Uncategorized December 4, 2023

Market Seasonality is Back, Let’s Go! (December 2023)

Giving and Getting Thanks

I hope this note finds you well and you had a good Thanksgiving and long weekend. I’m thankful for my family visit to Chicago over Thanksgiving to connect with cousins and re-discover the great towering architecture– my favorite is the St Regis- at almost 1,200 feet, the largest building in the world by a female architect (Jeanne Gang).

I’m also thankful for all the people with whom I’ve had the pleasure to work with this year in finding or selling their homes. One recent client let us know that:

“Peter and the team were wonderful to work with! They were patient and helpful in guiding us through the whole process of selling our house in Newton. Everyone was incredibly responsive to our questions and requests. Peter and his team understood the market in the area very well and were able to help us stage the house and price it right so we got many offers. They are trust-worthy and reliable. It was a pleasure to work with this team!”

Real Estate Recap

  • During Covid, classic real estate patterns of seasons went, well, out of wack.

  • Pent-up demand and low interest rates created a fast-paced record-breaking 2022, hugely in seller’s favor.

  • Then, another rush in the second half of 2022 and first half of 2023 as we knew rates were going to rise (national ave of 30 Year fixed headed north of 5% last summer, climbing to 7.8% on 26-Oct).

Now Wicked Slow, and Real Estate Seasonality is Back

With rates up, the market slowed dramatically; opportunistic sellers were done, and others moved to the sidelines. So, as we wrap 2023, it’s surely to be the slowest market (in terms of number of sales) across the country, as well as here in the Boston area. Examples:

  • Brookline volume this year is only about ¾ of what it was in 2022

  • State-wide volume was down 18% in Q3 compared to last year.

Post-Covid, these cooling forces re-establish prominent seasonality in Boston-area real estate.

What’s next?

Here and now, just past Thanksgiving, So is it “too late” to sell? No!

  • Properly priced homes, particularly in the non-high end price ranges, are selling fairly quickly.

  • I can report first hand that my seller clients received multi-over asking bids this quarter.

  • We see some good interest rate trends recently: 30-year mortgages lower by half a percent, and even talk of the Fed cutting rates in the first half of 2024.

  • Thanks to local/regional factors, we continue to have a strong seller’s market. As the Wall Street Journal recently said: “Congrats, Your House Made You Rich. Now Sell It. Lots of baby boomers are going to sell their homes in the years ahead. The trick is to beat the crowd.”

If you have some flexibility, preparing the house and plans soon– to be ahead of the predicted increase of competition in the spring and beyond– is wise.

If you are a buyer, particularly if currently renting, don’t give up:

  • Sellers on the market now (November-December) tend to be motivated to sell

  • I examined about 675 properties for sale (in Boston and a radius), and more than half are priced under 1 million.

  • I’m seeing that contingencies are back– particularly for a mortgage.

Let’s go shopping!

Real Estate Leads
And speaking of that, while the properties I mentioned last month are now spoken for, I’ve been tracking some interesting properties looking for buyers:

  • An 8-unit building in the area, each with 1 BR. Great for investment as is, or having visited it, I can see combining to make two 2-3 BR units; perhaps as a target for downsizing plus continued passive income.

  • ¼ of condos on the market in my survey have been on the market for at least four months, with a “reasonable” median price of $1.24MM (compared to single families), some potentially ready for a price reduction; I have some specific properties in mind.

So, let’s do some planning now… and that’s certainly more fun than waiting in line in stores or airports! 🙂