The past few years have been great for homebuyers, but now it’s time for sellers to hear some positive news. MSNBC published a report this month identifying Boston as being ripe for a real estate rebound. Local realtors seem in agreement, but with some caution.
“We agree with what I think is a premise,” says Kevin J. Ahearn, president of Otis & Ahearn, which mostly operates within downtown Boston and neighboring areas such as Charlestown and the South End. “The downtown condominium market is a contrarian market to national and [suburban] single-family markets. Prices held for the most part, even as sales activity slowed down from prior peak periods.”
“Most Greater Boston areas are bottomed out,” says Wendy Rocca of Keller Williams, Newton, who mostly works in the suburban market. “In some areas we are seeing multiple offers if the property is priced right. Belmont, Watertown, and Newton are just some of the areas that are very active. I would say, outside of [Route] 495 is a bit behind us. They have more inventory.”
As a rule of thumb, the further into the Back Bay, the lower the inventory and the tighter the market. Wealthier buyers untouched by the financial crunch kept the Back Bay market afloat, even during the recession.
“Inventory downtown has dropped,” says Ahearn. “Prices are going up very soon and maybe dramatically.”
Rocca agrees. “Properties are snatched up if they show well. Of course, there are some pockets that are still a bit stagnant, but in general Boston is back.”
The right stuff
Forbes at MSNBC.com’s report cited Boston as having the right ingredients for a real estate market revival. Low unemployment was a big factor. “The New England hub has a low 5.7 percent unemployment rate thanks to the presence of more than 100 universities and colleges in the metro area and a variety of biotech and financial services companies,” said the article.