Sales activity at EchelonSeaport could be a good barometer of what to expect in the Boston luxury condo market for 2020: healthy demand for smaller, more efficient units that appeal to buyers in the sub-$1 million range.
Brokers say there’s been steady response since the marketing center opened last spring, and closings in the complex’s first tower began in December. Presales are averaging $1,690 per square foot, with units selling for $700,000 to $6 million, according to sales agent The Collaborative Cos. of Boston. About 200 of the 443 condos are sold or under agreement, with approximately 30 closings to date.
“They have product at a pricepoint that really serves the working public,” said Sue Hawkes, managing director of The Collaborative Cos. “A lot of young people in the Seaport make a significant income, and they don’t have a lot of options to purchase. They have a lot of options to rent.”
Among options for new construction, EchelonSeaport will have competition later this year from The Quinn, Related Beal’s 101-unit condo project on Harrison Avenue in South End, The Davis Cos.’ 100 Shawmut Ave. and the 46-story Sudbury tower at Bulfinch Crossing, which will include 55 condos on upper floors.
At Slip45 in East Boston, 90 units are under agreement, or approximately 80 percent, at prices averaging $997 per square foot, said Laura Gollinger, vice president at The Collaborative Cos.
Developers have been positioning new projects with smaller, more efficient units balanced by generous common areas and outdoor spaces. Approximately 70 percent of the EchelonSeaport units have step-out balconies, and penthouses are equipped with private terraces. The condo towers share 60,000 square feet of amenities including two pool terraces, sky lounges and a wine room.
“People are discovering they can live with less square-footage as long as it’s efficiently designed,” Hawkes said. “They don’t need a 15-by-18-foot bedroom. That’s allowing pricing to be more palatable.”
The new inventory hits the market amid a slowdown in Boston core neighborhood condo sales volume. There were 2,627 units sold in the first nine months of 2019, compared with 3,304 during the same period in 2018, according to Collaborative Cos. research. But average prices per square foot hit a record $1,081 during the third quarter, reflecting the timing of new construction closings such as the high-end Pier 4 condos.