Heading into spring, the real estate market is in full swing, and inventory remains low in Jamaica Plain. The Gazette spoke with four real estate professionals to learn more about the status of the market and trends they have seen.
“Sales are booming,” said real estate broker Rachael Kulik, adding that “rates are way up.” She said this trend has also affected the rental market as well, as she’s seen people break their leases to buy instead, and many renters are exploring whether they should continue renting or just purchase a home.
The pandemic has also shifted how many people go about the process for renting an apartment. Kulik said she works closely with doctors who are coming to Boston for their residencies, and “virtual tours were really coming into play.” She said she has even bought her own gear to shoot the tours herself and puts them up on her website.
“It’s a really great solution to a really great problem,” she said. During the height of the pandemic, many people were uncomfortable with in-person tours, and even as things have improved somewhat, these virtual tours are immensely helpful for those who currently live far away from Boston.
“Everything is going so quickly now,” Kulik said. “Some landlords raised the rent by $400.”
For those who still do want an in-person tour, Kulik said that she still requires everyone to wear masks and she does not show a rental unit until she receives written confirmation that the client has seen a virtual tour.
“That’s made a huge difference for the need of in-person showings,” she said. “It’s decreased the amount of people that are just sort of window shopping.”
Though the number of people who want to see apartments in-person has increased, she said that “people are actually losing out on apartments because people are renting virtually now.” She said that sometimes she can’t even guarantee an in-person showing because the apartment might already be taken off the market by someone who applied after just seeing the virtual tour.
She said for things like shower heads and sizes of rooms, the virtual tours allow dimensions and measuring to occur so many people don’t feel the need to see an apartment in person before applying.
On the sales side, she said that “multi-families are a big deal right now,” adding that many people in Jamaica Plain especially are “emotionally attached” to properties.
She also said that condos are hot right now, but the multi-families are in the shortest supply and many people have had them in their families for generations.
Kulik spoke about the property at 32 Gartland St., which she said is currently under agreement. She said that she has worked with the landlord “for years,” helping him to rent the units, and the property has been in his family since 1920. “It didn’t last the open house and tenants were relieved about it,” she said.
“Basically, I think overall, the market is doing great,” she said, “and for me, it is really encouraging to see people thriving after the pandemic.”
Real estate team Ellen Grubert and Janis Lippman agree that the inventory remains low for buyers, but “from a seller side, it’s pretty active and property is moving fairly quickly,” Grubert said.
Lippman added that “because of low inventory and multiple offers, oftentimes inspections and work contingencies are being waived.”
She said that many properties are selling between 10 and 20 percent over the asking price.
She said that buyers should “make sure that they’re working with very well respected agents that know the market.”
Grubert said that just getting as much information from real estate professionals as possible will be helpful for buyers in this market so they are making an informed choice about what they should do.
“JP is a wonderful community and a very supportive community, and when you’re a first time homebuyer or a younger couple just starting out, JP is a terrific place to land,” Lippman said. She said that it is also “very competitive in the suburbs,” as there are a number of sellers who want to sell their condo and move to a larger home in the suburbs. On the other hand, there are other sellers coming from the suburbs who want to downsize in Jamaica Plain.
“JP’s still great,” Grubert said. “There are lots of moving parts and pieces.”
Lippman said that though many “headlines keep talking about interest rates going up and that could be sounding a bit frightening for buyers,” she said that “interest rates are still at a historic low.”
John Maxfield of Maxfield & Company Real Estate said that a number of things from interest rates to the weather can affect the real estate market.
“This year, it’s kind of like some perfect storm,” Maxfield said. “In a lot of cases, if the interest rates are high, it dampens the market.”
But he said there is “pent up demand” from last year as well still. Though interest rates are still low, they are expected to rise somewhat.
“Right now, it’s a super seller’s market,” he said. “I’ve never seen a seller’s market as strong as this.”
His advice to buyers: “I’ve encouraged anyone who doesn’t have to buy right now to kind of stay out of the market until things setting down.”
However, he said “if you’re a seller that’s planning on selling, take advantage of selling.”
He also said that he believes there is less inventory in Jamaica Plain than there was at this time last year.
When it comes to what people are looking for in a home, Maxfield said that people are still looking for space to work from home, as many people will continue to do so. He said a “huge percentage” of his buyers are looking for home office space “because they expect that trend to continue.”
Additionally, outdoor space is also highly sought after, and is “a lot more prevalent now as a result of the pandemic. JP is popular for that reason.”
He said a lot of families are looking to buy as are young professionals.
“There’s been a huge increase in new rentals coming to market,” he added. “That’s really helped out the renters to keep them here.” He also said the number of condos being built has also made a difference in keeping “rentals stable.”
For more information about these real estate professionals, they can be reached at the following contacts:
Ellen + Janis Real Estate Team:
John Maxfield, Maxfield & Company Real Estate