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Dana Bull

2021 Real Estate Trends & Predictions impacting Greater Boston

The overall housing market in the greater Boston area has been on fire with record-low mortgage rates and a surge of relocations spurred by the ability to work remotely. The most significant trend in 2020 was the exodus of people from the city to surrounding suburbs. This migration has created new opportunities and challenges for both buyers and sellers. The impact will be felt far into 2021. Here are key trends to watch:

1. Shifting dynamic in Boston

Some of Boston’s trendiest neighborhoods were hit the hardest during the pandemic. While this isn’t great news for city homeowners, it has helped to level the playing field for opportunistic home buyers and renters. Both list and rent prices in some areas have been discounted by upwards of 15% off original asking prices. With low mortgage rates and more homes to choose from, buyers are feeling like they have the upper hand. For sellers, it is going to take additional resources to attract a buyer. Creating a solid listing strategy for your home will be critical if you plan to sell this year.

2. Inventory shortages in the suburbs

Home values are largely driven by the principles of supply and demand. On the whole, the market will remain seller-friendly, particularly in areas short on housing inventory. Outside of Boston, many markets across the region are experiencing less than one month of housing supply (a market is considered to be in equilibrium between buyers and sellers when the number of available properties equals six months of sales).

3. Strong spring market

COVID-19 caused an initial pause in the market, but sales rebounded in Q3 of 2020 with record prices being set in many communities in the greater Boston area. That said, many buyers and sellers were uncertain and delayed entering the market in 2020. I’m anticipating an active spring season due to pent up demand and a busy summer.

4. Interest rates remain low

Mortgage rates hit rock bottom in 2020 and I predict they will remain favorably low well into 2021. The Federal Reserve has indicated a desire to keep rates low. While the Federal Reserve doesn’t directly control mortgage rates, oftentimes there is a correlation when low interest rate policies are rolled out.

5. Technology is here to stay

Today’s reality calls for virtual reality. My clients are exploring homes for sale using new technologies, including video, 3D tours and live streaming. These technologies are here to stay and will continue to supplement the home buying and selling experience.

6. Buyers prioritize lifestyle amenities

Top on any house hunter’s wish list is square footage and outdoor space to meet new demands for remote working/learning and activities at home. This is a trend that is sure to continue into the new year as buyers prioritize lifestyle amenities like proximity to beaches and walking trails, and space for outdoor entertaining.

About Dana Bull: Dana is a trusted real estate advisor who assists clients across all aspects of residential real estate. She has advised hundreds of buyers, sellers, and investors across Greater Boston and beyond. Contact her at

Showing Guidance During Reopening: What Homebuyers and sellers can expect

Over the past several months, in-person viewing of properties and open houses have been limited to minimize the exposure to and spread of COVID-19.  As restrictions begin to ease in Massachusetts and around the country, we are seeing an increase in showing activity and open houses.

If you’re thinking about listing your home or are looking for a new place to call home you may be wondering what you can expect regarding showing guidance.

Below I have outlined some general protocols that have been adopted during the re-opening phase to help keep buyers and sellers safe when conducting real-estate related activities.

Virtual showings remain commonplace

First and foremost, even though restrictions are easing, the use of virtual showings is still encouraged to limit in-person activity as much as possible. It is recommended that buyers narrow their property search by leveraging virtual technology (online tours, videos, photos, etc.) and driving by properties before requesting an in-person viewing.

Showings for only pre-qualified buyers

Many listing agents are adopting a policy that requires all buyers to submit a pre-qualification letter prior to entry. The objective is to limit in-person showings to only serious buyers who are financially qualified for a purchase.

Reduced number of people allowed to attend a showing

Non-essential parties are discouraged from attending showings. Some sellers are requesting that a limited number of people enter their home during a single showing.

Additional disclosures may be required

It’s important for buyers and sellers to self-disclose whether they have COVID-19 or exhibit any symptoms. Prior to scheduling a showing or entering a property, buyers may be asked to complete a form or answer a series of screening questions related to potential exposure to COVID-19. At a minimum, many agents are keeping a log of buyer/seller interactions including names, dates, and locations to enable contact tracing.

Adherence to social distancing

During all showing and open houses, it is recommended that a minimum of six feet between individuals be maintained.

Open house tours by appointment

In addition to the guidelines and protocols listed above, open houses may require an appointment. In order to comply with new requirements, open house tours are often being scheduled in intervals, for example, 10-15 minute showings per party.

Sanitary protocol recommendations

For sellers:

For those planning to list their home during the pandemic, it’s important to have a protocol in place for sanitizing a home before and after showings. The National Association of REALTORs® recommends some basic precautions in order to make the experience as touch-free as possible. Examples include opening doors, cabinets, closets, window coverings, light switches, etc. prior to potential buyers entering the home. After the showing, high traffic areas and surfaces should be disinfected, including the key and lockbox. 

For buyers:

When attending a tour, buyers should be mindful of recommended precautions. These include:

  • Wear a mask or face covering
  • Avoid shaking hands
  • Wash or sanitize hands when entering a property
  • Remove shoes or wear booties prior to entry
  • Avoid touching surfaces in the home such as fixtures, cabinets, and door handles
  • Do not use the bathrooms
  • Do not share personal items like phones, pens, tablets at the property

This is general information about how real estate related activities are being conducted.  Please consult with local public health information for further guidance.

Today’s Reality Calls for Virtual Reality

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the real estate market has remained active. To help keep my clients and our communities safe, I have been leaning on technology more than ever.  I feel fortunate to be backed by Sotheby’s International Realty, a global company that continues to be on the forefront helping to ensure that my clients and I are fully supported in these challenging times. It is my priority and promise to remain adaptable and able to continue to serve you during this crisis as you think about listing your home or are looking for a new place to call home.
Contact me to discuss the virtual marketing options that are now available to you. is the world’s most visited luxury real estate website and site traffic increased 20% just this year.


Sotheby’s International Realty YouTube Channel

Explore exceptional homes on our award-winning YouTube Channel. With a 90% increase in views year over year, it’s the world’s most watched real estate channel and now features virtual listing tours.


Sotheby’s International Realty Social Media Channels

Now, more than ever, we are featuring homes with video and virtual reality tours on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Along with the incredible properties we promote on the blog, you can expect to see articles about how we support our communities and are conducting business during this trying time.

Virtual Staging

For both furnished and unfurnished spaces, the CURATE by Sotheby’s International Realty℠ app can provide expertly crafted, virtual stagings, so when you are ready to go to market, so is your home.

Virtual Collaboration

Working in the virtual space is nothing new for me — I have been offering online consultations for the past five years to touch base with clients. I look forward to meeting with you!

3 Luxury North Shore Homes with Extraordinary Office Spaces

Surrounded by ocean views and beaches makes working from home all the more enjoyable.  Those who crave the oceanfront lifestyle have been flocking to the North Shore for years, but the allure is now stronger than ever as many find themselves working virtually and with greater commuting flexibility. An inspiring home and office space can make all the difference.

My team (Team Harborside, Sagan Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty) on the North Shore currently represents the three homes featured below — all with office spaces so extraordinary you may never want to leave.

Explore the virtual tours for an inside peak. To schedule a showing of these homes or any other listings on the North Shore, please contact me.

Architectural masterpiece in Swampscott offers a striking backdrop for your virtual meetings

Perched high on top of Littles Point, a rocky promontory with crashing waves below and unlimited ocean views, the natural beauty of the outdoors and three levels of superb interior design create an unparalleled luxury experience.

This light-filled home that perfectly blends its arcing forms, soaring ceilings and expansive windows, offers panoramic views of sea and sky – unmatched in the Boston area.

45 Littles Point Rd, Swampscott, MA 01907


Bedrooms: 5

Bathrooms: 5 | 2

Sq. Ft.: 8,399


Marblehead beachfront contemporary takes working remote to a whole new level

Imagine living in this spectacular beachfront contemporary home with breathtaking water and city views! This spacious home offers elegant and warm living spaces throughout, like the fireplaced office pictured above.

A 400-foot private beach takes the idea of working remote to a whole new level and makes social distancing relaxing and carefree.

201 Ocean Ave, Marblehead, MA


Bedrooms: 5

Bathrooms: 6 | 1

Sq. Ft.: 5,609


The ultimate Marblehead telecommuting environment with views of Boston

If the sound of crashing waves and views that stretch all the way to the Boston skyline are your idea of the perfect telecommute environment, then look no further than 1 Sargent Road in Marblehead.

The home’s finishes have been meticulously selected for their quality and are immediately apparent in the study which features custom wood panels, a coffered ceiling, and fish tank focal point.

1 Sargent Road, Marblehead, MA


Bedrooms: 4

Bathrooms: 4 | 1

Sq. Ft.: 5,640


About Dana Bull

Dana caught the real estate bug in her early twenties, investing in homes across the Boston area. Drawing from years of hands-on experience in the field, Dana carved out a niche serving first-time homebuyers and entry-level investors in an advisory role. She holds her license with Sagan Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty and is part of an active, global real estate network. Dana is the Marketing Director for Team Harborside, a premier real estate group, representing some of the most unique and luxurious homes on Boston’s North Shore. An active voice in the real estate arena, Dana has written for ZillowInman, and the National Association of REALTORS®. Her insights have been featured in Forbes, CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Business Insider and countless other publications.

New Guide: Buying or Selling a Home During COVID-19

This season is anything but ordinary. As COVID-19 took hold, new restrictions on American life, a plunging financial market, and uncertainty about the future have impacted just about every sector and the real estate industry is not immune. 

If you are buying, selling or planning a move right now, you’re not alone in having questions. In my new guide, I shed light on what you should be thinking about and what you can expect in what could be a chaotic few weeks or months ahead in the housing market.  You can download a complimentary copy of the guide right here.
I specifically address and answer the following questions:
• What is the current state of the market?
• Is now the time to get a deal? Where can you find deals?
• What changes should I be aware of related to the transaction process?
• What are the key considerations for buyers and sellers?
• How can I make the best of this time if I’m not quite ready to buy or sell?
Safety and health is the top priority, but for a multitude of reasons you may find that now is the time to buy or sell real estate.
My partners and I are here to help you navigate and adapt to our new environment and position you for an optimal outcome. Whether you are a buyer, seller or a homeowner in need of a sounding board or guidance, I’m here to listen, share resources and advise on potential next steps.
I’m currently available for 30 minute Zoom calls throughout the week. Please contact me to schedule a time to chat.

What is a real estate market correction?

Upturns and downturns are inevitable and part of a natural economy. There have been peaks and valleys since the U.S. Federal government began selling land in the year 1800 as described in this complete history of real estate bubbles.

In the world of investments, a market correction is described as a decline of 10% or greater in the price of an asset. Unlike the stock market where large swings are common in high risk trading, homeowners don’t anticipate as much risk when purchasing a long-term investment like a home. In comparison to other markets, the housing market is generally not as susceptible to pricing bubbles due to the significant transaction costs and effort involved in buying and selling real estate. Since real estate prices in most areas tend to increase over time, people don’t purchase a house expecting value to decrease. However, from time to time prices dip. This is considered normal in housing markets that go through periods of rapid price appreciation.

Supply, demand, and housing prices

The simple logic of what goes up must come down is often applied. A booming housing market can lead to a bubble burst when factors inflate pricing to a level that is no longer sustainable. Home prices that have risen too quickly will correct to be more in line with a long-term average. This correction could appear as a quick decline or a gradual drop. Sometimes prices remain constant while the long-term average catches up.

The law of supply and demand largely drives housing prices. Usually low supply and high demand increases price and visa versa. In recent history, we’ve seen this theory at play in communities across the country facing inventory shortages where homebuyers are forced to compete. Homes receive multiple offers and bidding wars drive up pricing.

The inverse of this scenario occurs during a buyer’s market, which is an economic situation in which housing inventory is plentiful and pricing is down. By tracking price trends, you can draw a conclusion about the underlying levels of supply and demand and whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market. In theory, if prices decrease demand is declining in relation to supply.

The market strives for equilibrium

Another significant principle that drives a correction is the market’s tendency to strive for equilibrium. Equilibrium is a state in which the supply for housing meets the demand and price, cost, and value find balance accordingly. With regards to this concept, the market moves to meet supply and supply moves to meet demand.

Take the example of a booming suburban market where a large company decides to open up a new headquarters. Over a short period of time, the town sees an uptick in buyers relocating to the area for employment. Housing becomes scarce as the influx of buyers snatch up available homes for sale. A price increase follows suit. Developers catch wind of the opportunity and begin construction on new housing developments. Once the new homes are built, supply meets demand and the market starts to balance out.

What this example also describes is the equilibrium lag time. Market corrections take time and the real estate market is relatively slow to respond. Homes aren’t built or sold overnight so there is a time lag between when an imbalance is recognized and the market adjustment actually occurs.

Factors that impact the real estate cycle

There are a number of factors that influence the real estate cycle and the rate at which it speeds up or slows down. The market is usually in flux because the underlying determinants of supply and demand (scarcity, desire, utility, purchasing power, and costs) are constantly changing.

A real estate market correction can be healthy for the overall economy because price adjustments on overvalued housing inventory creates buying opportunity. While damaging in the short-term for those who already own property, it’s a good scenario for wannabe homeowners.

A distinguishing feature about real estate is that demand must quite literally come to meet supply. Unlike other types of financial assets, real property and particularly the land it sits on cannot be physically moved — buyers must come to the home. This creates an inherent risk for homeowners. If the demand in your local market wanes, you can’t simply transfer your home into a higher demand market. Ultimately, homeowners have to wait out lulls and hope for the best.

Note: This article was originally written for by Dana Bull

Buyers Enjoy Condo Living in the Ultimate Beverly Location

After spending five years in a single-family home in Saint Petersburg, Florida, my good friends Julia and Shelby were ready to move back home to Massachusetts. The two were no strangers to building sweat equity having recently made out well in the sale of their charming fixer upper down South. But this time around, they wanted to skip the home improvement projects and move right into something turn-key.

Continue Reading

Music to Our Ears: Accepted Offer in Malden

The house hunt spanned an entire school year for Chrissy, a local music teacher, but it was well worth the wait.

Chrissy, who relies on public transit had been saving up to purchase her first home in Medford, Malden or Arlington. Home values in these areas have seen a recent surge thanks to easy commuting options into the city. To justify the high-priced mortgage payment, Chrissy decided that she needed plenty of space. Not only did she want a home that could fit her piano and guitars, she was also looking for a two-bedroom so that a roommate could help cover the housing costs. Continue Reading

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