Home buyers in Boston are expected to snatch up luxury condos carved out of old churches just as soon as the Boston Archdiocese can sell them to developers for the conversions.
The Archdiocese recently announced it's putting 60 churches up for sale following a financial crisis caused in part by sex abuse suit settlements.
Much to the chagrin of the congregation, the Archdiocese already converted 160-year-old St. Peter and Paul's Catholic Church to 36 luxury condos priced from $300,000 for a one-bedroom unit to $1.2 million for a penthouse with arches, real cathedral ceilings and a bell tower.
Developers left the red brick in the rectory and the church's granite exterior virtually intact, but split the church's vast interior into five floors, retaining the wooden arches and stained-glass windows while installing stainless steel appliances, Jacuzzi tubs, skylights and granite countertops.
The development team, James and Bernard McFarland, both Catholics, converted the rectory and the church into condos to provide housing in an area of South Boston which has little housing. All eight units in the rectory sold last year, while 28 of the 36 units in the church sold since February this year when a real estate company began actively marketing them.
Real estate agents and appraisers predict the luxury condos will be hot sellers because the unique homes come with unusual architectural details, stonework, molding and other features that will make the homes status symbols and topics of conversation.
Archbishop Sean O'Malley announced the church closures in May during a financial crisis also caused by declining Mass attendance, a shortage of priests and the inability of the archdiocese to support struggling parishes -- many with older buildings in desperate need of repairs.
So why would you want to live in the house of God?
Top Ten Reasons To Buy A Church Condo:
10. You can kick out the Church Lady.
9. For the first time in your life, the devil didn't make you do it.
8. Cheap utilities -- holy water and candles.
7. Even if you don't pay your exorcist, you can't be repossessed.
6. Great cocktail party banter "Yeah, but does your condo have a bell tower?" "I live in the house of God."
5. Stained glass windows and golden arches.
4. Free wine and bread every Sunday.
3. The 10 Commandments replace CC&Rs.
2. Your roommates are angels.
And the No. 1 reason to buy a church condo: There are no homeowner association dues because your home is a faith-based charity.