The 2018 real estate market in Winthrop showed a rise in the price of a median priced single-family home as well as condominium prices.
“As you know, 2018 was a banner year for real estate. I think 2019 will also be a very good year also, but the price appreciation should slow down. There will be more opportunity for buyers. When it comes to real estate sales, I am a big believer in consumer confidence and the job market,” said James Polino, president of Highland Real Estate. “If people are not worried about losing their jobs and they are confident about the economy, they will buy homes. With the strong economy and the record low unemployment rate, I think the real estate market will do well, even with interest rates hikes.”
According the figures from the Massachusetts Association of Realtors, the median single-family home sale price rose 10.1 percent from $475,000 in 2017 to $523,000 by the end of 2018.
The number of homes sold dropped from 101 in 2017 to 90 by the end of 2017.
Condo sales are up 11.8 percent from $330,000 in 2017 to $369,000 in 2018. The number of sales increased over 2017 from 101 to 107 condos sold.
But Stephen Hines, of Robert Paul Properties, thought that political turmoil, extreme price increases, and a fluctuating stock market spooked consumers, which led to a lackluster fall market in Town.
“I don’t think that this will be a trend moving into the spring. While Winthrop home values did not increase as much as home owners have enjoyed over the past three years, the 10 percent jump we did see is still impressive when we look at the past 20 years here in town,” Hines said. “Additionally, days on market for condos still decreased for condos almost 12 percent, indicating that the number of condo buyers in Winthrop are increasing.”
He added that he expects property values to continue to increase.
“The story of Winthrop’s housing trends is rooted in the overall jobs market in Boston and Cambridge. As new companies relocate to Boston, and as start-ups begin to grow into new brackets, the housing demand in all corners of greater Boston will continue to rise until we can streamline our building processes in all of Greater Boston. This demand will outpace many short-term market fluctuations, leading to ever increasing property values,” Hines said.
Elizabeth Ferrara, a Realtor with Cottage Hill Real Estate said she thinks more inventory will be coming on the market in March and April.
“Sellers may be getting nervous that these big prices we have experienced in 2018 may not be here to stay. But I think that they are here to stay, Fererra said. “We are still experiencing more people discovering our wonderful town and less moving out.”
As for the Spring market, Hines believes fewer single family homes will come on the market this Spring than last year. The fear of increasing interest rates, and the astronomically high prices for new homes will keep some folks in place who would otherwise consider selling. He believes that the condominium market will continue to bear new inventory, as there are many small conversion projects brewing around town.
“Our median sale price will continue to creep upwards, but possibly at a slower rate than we’ve seen. Still good news for home owners and potential sellers for sure,” Hines said.
“I believe that sellers will still have the advantage this spring. But sellers beware these buyers are savvy and over pricing your home will not work even in a sellers-market. The condo market will be strong especially if it’s a three bedroom because you’re going to get to dip into the single-family buyer pool as a more affordable way to get into a three bed,” said Ferrara.
“Predicting the spring market is always a challenge. We are seeing the same type of activity this winter as we saw last year (i.e. seller inquiries and number of listing analysis’ being done), “ said Philip Chaves of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage – New England – Regional Vice President – Metro Boston Region.
“The agents in our Winthrop office will be able to provide good feedback about the spring market once we are in it. Depending on how this winter goes weather wise, the spring market can start as early as the last week of February.”
When it comes to waterfront property, Winthrop has all kinds, “some notable listings have come on the market, and fetched prices higher than anyone could have imagined just a few years ago. It is our experience that waterfront property sales follow a different market trend than more interior properties do,” Hines said.
“Prices will increase in the spring as will the demand. I think we’ll see multiple offers especially in the mid-level $400,000-$600,000 range, there’s just not a lot of supply,” said Tom Mario of Century 21 Seaport Real Estate.
“This is because there is a certain demographic of consumer who will only consider waterfront property, and therefore may be willing to pay a bit more to be there. It works in the reverse as well,” Hines said. “Due to changing flood maps, increasing flood insurance premiums, and the uncertainty surrounding the NFIP, many consumers find waterfront property to be a poor investment, and stay clear of it all together.”
“Everything near the water, even if it needs work has gone up in price,” Mario said. “We’ve found that flood insurance premiums have not impacted the market as much. There is also a ton of demand for multi-family homes and very little supply.”