Competitive housing market squeezing real estate brokers

For agents, finding more listings is a constant struggle. Supply had been tightest on the low end of the market, but now the higher end is slimming as well.

“We’re pulling out all the stops in terms of mailers, in terms of getting on social media,” said Bull.

The pandemic has also offered her another avenue. Potential clients are no longer constrained by location or commute, due to the new remote work culture.

“So, we are tapping our network, trying to facilitate some of these transactions, and some of them are happening, going into Boston, out of Boston, out of state, across the country. So we are networking and doing everything we can, working our channels and working our connections,” said Bull.

At a mid-priced condominium in Boston last month, potential buyers were lining up outside and lamenting the competition inside. The listing agent, Geoff Strobeck, said he’s never seen anything like it.

Selling is easy, he said, but finding more listings is tough. He said he focuses on both educating and enticing potential sellers.

“There’s not a magic bullet for it,” said Strobeck. “For me it’s, ‘Hey this house in your neighborhood sold with 11 offers on it, or it sold X amount over asking, and I think we can do that with your house too.'”

The condominium sold in barely two days with multiple offers over asking price. High sale prices, however, only go so far. Potential sellers are still worried about allowing people to tour their homes, especially in areas where covid19 numbers are rising again. Agents are using virtual tours, even personal virtual walk-throughs, but sellers are still skittish.

Rising mortgage rates also don’t help. Most current homeowners have refinanced to record low rates. More than a dozen record lows were set last year. Now rates are higher, meaning whatever they bought next would cost them more in interest payments.

So agents continue to get more crafty, trying to persuade sellers with other available properties in their areas.

“It kind of feels like a game of Tetris,” said Bull. “Where we’re looking at the whole playing board, and we’re trying to place people and strategically move people around in a way that best fits their lifestyle.”

This content was originally published here.

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