The pandemic has changed the way we live our lives here in downtown Boston, from wearing a mask when venturing to public places to distance learning for college students. Not surprisingly, it has also created a huge impact on downtown Boston real estate investors. The damage it did to the economy and the resulting uncertainty of when the economy will improve and when unemployment numbers will drop to more manageable levels is causing downtown real estate investors to rethink their overall investment strategy. Many have become risk-averse and are looking for investments that have historically been stable and provided excellent returns.
Prior to the pandemic, purchasing a Boston condo to rent to students was considered a safe investment. Beacon Hill and high rise condo prices were getting close to asking, with some even selling above their asking price. This, along with foreign investment, helped to create a paucity of available quality properties, which further fueled the rampant price increases.
Despite the pandemic, the factors that fueled the demand prior to the pandemic remain intact. For example, downsizing baby boomers are still looking to lease a luxury apartment rental rather than deal with homeownership, and homeownership remains out of reach or unappealing to many millennials due in part to student loans and other debt, so they are renting instead. Finally, Generation Z, which is huge in numbers, is now entering the housing market and doing it by renting as the entry point.
The pandemic has forced downtown Boston real estate investors to rethink their investment strategies given the societal changes that have taken place, from employees working from home to a decrease in brick-and-mortar retail tenants. Many Boston real estate investors are still turning to real estate properties, which have a solid track record of both stable income and price appreciation over the years. Unfortunately for me, a lot of those investors are buying in the Boston suburbs.