The real estate market skips summer vacation

A sign of changing times? The August real estate market is usually a lot slower, but local realtors have been pleasantly surprised by their sales so far.

Traditionally, the home-buying market dries up as summer rolls on and, by August, there are tumbleweeds blowing over For Sale signs — metaphorically speaking, of course. That’s mostly due to many people, especially families, who are unwilling to forsake summer holidays for buying — or selling — a home. So, after a healthy rebound in sales this spring, are buyers taking a summer break?

“We do the downtown numbers every Friday,” says Kevin J. Ahearn, president of Otis & Ahearn. “What we’ve seen is that the momentum is holding, so what traditionally might be a lull doesn’t seem to be there. [Overall, there's] good momentum for us.”

Beth Dickerson of Sotheby’s Real Estate on Dartmouth Street agrees: “The summer market has continued to prove strong in the Boston area. Although inventory has slightly thinned out, I have personally experienced a continued momentum with many active buyers,” she says.

That could mean a tight situation is looming for people who took a summer break from home-hunting. Those resuming their search in September could face a dearth of choice, particularly in the popular parts of Cambridge and downtown Boston where inventory is low.

“Pending deals are very strong, adding further evidence to us that the positive housing trends of late, plus low interest rates, [are] creating very good activity,” Ahearn says. “The downtown market has remained steady despite the downturn and so inventory is always tight. Despite a glut of homes in other areas, after a big rebound this spring, properties cleared out.”

What about the ’burbs?  

Is there a summer slowdown in surrounding towns? “Overall the number of properties that have gone under agreement are up 10 percent from August last year,” says Paul Mydelski of RE/MAX Leading Edge, which has offices in Arlington, Winchester, Newton, Waltham and Watertown. “Pricing is on the increase as well, averaging an increase from 5 to 10 percent. With interest rates still historically low and consumer confidence on the rise, the Greater Boston summer real estate market has been an active one.”



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