It’s not exactly news that strong buyer demand and a limited inventory of homes for sale have driven up home prices and forced many potential buyers out of the local buying market. But a report in April by Seattle-based brokerage Redfin found that 32.3 percent of its users nationwide were looking to move to a different metropolitan area in the first quarter, driven largely by rising home prices and mortgage rates, making the move to a different metropolitan area. different urban area. Most affordable the only option for many potential buyers.
“Household affordability, inflation, telecommuting, and a tight job market are all driving people out of expensive metros like Boston,” said Daryl Fairweather, chief economist at Redfin. “A lot of people see their disposable income fall due to inflation and realize that they can get more income by moving somewhere with a lower cost of living.”
The Redfin study is based on a sample of nearly two million users who searched for homes in more than 100 metro areas during the first quarter. It found that 14,173 Boston residents left the market in the first quarter of 2022, up from 4,661 the year before. Their first destination: Portland, Maine.
“Portland is close enough to Boston that operators can still drive to Boston for a Red Sox game or business meeting,” Fairweather said. “It’s also a lot more affordable than Boston.”
According to the Greater Boston Association of Realtors, the median sale price for a single-family home in Greater Boston hit a record high in March — $789,500, up 9.4 percent from the previous year. The average condominium price also rose to $675,000, an increase of 9.4 percent year on year.
However, demand for homes in Greater Boston remains so strong that bidding wars are common. Doreen Lewis, the principal agent for Redfin in Canton, worked with a recent buyer who offered $50,000 more than the asking price and waived inspections, a mortgage contingency and an appraisal gap clause — and still didn’t get the home. She said her clients are frustrated.
“I give them all the facts so they come in with their eyes wide open,” said Lewis. “I want them to know up front that they are most likely going to break their hearts.”
Lewis said many of her clients are considering communities in Central Massachusetts, increasing their down payments, and getting help from parents to buy a home. Others are looking to leave the country.
“Portland has a lot of attractions,” she said. “I’m still on the water, and it has a great downtown. I can see the calling.”
Importantly, Lewis said, while a three-bedroom home in suburban Boston might cost about $600,000, the same home in Portland could cost as much as $400,000.
“About 80 percent of our business last year was working with Massachusetts residents who were priced outside of the Boston market, so that’s a huge portion of our customers,” said Jasmine Bellerin, a realtor with Killer Williams Realty Maine in Portland.
“Portland is a charming coastal town in Maine,” Bellerin said. “It has a great food scene, art scene, music scene, and people want to be in an unpopulated area. The quality of life here is great.”