Boston Housing Market Trends for 2023
The Greater Boston housing market has been cooling down for a while, with sales of single-family homes and condominiums falling both annually and monthly. However, in January, buyer activity intensified ahead of the spring market, with improved inventory levels and modestly declining mortgage rates from their peak last fall. Here are the latest trends in the Boston housing market for 2023, according to the Greater Boston Association of REALTORS® (GBAR).
Sales have fallen in the single-family home market
Sales in the single-family home market have fallen for eight consecutive months, decreasing 33.8 percent from 755 homes sold in January 2022 to 500 this January. Sales volume also reflects a 44.8 percent decline from the 905 homes sold in December, and is the lowest January sales total in 14 years, dating back to January 2009 when 469 homes were sold.
Condominium sales have also fallen
Condominium sales have fallen, although more modestly than single-family homes, as listings are more plentiful, exceeding the number of single-family homes for sale by almost 40 percent as of January 31. On an annual basis, condo sales decreased 24 percent, from 728 units sold last January to 553 in January 2023, and fell 23.2 percent on a month-to-month basis from 720 units sold in December. Last month was the slowest January for condo closings since 2015 when 486 condos sold.
Prices remain below record highs
Median selling prices remain below the record highs reached last June, with the median price of single-family homes down 6 of the past 7 months on a monthly basis. The median selling price declined on an annual basis by 2.4 percent, from $725,000 in January 2022 to $707,250 this January for single-family homes. Conversely, the median selling price for condominiums rose, as more buyers turned to the more modestly priced condo market when mortgage rates continued to climb.
Most properties sold for less than their asking price
Most properties sold in January went for less than their asking price, with the typical single-family home selling for 96.6 percent of its original list price, and the typical condominium garnering 97.8 percent of its original list price. Buyers can't afford as many homes as they could 12 months ago, so many are either unable or unwilling to get involved in bidding wars.
Active listings have improved
Inventory levels have improved, with active listings for single-family homes rising on an annual basis for nine consecutive months in January, climbing 55.5 percent from 595 homes for sale in January 2022 to 925 last month. In addition, condominium listings increased 12.7 percent in the past 12 months from 1,144 units for sale in January one year ago to 1,289 in January 2023. The number of properties for sale also improved on a month-to-month basis by 8 percent for single-family homes and 13 percent for condos.
ALSO READ: Massachusetts Housing Market Forecast 2023
Buyers are returning to the market
With inventory levels expected to improve further in the coming months, buyers are returning to the market. “Buyers are back and eager to get a head start on the spring market now that mortgage rates have retreated a bit,” said GBAR President Alison Socha. “There has been a steady uptick…”
The above trends show that the Boston housing market has been cooling down for some time, but buyer activity has intensified ahead of the spring market, and prices remain below record highs. Most properties sold in January went for less than their asking price, with active listings improving, and buyers returning to the market. These trends are expected to continue in the coming months, making Boston a popular destination for both tourists and job seekers alike.
Additionally, Boston has a rich history and culture that attracts visitors from around the world. From the Freedom Trail to Fenway Park, there are countless attractions and landmarks to explore. Furthermore, Boston is home to several world-renowned universities such as Harvard, MIT, and Boston University. As a result, the city has a vibrant academic community and a highly educated workforce.
This has led to the growth of several industries such as biotechnology, healthcare, and finance. In recent years, Boston has also become a hub for startups and innovation. The city has a thriving startup ecosystem and is home to several accelerators, incubators, and venture capital firms. This has led to the emergence of several successful startups in various industries, including technology, healthcare, and e-commerce.
Overall, Boston's combination of history, culture, education, and innovation makes it an attractive destination for visitors, students, job seekers, and entrepreneurs. As the city continues to grow and evolve, it will undoubtedly remain a top destination for years to come.
Suffolk County, MA Housing Market Trends 2023
Suffolk County is a county in Massachusetts and consists of 22 cities. The county seat is Boston, the state capital and the largest city in Massachusetts. The following housing market trends are based on single-family, condo, and townhome properties listed for sale on realtor.com. Land, multi-unit, and other property types are excluded. This data is provided as an informational resource only.
In January 2023, the median list price of homes in Suffolk County, Massachusetts was $799K, trending up 6.5% year-over-year. The median listing price per square foot was $761. The median sale price was $700K. Last month's supply and demand were similar to that of a seller's housing market. The market had a total sales to total listings ratio above 0.2 which tends to favor sellers.
Homes in Suffolk County, MA sold for approximately the asking price on average last month. Sale-to-List Price Ratio: 99.13%. Ideally, a buyer would prefer a sale-to-list price ratio that’s closer to 90% whereas a seller would always prefer scenarios that can yield a ratio of 100% or higher.
- There are 22 cities in Suffolk County.
- South Boston has a median listing price of $949K, making it the most expensive city.
- Chelsea is the most affordable city, with a median listing price of $489.9K.
- The city of Boston has a median listing price of 849K, trending up 6.9% year-over-year.
- The median sale price in Boston is $727K.
- Homes in Boston, MA sold for approximately the asking price on average last month.
- There are 65 neighborhoods in Boston.
- Back Bay has a median listing price of $2.7M, making it the most expensive neighborhood.
- Commonwealth is the most affordable neighborhood, with a median listing price of $468K.
Boston Rental Market Trends
The Zumper Boston Metro Area Report analyzed active listings last month across the metro cities to show the most and least expensive cities and cities with the fastest growing rents. The Massachusetts one bedroom median rent was $2,246 last month. Cambridge ranked as the most expensive city in the metro with one bedrooms priced at $3,110 while Brockton was the most affordable city with one bedrooms priced at $1,340.
The Fastest Growing Cities For Rents in Boston Metro Area (Y/Y%)
- Newton had the fastest growing rent, up 35% since this time last year.
- Medford saw rent climb 34.6%, making it second.
- Somerville was third with rent increasing 23.8%
The Fastest Growing Cities For Rents in Boston Metro Area (M/M%)
- Brockton rent had the largest monthly growth rate, up 6.3%.
- Somerville saw rent increase 6.1% last month, making it second.
- Framingham had the next largest rent price growth rate, climbing 4.5%.
Boston Real Estate Market Forecast 2023
What are the Boston real estate market predictions for 2023? With steady job growth, huge gains in home equity, and a large population of millennials now in their peak homebuying years, it is predicted that the demand will stay strong, but sales are likely to be down from historic highs while price appreciation should fall to more modest levels. Let us look at the price trends recorded by Zillow (a real estate database company) over the past few years.
The Boston housing market has seen steady growth in recent years, and the trend is expected to continue in 2023. According to the latest data released by Zillow, the average Boston-Cambridge-Newton home value is $606,309, up 5.4% over the past year. Before we dive into the Boston housing market trends, it's essential to understand the Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI). The ZHVI is a measure of home values across various geographies and housing types. It is built by measuring monthly changes in property-level Zestimates, which captures both the level and home values.
Boston-Cambridge-Newton Key Takeaways
The following are some key takeaways from the latest Zillow data for Boston-Cambridge-Newton:
- Typical Home Values: $606,309
- 1-year Value Change: +5.4% (Data through January 31, 2023)
- -1.5% 1-year Market Forecast (January 31, 2023)
- 1.000 Median sale-to-list ratio (December 31, 2022)
- 45.5% Percent of sales over list price (December 31, 2022)
- 42.8% Percent of sales under list price (December 31, 2022)
- 16 Median days to pending (January 31, 2023)
Market Overview and Forecast
Based on the data provided by Zillow, the Boston housing market is expected to experience a slight decrease in prices over the next twelve months. The market overview forecast for 2023 is -1.5%. While the housing market has been steadily growing in recent years, rising interest rates are expected to curb the soaring prices.
Despite the slight decrease in prices, Boston-Cambridge-Newton remains a competitive market with a median sale-to-list ratio of 1.000, indicating that homes are selling closer to their listing price. Additionally, 45.5% of homes sold above their listed price, indicating that there is still a high demand for homes in the area.
Furthermore, the median days to pending was 16, indicating that homes are not staying on the market for long, and there is a quick turnaround time for sellers.
Overall, the Boston housing market is expected to remain competitive in 2023, with a slight decrease in prices but still a high demand for homes. Working with a local partner who understands the market, such as a Zillow agent, can help buyers and sellers navigate the market and make informed decisions.
Boston Real Estate Investment: Should You Invest in Boston?
Successfully investing in real estate — whether you are in Boston or anywhere else in the world — is all about correctly timing the market. Knowing when to enter the real estate market can often be a bit of a challenge. Should you invest in Boston real estate? Is Boston a Good Place For Real Estate Investment? Many real estate investors have asked themselves if buying a property in Boston is a good investment. You need to drill deeper into local trends if you want to know what the market holds for real estate investors and buyers in 2023.
Boston is a fairly walkable city in Suffolk County with a population of approximately 700,000 people, making the Boston housing market rather large on its own. It is a thriving city, which makes it the best location to buy an investment property at any point in time including the present. Since it contains around 80% of all residents of Massachusetts, it is certainly the first place that people choose to research, when they want to invest in the state.
The broader Boston Metropolitan Area or Greater Boston is home to more than four million people. Boston real estate has been one of the best long-term real estate investments in the nation. The Boston real estate market is dominated by rental properties and Airbnb is a great pick for starters. The city is a wonderful place to call home. People want to live in the city, yet the number of new homes being built is relatively low.
Boston's real estate market is vibrant, and plenty of buyers are offering more than the asking price when they love a property. Throughout the Greater area of Boston, numerous investment properties are waiting to be revitalized by a wise investor. But for most people, Boston is a high-priced real estate market, though it isn’t as expensive as Washington DC, San Francisco, or New York City.
Greater Boston is still an expensive place to buy a house, but the years of relentless price increases may be nearing an end. It’s too soon to know if this trend is a blip or if the Boston housing market heading toward some stability. However, new investors should always consider cheaper markets for investment. Because of the large number of students, and college and university faculty, it is a no-brainer for savvy investors to invest in a rental property in Boston.
Rental property in Boston is guaranteed to get a lot of demand from tenants – whether an apartment or a condo or a single-family home. Any investment property is likely to get rented out fast. Airbnb rentals are one of the best options for real estate investment in Boston. Let’s find out more about it.
Boston has been one of the hottest real estate markets in the country for many years. It is not just an expensive real estate market on the East Coast. It is one of the few in the region not expected to see significant declines. And there are areas we can expect to see significant appreciation due to the sheer demand for affordable housing with easy access to major arteries or public transit.
Boston is an old, East Coast city. We’ve already mentioned the height law and the challenges faced by getting anything approved even with the mayor behind it. Unfortunately, Boston’s entrenched bureaucracy limits the redevelopment of large garages and other major projects that could bring thousands of units to the Boston real estate market.
If it takes ten years (or more) for the Boston Harbor Garage to be redeveloped, and it is far from the only project on hold, then you can be certain to see high returns on any redevelopment project that creates more housing units within existing buildings. Whether this is converting warehouses into lofts or single-family homes into multi-family housing, if you don’t face major roadblocks, you’ll see a great return on the investment.
If you are looking to make a profit, you don’t want to buy the most expensive property on the Boston real estate market and expect to make a good profit on rents. Perhaps you are looking for a slightly different hold-over, an investment property in Boston that you might move into or sell at retirement in the future. Either way, knowing your profit potential and purpose is the first thing to consider.
Investing in Boston real estate will fetch you good returns in the long term as the home prices in Boston have been trending up year-over-year. Let’s take a look at the number of positive things going on in the Boston real estate market which can help investors who are keen to buy an investment property in this city.
Boston is Attractive to Millennials
Millennials are a market real estate agents want to cater to since they’re buying homes in mass. And Boston is considered one of the cities Millennials love. The challenge for Millennials is affording a market where the median home costs around $740,000. Yet the demand from young and old alike means there’s very little inventory, much less housing stock considered affordable.
Boston isn’t just attracting young people from across the country – it is also attracting immigration from around the world. The city has seen population growth every year since 2004 in part because of the influx of immigrants attracted to healthcare, biotech, and educational jobs here.
Millennials and older adults alike are choosing to spend more on an apartment, condo, or house to avoid spending hours each week commuting. It is seen as an investment in their quality of life. This explains why downtown Boston is seeing price increases far higher than the rest of the Boston metro area.
Downtown enclaves sell for much more per square foot than properties at the edge of town or in the suburbs; the price hit a thousand dollars a square foot recently. That’s expensive for the U.S. but half the price you’d pay for a comparable apartment in New York City. Ironically, the high price of real estate in NYC explains why many financial firms are expanding in the relatively cheaper city of Boston, home of the mutual fund.
Boston's Job Market Will Keep People Coming
Boston was ranked the best city in the U.S. for startups. A large number of world-class universities provide a large number of skilled workers, many of whom work in medicine, finance, and biotech. The constant creation of new jobs will continue to attract residents and help the city retain the ones it already has. The economy is dominated by services, which usually pay high wages and attract more and more job seekers. All these factors have created a hot housing market in Boston, dictated by both home buyers and tenants.
Guaranteed Real Estate Appreciation
Strong demand plus limited inventory and limited space to grow will guarantee appreciation of any property you buy in the Boston real estate market. Prices are going to appreciate in 2021 by 6-8%. This is only a continuation of the steady property increases seen since the 2008 property crash. This is partly because the market is so built-up already that land prices are high.
Then there’s the fact it can take a long time to get approval to build up. Boston’s mayor is facing flak for wanting to waive the building height rule just once. Ironically, the Boston shadow law that limits the height of buildings in the Boston housing market has the greatest impact on the downtown areas where people most want to see the tall apartment and condo towers built.
The increase in mortgage interest rates is putting pressure on home buyers, limiting what they can afford. This in turn is leading home builders to cut prices on new properties. According to the Washington Post, Boston home builders are cutting the price of properties on the market by 6%. If you have financing or the cash to invest in the Boston real estate market, you can’t pass up a deal like this.
Boston's Rental Market
The Boston real estate market and its environs include a whopping hundred universities, colleges, and trade schools. There are more than 150,000 college students in Boston and Cambridge alone. You could buy properties across the Boston real estate market and cater to students, and your market is so diverse that you’ll always see demand. Boston is landlord-friendly compared to markets like NYC. There is no limit on late fees.
You don’t have to provide notice before entering the apartment. The state doesn’t require rental licenses to become a landlord. There aren’t laws regarding re-keying or pets. A written rental agreement is only mandatory if your tenant is staying for more than 12 months. Evictions are allowed if they are not paying the rent, violating the lease, or breaking the law. You can start evictions two weeks after the non-payment of rent. Since evictions can take weeks, screen tenants well for any property in the Boston housing market.
Rents in the inner Boston Core hit 2800 a month. All those grad students, young single professionals, and highly paid power couples are bidding up the limited housing stock available. If you can find a reasonably affordable property in the Boston real estate market and convert it into multiple units or a more upscale clientele, you’ll enjoy significant cash flow from the property. Any future real estate investor in Boston should also have in mind that the expected rental income for both traditional rentals and Airbnb rentals is high.
The combined effect of high property prices and high rental income leads to a decent return on investment for Boston rental properties. The taxes here are high compared to the U.S. average but lower than in several other states in the area. The income tax rate is much lower than in New York, and property taxes are far lower than in New Jersey. Therefore, you’ll clear more here than in some of the other large Northeast markets.
Luckily for real estate investors in Boston who are interested in Airbnb rentals, they are fully legal in the Boston real estate market and are not even taxed at the moment. Recent discussions among Massachusetts lawmakers failed to result in an agreement on taxes to be charged on short-term rentals.
Latest Rental Market Statistics: According to RENTCafe, 51% of the households in Boston are renter-occupied, which is a significant population. More than 95% of the apartments fall in the range of $2,000 or more, which shows how high are the rents in Boston. As a rental property investor, it should be on your list of due diligence. Do the math and find out the best neighborhood & property that suits your investment goals.
The average size for a Boston, MA apartment is 812 square feet with studio apartments being the smallest and most affordable. 1-bedroom apartments are closer to the average, while 2-bedroom apartments and 3-bedroom apartments offer more generous square footage.
As of February 26, 2023, the average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Boston, MA is currently $2,700. This is a 1% increase compared to the previous year. Over the past month, the average rent for a studio apartment in Boston decreased by -10% to $2,100. The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment decreased by -10% to $2,700, and the average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment decreased by -6% to $3,200.
- Two-bedroom apartment rents average $3,200 (a 6% increase from last year).
- Three-bedroom apartment rents average $3,650 (a 9% increase from last year).
- Four-bedroom apartment rents average $4,500 (a 13% increase from last year).
Boston Investment Properties: Where To Buy?
In any real estate investment, cash flow is gold. Boston is the top market where real estate investments are safe and have high rates of return. The Boston housing market sees steady population growth, faces limited supply, and can’t go vertical.
This means that those who invest in the Boston real estate market will see decent cash flow from nearly any property and guaranteed appreciation. Allston is an excellent neighborhood to buy an investment property in Boston as the median property price is well below the city level. Airbnb rentals are the best option for real estate investing in Boston.
Good cash flow from Boston investment properties means the investment is, needless to say, profitable. A bad cash flow, on the other hand, means you won’t have money on hand to repay your debt. Therefore, finding the best investment property in Boston in a growing neighborhood would be key to your success.
As with any real estate purchase, act wisely. Evaluate the specifics of the Boston housing market at the time you intend to purchase. When looking for the best real estate investments in Boston, you should focus on neighborhoods with relatively high population density and employment growth. Both of them translate into high demand for housing.
There are 65 neighborhoods in Boston. As we write this, Downtown Boston has a median listing price of $2.3M, making it the most expensive neighborhood. Commonwealth is the most affordable neighborhood, with a median listing price of $522,000. Some of the popular neighborhoods in Boston are Cambridge, Medford, East Boston, West Roxbury, Allston, Dedham, South End, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, South Boston, Charlestown, Braintree, North End, and Hyde Park.
The best neighborhoods in the Greater Boston area for real estate investment are relatively affordable. They will offer a good rate of appreciation because of the influx of people moving there for affordable housing. They'll offer strong and rising rents in 2022 and beyond.
Roxbury has seen roughly 125 percent inflation over the past five years, a full 25 percent more price inflation than Boston as a whole. This is because Roxbury remains a relatively affordable area attracting people who are being priced out of rapidly gentrifying Boston. Affordable housing isn't the only reason why we can expect people to move here. For example, the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology is considering moving to an available site here.
Northeastern University is considering building student housing here, as well. When Blue Hill Avenue is upgraded, the area will have better bus service connecting it to the rest of Boston. Furthermore, Roxbury is slated for rapid development. For example, there are several opportunity zones here.
The biggest ones are near Ruggles and Roxbury Crossing. Note that the same trends are driving up rents and property values in Jamaica Plain and Dorchester, though we predict the greatest gains near the Nubian Square developments.
East Boston was once a cheap neighborhood because it was so close to the airport and factories. East Boston is in the middle of a building boom, as the old industrial waterfront gains office buildings and codon towers. Yet it has room for massive expansion thanks to the potential at Suffolk Downs.
This will create an explosion of new development, though demand for these properties will be weak for the next few months. This influx of new development is why the area has seen only a 105 percent appreciation over the past 5 years. These properties would be right off the Blue Line. Expect property values to skyrocket once there is regular public transit in the area.
East Boston is in sharp contrast to the slowly gentrifying South End, as young white professionals move into the area, driving up rents and property prices until they move somewhere else.
But it is attracting people who snap up 800-square-foot condos that may yet cost less than half a million dollars. Others snap up the new luxury apartments at Jeffries Point, because of its views of downtown Boston. Note that the area is connected to mainland Boston through the Sumner Tunnel.
Fort Point is a Seaport neighborhood. However, it is in the process of becoming a life sciences hub. Construction could turn the mostly vacated General Electric headquarters building into a life sciences campus. GE has moved its headquarters into one of the remaining buildings.
A former Proctor and Gamble Building is going to become another life sciences building. Expect rents in the area to rise along with the increasing average income in the area. Furthermore, the area is going to gentrify as new mixed-use projects that were recently approved are built. They won't just be on the waterfront anymore. They'll have several new parks, as well.
Here are the ten neighborhoods in Boston having the highest real estate appreciation rates since 2000—List by Neigborhoodscout.com.
- Roxbury Northeast
- Washington Park
- Central Square
- Central Maverick Square Paris Street
- East Boston
- Harbor View Orient Heights East
- Jeffries Point
- Roxbury Northwest
- Harbor View Orient Heights West
- Roxbury East
Buying or selling real estate, for a majority of investors, is one of the most important decisions they will make. Choosing a real estate professional/counselor continues to be a vital part of this process. They are well-informed about critical factors that affect your specific market areas, such as changes in market conditions, market forecasts, consumer attitudes, best locations, timing, and interest rates.
NORADA REAL ESTATE INVESTMENTS has extensive experience investing in turnkey real estate and cash-flow properties. We strive to set the standard for our industry and inspire others by raising the bar on providing exceptional real estate investment opportunities in many other growth markets in the United States. We can help you succeed by minimizing risk and maximizing the profitability of your investment property in Boston.
Consult with one of the investment counselors who can help build you a custom portfolio of Boston investment properties. Depending upon the availability, we can help you to find “Cash-Flow Rental Properties” located in some of the best neighborhoods of Boston.
Not just limited to Boston or Massachusetts but you can also invest in some of the hottest real estate markets for rental properties in the United States. Apart from the Boston real estate market, you can also invest in Jersey, City. The Jersey City housing market is seeing significant growth because it is close to New York City but isn’t NYC. It has several points in its favor, too, like a good job market and local amenities.
Renters and buyers alike are taking notice and helping to make Jersey City the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the state. Jersey City has been busy redeveloping old neighborhoods, encouraging a mix of new retail, luxury housing, and affordable housing. Jersey City is notable for the major redevelopment on the waterfront, known as the Shore, while properties there enjoy a great view of Manhattan.
Jersey City takes things one step further and is setting up a “Friendly Building Program”, where developers build entire buildings were renting through AirBnB is allowed. This is an innovative development in the Jersey City housing market. All you have to do is fill up this form and schedule a consultation at your convenience. We’re standing by to help you take the guesswork out of real estate investing. By researching and structuring complete Boston turnkey real estate investments, we help you succeed by minimizing risk and maximizing profitability.
Let us know which real estate markets in the United States you consider best for real estate investing!
This article shouldn't be used to make real estate or financial decisions. Some of this article's information came from referenced websites. Norada Real Estate Investments provides no express or implied claims, warranties, or guarantees that the material is accurate, reliable, or current. All information should be validated using the below references. Norada Real Estate Investments does not predict the future US housing market. This article educated Boston real estate investors. Buying a rental property needs research, planning, and budgeting. Not all investments are good. Always do research and consult a real estate investment counselor.
Market Data, Reports & Forecasts
Landlord friendly & Rental Statistics
Reasons to Invest
The Best Neighborhoods for Boston Real Estate Investment