With inventory down, real estate market 'could not be hotter' [Boston Herald :: ]
(Boston Herald (MA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 13--A scarcity of residential property for sale in Boston has led to a smouldering real estate market marked by standing-room-only open houses, bidding wars and all-cash purchases.
Between February 2013 and February 2014, sales of detached single-family homes in the city dropped from 54 to just 38, while the median selling price climbed from $386,000 to $437,000, according to the Greater Boston Association of Realtors. Over the same period, sales of condominiums climbed from 172 to 201, and the median selling price soared from $384,000 to $488,000.
"In real estate, Boston is considered one of the 'sexy six,'" with the others being New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington, D.C., said John Ranco of Hammond Real Estate. "Because there's such little inventory, very often the price is getting bid up."
"The market could not be hotter," said David McCarthy of Keller Williams Realty. "It's extremely strong and extremely competitive."
Open houses at many properties resemble opening day at a blockbuster movie, with lines stretched down the block.
"No longer is one person on our end enough to handle it," said Ryan Persac of Otis and Ahearn Real Estate. "We have to get assistance from other agents to be door people and elevator people."
In the last few months, Lucas Garofalo of Keller Williams Realty has sold three condominiums, which all had multiple offers and sold over the asking price. One of them was Kimberly Grose's 737-square-foot, one-bedroom South End condo, which she bought for $150,000 in 1995.
Grose, 55, said she would have been thrilled to get $500,000 for her property, but Garofalo listed it last month at $550,000, then raised the price to $559,0000 in time for the open house, which was attended by about 35 people.
Three days later, he opened it up for bids, "almost like an Ebay auction," she said, and received about a half-dozen offers, including one that was all cash and another that was two-thirds cash from a woman who wrote Grose a letter, professing her love for the property.
"I took the all cash one," she said, for $600,000.
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