Boston Real Estate Market 2018 ⌂ Home Price Forecasts Boston MA Metro Newton Cambridge Quincy

Boston Real Estate Market 2018

The housing market in Metro Boston is back on track and looking healthy for 2018.  A number of factors are driving this recent growth. The prediction is that prices will rise in 2018 as they will in most of the US housing market.

The reason for the unusual late season surge is due to a big pent up demand from homebuyers and plenty of foreign real estate investors. Low mortgage rates, a strong economy, and the inventory of homes for sale is bolstering sales.

The 1,101 single-family detached homes sold in October 2017 was the fourth highest sales total on record for the month and was a 14.3 percent increase on the 963 homes sold in October 2016 – GBAR report.

Home prices in Boston in October according to GBAR rose 8.2% and condos rose 6.6%. According to Zillow, home prices are forecasted to climb another 5% in 2018.



Home prices grew 3.1% over the last 12 months in Metro Boston and 7% in the city of Boston itself. NAR reports the average home price was $633,000. Zillow has the average detached house price at $544,000.

As the graphic below shows, prices have been rising fast since 2013. The trend looks the same for the next 12 months based on housing constraints, demographics, and a positive economic forecast.




This chart below courtesy of Realtor.com shows home price growth in Boston’s largest communities.

Town Avg Home Prices Average Home Price 2014 Forecast Price end of 2108
Newton $895,200 $723,000 $978,000
Cambridge $669,200 $515,000 $746,000
Somerville $559,200 $427,000 $622,000
Boston $504,200 $406,000 $584,000
Quincy $393,600 $330,000 $431,000
Lynn $276,900 $227,000 $335,000
Lowell $240,800 $200,000 $267,000
Brockton $232,600 $186,000 $272,000
Lawrence $218,000 $176,000 $254,000





Take a good look at this heatmap of rental prices, and it might give you a good idea of home prices as well. The further you go from Downtown Boston, the more likely you are to find affordable homes. Be forwarned of Boston’s congested, time consuming commutes to which I can attest are as bad as any.

Boston Home Prices Not all That Severe Compared to California

Too many reports have it that Boston’s real estate is extremely unaffordable, but take a look at prices in Los Angeles, Washington DC, and New York. Compared to the Bay Area and LA Home prices, Boston’s real estate looks very good, even for buyers.

See what’s happening in southen US cities: Miami Real Estate forecast , San Diego Housing forecast, and the Houston Real Estate forecast for 2018. And compare to the super hot city of Seattle Wa. Who is going to win SB52? SuperBowl 2018 Predictions.

Investors might want to review properties outside of Boston city such as Easton, Lawrence, Worcester, Lynn, Salem, Stoughton, Framingham, Brockton, and Dedham. They’re nice communities and there’s plenty of property to build on.




However, it looks as though home prices are about to rise in Boston. So the questions: “should I buy a house?” or “should I sell my house” in Boston aren’t easy to answer. To help with a sell decision, see the post on selling tips and on best renovation for ROI.

What Supports the Boston area Economy?

Boston has a strong regional economy bolstered by transportation, tourism, financial services, and increasingly venture capital. Boston is becoming the Silicon Valley of the north with major influx of funding for startups in FinTech, MedTech and EduTech. Ultimately, all decisions to buy a home in Boston relate back to the US economy, US housing market, and the Massachusetts economy.

Boston’s Powerful Economic Engine

Boston’s economy is a power house yet restrictions on immigration will retard its output. Retiring babyboomers (although many are continuing to work) and a full employment situation mean growth will be constrained by a lack of workers, including skilled workers from other countries.

It’s good news for workers in other cities and states who need jobs. If you can find somewhere to live in Boston, you should have little trouble finding a great job.

Employment and Wages in Massachusetts Will Rise in 2018

Good news for workers is that wages are expected to grow 4% which will result in higher home prices. The unemployment rate will fall to 3.7%. Higher costs for wood will push home prices up further. A good strategy might be to buy soon because all factors point upward.

The real estate market et al, is expected to grow 2.2%. All of this will heat up the Boston market making housing more unaffordable. And just like California, workers will be willing to relocate further from the city to buy what they can afford. And Millennials do want to buy homes or condos with their growing wages.

Finding a Home In Boston’s Many Neighborhoods

If you’re thinking of a move to Boston, you’ll want to scout out the most affordable neighborhood for you and your family. Prices vary a great deal. NAR reports these recent prices:

Area Units For Sale Units For Rent Median
Listing Price
Back Bay 172 324 $1,499,000
Beacon Hill 70 98 $1,200,000
South End 186 226 $1,295,000
Back Bay East 85 148 $1,550,000
Downtown Boston 100 165 $1,125,000
Brook Farm 64 31 $619,000
Back Bay West 52 118 $1,399,000
North End 59 104 $849,000
Telegraph Hill 61 105 $679,000
Columbus 74 82 $1,380,000
Washington Park 26 23 $549,000
City Point 60 74 $839,000
Columbia Point 56 89 $569,900
Shawmut 70 79 $1,399,000





With the Boston housing market looking so good for 2018, and with employment/and economic strength so positive, it might be a no brainer to move to Massachusetts in 2018.

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Predictive Analytics for Real Estate and Mortgage Agents

Forecasting Buyer / Seller Behavior?

I can predict you’ll be meeting more buyers and sellers in 2018 if you get smart about your marketing. And your strategy might include some new technology that’s giving realtors predictive powers. Who wouldn’t want their own crystal ball?

For instance, let’s say you discovered 300 young people, graduated and employed (linkedin), mentioning moving, houses, lack of space, frustration, or weddings (facebook), and displaying intent on instagram, blogs, twitter and other social media. Those behaviors tell you which of the 300 have the highest purchase intent.

Sellers too, express things long before they actually decide to sell such as retirement locations, health issues, kids moving, travel, and vehicle expenses etc. These are the events that lead to the sale of a house.

I Wish I Knew More about My Target Prospects

Your biggest challenges as a real estate agent or mortgage agent is a lack of information about potential clients and what they’re up to – especially for seller leads. Think of the potential value of you knowing who might be buying or selling way ahead of everyone else?

See the videos below and you’ll learn something fascinating.

Forecasting or predictive analytics is a dominant technology innovation happening right now and obviously has big implications for marketing and sales. Companies such as SmartZip have hopped on it and are providing techniques to mine social media activity to predict buying behavior.

There are other companies too, such Adgorithms who use artificial intelligence software to assess click behavior which leads to buying and selling.

What if you could watch your social media followers and draw a good picture of when they might be ready to sell?

Predicting Buyer and Seller Behavior

Google itself is into predictive modeling/analytics extensively with their RankBrain technology. They use it to serve up ads to searchers because they know what consumers will be searching for next in their buying journey. It’s sort of a precognition unit of Google. It works and has grown their ad revenue significantly.

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Tom Cruise in Minority Report image courtesy of tvtropes.com

Major national real estate forecasters have had access to excellent market data to map out predictions on housing markets resulting in a few good predictions (well, okay very few:)  So forecasting and prediction can work if there is enough high quality data, and an algorithm which can filter through it.

Amazon has their AI software helping them predict what their customers are going to buy next based on past searching and buying behavior. Then they suggest behaviors and products to their visitors.

It’s easy to lead someone if you know where they’re going.

You may have watched the Steven Spielberg movie Minority Report starring Tom Cruise. If not, check it out on Netflix.  The movie presented an interesting corollary to predictive modeling and predictive analytics. In it, 3 human brains are used as “precognitive” oracles and are fed all the data known (big data) in order to predict every person’s future behavior.

This is the beginning of what may become the precog world of the future. I’ll introduce you to one of the most intriguing lead generation services going — SmartZip which is unique approach to real estate sales forecasting.




How to Read Homesellers and Home Hunters Minds

What if you had some sort of crystal ball or oracle that could tell you where people wanted to live and when they were going to buy a home or condo? What if you could narrow down the most likely home seller leads?

With Predictive Analytics, real estate agents may be able set up and use their own predictive modeling of their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Linkedin, and other feeds to find buyer and seller leads, and other realty trends. This could help with your word of mouth networking since it at the very minimum gets you to focus on the daily activities and psychology of your connections.

The Amount of Data Available keeps Growing

Work that Data!  Predictive analytics or predictive modeling.  That’s why programmers are making so much money and why some startups are hot properties themselves. Investors and businesses want to know what and when their customers will purchase in the coming days to years.

As a realtor, this information can also help you find buyers in your city or those interested in your city, who may want to sell their home and buy another.

How do they do it? Analytics experts are extracting data from social listening and other data held or data transferred in the cloud. Whatever activity is viewable and therefore downloadable, is extracted into a database and analyzed.

Big Data, and There’s Small Data Too

Big Data as it’s called is often collected from the cloud and other private databases and pooled to create an informative source of real estate information for realtors, investors, developers, politicians and civic planners. And the other part, small data, is the stuff you can collect from your own circle of connnections (social media).

The process might also be called data mining, however the semantics of it all is confusing. The key point of predictive analytics is that this huge amount of data makes it possible to extract patterns of behaviour online and foresee possible future behaviours and intentions.

The experts including those at NAR are using it to predict housing prices and investment risk. Understandably, a lot of people are pumped up about predictive analytics.

“Linking information can give you an incredibly detailed picture,” he said. “NAR’s strategy going forward is to determine the strategy and initial objective, identify models worth emulating, assess existing Realtor® resources, acquire and develop missing capabilities, run a pilot project, and then scale up.” – NAR 2013.

Core Logic is one such company utilizing data from the MLS databases.

Key CoreLogic ListingTrends metrics include leading indicators of house prices, listing inventories, days on market, and absorption rates by listing type—new, active, pending, closed, and sold. With deep and broad coverage of U.S. Multiple-Listing Services (MLS) data, CoreLogic ListingTrends provides monthly snapshots of time-series housing data—at the ZIP Code-level.

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Enter SmartZip Predictive Analytics for Realtors

In a previous post on , I mentioned Smartzip, who offers services for real estate agents and mortgage lenders. You’d be wise to check out their service packages and give them a try. They offer insight on ZIP code level which is a little more practical and relevant or the average agent. This can work in concert with my work as your real estate SEO specialist.

What you’ll want to focus on with SmartZip is their data backed selling predictions service to identify seller leads. If you’re selling income generating condos, luxury homes, rental properties, commercial real estate or purpose built student housing investment units, SmartZip could be a big asset.

SmartZip uses up to 24 segments or 2000 variables of data from a number of large listings and real estate firms. As Peter Grace, SmartZip VP says, “You’ve got a 1-in-20 chance in finding a potential seller client if you randomly knock on doors… but you’ve got a 1-in-10 chance if you knock on the doors we tell you to knock on.”

According to a report on mortgagenews.com, that after identifying the best prospects, SmartZip provides a multi-channel marketing program that produces emails and direct mail pieces, including digitally hand-written letters and post cards. It also has a backend lead management CRM feature that looks good. What can it integrate with?

SmartZip’s latest development is called Sphere Targeting – offering home seller analytics and targeted marketing campaigns for an agent’s sphere of influence — or your databases. You upload your personal contact databases to Sphere Targeting’s predictive analytics engine and their software delivers rich data insights and seller predictions for each contact on an ongoing basis. Very interesting.

SmartZip Reviews and Testimonials

Avi Gupta, President of SmartZip explains how SmartZip Works

If you combine predictive analytics with SEO, social media marketing, PPC and maybe remarketing, you’ve got a powerful online arsenal.

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Toronto and Vancouver 2016 Real Estate Market Forecast

2016 & 2017 Sales Potential is Looking Good

Has there ever been a better time to be a realtor, property developer or mortgage agent in Toronto and Vancouver? Probably not. CREA, Royal Bank and CMHC are giving the thumbs up for realty transactions over the next few years. Pros are going to do well.

Agents and brokers should be looking for new ways to be the BIG Kahunas of their markets through digital marketing strategies. The payoff for some will be shocking. I hope you’re looking at 2016/17 with an eye for income growth.

Sutton Group = West Coast Realty for instance had a record $11 Billion in transactions last year and this year probably higher.  If you’re a broker, you may want to look more closely at building a cohesive digital marketing presence, one that’s innovative and above common thinking about how to build realty business online.

Royal Bank: Outlook is Very Good

RBC is forecasting continued prosperity for the Toronto and Vancouver regions including stronger employment, rising exports, low loonie, low interest rates, and strong consumer spending.  BC is forecast to be the strongest at 3.1% GDP growth, with Ontario and Saskatchewan just behind.

2015 was ruined by a huge drop in energy company expenditures and unfortunately, Alberta will see further retraction. As the dust settles in the energy sector, the Ontario and BC economies will grow stronger. In fact, RBC believes Ontario’s growth will pick up steam in 2017 to 2.7%.  Both provinces are expected to see full time job gains in 2016 and beyond.

“Although frothy in some areas (e.g., Toronto), we believe that the provincial housing market will continue to be supported by strong demand, which will maintain housing construction at historically elevated levels.”

Toronto and Vancouver: Home Prices Remain High with limited Availability

Toronto and Vancouver home availability and prices will continue as a big story. Nationally, CMHC predicts that home prices will continue to climb over the next two years, but at a slower rate – 1.3 per cent in 2016 and 1.4 per cent in 2017. In this first graph from a report on the GTA housing market, it’s suggested that sales are edging lower due to affordability, however the real underlying problem is a lack of housing stock for sale. Realtors need to be more creative in enticing homeowners to sell.

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cmhcchart2

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In Toronto, new housing starts may fall by 5% and another 10% although experts are not in agreement about that slowdown, especially regarding the new condo market. Most growth occurred in only 5 property developments, meaning there may still be untapped demand in the greater Toronto area.

Fewer new detached homes will be built in Toronto and multifamily construction will actually make up more than half of new homes constructed there in 2017. Existing home sales will drop to 87,500 units by 2017 as prices grow much too high for first time buyers. If China’s investment rule stays relaxed, more Asian buyers may support a less precipitous drop from 2015’s record home sale numbers and prices.

In Vancouver, CMHC forecasts Vancouver’ s host housing sales will slow only slightly in 2016 and 2017. Affordability is the issue that will cool sales from their record hot numbers. New housing starts are expected remain strong with 20,000 units under construction. The home resale market should grow to their highest levels in the last 10 years and moderately slightly in 2016 and 2017. 2015 was a sizzling year, rising 9% so a further 3% grow is actually fairly positive for realtors and mortgage agents.

Seniors in Vancouver and Toronto

In another story in the Advisor, it’s reported that seniors in Toronto and Vancouver may not want to sell their homes even though they may not be able to afford to live well in retirement. When seniors run out of money, they may have to sell their homes. Some may turn to reverse mortgages which are becoming a hot type of financial service.

reversemortgagestorontovanc
From a Report in the Globe and Mail

That means much of the available housing stock may not be sold. Seniors can live in them until they die and that means a good portion of the resale market will not enter the market. Of course, creative real estate marketers may find a way to help seniors understand the advantages of selling now while prices are so high. Seniors have options such as living in low cost Caribbean or South American countries, or moving to regions of Canada that are cheap.  With more babyboomers entering retirement, the sales potential of senior sellers and buyers will be of interest to innovative real estate agents.

Realtors who build their own brand of innovative services can get an edge in the coming years. Persuading homeowners to sell their home and progress with their lives, is just one example of innovation that top selling realtors will use. What else will they be doing? Take a look.

Looking for some more useful tips for Realtors?  What to do first?  A digital marketing audit can give you the insight you need to make better decisions about to be a winner in the digital wars.  Avoid the pain of being an unsuccessful realtor. It’s all in the insight and planning.

Is a high powered, responsive IDX-based website the only asset you need for the years ahead in your career? Actually, such sites are a great, but small part of the total integrated success program.

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Realtors: Build your Digital Marketing Strategy when Times are Good

Wild and Wacky Real Estate Market

The GTA real estate market is the best it’s ever been. Endless buyers and sellers. And prices have risen 14 to 18% in York, Durham, Toronto, Mississauga.  Home sellers are getting whatever they ask. The  US real estate market is growing well too.

Is all this prosperity going to last?  Realtors need to think long term — for the next 5 to 10 years. One fact is certain — buyers are online. More and better leads will come from Google, Facebook, Linkedin, and direct visits to your website. Digital marketing represents an opportunity to lead your market and keep you in business.

Do you have a cohesive plan and a process to build more high quality leads, boost sales and maintain client  loyalty?  Don’t discount a plan, because it’s vital  in focusing your energies as an agent and creating a sustained effort for success. Plans give you confidence to take calculated risks. Part of that plan will be to enlist the dedicated help of a digital marketing expert.

Barbara Corcoran hardly needs introduction. Read her motto below:

barbaracorcoran

Do It Yourself

When you hear that a house flipper intends to rehab a house, with all the plumbing, foundation work, floors, carpentry, roofing, landscaping and electrical all by himself, what would you think? So what do you think of real estate agents who go it alone?

If do-it-yourself marketing hasn’t worked, then find an excellent digital marketer who can spend the time on your realty business and help you solve your specific challenges. That person will be a key asset to your business. Don’t hire an agency. They’re geared for a different crowd. You need a specialist.

When times are good — that’s precisely when you need to work on your real estate business so it will sustain any downturn that might happen. You’ve got a window of opportunity, not only to make your business sustainable, but to really grow it.

This infographic reveals how successful agents ramp up their use of digital marketing technology.

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US realtors optimism continues to rise. Graphic courtesy of Emerging Trends in Real Estate® United States and Canada 2015 report.

I talk a lot about fast growing businesses because faster growth generates optimism and takes advantage of profitable conditions that don’t last. And is having too many new clients a big problem for you?

What are Your Real Estate Business Pains?

Most realtors will cite:

  1. lack of reach to prospects
  2. lack of reach in finding qualified buyers
  3. lack of time to process leads
  4. inability to convince sellers to hire you or to negotiate with buyers
  5. inability to engage continuously with former clients and keep your network strong and active
  6. difficulty with efficient showing and selling process
  7. strong competition (1.3 million real estate agents in North America)
  8. no time or skill in creating website content
  9. no ability to create a digital content strategy
  10. no skills with web analytics — don’t know what’s happening

These are real pains.  The key is to get help.  And do this right now while you’ve got the cash flow and the positive energy. Try to do it in a downturn and you’ll be overwhelmed by what’s required.

A Great Real Estate Website is a Huge Asset

A great website and excellent social pages won’t marginalize your interpersonal skills and effectiveness. Your digital assets can be used to showcase and support them and build your personal brand. Video, infographic resumes, and a full time Linkedin/Twitter networking strategy are just a few tactical features you might use to support your sales effort.

As an example of a great real estate website, the Calgary Home Boys site is something to check out. It’s search functionality and backend lead management is impressive.  Digital marketing is much more than web pages however. This blog will remind you of concepts you probably have vague understanding of such as; a significant, personalized, unique value proposition, hypergrowth strategy, funnel conversion optimization, content strategy, persuasive copywriting, and creative SEO.

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Calgary Home Boys website built by Real Estate Webmasters

And their use of video is effective too:

Here’s the top 12 Assets Realtors need in an effective digital marketing strategy:

  1. a website that provides visitors with access to view MLS listings and your broker’s listings
  2. a website that showcases your own listings and impels buyers to make contact
  3. a website that is attractive and promotes your personal brand
  4. a Linkedin page that helps you network with professionals who are great prospects
  5. a Twitter page that keeps prospects well informed, up to the minute
  6. a Facebook page that lets you connect with them on a personal level
  7. consistent high quality social engagement
  8. content that is convincing of your skills and ability to generate results
  9. well conceived content strategy
  10. a blog that showcases valuable insights and perspectives — intensifying the meaning of buying and selling homes and encouraging people to progress with their lives
  11. SEO strategy that maximizes exposure on Google
  12. SEM strategy that includes email, remarketing, and PPC text ads

Overall, your digital marketing strategy is a process of building connections, communicating your significant, unique value proposition.  Start off with a Internet marketing audit to give you a plan of action. Then you can master and execute each aspect and orchestrate them for ongoing brand building and prospecting.

Hire Someone Dedicated and Capable

Can you do this all yourself and will you do it well? If you’re like most realtors, you need all your time for prospecting. People buy and sell homes and condos on emotion.  That means face to face interaction to build that emotion.  Digital marketing needs to support your everyday face to face engagements.

Doing it yourself, or hiring a real estate web design or SEO company is not going to bring the results you need over the next 5 years.  Automated marketing approaches won’t work. You need someone dedicated to your business, to understand and develop new business for you using a comprehensive digital marketing strategy.

It won’t hurt to have me look at your situation and give you ideas on how you can make the most of digital marketing.

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