The Boston real estate market has been on fire over the past year, and although it’s still going strong, it appears to be cooling off a bit coming into June, according to a new report from Redfin.
Although pending sales are up 29% from last year, they are starting to slow down and are down 9.7% from their peak four weeks ago. However, Redfin experts attribute this to the possibility that buyers took a break from their search for a new home so they could enjoy Memorial Day weekend.
Other leading market indicators also seem to be simmering down, like home purchase applications, which have been falling since March and are 7% lower than they were at the beginning of 2020. Redfin’s demand index has also dropped 12% since it hit its peak this past March.
For the four-week period ending on June 6, the median home price increased 24% year over year to $358,749 (a record high), and the asking price for newly listed homes rose 14% to an all-time high of $364,725. More detailed data about the market can be found in Redfin’s full report.
“Buyers have faced a tough market this year and fewer feel it is a good time to buy as the allure of low rates has waned, so some are choosing to wait it out for now,” said Redfin’s lead economist Taylor Marr in the report. “With demand stabilizing, the housing market should become more balanced, allowing homebuyers to have a less stressful and challenging time finding and competing for a home.”
Candice Smith, a NY Redfin agent, said she’s noticed many changes in the landscape of bidding wars in her market over the past month, like drops in how much buyers are willing to pay above asking price and the number of competing offers in the average bidding process.
“Homebuyers still need to be strategically creative when submitting their highest and best offer, which involves methods like offering to cover an appraisal gap upfront, dropping the appraisal or mortgage contingency altogether or adding escalation clauses,” said Smith.
When does a sale become pending?
When does a sale become “pending”? As you probably know already, there are many steps to get through from the buyer’s reaching out to their downtown Boston real estate agent, deciding to buy a Boston midtown condo, and then actually making the transaction final. Once an offer has been accepted, the buyer must secure financing and draw up a contract with their real estate agent. The buyer’s agent must then present that contract to the seller’s agent and negotiate over the various terms it entails – what is included with the midtown condo, what kind of inspections will be performed, and so on. When the contract is accepted, the sale is “pending” until all of the inspections are over and the money is in the seller’s hands.
As you can imagine, there’s a lot that can go wrong here, which is why deals occasionally “fall through” or fail to transition from “pending” to “sold”. So what’s average? It seems that the success rate for Boston midtown real estate agents (and all of the other parties involved) to move a home from “pending” to “sold” is variable, but I think as long as we’re over 90%, we’re doing pretty well.
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