At this point, the impact that COVID-19 will have on the Greater Boston real estate market is unknown. In the near term, Unlimited Sotheby's has suspended open houses until further notice. All showings are by appointment only.
As of last weekend there was still strong activity at open houses and resulting offer activity. Prior to the spread of COVID-19, the spring season had been off to a strong start based on pending February sales figures from the Massachusetts Association of Realtors. Record low interest rates and warm weather were among the reasons credited for a 25 percent year-over-year increase in the number of single-family homes under agreement last month, and a 19 percent increase for condos.
But, the virus has wreaked havoc on the stock market, oil prices, and the way people interact with one another. If a pervasive fear of job loss develops, buyers will become cautious. And, if there is a fear of opening up your home to weekend open houses, it will make sellers delay or even cancel their previously anticipated listings. Surveys by the National Association of Realtors predict that sales could drop by 10 percent as a direct result of COVID-19. Simultaneously, interest rates are at a 50-year low, which may propel buyers to buy regardless of external factors. And still, could they go lower?
Boston's real estate market, like most major markets, is tied to the job market and thus to the broader economy. In Boston, the largest industries are health care and social assistance, finance and insurance, and educational services. The way that COVID-19 impacts these industries will be the canary in the coal mine.
As businesses close and we are encouraged to self-quarantine, we will continue to keep you updated.. We are here to answer any questions that you have about your specific situation or about the real estate market more generally.
We hope that you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy during this unpredictable time!