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Coming this fall: More sticker shock

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis September 9, 2013 08:34 AM

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Welcome to fall, traditionally the hottest time for home sales, barring spring.

And brace yourself. After a small breather in August as the market slowed down a bit during vacation time, the fall is likely to bring another round of crazy price increases and bidding wars for scarce homes.

Here's a Globe piece from an old friend of mine, Jay Fitzgerald, which offers a preview of the fall market.

More than 60 towns and urban neighborhoods have already blown past previous price peaks set in 2005 at the height of the housing bubble, the story notes, citing stats from The Warren Group.

And who's leading the price charge? Well, if you haven't already guessed it, it is the usual suspects, "desirable Boston neighborhoods and close-in cities and towns such as Arlington, Brookline, Cambridge, and Newton," Fitzgerald writes.

Here's a quote from a frustrated buyer interviewed in the piece.

"I always expected high prices," said Rich Garfield, 31, a software engineer now renting in Somerville's Davis Square, "but our agent told us right off the bat that everything we looked at would go higher than the asking price, and that's exactly what has happened."

If you have lived in Greater Boston for a decade or two, you might be wondering whether the crazy cycle of skyrocketing home prices is starting all over again.

If so, your right, and here's why.

Here's Fitzgerald's piece again:

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, a forecasting firm, said longer-term factors are also at work. Massachusetts has a decades-old history of dramatic run-ups in housing prices precisely because not enough new housing is built to meet demand, said Zandi, who has closely followed the New England economy.

A combination of scarce land and sometimes contentious permitting at local levels has inhibited home building in the state, he said. "It's ultimately a supply problem."

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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