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      Market Update Monday: Supply, Demand, & Affording Rent

      BOS twtr12Boston, it seems, is back in the game again. The supply and demand game, that is.

      Hot on the heels of a brisk and tough start of the spring selling season, reports of increased supply of single-family homes offer a reprieve. After months of buyers seeing dwindling numbers of affordable and decent homes in the market, March figures show that there has been a 12 percent increase in homes that have hit the market from last year. In particular, there were more than 7,100 homes up for grabs last month, significantly improving 2013's March figures clocking in at just 6,347 homes. This is great news, especially to those who are tired of being either outbid or plainly repulsed by current offerings out there. This could also potentially signify the market's move away from many years of being in inventory limbo, with streaks of shrinking inventory piling up month after month since 2012. There's a good chance that inventory is going to be on an upward trend in the coming months, as more and more individuals decide (and plan) to take the plunge and list their properties, buoyed by multiple over-asking offers that is in fact, the norm nowadays in Downtown Boston and Brookline markets.

      Contrary to single-family homes however, condo listings continue to be scarcer than ever. The average price for a Downtown condo is now running at almost $1 million, as inventory issues are driving up prices. Specifically, the month of  March saw a steep 27 percent decline in condo listings for the 9 key neighborhoods of Boston.  This isn't exactly great for the market at this point, when sales of condo units in March continued its modest growth, thereby pushing prices of existing properties on market even higher due to demand. However, like single-family homes, there is also a reprieve: developers are heeding the call for condos by converting their developments from apartment rentals into condo units for sale. Such is the case for Sepia Ink Block in the South End, as well as 45 First Ave in Charlestown's Navy yard. And to further quench the thirst of the market, there are more than 800 condo units that's up for delivery in the next year - ranging from developments in the Back Bay and Downtown, all the way to East and South Boston. Though not close to reaching increase in inventory figures posted by single-family homes, the uptick in listings will surely bode well for those postponing their search. Careful though, prices might not be as ideal once these properties get delivered.

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      On other news, The Washington Post today published a report detailing the minimum wage a renter should be making in order to pay rent on a 2 bedroom apartment. As a result, Bostonians should be making at least $24.08 per hour in a regular 40 hour work week OR work 120 hours per week on the existing minimum wage rate to be able to afford a 2 bedroom rental in the city. Don't worry, we're with you - those are pretty drastic numbers. The good news however, is that apart from being better off than other key US cities such as Washington D.C., New York, and San Francisco, the report's figures are skewed in such a way as it only factors individual occupancy for a two-bedroom unit. So yes, though it is expensive to live and rent in Boston, it is very much doable - especially if you're splitting the rent or have two wage earners in your household.

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