Boston condos under agreement trends 2009-2011
Mar 2011 23

There are certain trends in the Boston real estate and condominium sales markets.

The spring is the busiest time for homes to be sold in downtown Boston. This is true in the country, as a whole. Mostly, this is due to the fact that most home purchases are by families with children. Parents want to buy and close on a home before the beginning of summer so that they can enjoy the warm weather and be settled in before school starts in the fall.

This flows through to the local real estate scene even though there is a much-higher number of single- and dual-income couples without kids buying.

It’s almost a self-fulfilling prophecy – more people buy in the spring so more people list their properties in the spring and more people look to buy in the spring because there are more properties on the market in the spring.

I looked at under agreement data for the past eighteen months in the downtown Boston, Boston Proper neighborhoods. The data was collected for 30-days at a time, so it’s a rolling trend chart.

As you can see, last spring, 2010, was the busiest time for downtown Boston real estate transactions. Two hundred properties were under agreement for a thirty day period in early-to-mid April. Closings scattered throughout the following six weeks.

There was a similar increase in under agreement activity in October and November. There is, every year, as people look to buy and close before the end of the year and before it begins to snow.

This year, 2011, you can see a similar increase in activity during the past six weeks. In fact, it almost exactly matches last year’s trend of under agreements, but at a lower level of transactions. This seems to be an accurate reflection of the market – we are seeing a lower number of sales compared to last year, by about 30%. Many people believe last spring’s spike in activity was due to the pending expiration of federal tax credits which may have prompted buyers to purchase real estate when they otherwise would have waited a month, two, six, or twelve.

This is good information to keep in mind if you’re buying or selling a condo. If you’re a seller, list now, before summer starts. If you’re a buyer, your best chance of finding a home that matches your needs is now, when the inventory is at a higher level. You might have more competition for homes, since everyone else is looking, but you will also find a better selection from which to choose.

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