Moving to the burbs: Renters, buyers leaving Boston for open spaces, room to WFH

BOSTON — With waterfront condos in the Seaport and high-rise office buildings sprouting up just about everywhere, Boston’s real estate market has been booming for years.

But the party may now be over.

These days, the action is in the suburbs.

Over the last decade, the thought of living and working in downtown Boston was appealing. All the people moving into the city kept Isaac’s Moving and Storage busy.

The Stoughton-based company is still busy, but now their trucks are heading in a different direction.

“We’re getting a lot of calls from people that are moving, young professionals, moving a little bit outside the city,” explained General Manager Jon Dalzell. “What we’re used to seeing was a lot of people moving into the city, Beacon Hill, these really attractive areas to live.”

Realtor Marie Presti, owner of the Presti Group, says selling a condo in Boston can be a challenge right now.

“I actually have a condo that my sellers have decided to temporarily withdraw off the market and wait until the fall to see you if the market recovers,” she said.

Presti says Boston inventory is moving slow. At the current rate it would take about six months to sell all the properties currently listed.

It’s a different story just a few miles away according to Presti.

“The suburbs were under three months,” she added.

Open space, working from home, and a prolonged shutdown have changed attitudes about the suburbs.

“A lot of the core things that attracted young people to the city, the restaurants, the nightlife, the bars, the camaraderie with colleagues, it’s all shutdown,” said David Ferris, CEO and Owner of the Ferris Companies.

“I think that a lot of people are saying, ‘you know I’m kind of at that age anyway, where I’m thinking of settling down with my partner, raising a family,' so the suburbs are coming back in a very, very big way,” added Ferris.

Ferris wants to help move this trend along. His company is running ads offering companies incentives, including free rent, to get top notch office space in places like Westboro.

These are spacious offices that can be reached with getting on an elevator.

“I think that what we’re offering to the marketplace is the solution that is needed for the next three to five years, which is social distancing, and responsible, safe work environments,” added Ferris.

Other suburban landlords are making direct pitches to Boston-based business as well.

“The idea that mass transit is going to be something really appealing in the next 18 months is probably not there,” said Ferris.

Dalzell is picking up on that sentiment from the calls coming into his office.

“We had a lot of people that weren’t sure where they were going, but they were going,” he said.

Boston isn’t the only city experiencing this outward migration.

Presti told Boston 25 News she’s been in contact with colleagues in Washington D.C., Chicago, and San Franciso and they’re all seeing the same trend.

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