Temperatures are rising, thousands of people have been getting vaccinated every day, many more businesses are reopening and the feeling in the city of Boston is that everyone is ready for summer, and all the fun and relaxation that season can bring.

For the residential real estate market, warmer weather is always welcome, and the trends for summer 2021 appear to reflect not only the tumultuous past year, but also a renewed sense of possibility. “The velocity is there,” says Coldwell Banker Realty sales associate Charlie Ring, “and we are seeing a greater variety of buyer profiles entering the market.”

Ring, who over the past 18 years has become one of Boston’s leading residential real estate brokers specializing in prestigious historic neighborhoods, notes that while inventory remains limited, high-end properties are still selling well. “Not every home is the same,” he says, “but if the size and location are exemplary, then the properties are selling at pre-COVID prices.”

Some prices remain in flux, according to Ring, but he sees owner-occupant buyers and investors alike continuing to bet on dependable neighborhoods in the city. “The South End, Back Bay and Beacon Hill remain popular,” says Ring, who has been witnessing the highest volume of sales happening in the South End. “There is less price fluctuation in the Back Bay, as there is a higher percentage of second and third homes in that market, so there is less pressure to sell quickly in hopes of gaining more space.” In the South End, Ring says the market is being driven by life cycle changes like family growth and job relocation. “The South End has been particularly appealing in the past ten years for the availability of private outdoor space, quiet streets and restaurant culture.”

Another Coldwell Banker Realty sales associate, Jessica Quirk, who is one of Boston’s leaders in new construction sales with a focus on South Boston, notes that the spring market seems to have picked up where the fall market left off. “We knew the spring would be a lot healthier because even in January we were selling off-market properties, and savvy buyers and investors were absorbing a lot of product that we planned to list later.” Quirk, who works with her husband Sean out of the Back Bay office, says she anticipates having a very busy summer market. “We are already seeing multiple bid scenarios and properties selling above listing price. I anticipate this trend will continue through the summer.”

Also looking ahead to the summer, Ring believes that people will want to return to office work in the city. “Working empty-nester buyers are reemerging as a popular buyer profile at my open houses to supplement the single and young couple buyer demographics,” he says. “Families assisting their children with condo or single-family purchases also continue to be a strong trend, and it feels like we are back to business as usual these days.”

Ring also notes that over the past year, suburban inventory has dwindled, so even if a city homeowner wants to move, they might not find a suitable property to relocate to. “I believe that we are going to be dealing with a low amount of available suburban homes into the summer and fall.”

This lack of out-of-the city properties means that downtown Boston homes will continue to command good prices. “I have seen many homes sell during their first open house weekend,” Ring says. “More buyers are coming back to the city from the surging prices in the suburbs, especially in the $1 million to $2 million price range.” Ring notes that buyers are looking for certain criteria to be met, and they are paying a premium for turnkey properties or those that require little renovation. Homes with impressive private outdoor space have also been selling efficiently for at or over their asking prices. “The echoes of quarantine are fresh in peoples’ minds,” says Ring, “and while a place to entertain outdoors privately has always been important, it is stepping up as a deciding factor for buyers.”

Having multiple options for outdoor enjoyment is part of the appeal of one of Quirk’s newest developments, The Blake, in South Boston. “The Blake is an exciting lifestyle building with the kinds of amenities you don’t typically find in condo development in South Boston,” she says. “Our forty-four-unit, five-story structure is U-shaped, which allows for several communal outdoor spaces, such as a beautiful second-floor courtyard, and an incredible rooftop deck with lounge areas, grills, a pet area and unbelievable city views from the Seaport to Back Bay.” Quirk, who has lived with her family in South Boston for many years, feels that The Blake’s prime location with accessibility to the downtown, Seaport and South End neighborhoods, along with its unique access to abundant parks and miles of city shoreline, is one of the key reasons that the project has generated so much interest. “This is a wonderful neighborhood with a great mix of families, young professionals and lifelong residents. It is vibrant and fun, and people are ready to get out and enjoy it.”

Ring, who lives with his family in Brookline, has also noticed a renewal of activity in and around the city. “There are already more people out and about and I hope that the vibrancy will safely continue.” As the real estate market—and indeed every aspect of life in Boston—can begin to see around the corner of the COVID-19 pandemic, people will undoubtedly continue to seek a spectacular downtown home. “These are the neighborhoods that are core to the Boston experience,” he says. “Being able to look out over the Commonwealth Avenue Mall from a living room window, walking along the cobblestone sidewalks in Beacon Hill or being a part of the cultural excitement of the South End will always be highly marketable.”

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