At the beginning of 2020, Boston area real estate sales were breaking records for prices and pace of sales, just like prior years since 2013. When Covid led to uncertainty and shut downs, the real estate market also took a large step back. Showings stopped. Listing inventory went to about zero.
But by the end of 2020, sales were on par with prior years.
Going into 2021, while showings can be more challenging and limited, sales are going much the same as in prior years. Inventory is low. Buyers are submitting strong offers. We will see how that plays out for 2021.
2020 Three Bedroom Condominium Sales in Brookline
Let’s look at the results of 2020 for Three Bedroom units in Brookline, and how this might inform a search for a unit in 2021.
In 2020, 110 three bedroom condominiums in Brookline sold with a median price of $1.275M. This was fewer than the 126 three bedroom units that sold in 2019, and at a higher price than the $1.1M median sale price of 2019.
We find working with clients, however, that a broad, high level look at statistics is a tiny sliver of what is needed to structure a home search and make data-informed decisions.
Coolidge Corner is the Start of the Search for Most Brookline Condominium Buyers
A high percentage of the Brookline condominium market happens right in Coolidge Corner, and for many clients Coolidge Corner is the epitome of Brookline living. Thirty three units, or one-third of the three bedroom sales were in Coolidge Corner.
For many clients, the search begins in Coolidge Corner.
Many clients are surprised to see how few units will fit their criteria. The first inclination for many clients is to spend more, but that isn’t the only lever that buyers can work with to meet their goals. In fact, it rarely will be successful to only change the price.
When we look at the chart above to think about what a client will find in their search, there were 33 units sold in Coolidge Corner in 2020. Unless there was a development that came to market in 2020, or one that is expected in 2021, we typically do not see a significant variation from year to year in the types of units available, although they do shift over time.
If we look at those 33 units that were sold, they would not all work for a particular buyer. While the units that sold in the $2M+ range were no doubt very desirable, they are not in the price range of most clients looking in Coolidge Corner.
The heart of the three-bedroom market in Coolidge Corner is in the price range $1.275M-1.7M, 17 sales in 2020. We can look at certain statistics for these units.
Most of them have 2+ bathrooms, most of them will be between 1500-2500sf, although not all of them will be on upper floors. Some of them will have living space in the basement. Most will have an exclusive use parking space, some might have two. Although there will be many that do not own parking. It looks like 2 were lead compliant.
Within these 17 units, we would usually advise clients that about 1/3 of a set of units will work for them. Across that set, that would give them 5-6 “good” units in a year. If their price range limits their search, the number would be fewer. If they are looking under $1.5M, for example. That was 9 sales last year, maybe 3 units that meet the needs of the clients.
Our listing on Park Street is a great example of this type of unit. More photos can be seen here: www.125parkstreet.com
In many years, we see sale prices rise 5-10% on a year over year basis, so that also shifts the number of units that we expect to find.
In order to find a home that meets their goals, most buyers find that there is a learning curve to understand the market and the types of properties that are typically available. From there, we can structure a home search that will lead to a buyer efficiently finding the right home, and being confident in the home that they choose and the price that they pay.
What about the units prices below $1.275M? There were 11 units below that price? Is it a magical minimum price? No, it isn’t a hard number, but it does represent a transition. Below that number you will see units that have different statistics that what we listed for the middle price range. The units are smaller, on average. Some smaller than 900sf. A significant portion of the living space was in the lower level or basement. Many (most?) will not have parking. Most will not have two bathrooms.
So there is a sharp divide in the typical statistics of these units where they are not viable options for the search. The client would make a different choice in their search before they would want these characteristics in their home. This is where we find people work with some of the other variables to adjust their search parameters and decide what will be priorities.
Should we also consider Brookline Village or Washington Square? Should we also consider Jamaica Plain, Brighton, or Cambridge? We work with clients to understand how broadening the search can help move them toward the home that they hope to find.
Let’s look at a typical search that we see for clients. Three bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, at least one “real” parking, at least 1400sf, and north of Route 9.
That search would look like this.
We take this type of graph and discuss with clients what they can expect to find. About 40 three bedroom units sold in 2020 for between $1.1M-1.7M. Of those, most client would be happy with about a third of them. (This is a statistics statement, not a proclamation about each home.)
Thirteen options in a year isn’t a bad search, but many clients are stunned to see that there are so few. If they have additional requirements like in-unit laundry, pet friendly, elevator buildings (or definitely not elevator buildings, lead compliant, etc….the choices are whittled down more.
Of these units, 7 are lead compliant, 28 are pet friendly.
Are you ready to find the right home?
Call us to move you forward on a home search built on your goals.
Beacon Group Real Estate
Keri Liu | Stephanie Ford | David Gordon | Wayne Godfrey
Three Bedroom Units Available in Brookline