There are currently over 240 condos and single-family homes for sale in Boston’s South End neighborhood.

Sound as if there is a glut?

Maybe.

Depends on what you mean by that.

Do you mean, there are a lot of properties for sale?

Then, there is.

Do you mean, there are a lot of properties for sale that I might be able to afford that might be big enough for two people, or a family of three?

Then, there isn’t.

A potential client called me a couple days ago. He is looking to move back into the city with his wife and teen-aged son. His criteria: at least two bedrooms, over 1,000 square feet.

I was happy.

Oh, up to $850,000.

I was not.

You would think (hope) that for $850,000, you could find a two bedroom, 1,000 square foot home in the South End (or Back Bay or Beacon Hill, for that matter).

Well, I tried.

Here’s the breakdown.

I started by searching the local Multiple Listing Service for condos and single-family homes in the South End.

There are currently 240 listed.

I narrowed the search to include only two bedrooms, plus.

There are 149 listed.

I narrowed the search to include only 1,000 square feet, plus.

There are 111 listed.

I narrowed the search to include only properties listed under $850,000.

There are 50 listed.

Now, the typical South End building has a floorplan of 750-900 square feet, so looking for 1,000+ square feet is going to reduce the matches, considerably.

So, I lowered the square footage to 800+.

There are 66 listed.

Not too bad, right?

Okay.

Here’s the breakdown.

1 is mislabeled “South End” when it should be South Boston.

65.

2 are mislabeled “South End” when they should be Bay Village.

63.

1 is mislabeled “South End” when it should be Back Bay (it’s on St Botolph). We’ll let this one slide.

63

Three are in the “book-end” neighborhood, between Massachusetts Avenue and Northeastern. Fine location, but quite a distance from anything (especially since Liquor Land closed down, a couple weeks ago). These aren’t going to work for them.

60

First floor (basement) units have been ruled out. Basement units are great if you have a baby or mobility issues, but many people feel unsafe at street or sub-street level.

38 (No, I’m not kidding. 22 of the units in this price range were basement level or parlor-garden duplexes.)

Massachusetts Avenue has been ruled out, as too busy. As has Washington Street, toward Mass Ave.

35

South of Washington is too far from the subway or too close to Boston Medical Center. Therefore, rule out ten units at 700 Harrison, two units at The Penmark, and one unit at the Art Block. Beautiful units, but they aren’t going to work for this family.

22

So we have 22 units.

$629,000 – Wareham St – too far from the subway, South of Washington, they will probably say it’s not going to work
$719,000 – Bradford St – possibility
$499,900 – Worcester St – possibility (the price is so low as to make you wonder, though, no?)
$669,500 – Worcester St – possibility
$499,000 – E Concord St – aesthetically unpleasing, they will probably say it’s not going to work
$649,000 – Tremont St – tough block, busy street, aesthetically unpleasing, they will probably say it’s not going to work
$649,000 & $795,000 – Gateway Terrace (2) – quite a distance from the subway, South of Washington, but I wouldn’t rule them out
$620,000 – Tremont St – tough block, busy street, aesthetically unpleasing, they will probably say it’s not going to work
$595,000 – Shawmut Ave – eh, maybe; it has an accepted offer, though
$575,000 – 75 Clarendon St – a possibility – if the family is willing to accept the chance that a 400-unit hotel is going up across the street, this might work for them
$647,000 & $654,000 – Tremont St (2) – tough block, busy street, aesthetically unpleasing, they will probably say it’s not going to work
$749,000 – E Brookline St – south of Washington, close to BMC, they will probably say it’s not going to work
$815,000 – West Newton St – possibility (beautiful photos!)
$599,000 – West Brookline St – possibility
$729,000 – Rutland Sq – possibility

$560,000 – Minot Hall – hmm, this is on Washington St, near Mass Ave, I think they’ll probably rule this one out
$599,000 – Laconia Lofts – hmm, I think they’ll probably rule this one out
$649,000 – D4 – maybe; this unit is big enough, the location is good, but for some reason, not everyone loves this building
$530,000 – Worcester Sq – maybe; south of Washington, I don’t think they’ll go that far, and I’m not sure of the quality of the renovation
$739,000 – Worcester Sq – south of Washington, I question its viability, it’s been on the market for 206 days, a warning sign to be sure

So, what am I left with?

Ten, maybe twelve possibilities. Out of 240 homes for sale.

Yes, there are plenty of properties. However, experience tells me that the majority of them just won’t work for this client. Or, for many clients.

Frustrating, this. Especially for buyers who aren’t looking up to $850,000. Say, $750,000, $650,000 or $550,000 is their budget.

There are more than ten, maybe twelve people looking to move into the South End.

The reality is, at this point in time, and as far as I can tell, for the foreseeable future, finding such a home will be a challenge.

I’ll let you know what happens!

Source: Multiple Listing Service Property Information Network, Inc.

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