“The Caravan Indicator”
There are several indicators and indexes that people follow to determine market conditions. The indicator i am going to use that sparked this blog entry is going to called the “Caravan Indicator”. What many people don’t know is that behind the scenes here at Coldwell Banker (downtown), every few weeks, we hire a bus to drive us all around town to check out new listings in Back Bay, Beacon Hill, South End, South Boston and the Seaport District etc. Its a great way for us to view new inventory and for us to be knowledgable of the market in all price points. Today, is caravan day and it was cancelled due to lack of inventory…..Wait, What?! I can undestand there being a cancelled caravan in late fall or August when everyone is on vacation, but not now, not September, not in the second week of the second strongest time of year to get new inventory. Really?
I was ready to bounce around the city and view some properties, but, since that wasn’t happening, I did some reasearch to see how limited inventory really is. I went on MLS and looked up current inventory, the amount of listings currently under agreement and the amount of listings that have been sold in the past 2 months. The numbers don’t lie and I found them pretty shocking. Since I really only focus on the downtown neighborhoods. I used the 4 neighborhoods i do a lot of business in . Here are the Stats:
Neighborhood # of Listings # Under Agreement # Sold in last 2 months
Back Bay 104 57 124
South End 78 57 110
Beacon Hill 59 14 41
Seaport District 16 7 23
Last Year (2011) # of Listings % Decrease from 2011
Back Bay 213 52%
South End 183 58%
Beacon Hill 82 28%
Seaport District 37 57%
The way I look at this information is that it is a great time to sell and list a property. There are a ton of buyers out there and they are in desperate need of decent inventory. On the flip side, If you are a buyer looking in these neighborhoods, be prepared to be frustrated and be ready to enter a multiple offer situation (if you are a serious buyer looking in a popular area). In the South End alone there have been 24 places go under agreement in the past 2 weeks. If you are a buyer looking in the South End under $450k. there are only 9 places on the market and only 3 of them are north of Washington Street. If you are a buyer looking in the 800-1 million range in the Back Bay, there are only 11 listings on the market. Six of those listings have been on the market for over 100 days, so quality is as compromised as quantity right now. If you are a Beacon Hill buyer looking from 600-900k there are only 3 listings on the market. 2 of those listings have been on the market for over 170 days. Brutal!!
I can understand that sellers are hesitant to list because there isn’t much to move into if they sell and want to stay in downtown Boston. But if you are a possible seller looking to move out of state or to the “burbs” this could be an ideal time to make the jump.
I know all downtown agents are saying “list your property now” but hopefully some of this data, makes you think about the scenario with a different tone. Have hope and don’t be afraid to enter the market, just be informed and realistic.
Happy Hunting and Start Listing!!