Is Better Boston’s brutal actual property market beginning to cool? Consultants weigh in

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It’s been a brutal spring for anyone trying to buy a home in the greater Boston area. Now experts say there could be some early signs that the market is starting to move lower. But if you’re looking for a place to live, they also warn against getting your hopes up just yet. Anson Wu has been looking for a house west of Boston for his family of five since earlier this year and has placed more bids than he thought possible. “I can’t even remember. My God, we’ve looked at countless houses,” he said. “We’ve had no luck so far.” And Wu is a real estate agent, which doesn’t seem to offer much hope for the average homebuyer. “Of course I do. But we have all these crazy numbers happening everywhere now,” he said, referring to the skyrocketing prices. “It’s crazy.” Are bidding wars still common? Wu just lost a home in Sudbury listed by Denise Garzone. She said Home has multiple bids, but notes that the bidding wars are less intense than they were a few months ago. She says most deals get a handful of deals — three or four — compared to more than a dozen, which was the norm just a few months ago. “Far fewer people come to look at houses. Far fewer offers.” What does it take for your offer to be accepted? Even with fewer bids, expect to pay more than the asking price, and know that most people forgo contingencies, including a home inspection. Garzone also recommends hiring an agent with plenty of local connections in the cities in the center of your search area and having all your paperwork lined up. It’s important to remember that in most real estate, you’re competing for hard cash. Wu was surprised that almost every house they bid on was the winner who was able to pay cash. “We didn’t expect this to become a new norm, a new reality, that you have to have cash to buy a home,” he said. A telltale sign is that they will stay on the market for more than a few days. “For the buyer who is willing to purchase a home that might require a little work, there are still a few options out there,” Garzone said. Of course, that creates headaches in the supply chain. Will rising interest rates lower prices? Probably not soon. Mortgage rates for 30-year mortgages are now in the 5 percent range, significantly higher than a year ago, but are still considered historically low. Garzone believes Boston’s strong economy combined with few available homes will keep demand and prices high. The median price for a single-family home in Massachusetts set another record in April at $560,000, up 30 percent in just two years from $430,000 in April 2020. These figures come from the Warren Group, which tracks property sales in the Commonwealth Will the market look more normal? Wu hopes it will normalize before next spring when pent-up demand from the pandemic cools. But Garzone doesn’t think that will happen without dramatic changes, especially when it comes to housing supply. ‘ Garzon said. “So we have this real problem with the housing supply and a tremendous young buyer base that wants to come into the market.”

It’s been a brutal spring for anyone trying to buy a home in the greater Boston area.

Now experts say there could be some early signs that the market is starting to move lower. But if you’re looking for a place to live, they also warn against getting your hopes up just yet.

Anson Wu has been looking for a house west of Boston for his family of five since earlier this year and has received more bids than he expected.

“I can’t even remember. My God, we’ve looked at countless houses,” he said. “So far we have [had] no luck.”

And Wu is a real estate agent, which doesn’t seem to leave much hope for the average homebuyer.

“Of course I do. But we have all these crazy numbers happening everywhere now,” he said, referring to the skyrocketing prices. “It’s crazy.”

Are bidding wars still common?

Wu just lost a home in Sudbury listed by Denise Garzone. She said Home has multiple bids, but notes that the bidding wars are less intense than they were a few months ago. She says most deals get a handful of deals — three or four — compared to more than a dozen, which was the norm just a few months ago.

“We no longer see hordes of people coming through open houses,” Garzone said. “Far fewer people come to look at houses. Far fewer offers.”

What does it take for your offer to be accepted?

Even with fewer bids, expect to beat the asking price and know that most people forgo contingencies, including a home inspection. Garzone also recommends hiring an agent with plenty of local connections in the cities in the center of your search area and having all your paperwork lined up. It’s important to remember that in most real estate, you’re competing for hard cash.

Wu was surprised that almost every house they bid on the winner was someone able to pay cash.

“We didn’t expect this to become a new norm, a new reality, that you have to have cash to buy a home,” he said.

Is there less competition anywhere?

Garzone said there are houses that are not ready to move into. A telltale sign is that they will stay on the market for more than a few days.

“For the buyer who is willing to purchase a home that might require a little work, there are still a few options out there,” Garzone said. Of course, this creates headaches in the supply chain.

Will rising interest rates lower prices?

Probably not soon. Mortgage rates for 30-year mortgages are now in the 5 percent range, significantly higher than a year ago, but are still considered historically low. Garzone believes Boston’s strong economy combined with few available homes will keep demand and prices high. The median price for a single-family home in Massachusetts set another record in April at $560,000, up 30 percent in just two years from $430,000 in April 2020. These figures come from the Warren Group, which tracks property sales in the Commonwealth.

When will the market look more normal?

Wu hopes it will normalize before next spring as pent-up demand from the pandemic cools. But Garzone doesn’t think that will happen without dramatic changes, especially when it comes to the housing supply.

“In my mind, it’s something of the perfect storm, which I think hasn’t provided enough housing for over a decade,” Garzone said. “So we have this real problem with the housing supply and a tremendous young buyer base that wants to come into the market.”