September Sales = Mixed Message

$5 million dollar viewInventory in Boston Metroplex increases - but not everywhere.

The Greater Boston market continues to perplex market watchers. August sales usually slow with an increase in September. This year, half of Boston saw an increase in inventory in September... but not appreciably enough to pronounce that the market has finally shifted... especially since the other half of Boston experienced robust sales and a decrease in inventory. In fact, the forecast calls for continued strong sales at least through spring of 2022. We shall see.

Last month, 88% of the Boston area was enjoying a seller's market, much to the angst of buyers. This month, the number of markets still in a seller's market sits around 76%.

Only one neighborhood is now experiencing a buyer's market. Unfortunately for buyers, it is one of the more expensive areas to buy in. As I mentioned last month, it will still take an economic catastrophe at this point to prevent 2021 from becoming our best year ever when it comes to high prices and volume of sales. If you look at last month's market update, you will see that all the towns and neighborhoods have kept in lockstep with each other, such that the order of top-selling or slow-selling areas remains basically unchanged from last month:

Town or Average Sold in Active on Inventory Historical
Neighborhood Y-T-D September 10/1/21 Supply AR
Melrose 34 31 28 0.9 0.2
Walpole 33 34 29 0.9 0.2
Weymouth 74 86 75 0.9 0.3
Revere 50 58 53 0.9 0.3
Sharon 28 26 33 1.3 0.3
Sudbury 27 29 39 1.3 0.4
Medfield 21 15 27 1.8 0.4
Medford 64 62 90 1.5 0.5
Sherborn 9 2 15 7.5 0.5
Wayland 21 25 12 0.5 0.6
Somerville 93 81 170 2.1 0.7
Ashland 25 29 18 0.6 0.7
Foxborough 20 18 14 0.8 0.7
West Roxbury 39 44 26 0.6 0.8
Arlington 55 77 45 0.6 0.9
Braintree 42 36 37 1.0 0.9
Winthrop 22 23 68 3.0 1.0
Needham 35 25 31 1.2 1.0
Dedham 36 27 35 1.3 1.0
Framingham 75 77 73 0.9 1.0
Lexington 43 40 39 1.0 1.0
Westwood 23 23 20 0.9 1.0
Norwood 35 36 32 0.9 1.1
Natick 54 44 56 1.3 1.2
Wellesley 35 29 40 1.4 1.2
Belmont 34 32 32 1.0 1.3
Chelsea 28 24 40 1.7 1.3
Malden 47 67 54 0.8 1.3
Lincoln 8 13 9 0.7 1.3
Waltham 63 60 71 1.2 1.3
Quincy 111 105 130 1.2 1.4
Hyde Park 24 22 30 1.4 1.4
Everett 35 31 43 1.4 1.5
Roslindale 42 24 47 2.0 1.5
Canton 42 26 52 2.0 1.5
Milton 35 25 45 1.8 1.6
Watertown 37 43 57 1.3 1.6
Newton 111 85 148 1.7 1.7
Jamaica Plain 67 49 91 1.9 1.8
Chestnut Hill 24 24 37 1.5 1.9
Dorchester 94 66 156 2.4 2.0
Cambridge 90 99 147 1.5 2.1
Charlestown 42 39 70 1.8 2.1
Mattapan 10 14 19 1.4 2.2
Brookline 70 55 120 2.2 2.2
Concord 23 23 28 1.2 2.3
Weston 19 10 37 3.7 2.3
Dover 8 11 20 1.8 2.4
North End 15 9 25 2.8 2.5
Fenway 20 14 35 2.5 3.2
Brighton 70 55 103 1.9 3.4
Mission Hill 6 5 14 2.8 3.4
East Boston 60 56 155 2.8 3.6
South Boston 100 62 169 2.7 3.6
South End 61 53 169 3.2 3.9
Allston 11 13 32 2.5 3.9
Seaport 14 15 47 3.1 4.2
Beacon Hill 21 18 66 3.7 4.4
Roxbury 18 13 64 4.9 4.4
Back Bay 32 26 113 4.3 4.5
Bay Village 3 1 11 11.0 4.8
West End 3 2 17 8.5 5.1
Chinatown 11 6 41 6.8 5.2
Downtown 5 4 40 10.0 8.1

BUYERS

Your best opportunities to get a deal on your purchase or at least to avoid bidding wars is to look at areas where the Absorption Rate (AR) is greater than 4.5 months of inventory (ideally, greater than 6). The lower the AR amount, the more competition you will have with other buyers and the less interested sellers will be to negotiate. The best place around Boston to buy today is in the neighborhood of Downtown. With all the inventory on the market, you should be able to negotiate yourself a deal here. This said, there are still often deals to be made most everywhere, because when sellers overprice their homes, they often come down lower than had they priced their homes correctly to begin with! 

You might also look at the numbers in the Current Supply column. Based upon the number of sales in September alone and the number of properties available on 10/1/21, things appear to be looking up for you. For example, Bay Village ended up with the worst record for September with 11 months of inventory on hand. 

SELLERS

Unlike buyers, you will find many areas of the greater Boston area favor sellers. Look, for example, at Concord where the supply of inventory at the end of September is 11 points lower than the historic supply of inventory on the market. Areas like this and others have outperformed the rest of the metroplex. Even in a changing market, a properly-priced home should sell very quickly in any of the areas where the Inventory Supply and the Historical AR are both 1 or less. The worst place around Boston to try and sell today is in the neighborhood of Downtown due to its low turnover rate.

Whether you are buying or selling or both, contact me if you want the best strategy for dealing with the market your particular area is in now.