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Greater Boston one of the "healthiest" markets?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis  December 13, 2013 09:38 AM

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The Boston area has been anointed one of the "healthiest" real estate markets in the country by real estate website Zillow.

In fact, we weigh in at No. 6, behind only the top California markets and Denver, healthier than 75 percent of the hundreds of markets surveyed by Zillow.

And how did Zillow come to this conclusion? Apparently, we have a relatively low foreclosure rate - just one in every 10,000 was foreclosed on in October - while just 12 percent of homeowners in the Boston area are mired in the negative equity trap.

Overall, home values were up more than 9 percent in October to a median of $343,000.

I beg to differ.

Zillow's metrics speak volumes about the health of the Greater Boston jobs market, one of the strongest in the country for some years now.

More high-paying jobs compared to other metro markets mean higher prices, less negative equity and fewer foreclosures. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that one.

But while Boston-area sellers are doing better now, this has to be one of the worst markets in the country for home buyers right now.

Listings of homes for sale are skidding along at all time lows and construction of new homes and condos remain mired in what has become a decades-long slump.

Some buyers have become desperate enough to resort to mass mailings in a hunt for potential homes to buy.

At least for buyers, the Boston area is hardly a healthy market. In fact, right now, it has to be one of the sickest housing markets in the country, if measured by buyer frustration.

So what's your take? Is Greater Boston really one of the country's healthiest housing markets? And frankly, what does "healthy" truly mean when we are talking real estate?

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

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

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