How the coronavirus outbreak has impacted Boston’s real estate market

How the coronavirus outbreak has impacted Boston's real estate market

BOSTON — Boston's building boom took a temporary pause during the pandemic when Mayor Walsh put construction projects on hold. As it slowly comes back to life, the landscape of buying and selling in Boston is changing.

“Leading up to the pandemic, it was really a hot market,” explained Dimitrios Makos, Realtor and Attorney, Buyers Brokers Only. “Now we’re starting to see a shift a little bit. Inventory is down. it’s down across the board.”

​With a weak economy and job insecurity, real estate looks a lot different.

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"I think buyers for their own personal situation are taking their foot off the gas a little bit because they're thinking maybe my job isn't certain, maybe my spouse's job isn't certain," said Makos.

“So it’ll be a very interesting market. I think there will be a little bit of a normalization going on depending on the price point and the town you’re looking at,” said Amy Mizner, Realtor, Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty.

Social distancing warrants more space. Urban dwellings don't offer the square footage.

“There’s always going to be that group of people that downtown or nothing,” said Makos. “I think there’s a new group that I’m seeing and I’m hearing a lot about too. They might start to weigh the pros and the cons because I’m thinking I’m in a 700 or 800-square-foot apartment or maybe it’s a one or two-bedroom but at the same time they’re thinking it would be nice to get out of the city and have a backyard.”

Boston realtor Dimitrios Makos says the Seaport, Back Bay, and Beacon Hill will always be desirable but it comes with a price tag.​

"We're seeing a lot less inventory on the market. So that's creating a different dynamic, especially considering the Boston market has been competitive for so long," said Makos.

As far as if it's a buyers or seller market, it depends on the price point of a home.

"That's a case by case instance," explained Mizner. "I think that in the high end, I think sellers are really smart. If they're putting their house on the market they're serious and they're looking at what things have sold for."

Realtors have also changed the way potential homes are being shown.

Expect home tours to be more streamlined. No big groups.

Masks and shoe coverings a must-have. You’ll find a home ready to be seen with open closets, pantries, and drawers to minimize the number of surfaces touched.​​

For Mizner, she's relying on technology more than ever before.

Zooms, Skype, and FaceTime are ways she shows her clients prospective homes.

​"I would walk through a room and give them a background of the house," explained Mizner. "You almost feel like you're in a home movie and you're experiencing this as if you're walking through yourselves."

Realtors are deemed essential workers and the pandemic isn't stopping people from buying or selling but there's a noticeable change in the housing market.

“We came out of a very, very vibrant first quarter where it was a seller’s market and I think that’s going to continue as people the pause button is being released and the buyers are out there and the sellers are ready to put their house back on the market,” said Mizner.

Buyers are doing more research before seeing a potential home. Virtual tours and pictures are key.

With interest rates low, realtors say if you can afford it, it’s a great time to buy a house.

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