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Seriously, you want me to pay that!

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis November 30, 2012 09:56 AM

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Here is another case of a first-time buyer hit with a severe case of price shock. Sadly, it's a pretty common condition here in Greater Boston, with the highest listing prices in the country, barring Hawaii.

Here are some reflections on our over-priced housing market from Kate, who is struggling to understand how a house that sold for $85,000 in Waltham back in 1998 could possibly be worth $370,000 now.

Or, for that matter, how someone who bought a house for $380,000 at the peak of the housing price bubble back in 2006 could actually now be trying to get $400,000 for it in a market just struggling to pull out of a long funk.

Without further ado, here's Kate.

My boyfriend is currently lightly house hunting, so I look on zillow all the time and have for the past year (mostly for fun and a little bit to help him ;)). When I see a house for sale, for example in Waltham/Watertown it's for sale say for $400k now but when you see the "sold in" area on zillow you'll see the owner bought it for $380k at the height of the market back in the bubble! I see this alllll the time and it just boggles my mind. I understand people put in a new kitchen or baths, etc...but the housing market "crashed"- why are people trying to sell for more or the same price they did at the top of the bubble? I understand the actual concept, they don't want to owe the bank 100k...but why, how and ARE sellers getting away with this? Or do these houses sit and then are eventually reduced? Or is this all of the Boston sellers mindset today which is causing still high house prices despite the crash (I do realize that's a complete generalization, but you get me, right?)

I've googled and found lovely charts on the price of Boston area homes vs inflation vs income etc etc etc (they're confusing haha). Why do you think housing is unaffordable for most people nowadays compared to the 50s (with inflation and income factored into today obviously), the 90s the early 2000s and the bubble and to now today in 2012. If it's still so expensive in the Boston area and we're in a presumed housing crash/recession whatever you want to call it...how can it possibly go higher at some point, when will the cycle end?? Housing just can't go up up up up with no major crash, I know this- the market adjusts itself eventually right? I guess what I'm getting at is my view point, it hasn't adjusted low enough in the Boston area ? I mean you see a house that sold for 85k in 1998 is waltham is now selling for 370k, it's crazy to me.

Anyways thanks for reading my real estate rant! I would love a response from people who actually know what they're talking about because I'm at a loss and at this point don't even want to buy a house!! ;)

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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