Experts predict fall real estate market busy but not crazy

BOSTON — One of the big stories throughout the pandemic has been the crazy real estate market.

Prices soared and many houses were listed – and sold – on the same day.

Now as vacations end and we get back into our routines, many would-be buyers who got scared away from that manic scene are expected to start looking for their dream home again.

Ben and Kelsey Campbell have been sharing their 1,100 sq. foot Waltham condo with their dog Penny for a couple of years now. But with a baby on the way, they decided it was time to move.

They set their sights on getting a single-family home in the MetroWest suburbs.

“We wanted our own space,” said Ben. “I wanted a place with a yard for the dog, and for us to just sit out and enjoy the summer nights.”

“I did want separate zones,” added Kelsey. “Whether it was two floors or a bigger hallway, just kind of space to expand a little bit more.”

After seeing the surge in prices over the past year, particularly for single-family suburban homes, the couple didn’t know what to expect.

“It seemed like it’s really a seller’s market, and that for us, prospective buyers, that it was going to be this really difficult process,” explained Ben. “You hear all these horror stories and people putting in multiple offers and not getting it.”

Despite the challenges, the Campbells are closing on a single-family in Natick. Their success could be a potential sign of where the overall market might be heading.

“The market was really hot earlier this year, but it’s starting to stabilize,” said Daryl Fairweather, Ph.D., Redfin’s chief economist. “I think this fall the housing market is going to be just a little bit less competitive than it was earlier this year and homebuyers will have an easier time getting their offers accepted.”

Fairweather added that bidding wars are declining in the Boston area. In June 73% of properties had multiple offers. By July, that number had dropped to 64%.

Realtor Marie Presti, who has offices in Stoneham and Newton, had her busiest summer. She’s been in the business for more than 20 years.

Presti expects a brisk fall, but not a frenetic one. “We also do have some buyers who think it’s the top of the market, so they’re getting to the point where they’re saying I may not want to buy right now.”

Boston is coming back, according to Gene Hashkes, a realtor at William Raveis in Newton. “The city has rebounded since 2020 and the pandemic, as people have gotten vaccinated, as students return back to the universities. . . this year we’re seeing much more of a return to fundamentals. I still expect the suburbs and single families to be in extremely high demand due to supply shortages, that said, the city is back in a big way as well.”

All three experts told Boston 25 News they think interest rates will see, at most, an incremental increase. They all have faith in the inherent strength of the regional market.

“Typically, Boston prices stay quite stable even during economic downturns due to high demand and low supply,” said Hashkes.

“Most experts in the business are not seeing a decrease coming in the median sales price anytime soon,” added Presti.

The Campbells are excited their plans are working out, even though it has been nerve-wracking. “Absolutely,” said Kelsey. “You take a chance, especially when you put an offer in and you just hope that it goes well, and I think we’re really fortunate that it did.”

One thing that won’t change this fall is the need to prepare before you start housing hunting:

  1. Make sure you’re pre-approved for a mortgage.
  2. Define your search area.
  3. Create a list of “must-haves” and put them in order of priority.

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