‘Seaport Crossing’ Condos Hit the Market

And they've already had a price drop.

Google Maps Time Machine images from 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013.

Google Maps Time Machine images from 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013.

The Seaport District is undergoing dramatic changes, with office towers and apartment buildings springing up seemingly overnight. What we haven’t seen ’til now are any new condominium projects hit the market. Maybe now we know why.

Jay Rooney, a South Boston real estate agent, listed 11 condominiums at Seaport Crossing for sale on May 31, for between $559,000 and $629,000, and then just 10 days later, cut the prices on six of them for between $10,000-$30,000, according to Zillow.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. The Seaport District is being promoted as Boston’s hottest new neighborhood, where more than $3 billion in new construction is planned or underway. “THESE UNITS WILL NOT LAST!” claim the listings on Zillow.

The price cuts at Seaport Crossing were preceded by a good bit of hubris—even for a real estate agent—that appeared in the Herald in early April under the headline “Buyers beware: Homes going fast“:

Jay Rooney of William Raveis Realty has 50 buyers interested in 11 market-rate condos at Seaport Crossing in South Boston that aren’t on the market yet, and says he will sell out the building in less than 30 days after it’s listed.

To be fair, two of the market-rate units are already under agreement, and by no means is past performance indicative of future behavior. (Rooney has not responded to request for comment; if he does, we will update this post.)

But if you’re going to advertise a “Seaport” property and charge a premium over similar properties listed for sale nearby as a result, you’re going to be compared as such. Units at 437 D, the only real Seaport District condo project in the neighborhood, sell for just $370-450 per square foot versus the roughly $680 per square foot adjusted asking price at Seaport Crossing.

At least, that’s what it looks like at first glance. Digging deeper, the exact opposite is more likely true because Seaport Crossing isn’t fighting for buyers’ attention only with other condo projects; it’s up against an enormous number of apartment units that are coming on the market right now in the neighborhood. And when it’s compared to those, Seaport Crossing comes out as a relative bargain.

West Square Apartments is right across D Street from Seaport Crossing. Both are facing West 1st and industrial parking lots across from that. West Square offers such amenities as a concierge, fitness center, dog spa, courtyard with barbecue, and something called a motion studio. Seaport Crossing offers…a common roof deck.

The math looks a little something like this: If you bought an 879-square foot, 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom condo at Seaport Crossing for $549,000 (including a discount off the list price), back of an envelope calculation estimates your mortgage would be $2,266 per month. Add in $300 per month for the condo fee and $290 per month toward Boston property taxes and you’re paying $2,856. Meanwhile, a 898-square foot one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment at West Square (because there aren’t any 2 beds in that size range) is being listed for $3,750. A two-bedroom with slightly more space (1,010 square feet) will run you $3,665 per month.

You can buy a gym membership for under a hundred bucks a month, you can get doggy day care for another couple hundred, you can do without a concierge. So for hundreds of dollars less, you could buy at Seaport Crossing rather than rent next door. Perhaps Jay Rooney is on to something when he says in that same Herald article, “Young professionals are getting gifts from their families to buy because the rents are so high and mortgage rates are still low.”

The blip in sales at Seaport Crossing might be nothing more than a marketing flub. I don’t think they are encountering this sort of resistance down the street—in the Seaport—at 22 Liberty, the 118-unit luxury condominium project under construction on the Fan Pier, where units are expected to sell for $1,400-$2,000 per square foot.

Points for trying for anyone brave enough to build condos in that area, regardless of which neighborhood it’s in. Not so long ago, there was nothing at Broadway station, either. Now you see over 800 units on just one block, with some condos listed at greater than $1,000 a square foot, and the entire neighborhood has changed.

In time, that will be the case for this part of town—”Southie Seaport,” if you will—too.

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