View of Boston Seaport.

House-buying in Boston’s real estate market comes with its own set of unique challenges and opportunities. As one of the most sought-after and expensive housing markets in the United States, Boston home buyers require a strategic approach, careful planning, and a deep understanding of the local dynamics.

Home prices in Boston have not only been consistently high but have seen a steady rise over the years. The scarcity of available properties, with only 3,800 single-family homes for sale in the entire state in May 2021, further intensifies bidding wars. These have become the norm during the spring, with many listings receiving ten or more offers.

This guide is designed to provide a comprehensive roadmap for first-time home buyers in Boston. From understanding the market trends to financial readiness, we’ll equip you with the insights needed to make informed decisions in Boston.

What is Boston’s Housing Market Like?

As of July 2023, the Boston real estate market continues to exhibit a robust upward trajectory, reflecting the city’s enduring appeal and desirability. The latest data showcases an environment marked by rising home prices, swift transactions, and a high level of competition among buyers.

Sustained Price Growth and Quick Sales

Boston’s median home prices have surged by 3.8% compared to 2022, reaching an impressive median price of $830,000. This increase underscores the city’s strong demand and the value placed on Boston’s real estate offerings. Homes in Boston are spending an average of 21 days on the market, mirroring the pace of last year. This swift turnaround time reflects the high demand that leads to quick sales.

Intensified Competition

The Boston housing market is characterized by fierce competition, with multiple buyers vying for the same properties. This competitive environment emphasizes numerous homes attracting multiple offers, with certain bids even arriving with waived contingencies. On average, homes sell for approximately 1% above their list price, highlighting the willingness of buyers to pay a premium for the chance to secure a property in this coveted city.

Varied Market Dynamics

Homes deemed “hot” within the market experience even more accelerated activity. These properties can sell for about 4% above their list price and typically go under contract in just around 12 days, showcasing the heightened demand for certain listings.

In such a competitive environment, aligning with the right resources becomes paramount. Ardor Homes Massachusetts offers a streamlined platform for finding homes and connecting with reputable real estate agents in the Massachusetts area. Our team of expert realtors not only assists in the home search process but also takes the time to understand your unique preferences and needs. We provide professional real estate guidance, ensuring that you make well-informed decisions in Boston’s dynamic market. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned investor, contact Ardor Homes Massachusetts to be your trusted partner in navigating Boston’s housing market.

How to Financially Prepare for Boston’s Real Estate Market:

Real estate agent guiding couple through the home-buying process.

Exploring a comprehensive home buyers program in Boston can provide you with valuable resources and guidance throughout the entire process. Home-buying demands careful financial planning and a realistic assessment of your budget. In a city where home prices consistently rank among the highest in the nation, first-time home buyers in Massachusetts must be well-prepared to make a substantial investment.

Budget for High Home Prices

Boston’s reputation as an expensive housing market is well-founded. The median selling price of $830,000, though slightly lower than previous periods, remains a considerable figure. As a homebuyer, set a realistic budget that aligns with the city’s price trends.

Start by evaluating your finances, factoring in your household income, savings, and existing debts. Mortgage pre-approval is a valuable step, as it provides a clear picture of the mortgage loan amount you qualify for.

Beware Hidden Costs of Homeownership

Boston’s real estate market isn’t just about the upfront purchase price. Homebuyers must be aware of the hidden costs of homeownership, which often catch many newcomers off guard. In fact, Boston has some of the country’s highest hidden costs associated with owning a home.

Apart from mortgage payments, property taxes, and homeowner’s insurance, be prepared for additional expenses such as maintenance and repair costs, utilities, and homeowner association (HOA) fees if applicable. On average, Bostonians pay around $14,000 per year in hidden or overlooked homeownership costs, which is notably higher than the national average of $9,000.

Boston’s Real Estate Landscape

Leaf-covered road in the city of Boston.

Boston is known for its high cost of living, encompassing housing, utilities, transportation, and more. It’s essential to budget accordingly to maintain a comfortable lifestyle in this dynamic city. The city’s elevated cost of living is balanced by the wealth of opportunities, amenities, and experiences available to residents.

Amenities and Services

Boston is home to many cultural, recreational, and entertainment options. Museums, theaters, galleries, and historic sites provide endless opportunities for exploration. The city’s culinary scene boasts diverse cuisines, ranging from traditional New England fare to international delights. From fine dining to food trucks, there’s something to satisfy every palate. Boston’s well-designed public transportation system makes commuting and exploring the city convenient. Additionally, its walkable neighborhoods encourage a pedestrian-friendly lifestyle.

Community Engagement and Events

Boston’s strong sense of community is evident in its numerous neighborhood events, farmers’ markets, and local festivals. These gatherings foster connections among residents and celebrate the city’s diverse cultures. Sports enthusiasts will find their haven in Boston, with fervent support for the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, and Patriots. The city’s passion for sports is a unifying force that brings residents together.

Educational Opportunities

Boston is home to some of the world’s most prestigious educational institutions, including Harvard University and MIT. The presence of these institutions contributes to a culture of innovation and learning. The city’s libraries, cultural institutions, and educational programs provide enriching experiences for residents of all ages.

Types of Properties in Boston

Boston’s real estate market offers a wide range of property types to suit various preferences and budgets. From historic brownstones to modern condos, you’ll find a diverse mix of housing options. Single-family homes, condominiums, townhouses, and multi-family properties are all part of Boston’s real estate landscape. Understanding the pros and cons of each property type can help you make an informed decision based on your lifestyle and investment goals.

Desirable Neighborhoods

Boston boasts a variety of neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and appeal. Here are some of the best neighborhoods to consider:

West Roxbury

Known as the safest Boston neighborhood for families, West Roxbury offers a suburban feel within the city. With tree-lined streets and a strong sense of community, it’s an ideal choice for those seeking a family-friendly environment.

Jamaica Plain

This diverse neighborhood is renowned for its beautiful parks, art scene, and vibrant community. It’s a haven for nature enthusiasts and individuals who appreciate a blend of urban and green spaces.

South Boston

Iconic and exciting, South Boston (or “Southie”) offers a mix of historical charm and modern amenities. It’s a hotspot for millennials, with a thriving restaurant and nightlife scene.

Back Bay

A sought-after neighborhood featuring iconic brownstone homes, Back Bay is known for its upscale shopping, cultural attractions, and proximity to the Charles River.


Popular among students and recent graduates, this neighborhood offers youthful energy, diverse dining options, and easy access to universities and public transportation.

Beacon Hill

Steeped in history, Beacon Hill is home to cobblestone streets, historic architecture, and one of America’s most photographed streets—Acorn Street. It’s a testament to Boston’s rich heritage.

The Homebuying Process Step-by-Step

Real estate agent talking with first-time homebuyers.

  1. Pre-Approval and Mortgage Options: Get pre-approved for a mortgage program and research various affordable mortgage financing options to align with your financial situation and goals. Consider private mortgage insurance and down payment assistance.
  2. Finding the Right Real Estate Agent: Partner with a reputable agent who specializes in the Boston market and understands your preferred neighborhoods.
  3. House Hunting Tips: Define your home criteria, attend open houses, schedule showings, and explore online listings to narrow down your options.
  4. Making an Offer in a Competitive Market: Craft a competitive offer with your agent’s guidance, considering local market conditions and including contingencies.
  5. Home Inspections and Due Diligence: Schedule a home inspection, review the report, and negotiate repairs or concessions if needed.
  6. Reviewing Purchase Agreements: Carefully review the purchase agreement with your agent, ensuring all terms are clear and acceptable.
  7. Home Appraisals in Boston: The lender orders an appraisal to determine the property’s value, which may require negotiations if it’s below the purchase price.
  8. The Role of Escrow: Earnest money is held in an escrow account to ensure both parties fulfill their obligations.
  9. Closing Process and Costs: Review the closing disclosure provided by the lender, detailing final loan terms, closing costs, and required funds.
  10. Post-Closing Considerations: Transition smoothly into your new home, celebrating your successful purchase.

Finalizing the Purchase

Couple finalizing their purchase of a single-family home.

The end of your journey of house buying in Boston comes with the finalization of the purchase. As you approach the finish line, here’s what you need to know about wrapping up the purchase:

Closing Process and Costs

The closing process is the formal transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer. During this stage, you’ll review and sign various legal documents.

The closing costs include fees associated with the transaction, such as appraisal fees, title insurance, attorney fees, and property taxes. Review the closing disclosure provided by the lender to understand the final costs involved.

Documentation and Signatures

At the closing table, you’ll sign various legal documents, including the deed, the mortgage note, and the closing disclosure.

Your attorney or title company representative will guide you through the documents and ensure that all necessary parties sign and notarize them.

Funding and Disbursement

Once all documents are signed, the lender will provide the funds for the purchase to the closing agent. These funds cover the purchase price and closing costs.

The closing agent will disburse the funds to the appropriate parties, including the seller, real estate agents, and any other parties involved in the transaction.

Post-Closing Considerations

After the closing, you’ll receive the keys to your new home. Take a final walkthrough to ensure the property is in the condition you expect.

Update your address with relevant parties, such as utility companies, and make arrangements for moving into your new home.


Professional working out monthly payments for a mortgage loan.

From understanding market trends to navigating legal complexities, every step of the process requires careful consideration and informed decisions. As you prepare to embark on the journey of purchasing a home in Boston, you are not just making a transaction; you are embracing a lifestyle deeply intertwined with the city’s history, culture, and dynamic community. This process, marked by rising home prices, competitive markets, and unique neighborhoods, demands a strategic and informed approach.

As you take the final steps toward homeownership, it’s crucial to have the right partner by your side. Ardor Homes Massachusetts stands ready to guide you through every aspect of your home-buying journey. With a commitment to professionalism and personalized service, our experienced real estate agents specialize in Boston’s market and understand what sets this city apart. Check out our listings today.

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