Boston home prices doubled in last 10 years, Douglas Elliman launches new app for agents and more

by Lauren Brocato

Buyers need to spend $1 million to buy what would have cost them $500,000 just 10 years ago, according to a report by The Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute. The majority of homes were listed for around $500,000 or less compared to the many properties in Boston that are now ranging between $500,000 and $1 million.

The steep shift in home prices is largely due to Boston’s reputation for a thriving job market. Therefore, the city cannot provide adequate single-family housing quick enough to keep up with the rapidly increasing population.

“In most cities, the three biggest problems are the cost of land, the laws that restrict building, and the third is labor,” said Sheryl Pardo, associate director of communications at the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center. “My guess is Boston is not going to be any different in terms of zoning issues, and the land is expensive.”

In other real estate news:

  • City officials are searching for a way to remove Wareham from the Boston real estate market as a benchmark for determining affordability. Since Wareham is out of many residents’ price ranges, it skews the rental market. “I would like to get us out of the Boston real estate market, it does not apply and it makes the housing costs too high,” said Selectman Patrick Tropeano.
  • A $2,500 closing cost credit will be available for military veterans in Massachusetts who finance through the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency according to an announcement by MassHousing. “Closing costs can run into the thousands of dollars, and by helping our veterans reduce those costs, we will make homeownership more affordable for them,” Chrystal Kornegay, the agency’s executive director, said in a statement. The fee will only be applicable to those who purchase a home through MassHousing’s Operation Welcome Home mortgage program.
  • Douglas Elliman announced Tuesday that it will be launching “Douglas,” a new app designed by the brokerage to give agents access to corporate resources like marketing tools as well as an app store, without paying a fee. The app has numerous partnerships with third-party services already and will soon explore more.
  • Listings in nine Boston neighborhoods are asking for at least $1,000 on average per square foot, according to an analysis of market rate listings from real estate research site NeighborhoodX. The nine neighborhoods priced at that rate are the Seaport District, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Bay Village, Fort Point, Fenway/Kenmore/Audubon, the South End, the Financial District and the North End. A square foot in Back Bay, for example, is on average $3,857 compared to the $170-square foot in Dorchester’s Uphams Corner.

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