It's that time of the year when business experts posture and predict what the next 12 months will bring. One of the areas that is open to constant debate is the real estate market. Will sales numbers increase? Is inventory going to come back? Will interest rates stay low? The questions abound, and the answers vary from market to market, town to town and state to state. Most agree that we're headed in a much more positive direction, and we've not seen the rising numbers level off just yet.
Based on industry-wide data from the Urban Land Institute, and considering a historical perspective of our local markets, the following real estate trends seem to be on point for 2014, and beyond:
- The luxury market is in demand -- since 2012, demand for high-end homes has been growing. Under $1 million properties in certain Massachusetts markets were seeing multiple offers, and last year, that threshold grew to $1.5 million in many affluent cities and towns like Wellesley and Weston. In 2014, we're edging up to that $2 million mark. The high-end luxury markets are benefiting from this surge, and another spurt is expected later this year or early next.
- Turnkey is in -- buyers, especially in the thirty-something range, don't want to do any work to a home. Many are coming from the city and want their homes move-in ready or brand new. Some are giving up on the old adage of "location, location" just to find a property that doesn't need any major updating or remodeling.
- Inventory is making its way back -- while incredibly low inventory has been the norm in the MetroWest area for the past year-and-a-half or so, experts predict that this will be the last year that low inventory will help bolster property prices. That said, that distressed inventory is quickly drying up and sellers are looking at better profit margins than they have in years.
- The buyer's market is history -- homes right now are priced to please sellers, and they know they can zone in on buyers anxious to make a purchase before interest rates and home prices shoot up even further. Prospective house hunters, however, should not give up hope. Shopping for a new home now, while others wait for the spring and what they perceive will be an onslaught of new inventory, is actually advised. Serious sellers have active listings now, and there's less competition for buyers wanting to scoop up what's available.
- The Suburban is Going Urban -- while interest in developing suburban areas varies from neighborhood to neighborhood, there is a greater focus on more urban-minded projects located in spots where amenities and public transportation are easily accessible. Wellesley is one of those types of communities.
- Real estate recovery still hinges on job growth -- the pace of job growth as well as income and wage growth is still holding back the real estate recovery in some areas and until those numbers jump up, the housing recovery won't be complete.
Home sale predictions will continue to be made for years to come, and how accurate those predictions will be remains to be seen. One thing is sure -- the market is clearly on an upswing and if the numbers we're seeing in our local cities and towns is any indication -- will continue to recover at a quick pace. Whenever you're making a big decision about one of your biggest lifetime investments -- your house -- consult a veteran real estate professional to help you navigate a purchase or sale. You'll be glad you did.
Debi Benoit, principal of Benoit Mizner Simon & Co., has been Wellesley’s #1 real estate agent since 2006. The Wall Street Journal twice ranked her among the top 100 real estate professionals in the country. With offices in Wellesley and Weston, Benoit Mizner Simon & Co provides buyers and sellers in both markets with in-depth knowledge and experience combined with unparalleled client service.
With offices in Wellesley and Weston, Debi can be reached at 617-962-9292 or firstname.lastname@example.org.