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Boston Leads the Nation as the Hottest Housing Market

Boston Leads the Nation as the Hottest Housing Market

Despite the lingering chill in the air, the Greater Boston area’s housing market remains remarkably robust. Data from Altos Research reveals that as of February 23, 2024, the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH metropolitan area stood out as the nation’s hottest housing market, boasting an Altos Market Action Index score of 60.59. This score placed Boston ahead of competitors like the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA metro area, which trailed behind with a lower score. The area’s real estate market has maintained this strong position, indicating a high level of buyer activity and seller confidence.

Inventory Woes Fuel Boston’s Red-Hot Housing Market

One of the key drivers of Boston’s hot housing market is the severe shortage of inventory. Local agents report that the market is experiencing an unprecedented lack of available homes for sale. As of mid-February, the metro area had a mere 1,753 active single-family listings, a stark contrast to the 4,537 listings seen just before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. This scarcity of available homes has created a highly competitive environment where buyers are often faced with limited options and fierce bidding wars, driving up prices and creating a sense of urgency among prospective homebuyers.

Severe Inventory Shortage Puts Pressure on Buyers

The severe shortage of inventory in the Boston housing market has put significant pressure on buyers, forcing them to act quickly and decisively. With fewer homes available for sale, buyers are faced with increased competition, leading to bidding wars and rising home prices. This scarcity extends into neighboring New Hampshire, where the entire state boasts only 985 active single-family listings, down from 3,872 pre-pandemic. The lack of inventory has made it challenging for buyers to find suitable homes, forcing them to expand their search parameters and consider homes that may not meet all their criteria.

Interest Rates and Buyer Behavior

Interest rates have played a significant role in shaping buyer behavior in the Greater Boston area. The recent stabilization and slight declines in mortgage rates have drawn more buyers into the market, exacerbating the inventory challenge. While higher interest rates initially deterred some sellers from listing their homes, the recent decrease in rates has sparked renewed interest from buyers. This increased demand, coupled with the limited supply of homes for sale, has created a competitive market environment where buyers must act quickly to secure a property.

High Prices and Buyer Resilience

Despite the challenging market conditions, buyers in the Greater Boston area remain resilient. Home prices continue to climb, with the 90-day moving average median list price hitting $879,000 as of mid-February. This is significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels and last year’s prices. Despite these high prices, buyers are continuing to enter the market, driven by factors such as job growth, low unemployment rates, and the desire for homeownership. The strong demand for homes, coupled with the limited supply, has created a competitive market where buyers must be prepared to act fast and make competitive offers to secure a property.

Spring Might Bring Relief

Agents anticipate more inventory to arrive around April 1st, traditionally seen as the start of the spring buying season. However, even with more homes hitting the market, properties in desirable locations with competitive pricing are expected to be snapped up quickly, maintaining pressure on buyers. The arrival of spring may bring some relief to buyers, as more homes become available for sale. However, given the current market conditions, buyers should be prepared to act quickly and decisively to secure a property in the highly competitive Greater Boston housing market.

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