boston “brownstone” sales volume had plummeted during 2008, down 78%.

After an exhaustive search through all the data, it seems to me that things are quite different from what was reported by Fox 25, and, earlier this year, by Kimberly Blanton at the Boston Globe.

The following includes condo sales data for the Downtown Boston from January 1, 2008 – July 11, 2008 (Fox 25 includes more months’ of data, but with the discrepancies are the same), including the South End, South Boston, West End, Waterfront, the Fenway, Midtown, Leather District, Seaport, North End, Charlestown, Chinatown, Back Bay, and Beacon Hill neighborhoods.

What was reported by Fox 25:


What was reported by the Globe:

globe old new

What is the reality:

Building condo sales (that is, “new” and mid-rise / high-rise condo sales)

2007: 767 sales
2008: 423 sales (using LINK’s criteria)

Non-building condo sales (that is, “brownstone”, Victorian-era, three-decker condo sales)

2007: 1,087 sales (there were a total of 1,854 condo sales from 1/1 – 7/11; 1,854 – 767 = 1,087)
2008: 1,187 sales (there were a total of 1,610 condo sales from 1/1 – 7/11; 1,610 – 423 = 1,187)

Fox 25’s and the Globe’s data came from the Listing Information Network, Inc. (LINK), as did mine. Unfortunately, there is a wide discrepancy in the results which cannot be reconciled. I asked the people at LINK for further information / clarification and they graciously spoke with me at length, about it, but I just can’t get our numbers to agree. It’s a conundrum.

Here is what LINK reported in a spreadsheet released to both news organizations.


Unfortunately, these numbers don’t match up with what you would get if you did the research, yourself, using the same source.

At the end of the day, I guess it’s irrelevant which number is “accurate”.

Bottom line is, the Boston real estate market remains stagnant during these turbulent times, with sales volume off as much as 25-33% from years’ prior. Average and median sales prices through the third-quarter remain steady, but it remains to be seen what happened during the fourth-quarter, post-September meltdown.

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