As one might expect, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the course of Boston's luxury housing market. The impact, however, is not as many envisioned.
Now nine months into the pandemic, and unlike other sectors that have taken a COVID-related hit, Boston real estate is in the midst of a mini housing boom—at least, a single-family residential housing boom.
In other words, if you're looking for a single-family home, you're not alone.
In June, Boston ranked as one of the nation's most competitive housing markets based on reporting from Redfin, with nearly 75% of property bids resulting in bidding wars.
What's fueling this sudden rush on less-urban living? For one thing, mortgage rates are historically low—30-year fixed rates are hovering around the 3% mark. Depending on the day or week, it drops even lower.
But it's more than the allure of attractive monthly payments driving people from the city center.
One of the pandemic's most common traits has been the sudden allure of suburban, single-family housing. Residents who were long content with small condo spaces as long as they could regularly escape them—to shop, dine, and socialize—are rethinking that lifestyle. Now, it's less important to be close to the action or physically close to work.
As both jobs and schooling become more remote affairs, people realize they need fewer amenities—particularly those they must share with others—and more room.
Individuals are also looking to be closer to family or to welcome more of them into their home. Ultimately, COVID-19 has reprioritized the way people live—whether it's by accelerating future goals or recalibrating current ones. And they're paying whatever it takes to reach them.
According to the Greater Boston Association of Realtors, the median sales price for a single-family home was $720,000 for August 2020. That represents a 12.5% increase from a year ago and a new high for the month of August.
While the single-family market has been trending in favor of sellers, the opposite is true for condos.
In fact, any quick, cursory search of online listings will reveal a dearth of single-family homes and an abundance of condos. According to Redfin, single-family inventory is at one of its lowest levels over the past decade. Conversely, in July 2020, metro Boston's condo inventory reached some of its highest levels since November 2014.
Make no mistake, though—condo sales remain active, just less in demand than their single-family siblings. Median sales prices for condos also had a record high in August at $585,000—a 3% increase from 2019. This shows that even with the current exodus to Boston's exterior communities, there remains a segment that prefers to stick close to the city's core, regardless of circumstances.
There's little doubt that COVID-19 continues to generate plenty of uncertainty in today's real estate market. The pandemic, though, won't last forever, and as things return to normal (even if slowly), the housing market will begin to steady itself.
New listings are already finding their way to the market, and with more inventory comes more balance.
Whether buying or selling, in the city or just outside of it, now is the time to find your perfect Boston residence. Contact the Callon Walker Group today and allow Callon and his team to be your guide to the best of Boston's most sought-after neighborhoods.