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Boston Real Estate: Selling in the Suburbs vs. Selling Downtown


Boston's Best Real Estate Agents From the Official Blog of Boston's Top 20: Showcasing  the Top 20 Real Estate Agents in Massachusetts based on Monthly Closed Volume

From the Official Blog of Boston's Top 20: Showcasing  the Top 20 Real Estate Agents in Massachusetts based on Monthly Closed Volume


 Viewpoints: Selling in the Suburbs vs. City

C.S. Lewis once wrote, "what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing." Touché. It is this sentiment that inspires Viewpoints, a recurring series of posts where we'll feature experts with different perspectives answering the same questions.

Today we compare the experience of selling a home in the suburbs versus the city. We think our two experts know a little something about this. Matthew Montgomery is a Senior Associate at Hammond Residential Real Estate. Tracy Campion is the  founder of Campion and Company. Each of them topped our January list for their respective regions.



Where do you conduct the majority of your business?

Matthew Montgomery: Our team focuses on the Newton/Brookline markets but within our market we work diligently to keep our clients and inventory base intentionally diverse.
Tracy Campion: With offices in the Back Bay and South End, Campion and Company conducts the majority of our business in the downtown Boston area.


What is the average list-to-sale time in your market?

MM: It really depends on the price point. Under $1.2M when a property is properly exposed it should take 4 - 6 days to get a property under agreement. Over $1.2M it is really unpredictable. Some properties move very quickly while others can take several weeks or even a month or more. Pricing strategy is very important as is aggressive marketing with a continued push even after the first few weeks a property is active.
TC: Recently, luxury condominiums (both in brownstones and full-service buildings) have been moving very quickly because of the lack of inventory. In the last few months, for example, we have seen a number of properties receive multiple bids immediately after they go live. We are also starting to see activity pick up regarding the sales of single-family townhouses. Of course, actual days on market depends on a number of factors, including price point and the availability of some key features.


How would you describe current inventory levels in your market?

MM: In the lower price points the inventory is extremely limited. As you move into the mid/high range there is more inventory and we are just starting to see more high end property come onto the market.
TC: Inventory is now very limited, particularly on the high-end (due in part to increased buyer traffic downtown and the city's limited development opportunity). In turn, the general scarcity of available homes has pushed the citywide price index to new highs.


What are three things you often hear buyers say they're looking for?

MM: A good deal/value, a property in move-in condition, a specific location or neighborhood.
TC:  Luxury condominium buyers often seek out single-floor living, elevator access and parking (especially garage parking). The availability of outdoor space, such as a terrace or balcony, is also preferred. Those interested in purchasing a single-family property typically have similar preferences for garage parking, elevators and outdoor space. Many of our buyers also desire an urban lifestyle and are attracted by the unbeatable proximity to a host of cultural, shopping and dining options, as well as more manageable commutes.


What are three reasons clients frequently give for selling their homes?

MM: Downsizing, upsizing, relocating.
TC: Job relocation, trading up within the city, moving to the suburbs (especially after having children). Another key reason: taking advantage of the current seller's market since prices are at an all time high in the neighborhoods in which we conduct most of our business.


How would you characterize the residential market in 2013?

MM: Insane and unpredictable.
TC: The luxury condominium market in Boston has shown increased activity over the last 12 months after steady, progressive median price increases and relatively small declines during recession years.

What is your outlook for 2014 based on the first quarter?

MM: Significant competition in the lower price points and some selected values to be found in the $1.3M - $1.8M price range.
TC: With overall improvements in the economy, relatively low interest rates and the growing trend to move downtown (from young professionals to empty nesters), going forward we expect increasing buyer traffic and demand for Boston's luxury product.



Thanks to Matthew and Tracy for sharing their views. Their answers add some context to general trends, like low inventory. Interesting that the inventory crunch is not as tight for the high price point in the suburbs, whereas buyer traffic and Boston's limited development opportunities have made such city listings scarce. I also find the buyer profiles intriguing because they offer unique and qualitative snapshots of market activity.

Read additional blog posts from Boston's Top 20  
View Campion and Company Realtors Featured as Boston's Best Real Estate Agents

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