Boston Real Estate Market Insights | October 2021

The air is crisp, the hum of leaf blowers can be heard in every suburban neighborhood, snowblowers are being dragged out of storage, and talks of Nor’Easters dominate the local news – yes, fall is officially upon us. Fall is also when the brakes are typically applied to what is normally a frantic end of summer real estate market.

In what appears to be another sign of the market normalizing from the effects of the pandemic, October saw a further reduction in inventory which is down as much as 10% YoY for single families and 5% for condos, according to MAR as well as an equal reduction in closed sales. October marked the third straight month of declining sales which can be attributed to the lack of inventory, increasing interest rates, and high prices. Although prices were up over 7% YoY in October, there was a slight dip compared to the previous month which is typical for the time of year. With interest rates continuing to trend upward and limited inventory hampering the marketplace, weary buyers are beginning to take their time with their home search, in hopes that 2022 will bring further balance to the market. This is evidenced in the increased market time that listings are experiencing which is as much as 4% compared with the previous month.

Time will tell if prices continue to cool off (read: slower appreciation) but with the continued lack of inventory, sellers remain firmly in charge. Despite a drop in bidding wars nationally, Boston Agent Magazine reported that 72% of all real estate transactions which occurred in Boston faced multiple bids in October. That was bested only by Raleigh NC in all major US metro areas, which had 74% bidding wars.  

The Boston area rental market has tightened up this fall, with inventory – or lack thereof being the leading cause.  Rents have eased slightly, which is in line with the season however incentives remain moderate and slightly below a typical year. Affordable studios and one bedroom apartments remain the highest in demand. Currently, there are only 5 studio apartments and 28 one bedrooms for rent in Brookline, out of a total of 168 active listings.