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Greater Boston Market Update – February 2022

* Charts provided by my Candor Realty colleague and good friend Ian Hogan. Follow his work at engineerrealestate.com

In the charts below we will look at patterns are trends within the Greater Boston housing and real estate market. Many of these trends have been occurring over many months or years and the data helps to visualize how things are changing over time.

Greater Boston Multi-Family Listings

First, we take a look at the total number of multi-family real estate listings in the Greater Boston area. The blue lines, representing 2021, show the clear seasonal pattern we see each year. January – March typically have the lowest number of listings due to the nature of New England winters. As spring approaches we see listings climb and then peaking in the fall months of August – October. Interestingly, we saw even fewer listings in January 2022 than the year prior indicating that 2022 could continue to see extremely tight supply of available units. February 2022 is tracking to about the same number of listings year-on-year so we will be sure to watch this data point in the coming months.

Greater Boston Multi-Family Sold

Unsurprisingly, with listings down year-over-year we also see the number of sold properties decreasing from the year prior. January 2022 saw a roughly 10% decrease in the number of sold units compared to the year prior and February is looking very similar. Again, this is another sign of limited supply within the market and something we will be watching very closely over the coming months.

Greater Boston Multi-Family Absorption

From the first two graphs we get a good idea of the supply side of the equation, inventory of multi-family real estate continues to be very low. In this third chart we get some insight into the demand (e.g. buyers) side of the equation. You can see the months of January and February 2022 see a dramatic year-over-year decrease in the available months of supply on market. The drop in available supply is clearly outpacing the decrease in available listings which indicates that buyer demand is actually higher than the year prior. This is very interesting to see, especially during these historically “slow” months of real estate. This chart really highlights the supply and demand imbalances that exist within the Greater Boston real estate market.

Greater Boston Multi-Family Sold vs List Price

In this last chart we can see how the continued supply and demand pressures are impacting prices, notably the sale price vs the original listing price. You can see via the blue bars that last January – March buyers were acquiring properties at slight discounts to the listing price. As we entered the more competitive spring, summer, and fall months that discount turned into a slight premium with an average of 0.5% – 1% above list price. Usual winter patterns would have led us to believe the discounts were going to return in January, however you can see via the red bars that is far from the case. We have remained at a premium of 0.75% – 1.25% for the months of January and February. Unless we see significant increases in available inventory or tempered buyer demand this is unlikely to change.

Massachusetts Historic Real Estate Price Trends

Lastly, we zoom out and take a look at how the total number of listings and prices have changed going back to 1997. You can see just how dramatically available inventory of real estate has decreased over the past 15 years and subsequently prices have skyrocketed, especially since 2016. While it’s impossible to say where this leads us given these lengthy market trends, large amounts of available liquidity, and high homeowner equity we will likely continue to see these trends play out.

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