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What Happened This March In Real Estate

Episode 1, Real Estate Answers in Uncertain TimesIn the first episode of Dwell360's special series Real Estate Answers in Uncertain Times we explore what happened in the Massachusetts real estate market in March 2020 and provide clarity for the future. John Lynch, Realtor® and Co-Founder of Dwell360, will review the current market statistics and share a great story of someone with a big heart.

Today, our family, just like yours, is navigating this unprecedented time in the world. We know it presents many challenges and heartache for so many. On behalf of everyone at Dwell360 we wish you health and peace in the days ahead.

What does the market data show for March?

On March 12th Dwell360 began our work from home strategy for our team. In the week or so that followed we continued to see a very robust real estate market with new homes being listed, very busy open houses, and most of the momentum of the spring market continued.

This graph shows the new single family homes listed in Massachusetts in 2019 (blue) vs. 2020 (orange). We can see that in March 5,763 single family homes were listed, 6.7% fewer than last year.

New Listings March 2020

As time went on, we started to see showings become limited and agents started handling private showings with the utmost caution and care. Virtual showings have become the first stage of considering a property and have greatly limited unnecessary visits to the home. Now with buyers and agents being much more selective or restrictive in visiting homes, we have seen a decline in activity last couple of weeks of March. In fact, it was during that time we started to see homes temporarily withdraw or cancel their listings. Statewide this has happened to over 1,700 single family and condo listings. This extremely high number occurred because sellers no longer other people in their homes during this time.

Pending Home Sales March 2020

Next, consider that 5,278 single family homes went under agreement in March. This is a significant number considering the circumstances and only a 4.9% decline from last year.  

Dwell360 team members have negotiated multiple deals since the stay-at-home measures have been implemented. We have utilized our virtual tools and in each case we have been involved in homes that received multiple offers.

How have logistics changed?

When the stay-at-home order was implemented we first noticed changes in the logistics of current transactions that were already under agreement. 

The registries began limiting their access and, for the most part, are now only e-recoding or recording homes sales by mail. Purchase and sale agreements have received new addendums. The process for smoke and carbon monoxide detector certification has changed. We are also seeing changes to the inspection and appraisal process.

We really have seen the real estate attorneys bring results to the table in so many ways for home sales and refinance closings. Our firm is lucky to work with attorneys who e-record and we know it’s not easy to be socially distant when you need to notarize these critical documents. They are doing a wonderful job of keeping everything moving forward while protecting our clients' assets.

It's time to stay positive!

When we think about real estate and how important a home is to each of us, we wanted to recognize a landlord who recently made headlines for his big heart, Mario Salerno. Mario waived over 200 tenant’s rent in his 18 apartment buildings in Brooklyn, New York. He said he did it because he valued a human’s life more than the money. Read the New York Times article here. What a great role model for us all!

What's coming in the future of real estate?

This is just a little bit of what we saw in March. The real estate market is going to change and we have a lot more to share about it such as what to consider, how to prepare, and how to navigate through these uncertain times. So look for our future videos in this series, Real Estate Answers in Uncertain Times, and subscribe to our YouTube channel so you never miss a beat.


Dwell360 is an elite residential real estate firm based in Newton, Massachusetts, servicing the cities and suburbs of metro Boston. Dwell360 is a leader in luxury real estate throughout Boston, Brookline, Newton, Needham, and other communities of the greater Boston area. Search for homes in Massachusetts or give us a call!