I've been reaching out to a lot of my clients recently to see how they are doing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. I'm relieved to report that so far, no one I directly know has been diagnosed with the virus. I hope that everyone continues to stay in good health and that we all come out on the other side of this relatively unscathed.
Numerous people I've contacted have understandably asked me how the market is doing, and if homes are still selling. The short answers are: better than you would think, and yes. If there’s one thing to be said about real estate is that there will always be situations in people’s lives that cause them to have to find a new home, no matter what is happening in the world. And so while things have slowed during this time when we are all staying at home as much as possible, the market has not ground to a halt. Prices are holding steady for now, depending on specific price-point and neighborhood. Generally speaking, buyers have less competition from other buyers than they would in a typical spring, but we aren’t seeing the “fire sales” that people expected either. Bidding wars are actually still happening.
I want to be very open that no one predict exactly what the future holds in regard to housing, myself included. I've witnessed a lot of other agents say that everything is fine and will continue to be. While I agree that the Boston market is extremely resilient, having weathered the housing crash in the late 2000's substantially better and faster than much of the U.S., we are in unprecedented times. I'm personally refraining from opinion-spouting and prefer to focus on what we actually know to be true: the data.
And so with that, I've compiled some research on how the market performed in Q1 (Jan. 1 - March 31, 2020) as compared to recent years. I will plan to post Q2 results as soon as they are available, and believe that those figures may be more indicative of the impact of the coronavirus, since non-essential businesses only closed in Massachusetts on March 23... basically at the end of Q1. So, check back for that in July!
Without further ado, let's take a look at Q1 2020...
According to LINK, a real estate listing and reporting service for Boston, prices in Q1 citywide were at an all-time high, with an average sales price of $1,579,980. This represents a 36% increase over Q1 2019 and an average price per square foot of $1,147, a 21% increase. The number of sales also jumped 15%, likely due in large part to the lack of snow in Boston this year. Interestingly, despite the mild weather, the average days on market was 90, which is three weeks longer than in Q1 2019.
Delving deeper into some specific neighborhoods...
South Boston -- South Boston prices were up 17% over Q1 2019 to an all-time high, with an average sales price of $856,919. Average price per square foot was $749 (up 3%), but we also saw an increase in days on market -- 78 days vs. 57 the year before.
Back Bay -- We need to look at this in context. The huge (75%!) jump in prices over Q1 2019 is largely attributed to the development and sales of the luxury residences at One Dalton. Including those sales, the average price across Back Bay was $3,360,285, with the average price per square foot being $1,674.
South End -- Sales were down 19% in the South End during Q1 over 2019 due to the lack of inventory available. Since demand outweighed supply, prices were up 4% on average, and registered at $1,321,891. Like many other neighborhoods in the city, days on market were higher than in Q1 2019.
Finally, here's a cursory overview of many of the individual neighborhoods. As you can see, prices were up in most areas, with the exception of Fenway, the Waterfront and the West End which saw an average decrease of approximately 12%.
Data for Cambridge, Somerville and Brookline is not represented here, nor is it for some Boston neighborhoods outside of the Downtown core like Dorchester, East Boston and Jamaica Plain. If you would like the figures for any neighborhood or town not reflected here, please reach out and I'll put together a custom report for you.
Please take care and stay well!
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