Divining even the near future of the region's housing market can be a headache. But there may be just enough tea leafs to find out generalities, like where prices are headed (up or down, nothing too exact) and where the inventory of unsold homes might go (again, up or down—mostly down). The Globe's Steven Syre polled some local experts and found that the region's housing market was not doing what it's supposed to do:
Sales volume is rising more than 20 percent this year, and the statewide inventory of homes has fallen sharply. But median prices have remained completely flat or increased very modestly, depending on whose reports you read. In most economic markets, rising sales and falling inventories usually put pressure on prices. Oddly, that's not happening to residential real estate in Massachusetts so far.
Odd, these steady prices in the face of plunging inventory and rising sales. As we've noted, there are myriad reasons why Greater Boston's housing market remains relatively so expensive, not least of which is the region's recent development past, but the reasons are immaterial for our purposes here: this is happening. And it's not necessarily apocalyptic.
See, Syre draws a line from the Hub's housing bust in the late 1980s and early 1990s to today's recovery (we'll call it a recovery because that's what exactly what it looks like). Sales then, too, were up and inventory down, and prices were steady or rising. "That recovery stuck. The bad news: It took seven years from that point for home prices to recover."
· Real Estate Recovery Sounds Familiar [Globe]
· Boston Condo Inventory Is So Low [Insert Punchline Here] [Curbed Boston]
· Why the Hub Housing Market Could Get Worse, Much Worse [Curbed Boston]