Every December I take a stab at prognosticating (is that even a word?) and come up with my list of predictions for the Metrowest real estate market in 2014. Last year I was right ten for ten.
1. There’s no telling where the general housing market will go but I feel fundamentals are in a very good place in the towns west of Boston.
2. 2014 looks to be one of the first “normal” markets in Metrowest since 2007. Job stability in most sectors is looking good. Prices have stopped falling… in most towns they’ve actually risen slightly. Because of that inventory levels will be increasing in just about every price point. New construction starts are up and condominium projects are steadily coming on-line in a slow, predictable fashion. This balancing of supply and demand will be good for both sellers and buyers.
3. I predict that unit sales in most towns will increase by 15% over last year.
4. We will see more and more buyers do the ‘relative’ value trade – forgo buying in Boston (which is back at the heights of 2007) and buying out in the inner suburbs.
5. Only the really perfect condition properties will command great prices and people will continue to choose the convenience of living closer to Boston and charm of living in smaller homes with much less land over the temptation of living further out in a Trophy Home on big acres.
6. The Federal Reserve’s “tapering” of its securities purchases will happen and mortgage rates will increase slightly unless Wall Street tanks.
7. The drop in refinancing activity will cause nervous lenders to get more competitive for new purchase mortgages. Look for faster closing times and finally a loosening of the credit guidelines/scores (maybe even back to the 720/Fannie/Freddie and 650/FHA that ruled the previous decade). Lenders will have to comply with the new qualified mortgage (QM) rules but they won’t let that get in the way of profits.
8. Home Ownership affordability rates will drop, causing demand pressure on rental inventories. Because of this a supply correction in the multi-family rental property sector will occur. Evidence is already on the horizon. A growth industry will be flip-to-rent in 2014.
9. There’s a lot of talk about comprehensive tax reform (eliminating interest and property tax deductions in exchange for lower rates) and replacement of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac .. won’t happen in 2014, probably not even in 2015.
10. I plan on having another amazing year helping people buy and sell real estate. I’ll meet interesting people along the way and learn something new.