We’re smack in the middle of the Fall Boston condo sales season, one of the two busiest times of the year for buying and selling Boston homes. (The other is April through June.) Word on the street over the July and August months was that the market had cooled down. But we weren’t sure if it was the typical summer slowdown, or the start of a downturn of sorts.
A month into the Fall, I can say that the market is definitely changing. Though prices seem to be holding up, I’m seeing various shifts in buyer behavior. Here’s what my colleagues and I are experiencing:
Prices are flattening.
Boston is very neighborhood-centric when it comes to prices, and there are certain very popular areas that have actually increased in price over the past year. But the general trend is worth noting as we head into 2019 that asking and selling prices are on a flattening trend.
Fewer offers on Boston condos that don’t check all the boxes.
Buyers are shying away from Boston condos that don’t meet all their criteria. And if a property is in a more remote area, far from transportation or a good retail area, it will probably spend a bit of time on the market. Sellers need to be super careful about their list prices, and should be looking at a range of comps (not just the high-flying ones from last Spring).
Some buyers are delaying their purchases.
I’ve spoken with one or two prospects who have decided that they’re going to see where the market is in 2019 before they get serious about buying. The consensus is that prices are going to drop because interest rates are on the upswing, among other reasons. The other half of the equation, however, is that we have a very limited supply for the demand. And if prices indeed drop, there will undoubtedly be a bunch of homeowners who will decide to hold off on selling until prices go up.
I’m expecting to see a strong finish to 2018, with a steady volume between now and the end of the year. The market is still very competitive. I also don’t see inventory slowing down until we get closer to Christmas.