Friday, November 13, 2009

Reinflating The Real Estate Bubble?

Home prices are on the rise again in the greater Boston market, a new survey shows.

Values rose 1.6 percent in the third quarter over the same period in 2008 in Boston and the suburbs, to a new median of $331,500, reports.

Short-term, prices were up even more, rising 3.7 percent in the third quarter over the second.
It’s the latest bump up in prices in the Boston area over the past few months, one that is making our area a national leader of sorts as it climbs out the real estate ditch.

Boston and Milwaukee were the largest markets to see home prices rise year-over-year in the quarter, according to Zillow.

Still, as scary as the protracted real estate downturn has been, signs that prices are turning around relatively quickly here in the Boston area leaves me uneasy.
 The downturn may have lowered prices for a time, but it did not solve the greater Boston real estate market's core problem, an inability to produce now housing to meet demand.

Whether it’s a downturn or a boomtime, relatively little new housing, especially of the single-family home variety, little gets built around here.

That means, as the inventory of unsold homes starts to fall, as it has pretty dramatically in recent months across Massachusetts, the upward pressure on pricing will mount.

Homes on the market have fallen from more than 43,000 back in September of 2006 to 28,000 this September, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors recently reported.

The price increases come amid news the home buyer tax credit has been extended across the board, not just to first-timers.

The credit has provided a badly needed – if crude and clumsy - jolt to the nation’s housing market.

But its impact on bubble prone markets like Boston is another matter.

We have a market full of desperate sellers for the past few years.

Let’s just not hope we are replacing it with a market full of desperate buyers

From "Boston Real Estate Now" Scott Van Voorthis November 10, 2009

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