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Empty nesters struggling to land

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis September 12, 2013 09:08 AM

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There's good news if you are nearing retirement and want to downsize. You can sell your home now, and, if you are lucky enough to live in an upscale suburb like a Belmont or a Newton, you might be able to find a buyer within a week or two.

The bad news? After selling the big and now empty house you have painfully resolved to say goodbye to, finding that downtown condo or one-floor ranch you have been yearning for may not be all that easy.

In fact, if you want what you want, you could end up paying more to downsize.

Here's a piece I wrote for the Globe West looking at three pairs of empty nesters. Two managed to land, while the third, in Lexington, is still weighing their options.

They are the lucky ones. Downtown Boston condo prices are soaring, while those modest ranches and other smaller homes in the suburbs are already being fiercely fought over by young families looking for the first house. (Of course, the number of ranches and capes in the more expensive 'burbs is dwindling as they are torn down to make way for McMansions, but that's a story for another day.)

Here's what Ilene Solomon, a long-time Newton broker who deals every day with empty nesters, told me.

She estimates it could cost as much as $2 million for, say, an empty nester selling a big house in Newton or another upscale suburb to find real estate happiness in downtown Boston.

Others are opting to stay in town or close to it, buying or condo or renting in an apartment complex like Charles River Landing in Needham.

Still, finding a condo in the suburbs is no cinch either, with the pickings pretty slim right now.

"The biggest dream is to go into Boston and get a wonderful place and start a new, exciting life," Solomon said.

Are you an empty nester? What does the real estate market look like to you?

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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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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