Current housing market conditions

Should you wait until spring to put your home on the market? A recent Realtor.com report says, not necessarily.

While home sales historically slowed down in winter months and around the holidays, today’s real estate market isn’t quite like that. Let’s face it, nothing about today’s market is like markets of the past. This winter will be nothing like the recent past. 

In a year where local agents pulled out all the stops to help their clients win bidding wars, housing competition has started to ease, yet homes are still selling faster than usual for this time of year.    

Realtor.com chief economist Danielle Hale said that although the market tends to freeze up once the snow falls, she predicts the post-pandemic winter of 2021-2022 will be different. “Sellers can expect to see plenty of buyers,” she said. 

That’s in part because even though housing competition started to ease in the fall, home prices continue to hit record highs and inventory continues to be an issue. 

Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors said compared to past winters, this season’s sales activity will be stronger. “This winter, there will be more sales compared to pre-pandemic winters going back all the way to 2006,” he told Realtor.com.

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Current housing market conditions 

Monthly home value growth has slowed from its record-breaking pace this summer, inventory is up for the fourth month in a row and more sellers are cutting their list price. This all points to less competition for home shoppers, but make no mistake, the housing market remains clearly tilted in favor of sellers,” says Zillow senior economist Jeff Tucker. Indeed, the latest Zillow market report released in October notes a slight softening in for-sale markets, with monthly home value appreciation slowing for the first time since January. The Zillow report also reveals that inventory of for-sale listings rose for the fourth month in a row, along with more sale listings cutting prices, which is beneficial for home shoppers. Looking ahead, Zillow economists expect the typical home in the US to increase in value 4.7% over the next few months, resulting in an increase of 11.7% by August 2022. 

The frenetic pace in housing may be cooling somewhat, but demand still far exceeds a limited supply of homes available for sale,” adds Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate concurs. “Waiting in expectation that prices will fall seems unlikely to pay off,” says McBride. But he says, proceed with caution: “Waiting until you’re not pressured to make an offer on the spot or sight unseen, forego inspections or waive contingencies is a prudent choice,” says McBride. 

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Boston Condos for sale Sale and Rent

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Current housing market conditions 

If you’re in the market for a Boston home, here’s some good news. Mortgage rates remain near historic lows: Some 15-year rates are near 2% and some 30-year rates are below 3%, as you can see here. What’s more, buyers looking for a home in fall and winter may have a bit of an easier time than they did this summer, experts say. 

Indeed, the frenetic rise of Boston home prices is slowing, though still going up: “September was the second month in a row that month-over-month price appreciation pulled back, signaling that moderation in home prices is around the corner as we come into 2022. Still, it will take some time before we return to a normal level of price growth, and we still expect prices to grow 13.6% by next September,” says Nicole Bachaud, an economist at Zillow.

What’s more, inventory is up: More than 1.1 million homes were for sale in August, up 4.1% from July.  And home sales have slowed, according to data from the National Association of Realtors, which reveals that single-family home sales have decreased 3.1% from a year ago. Another factor in buyer’s favor is that fall and soon winter are upon us, and those are two seasons when homes tend to sell for less of a premium than they do in spring and summer months. 

What does this mean for Boston home buyers and sellers?

All that said, none of this means big changes for Boston condo buyers.

“Make no mistake, it’s still a very competitive market,” says Bachaud.  Adds Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate: “There’s been a bit more inventory of homes available for sale to come on the market and things aren’t as frenetic as earlier in the year, but this is still a very hot housing market where demand far exceeds supply in most markets.”  That said, you can expect fewer bidding wars, fewer instances of buyers buying sight unseen or waiving inspections.

For Boston condo sellers, it won’t have a huge impact either.  Boston condo sellers won’t see a deluge of offers above asking price, and it might take a little longer to sell.

Is now the time to buy a Boston home?

Mortgage rates have also stayed stubbornly low, making now a good time to buy and lock in a relatively low payment if a buyer finds a home that fulfills their wish list and that they can afford,” says Bachaud. 

Boston condos for sale and the bottom line

That said, it’s important to consider what you can actually afford, and ensure that you’re not buying the wrong house because you get caught up in the real estate frenzy: “Making the biggest financial decision of your life under duress is not a recipe for success,” says McBride.

The chart below shows housing market conditions throughout the United States

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