One of the biggest headlines during the height of COVID-19 was the real estate market. Reports revealed people were putting their homes on the market and doing one of two things. They were downsizing into smaller homes. Or they were moving into larger homes in more suburban areas.

A recent article on Vox stated that “between September 2019 and September 2020, homeowners accumulated a collective $1 trillion in additional home equity.” Why did the real estate market explode during this time?

I interviewed Lauren Carroll, a client of mine, and owner of Compass. This real estate company of trusted advisors helps anyone from first-time buyers to seasoned sellers find a new home. Lauren is one of the top realtors in the Boston area and she had some interesting things to say about the Boston real estate market.

“The market this spring has exceeded everyone’s expectations,” she says. “Inventory remains low and buyer demand is high. We see multiple offers on almost any listing that is priced appropriately.”

In fact, people who were house hunting could see a home they liked on a Monday, only to see it was sold on a Tuesday. Before they could even put in an offer or visit it. The time that houses were on the market during COVID was the shortest they’ve ever been.

How did COVID shape the Boston real estate market?

When working and schooling from home became a norm during the pandemic, people quickly realized the need for extra space. Now that some companies have made the switch permanent — with employees working from home for the foreseeable future — the desire for home offices has grown.

“The reasons for people wanting to purchase seem to have shifted a bit more towards having extra space for learning and working,” Lauren explains. “As well as quality outdoor space. Being closer to the city has been less of a priority.”

Quarantine made outdoor activities more popular. So it would make sense that families want to invest in a home with a private yard. The Boston real estate market saw an increase in people leaving the city for more indoor and outdoor space.

Is there still time to take advantage of this market?

Now that the number of vaccinated people is growing, companies are re-opening their offices. Social distancing is now a thing of the past and people are rescheduling things they had to postpone. Wedding venues are booking like wildfire.

This shift doesn’t surprise Lauren. “I suspect over the summer months things will slow down as they typically do and the fall of 2021 will be fairly robust.”

According to the Vox article, “COVID-19 has affected both supply and demand.” The price of houses is tied to the demand for housing. And with mortgage rates reaching an all-time low people took advantage of that.

But like most things in life — this pandemic for example — you need to account for unpredictability. Although the Boston real estate market is doing super well right now, that doesn’t mean it will always remain that way.

“It’s always a challenge to fully anticipate what the market will do,” says Lauren. “If I knew the answer every time I would own an island in Tahiti. But it’s important to keep track of trends, see which price points and locations are doing better than others.”

As for the inevitable shift, she adds, “The market will shift, that we all know for sure. I do my best to anticipate changes for all my clients. That is a really important aspect of my job.”

Should you consider selling your home?

It’s important not to rush into a big decision like putting your home on the market. First, there is a great deal of research you have to do before even making the decision. And there’s a lot to consider. Job, family, activities, and more.

Not to mention making any big life-changing decisions during traumatic times can lead to regret in the future. Vox agrees. “COVID-19 made this worse in a few ways. First, during any financial downturn, some people are reluctant to make big changes due to the uncertainty in their lives.”

Buying a home is also an investment a lot of people can’t afford. This is why so many young people are still living at home. While it seems like the perfect opportunity to join the homeowners club, it’s a decision you shouldn’t take lightly.

So should you consider selling your home while the market is still somewhat in demand? If you’re even remotely thinking about it, sit down with your loved ones, or yourself if you live alone, and ask the following questions:

  • Am I comfortable financially to sell my home?

  • How much is my home worth?

  • How much will repairs cost?

  • What do I do if my house isn’t selling?

The Boston real estate market has been doing well, but Lauren believes it’s a good idea to take a step back and give yourself time to think about selling. And to always reach out to a realtor for help. They can answer the above questions as well as walk you through everything step-by-step.

“I work really hard for my buyers to make sure they’re getting a safe and secure property that they can see a return on investment over the years to come,” she says. “I try to avoid over-bidding in multiple offer situations by making offers attractive in other ways. My goal for my sellers is always to have the most profitable and streamlined sale as possible.”

Like most markets across the country, the Boston real estate market will have its ups and downs. The important thing to do — as Lauren mentions — is to do your research and take your time with the decision.

Making the decision to sell your home shouldn’t be a knee-jerk reaction. Take the time you need to sit down with your loved ones and talk about the pros and cons. Then, and only then, you can start taking the necessary steps.

Did you know that I offer downsizing and senior moving management services? Moving is a major life transition that takes time, energy, and a lot of patience. Let me help you make your move easier. Contact me today and let’s work out a plan together.


Image: Tierra Mallorca

Patricia Ramos

The Boston Real Estate Market and How COVID-19 Shaped Things This Year

July 16, 2021