Condos make a comeback as buyers show renewed interest in city living

BOSTON — The pandemic flipped the real estate market upside down. All of a sudden, the suburbs were hot and interest in city living cooled down.

But now condos are making a comeback.

According to the Greater Boston Association of Realtors, the number of condos sold in April was up 60.3% year to year. The 1,220 units that went under agreement set a record.

The median price of $622,100 was up 2.8%.

The number of active listings, 2,257, represented a jump of 34.6%.

“The statistics are mind-boggling and I’ve been doing this for 25 years,” said Gene Hashkes, a realtor/broker at William Raveis in Newton.

Hashkes thinks the market is heading back to normalization.

“With more people vaccinated, with us returning to work, back to life, you’re seeing a resurgence in the condo market.”

First-time home buyers have been competing for a limited inventory of single-family homes in the suburbs, often finding themselves further and further from the city and getting less home for their money.

“This is an excellent opportunity to buy a condominium,” said Hashkes. “So, where you’ve seen home prices appreciate over the last 12 months, condos have just been going up since the beginning of the year.”

Hashkes added that people are looking for great locations.

People in Kenmore Square told Boston 25 News they believe people are feeling more comfortable being in the city.

“With everyone getting vaccinated now, I really feel like there shouldn’t a problem anymore,” said one woman.

A man added, “I hope people are ready to come back. I think Boston is beautiful.”

Daryl Fairweather, PH. D, chief economist at Redfin, thinks a lot of people will be willing to return to the city.

“Boston is going to benefit a lot from the pandemic ending in terms of people wanting to get back into the downtown or wanting to be near the colleges again.”

Fairweather thinks interest will continue to be strong for single-family homes in the suburbs, particularly as many people expect to work from home at least some of the time in the future.

But for others, buying instead of renting is in itself a strong draw.

“There’s also this wave of millennial homebuyers who before the pandemic felt maybe they weren’t ready to commit to owning a home, but now a lot of them do feel like they’re ready and they see the value in homeownership,” explained Fairweather.

Hashkes says as more of those buyers do the math, they might like what they find when it comes to condos today.

“A lot of millennial first-time homebuyers are starting to realize the rates are not going to stay at these record low levels forever. They’re only going to go up, so the longer you wait, it’s just going to continue to get more expensive.”

The Greater Boston Association of Realtors actually reported that the total number of condos sold in April exceeded the sales of single-family homes. While some of that has to do with the renewed interest in condos, it also speaks to the limited supply of single-family homes for sale.


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