I wanted to know who lives in the Back Bay, how much money they make, and how much they pay for their homes (meaning, condos).

I collected MLS sales data from 1999 – 2005 for condos sold in the Back Bay.

MLS is not strict about what can be considered a “Back Bay” listing, but most properties will be in the 02116, 02115, and 02215 zip code areas.

For the twelve months ending 04/18/2000

Average sales price: $588,111.00
Monthly mortgage loan payment, average sales price (10% down) (7.91% fixed-rate mtg.): $3,850.00

Median sales price: $420,000.00
Monthly mortgage loan payment, median sales price (10% down) (7.91% fixed-rate mtg.): $2,750.00

Average sales price (adjusted for inflation): $676,328.00
Monthly mortgage loan payment, average sales price (adjusted for inflation) (10% down) (7.91% fixed-rate mtg.): $4,428.00

Median sales price (adjusted for inflation): $483,000.00
Monthly mortgage loan payment, median sales price (10% down) (adjusted for inflation) (7.91% fixed-rate mtg.): $3,162.00

For the last twelve months, ending 04/18/2006

Average sales price: $805,862.00
Monthly mortgage loan payment, average sales price (10% down) (6.27% fixed-rate mtg.): $4,475.00

Median sales price: $607,000.00
Monthly mortgage loan payment, median sales price, (10% down) (6.27% fixed-rate mtg.): $3,371.00

So, yeah, that’s intimidating.

Even more eye-opening:

Here’s what people were making, in 1999 (in zip code 02116):

Mean (average) earnings per household: $110,545.00
Median family income: $99,853.00

Now, if you assume the typical household had a 3% annual increase in income (not necessarily a good assumption, but, w/e) here is what people are making, in 2006:

Mean (average) earnings per household: $131,997.00
Median family income: $119,230.00

** Okay, I think that’s probably too generous, wouldn’t you agree? Three percent per year doesn’t sound like much, but maybe it’d be better to say that people are making 5-7% more than five years ago, right? In fact, here’s an article saying that wages in Suffolk County rose just 1.6% last year.


So, what does that mean?

Adjusted for inflation, the average price of a condo in the Back Bay has increased from $676,328.00 to $805,862.00, but the monthly mortgage loan payment has increased less than $50.00.

Adjusted for inflation, the median price of a condo in the Back Bay has increased from $483,000.00 to $607,000.00, but the monthly mortgage loan payment has increased only $208.00.

Further, during those five years, the wealthy population of the Back Bay only got wealthier, we can assume, perhaps making 15% more now than they did in 2000, based on a 3% annual wage increase.

If this happened, the average household is paying less today for their home, as a percentage of income, than they did, five years ago, due to wage increases and lower fixed-rate mortgage loans.

Interesting factoid: the Census Bureau reported in 2000 that over 70% of Back Bay housing was built prior to 1939, and over 97% had been built prior to 1990. Yep, there’s a lot new construction in the Back Bay! (Yeah, I know, the stats are from 2000. Again, w/e.)

* For income figures, I used US Census Bureau data from the year 2000 for zip code 02116. Zip code 02116 includes parts of the Back Bay and parts of the South End, so it’s not an exact match.

* For inflation figures, I used the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator.

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Updated: January 2018

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