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The Boston Real Estate Market is Tough to Navigate—Here are 5 Trends For Homebuyers to Watch for This Fall

Buying a Boston home has been challenging due to limited inventory and affordability headwinds caused by increasing mortgage rates. While this is certainly not the friendliest market, buyers can benefit from staying aware of key trends and the ways to navigate them this fall.

Even though mortgage rates will likely remain high and inventory constrained, there are still effective tools and new opportunities buyers can leverage.

Below, the team at Prevu Real Estate explores the top five trends influencing the Boston housing market and how buyers can use that knowledge to their advantage this season.

Listing inventory will remain constrained

When someone says homeowners have “golden handcuffs,” it suggests that they are less likely to sell their property because they are locked into a very low mortgage rate from a few years ago—something that isn’t available in today’s market.

As a result, the number of listings for sale is near the historic lows witnessed during Covid. Many buyers who would ordinarily consider upgrading or downsizing their home are reluctant to give up their low mortgage rates to compete in bidding wars for a new mortgage with a much higher interest rate.

But one of the best ways to win in an inventory-constrained market is to be the first one to get an offer in front of a seller. That’s why tech-savvy buyers are using modern home searching tools to elevate their home buying process.

The best way to do this is to work with tech-enabled brokers who offer buyers a platform to set up property alerts. This way, you can be the first to know when a new home hits the market in your favorite neighborhood.

High mortgage rates are likely to persist through year-end

Since early 2022, mortgage rates have more than doubled, making it increasingly difficult for some buyers to afford the similar homes. The rapid rise in rates was the result of aggressive policies enacted by the Federal Reserve to combat inflation, but it has made it harder to purchase a home.

Until the Federal Reserve changes course due to a continued moderation in inflation, it is unlikely that mortgage rates will drop in the coming months.

While most economists do not expect mortgage rates to drop much the rest of the year, there is hope that mortgage rates may retreat from recent highs as we move into 2024 or 2025. While there’s no crystal ball to predict the future, if such a scenario comes to pass, buyers who purchase today could potentially refinance at a lower rate in the future.

Buyers seek commission rebates to offset high prices and mortgage rates

Despite the challenging market, buyers still find ways to come out on top in the Boston home buying process.

Buyers are discovering they can put money back in their pockets at closing by partnering with agents that offer commission rebates. Also known as a commission refund, these tools enable your buyer’s agent to return a portion of their real estate commission fee to you at closing.

Traditionally, listing agents give a portion of their commission to a buyer’s broker.  But if you work with an agent from Prevu Real Estate to purchase your home, the brokerage provides you with up to 2% of the house’s purchase price cash back when you get the keys to your new place.

For instance, if you buy a home in Brookline for $1,500,000 with Prevu, you can potentially receive up to $30,000 back after closing via the company’s Smart Buyer Rebate. These funds can help replenish savings or offset the expensive closing costs buyers have to endure.

Homebuyers will keep expanding their searches

Many buyers fall in love with one particular neighborhood or town in the Boston area, and in a normal market they will likely find and close a deal on a great home. Yet the reality of today’s tight inventory means buyers have to be more open-minded about where they search for a home.

Whether you’re looking for a condo in the South End or a single-family home in Newtown or Lexington, it may be time to expand your map. Aspiring homeowners are now broadening their search parameters to increase the number of potential listings.

Whether it’s a town over or a neighborhood away, sometimes adding a few minutes to the commute is not the worst thing if it means increasing your chances of finding a listing in close proximity to your favorite local spots.

Return to office boosts interest in Boston listings

Many companies are requiring employees to return to the office more days per week. As the pendulum is swinging back towards in-office vs remote, with it comes increased demand for housing in Boston proper. Living an hour away and coming into the office a few times a month is one thing, but when you have to juggle three or four days in the office each week, commuting becomes a major consideration again.

As such, there is growing demand among buyers looking to be near the heart of Boston again. So, if you’re seeking a home in the South End or Charlestown, consider getting your search started sooner rather than later.

Interested in buying a home in the Boston area? Browse listings and see how much you can save with Prevu’s Smart Buyer Rebate.