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Boston’s housing market looks “less healthy” – WSJ

Boston’s housing market looks “less healthy” – WSJ

Home sellers slash prices by record number

byline  Liz Hughes

A record number of home sellers are dropping their prices as buyers continue to feel the impact high mortgage rates are having on their wallets.

During the four weeks ended Oct. 29, almost 7% of sellers dropped their prices, the highest it’s ever been, according to a new report from Redfin. 

That record drop in prices comes as mortgage rates hit their highest level in 23 years, forcing would-be buyers to take a step back to avoid steep mortgage payments. 

The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate for the week ending Nov. 2 was 7.51%, down from 7.9% a week earlier. That relief, however, is not enough to entice buyers in today’s market as those rates have a big impact on monthly payments for potential homebuyers and deter potential sellers. 

Despite sellers slashing prices, home sale prices are still up from last year, but Redfin says we may see growth slow in the months ahead, as those prices are up due to a lag in data. 

For the four weeks ended Oct. 29, the median U.S. home sale price rose 3.4% from 2022, a jump Redfin attributes to elevated mortgage rates hampering prices this time last year.

And while the total number of homes for sale fell 10% from last year, new listings increased for the second time since July 2022, up 1%, partly due to new listings falling a year ago, the report said.

Redfin says its agents describe today’s housing market as “a mismatch between sellers’ high expectations and the reality of buyers’ budgets, saying it’s more important than ever for sellers to price fairly from the start to attract buyers and sell quickly.”

Updated: Boston condos for sale website 2023


Byline: From Jonathan J Miller’s Matrix blog, quoting James Hagerty, in The Wall Street Journal:

“Metropolitan areas whose housing markets look less healthy, at least in the short term, include Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco. All of them have growing inventories of homes and relatively weak job growth. As a result, houses that a year or two ago might have sold in hours now are languishing on the market for months, and some sellers are cutting prices.”

I’m not as pessimistic as Mr. Hagerty, because I don’t think the data supports what he’s saying.

(Once again, a reporter has melded together Boston & Massachusetts, so it’s hard to see what Hagerty’s actually talking about. Boston Proper has not seen any price reductions, and I don’t think the reporter’s talking about Boston when he uses words like “houses” since Boston is almost all condos, so really, what’s he talking about???)

I do agree, however, that without job growth, you aren’t going to see much increase in the way of housing prices, or in the number of properties being sold, each year.

Then again, Massachusetts is still selling homes at the 2003 rate, which was historically the best year ever, until 2004 and 2005.

So, relatively, it’s a good time, right?

More details: Late For The Party – By Jonathan J. Miller, Matrix, Interpreting The Real Estate Economy, and Housing Strength Shifts to New Markets – By James Hagerty, The Wall Street Journal

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Updated: January 2018

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