The State of the Massachusetts Real Estate Market: Winter 2013 and Into 2014 Spring Market

by Rich Vetstein on November 5, 2013 · 2 comments

in Massachusetts Property Values, Real Estate Marketing, Realtors

We had a great turnout today for our Massachusetts Real Estate Market Report, again presented and moderated by veteran real estate reporter Scott Van Voorhis of Banker & Tradesman and Scott writes for the well-known Real Estate Now Blog which is an invaluable resource.

For this installment, we added a little twist, holding a panel discussion and interactive Q&A with Ali Corton of Real Estate Executives Boston West, Chuck Silverston of Prudential Unlimited in Brookline and Dee Reddington of Bank of Canton. Ali was representing the ‘burbs. Chuck was representing the urban, Boston-Brookline market, and Dee was giving the lender perspective. We were live tweeting the event at Twitter #marealestate where you can check out the live stream.

Some take-aways from the presentation and discussion were as follows:

  • As reported just about everywhere, the Massachusetts real estate market remains very strong
  • Year over year, 16% increase in both sales volume and sales prices
  • The government shutdown has had no demonstrative effect on the market, nor on the lending environment
  • Lack of buildable land, desirability of the Greater Boston market (as always) has resulted in high demand, low inventory environment.
  • Inventory is down 30% over 2012 (which was down over 2011), putting upward pressure on prices and demand. Bidding wars common for well-priced, good quality homes in desirable communities. This is creating a frenzied dis-equilibirum in certain markets which isn’t necessarily healthy.
  • The low inventory is the “new normal.” Get used to it.
  • Interest rates are forecast to dip down a bit heading into spring market 2014, with eventual rise through the remainder of 2014 and 2015.  Overall, the interest rate environment remains very favorable to buyers and the market as a whole.
  • First time home buyers must be open to fixer-uppers and not updated homes. Otherwise, they will be in very tough competition for move-in condition homes in the good towns.
  • Lenders are doing loans for low credit (FICO 620 range) borrowers. ARMs making comeback.
  • Chuck pointed out the “Patriot Effect” for open houses on Sundays. People are staying home to watch the game. Advises trying open houses on Saturdays.
  • Ali Corton says that Metrowest sellers are routinely getting asking price or very close to that right now, and will continue to do so while inventory remains low

We are interested in hearing your thoughts on today’s market. Feel free to post your comments below!

  • Golman

    Boston is no different than most major metro areas as low interest rates have caused a frenzy of buyers. I love the Boston area and wish real estate sellers would celebrate the inflation of housing cost. How about meeting to celebrate the rising cost of living as the cost of milk, gasoline, property taxes, and food keep rising.
    Scott really has to travel to other cities to discover that the Real Estate boom is all about ultra low interest rates.
    See excerpt from Case Shiller report:

    “Every Case-Shiller Housing Market Improves

    The S&P/Case-Shiller Index reports that 100% of tracked U.S. housing markets showed home valuation increases between July and August 2013. The average tracked market gained 1.8 percent on a monthly basis and 12.8% on an annual basis.

    Valuation gains were uneven by city.

    As compared to the year prior, Las Vegas, Nevada (29.2%) was the top valuation gainer with San Francisco, California (+25.4%) and Los Angeles (21.7%) close behind.

    San Diego also posted big gains with home values rising 21.5% on a year-over-year basis.

    Among all of the Case-Shiller Index-tracked cities, New York City made the smallest annual gain. Values throughout the city’s five boroughs — Manhattan, Staten Island, Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn — rose just 3.6% annually.

    However, the data may mislead you.

    • Golman, thanks for the comment! Las Vegas is not a good comparison because it got slaughtered in the bust. SF is a good comparison to Boston however. Like politics, all real estate is local.

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