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The increasingly troubled downtown condo market

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis September 9, 2009 09:00 AM

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OK, we can all debate whether the real estate market is really on the mend or not and whether home prices have finally stopped falling.

But one thing is clear: The once-untouchable downtown condo market appears to be in big trouble.

Now maybe I have just been in denial, but the woes of a luxury condo buyers and developers have mostly failed to impress me. Especially when compared to the misery many foreclosure-riddled urban neighborhoods, in Boston and across the state, have been experiencing.

But regardless of whether the signs of recovery we are seeing are real or just a temporary government-financed bounce, the downtown condo market is not enjoying the same uptick.

Downtown condo sales actually fell in the first six months of 2009, according to the PrimeTime Urban Report, which I detailed in my weekly column for Banker & Tradesman.

The report, which looked at 13 new downtown projects including the Clarendon, 45 Province Street, Harrison Lofts and FP3, found each development managing to ink just 1.03 sales per month.

Thatís down from last yearís already anemic showing of 1.2 sales a month per project Ė a performance that included last fallís virtual sales freeze after the global financial market meltdown.

So hereís a sobering stat.

The 13 projects have 558 units still left on the market. (And that does not the W Boston, which will soon dump another big batch of unsold units on the market.)

At the current pace, the reportís authors estimate, it will take 100 months to clear out this inventory.

Thatís more than eight years, or nearly a decade.

Good luck with that.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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