The Batterymarch Insider

“The Batterymarch Insider” is a brief snapshot of our current market thinking and some highlights of what we see going on in the downtown Boston market. As always, our “terms of use” apply. We encourage you to subscribe.

In this issue:

  • Not Selling? Raise the Price! – Will It Be Transitory?
  • New and Noteworthy – $5,000/sf on Comm. Ave. New Mega Listings
  • 400 Stuart Street – Raffles is Worth the Wait – Well Sold
  • 68 Commonwealth – A Solid Back Bay Apartment – Well Bought  

What’s Catching Our Eye

Not Selling? Raise the Price! – Will It Be Transitory?

It’s too early to call it a trend, but we’re seeing sellers raising prices. For the most part, these are properties that didn’t sell last year and are coming back on the market at higher prices now.

We’re puzzled as to how these marketing strategy conversations go between sales agents and sellers. Probably something like this, “Well, we had no luck a few months ago, maybe the price is too low.

300 Pier 4 Blvd, unit 7C – This 2,255 square foot, 3 bedroom didn’t sell last September with an asking price of $6.988 million. It’s now back on the market for $7.425 million ($3,292/sf), a 6% price increase. This unit, which appears to be investor owned, first sold back in mid 2019 for $6.765 million.

205 Commonwealth Ave, unit 6 – This 1,664 square foot, 3 bedroom failed to sell (even after three price cuts) and was taken off the market in December – last asking price was $2.495 million. It was re-listed last week for $2.595 million ($1,605/sf). This investor owned unit last changed hands back in 2005 for $1.490 million.

Developers are also getting in on the act. Over at the Quinn (380 Harrison Avenue), which is still under construction, they raised prices on a few units by about 3.5%. One only needs to look at what has happened to the cost of building materials to understand this dynamic. The question is, will consumers go along for the ride?

New and Noteworthy

2 Commonwealth Ave.

2 Commonwealth Ave, unit PH2 – The Mac Daddy of Back Bay penthouses hit the market this week for a whopping $18.0 million ($5,007/sf). What do you get for $5,000/sf? A 3,595 square foot, 2 bedroom duplex, with 1,600 square feet of landscaped outdoor space, perched 17 stories above the Public Garden.

There’s no question about it, this is an amazing apartment. But just for some valuation context, the current Boston price per square foot high water mark is $4,631/sf for a penthouse unit at One Dalton. There have only been a handful of other units that have fetched over $4,000/sf (one at the old Four Seasons and two at Pier 4). Let’s just say that buying this unit will be the ultimate Bostonian flex.

2 Commonwealth Ave, unit 15 E/F – We’ve got great news for our more budget minded readers who would also like to call 2 Comm. Ave home. This 15th floor, 3,657 square foot, 2 bedroom unit hit the market last week for $12.0 million ($3,281/sf). The views from this unit may be some of the best in the City. The listing notes the “potential” to convert this into a 4 bedroom. We’re having a difficult time getting our head around a $3,281/sf price tag only to rip the place apart?

1 Fairfield Street  – This single family sold to a developer a year ago for $5.0 million and was just put up for sale for $6.9 million. Yup, a 38% mark up. Did the developer make any improvements to the property you may ask – nope. As far as we can tell about the only thing that happened here is the developer unsuccessfully attempted to rent it out. Sounds to us like someone is testing out P.T. Barnum’s theory.

Well Bought/Well Sold

400 Stuart St. (The Clarendon), units 25A & 28E –  Middle of the Road Luxury – Well Sold.

Two units changed hands last week at The Clarendon. Unit 25A, a 2,428 square foot 3 bedroom sold for $4.6 million ($1,895/sf), and 28E, a 1,958 square foot 3 bedroom sold for $4.125 million ($2,107/sf).

The Clarendon/Raffles

The prices reported last week are more or less market correct in our view. Developed in 2009 by Related Beal, the upper half of this 33 story building consists of 103 condominium units, and the lower half of the building is rental apartments. It’s what we would consider middle of the road on the luxury scale. 

What has our attention is the new Raffles Hotel condominium project that is going up a half a block away which is scheduled to open early next year. At Raffles, the 147 condominiums sit above a full service luxury hotel, so the residents get the benefits of hotel services. This seems far more appealing than living above an apartment house.

The competition for the luxury buyer is going to intensify in Copley Square. We think that the Raffles Hotel service model will give The Clarendon a run for its money. These units were – Well Sold.

68 Commonwealth Ave, unit 4 –  A Solid Back Bay Apartment – Well Bought

68 Commonwealth Ave.

It took just shy of 200 days, but unit 4 at 68 Commonwealth Avenue has a new owner. The final price was $2.75 million ($1,552/sf) for this 1,772 square foot 2 bedroom penthouse unit.

The highlights include direct elevator access, one deeded parking space, a large roof deck with outdoor shower, and importantly new HVAC (2018). The listing describes the unit as timeless which is a bit of a stretch in our book, we’d say that updating is in the cards for the new owner.

This is a market correct price for this prime location. The fact that the HVAC has been upgraded provides more budget for updating the unit without getting upside down financially. This one was – Well Bought.

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