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Boston real estate sales stay strong amid economic depression

Apartment construction in the Greater Boston area is on the rise. PHOTO BY MADISON FRANCOIS/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Apartment construction in the Greater Boston area is on the rise. PHOTO BY MADISON FRANCOIS/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Boston real estate agencies are feeling the increase in demand for condominium sales and recognize that for many people, the best time to buy is now, agents said.

“Newly renovated suites in the South End, Back Bay and Beacon Hill are very attractive to buyers,” said Eden Edwards, real estate agent at Metropolitan Boston Real Estate. “The opportunity to purchase is greater because it is an investment.”

Frank Carroll, principal of BostonRealtyNet.com Inc., said condominium sales are increasing and many people are willing to pay cash.

“Condo sales in the Boston area have been increasing now for the last year,” he said. “The market is very busy with many international buyers paying cash for Boston condos in addition to Americans.”

Carroll said the demand of condominiums in the area has led to a decrease in inventory to sell to buyers.

“There is a very much reduced inventory of available properties for sale, which is leading to bidding wars and condos selling for over the asking price,” he said.

Despite the worst economy in years, condominiums and apartments continue to be a driving economic force that contributes to the economic recovery of the nation, according to a survey released Feb. 12.
“By bringing apartment homes — and the residents who live there — into local communities, the apartment industry is building the economies of small towns and large cities across the country,” according to The Trillion Dollar Apartment Industry report.

As a result of the large increase in apartment construction, more than 3,600 jobs were created in the greater Boston area to meet the demand of new apartments and build new units in the upcoming months to deal with the shortage in apartment supply, according to the report.

“The Boston metro area is experiencing its strongest job growth in three years,” the report stated. “This economic growth is fueling apartment demand in the urban core, as well as outlying areas, as people seek more affordable housing options. Construction activity is ramping up considerably to meet demand.”

Michael Albano, president of Metropolitan Boston Real Estate, said the current housing bubble has not extended to lower-class areas such as Chelsea and Lynn, which have faced many foreclosures and short sales in the past year.

“This increase in general condo sales seems a little suspect, a little artificial,” he said. “It is true that pockets of the market tare hot, such as Davis Square, Brookline and Cambridge. This seems to be a bubble though, and that bubble hasn’t rippled out to lower areas yet.”

Albano said neighborhoods like the South End were not hit considerably hard during the economic downturn, so the recent popularity and increase in condominium prices should not be that surprising.

“I don’t know how the bubble will be affected,” he said. “There hasn’t been a total recovery yet. The market needs a year or two before we can see where we are.”

Carroll said there should be more development in the future.

“There is much development being planned, so time will tell as far as how the market fairs,” he said. “Right now, it [the apartment market] is very strong.”

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