So, readers ask, what do I think of the slower real estate market?

Sales of single family homes dropped a whopping 25 percent in July in Massachusetts, and condo sales also fell precipitously by 21 percent compared to the same month last year, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors reported.

Prices also declined for both categories — 3.5 percent for single family homes and 4.1 percent for condos. – Source: The Boston Business Journal

I don’t know if I have anything to add to the conversation. On one side, I think you have more people putting their homes on the market, than previously, a phenomenon I can’t explain. It seems counterintuitive to be doing so. I guess people fear they won’t be able to sell, down the line, because of higher inventory levels, so they put their homes on the market, now, which, of course, makes it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Why aren’t people buying?

I dunno. First, it’s not that no one’s buying. It’s that less people are buying. I bought a condo in May, for example. I needed / wanted to move, so I did. The difference between what something is selling for, today, and what something MIGHT sell for, tomorrow, wasn’t a big concern to me. People who want to or must buy, are buying.

The experts list a bunch of reasons that people aren’t buying. I agree with all of them. Or, none of them. High prices? Sure. High interest rates? Sure. Speculative buyers getting out of the market? Okay. Tough economy? If you say so. Fear of war and world-wide conflagration? Undoubtedly.

The percentage of people who own versus rent, in the United States, actually increased, over the past several years. There’s always going to be a limit on the number of owners, though, don’t you think, no matter what homes cost. Some people will always rent.

Maybe we just hit that limit. Now, we’re just seeing the typical, normal number of owners turning over their homes.

I have had more buyers contact me over the past two weeks, than in the past two months. Could be luck or good fortune (karma?). Could be a sign that things have stabilized.

If I was a first-time homebuyer, and lived in Boston, or was moving to Boston, I’d buy, versus rent, because that’s the kind of person I am.

If I was a parent with a child coming to school in Boston, I’d definitely buy, because rents are still really high, in Boston, and going higher.

If I was a rich suburbanite, looking to move into the city, I’d still buy. I’d price my home in the suburbs below the competition, because I bought my home back in 1970, and I’m sitting on three-quarters of a million dollars in gains.

If I lived in a two-bedroom condo in the South End, I guess I’d put off selling, if it was simply so I could buy another two-bedroom condo, down the street.

That’s about where I stand on this, I guess.

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Updated: January 2018

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