Something unexpected has happened in the Massachusetts housing market during the pandemic: Demand for homes has actually gone up, along with prices.
“It is counterintuitive because we’re in an economic crisis and housing prices normally wouldn’t be going up,” says Research Prof. David Turcotte
, an expert in sustainable housing and community economic development. “It’s propelled by two things: People wanting to get out of the city and into the suburbs, and low interest rates.”
Turcotte sees trouble brewing on several housing fronts in 2021.
“I’m concerned we could be heading into a housing bubble,” he says. “And everyone is concerned there is going to be a wave of evictions. We already have a homelessness problem, and I think that crisis is going to be exacerbated unless there’s funding put in place that can help people with their living costs while they’re unemployed.”
Turcotte also worries that the economic recovery won’t be equitable.
“We know that the impact of the pandemic, both economically and health-wise, has been greater on minority communities,” he says. “I think evictions and foreclosures will have a disproportionate impact on those communities, as well. It’s going to be difficult for those communities to climb out of this.”
Overall, “the economy is in better shape now than some people would have anticipated,” says Turcotte, who is hopeful it can fully rebound by the end of 2021 now that vaccines are being delivered.
“A lot depends on government policy and leadership,” he says. “We need to get some more COVID legislation out there, more stimulus in the economy. But it should be targeted to those who really need it: people in food lines who can’t pay rent.”