When the Gazette asked local real estate agents about the state of the real estate market in Jamaica Plain, it came as no surprise that the seller’s market is indeed still booming as it has been in recent years.
Karen McCormack, real estate agent at McCormack and Scanlan, said that the beginning of 2018 has continued to be a strong sellers market. She said that the price per square foot of condominiums is slightly up, while the price per square foot of single- and multi-family properties are up by 36 percent and 31 percent respectively, compared to the same time in 2017.
One thing has remained from 2017: the inventory is still low. Josh Muncey, real estate agent at the Ellen, Janis, & Josh Real Estate Team, reported that at this time last year, there were 28 total properties on the market including single families, condos, and multi-families, and now there are 35, but that both numbers are extremely low and not enough to satisfy the number of buyers searching in the JP market.
Though we’ve had some heavy storms this year, the weather doesn’t seem to affect the real estate market in the area as some would expect, McCormack said.
“Open houses in March have brought many buyers out and properties have received multiple offers, which mirrors our experience of 2017,” said McCormack.
Muncey said that the market is strong for sellers, which is evidenced by high open house turnouts.
“Though we keep feeling skeptical that the market will appreciate again each year like the last, we can already tell that this year is off to a hot start with some properties being bid up 6 figures above the asking price,” Muncey said. “We’ve even seen open houses where 88 groups showed up.”
Luxury units in Jamaica Plain have been developed more and more lately, and McCormack says that they are selling quicker and at a higher price than existing condominiums. For luxury unit rentals, McCormack and Scanlan has had more rentals available this year. In 2017 they had 80 rentals available, whereas now that have 112. An incentive that some luxury buildings have been offering is three months of free garage parking, a cost which is normally around $200 a month.
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage considers luxury properties to be priced $800,000 and up. Alex Lacroix, managing broker at Coldwell Banker, said that JP had 45 sold properties in that luxury range from March 20, 2017 to March 19, 2018. This accounted for about 11.3 percent of the market of the total 399 sold condominiums. The properties stayed on the market an average of 44 days, and took about 33 days to receive an offer.
For luxury rentals, the rental market in the past 12 months had 336 listed properties.
“If we consider a luxury rental $3,000 and up, JP had 79 luxury listings rented or 23.5 percent or the rental market, with price range of $3100 to $4800 per month,” Lacroix said. The average amount of days on the market for those properties was 59.
Muncey said that there was a great deal of interest for new construction or new renovation, but that the most common sale in JP remains the resales of two-bedroom, one-bath condos in three family buildings.
“Many buyers want new and like the thought of not having to deal with repairs and renovations,” Muncey said. “There have been a number of new condo projects that have come on the market over the past year and units within them have gone under contract at a good pace. That said, they are not for everyone nor in everybody’s budget.”
For rentals, Jamaica Plain Rentals still has lots of inventory, according to Rachael Kulik, real estate broker at Jamaica Plain Rentals.
“We’re in ‘Prime Time’ right now, so we’re always able to offer a great selection of units to look at this time of year,” Kulik said. “90 day notices for June cycle hit a couple of weeks ago, so once it hits 60 (April 1) our office will likely implode with apartment listings. That doesn’t include any ‘open’, ‘shared’ or ‘co-broke able’ inventory either – our business is built off of long-standing relationships, so most landlords we work trust only us exclusively to rent their apartments. That means it is much more likely that what’s found on our website will not be found anywhere else.”
Recent Highs and Lows
The highest sale price for the week of March 11 to March 17 was 28 Bowditch Road for $950,000, which is a Moss Hill single family. The lowest was $414,000 at 111 Perkins St. #072 in Jamaica Towers, a co-op unit in a high rise.
Other recent listings include one for $2,295,000, a single family at 360 Arborway, which went under contract with an accepted offer on March 11. A one- bedroom condo at 18 Pond Street unit 4, listed for $359,000, went under contract on March 15.
The Projected Future
McCormack confidently projected that the future of the market will remain strong.
“I trust with the desire to be near downtown Boston and the ease of public transportation, love of the JP community and low interest rates, I am sure we will experience a strong real estate market through the end of 2018,” McCormack said.
Muncey believes that the spring market in JP will bring more inventory, but that it will be taken very quickly by buyers.
“There is such an undersupply right now that it will take a lot more time to really catch up,” Muncey said. “I expect to see much more of the same market craziness that we’ve seen the past few years; bidding wars, which lead to buyers making very aggressive offers, both in dollar amount and other terms. We should start to see interest rates rise more, however that doesn’t mean this will impede sales from happening. Often when rates go up, buyers aggressively try to purchase quickly for fear of waiting too long for rates to get even higher. This can be like extra fuel on the fire where we have properties that are already appreciating rapidly.”