Local agents offer predictions, wishes for spring home-selling season

by Liz Hughes

The spring housing market has arrived, and as continued inventory shortages keep homebuying competitive, local agents expect to see a strong sellers market as the season continues. Local agents shared what they expect to see in the spring market, as well as what they would like to see. 

Homes throughout Massachusetts and the nation are selling well above asking prices, as home sale prices hit an all-time high, putting sellers in the best possible position in the spring market. 

“I think we’ll see lots of buyers taking advantage of the low-interest rates, resulting in multiple offers over asking if the home is priced correctly for sellers,” Leading Edge Real Estate Agent Katie Gillis-Ware said. 

Donahue Real Estate Co. Inc. sales team manager Denise Connell, who also sits on the Greater Boston Association of Realtors board of directors, expects the local market to stay hot. 

“The inventory is low, the demand is high, and the multiple offers are continuing,” she said. “The buyers have to be comfortable with the values in the markets that they are looking in, as they can expect to have to go over asking.” 

While it’s a difficult time to be a buyer given the short supply, sellers nevertheless need to price their properties appropriately, Connell said. 

“Yes, there are bidding wars, but the buyers are smart, and if your home is overpriced, you are not going to get the needed audience for the home, and look out if you have to have an open house on a second weekend; the buyers will assume there is something ‘wrong’ with the house,” she said. “It’s crazy, a house that hits 10 days on the market is considered ‘stigmatized.’ It’s nuts.”

From easing pandemic-related restrictions on open houses to increased inventory, agents are hoping for some changes as the spring season ramps up. 

Easing open house restrictions: While agents would like to see the ability to bring more people through open houses with fewer restrictions, that won’t be ending anytime soon.

While Massachusetts relaxed some COVID restrictions, agents will still have to limit the number of people inside a property for an open house to 10 or less.

Since last fall, buyers visiting open houses have frequently had to line up outside before viewing properties, a practice that is sure to continue. 

“Depending on the town and house, they could be waiting more than an hour or longer for their chance to get inside, Gillis-Ware said. 

More homes on the market is also a big wish from realtors this year.

A recent Zillow survey found that sellers are finally ready to put their homes on the market, which should satisfy some demand and give buyers more options and breathing room. 

“My hope is that sellers are a little more comfortable now than they were last spring at letting people into their homes,” Gillis-Ware said. “Ideally, I’d love to see the market even out a little bit. There are a lot of sellers who would like to sell but are nervous about finding their next home.” 

Real Living Suburban Lifestyle Agent Michele Taranto said listing now is the best way for sellers to take advantage of the current market.

“There will be more competition, and they could conceivably receive more money now than later in the spring,” she said. “Also, interest rates are starting to creep up, and while it is forecasted they will remain low, homebuyers will have more buying power the lower the interest rate, which will also benefit sellers.”

Connell said she’s looking forward to “calmer times.” “In these recent months, I think it took me longer to pick out my outfit for the open house than the amount of time the bidding buyers spent in the home.”

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