The Boston real estate market is as strong as it ever has been – stronger, even. Condos sold during the past thirty days in the Boston Proper neighborhoods is at a level higher than in 2011, 2010, or 2009 (and, for all years back to 2003 except for 2007, the height of the bubble).
What’s changed this year is that total units listed for sale is down from prior years. There were 620 condos on the market as of this past Sunday, whereas there were 937 (50% more) condos on the market on the same date back in 2010. There were twice as many condos listed for sale this week in 2009.
Looking at the units that have gone under agreement during just the past seven days, I’m struck by how varied the activity has been – some of the condos are going under agreement within just a couple days of being listed while others have been on the market for three or four months, but some have been on the market for a year or longer.
I don’t have prior years’ data at hand so I can’t say whether this situation is any different from what we’ve seen in earlier years. But, it sticks out to me as something unusual, so I feel it is significant.
The properties that have been listed a long time are getting acceptable offers, even after all this time. Interestingly, several of the listings that finally went under agreement never had price changes – their owners kept the listings close to or at their original prices. (The several I researched had drops of $5-$10,000, so nothing significant.) Eventually, the homeowners’ stubbornness paid off and they have evidently found suitable buyers.
This leads me to believe that it’s because there’s limited supply out there from which buyers can choose. When the economy cratered, many owners took their properties off the market and decided to wait for better times. Others just kept their properties listed the entire time.
Now it looks as though some aged listings are seeing activity. What’s changed is that there are more buyers out there looking, pre-approvals in hand, ready to pounce when they see a property they like.
Usually, the “good” properties (priced accurately, nice quality, appealing interiors, right size) go under agreement within a period of weeks or within the first four to six weeks. That’s pretty much true in any market we’ve seen in the last decade. Then, there are those that drag on, and eventually the owners will reduce the prices, but it might be too late. The listings look old and tired and picked over. The owners might just leave their homes listed for sale or pull them from the market.
Again, I think the “old” listings” getting offers are condos that are being looked at seriously by buyers who can’t find enough of the type of properties they are looking for.