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Investing in neighborhoods around a booming city is always a good bet. When prices go up, buyers naturally spill out into the surrounding more affordable areas because they still offer proximity to the city at a significantly lower rate. The suburbs around Boston are evolving to include vibrant street life, diverse cultural amenities and better access to public transit making them hotter than ever to investors.
In an ideal situation, you buy into a relatively-affordable neighborhood that you that you know will experience a rise in price and when it does you get to reap the rewards. But ensuring that you make a good investment takes time and a ton of research. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Know your budget
You should work with a broker to go over your income, then they can help you decide on a realistic figure. They’ll also be able to tell you what neighborhoods are in your price range. Once you know your budget, you can decide what kind of investment you want to make. Do you plan to rent out the property or live in it? Are you planning to own it long-term or flip it quickly? Figuring out your long-term goals will help you decide what kind of property is the best fit.
Analyze current and past pricing. Look at prices from the last two or three yers and pay attention to how much properties are selling over or under asking.
A neighborhood’s absorption rate represents the pace of the market. To find the absorption rate you take the total amount of listing inventory and divide it by the number of sales. This shows you whether sales activity is booming or breaking and is actually a more important piece of information than the price.
Look at neighborhood growth
If you can’t afford your dream neighborhood, look at areas nearby that have lower asking prices. Often when prices in one area rise, they push people and businesses into the closest more affordable neighborhood. This principle is called decentralization.
Check out the details
You can get a lot from a simple Google search. Are there any developments planned? Any recent park updates? Does the city have any plans to rezone the area? Are there any block associations or community boards? Things like this will help you familiarize yourself with an area to accurately decide whether or not it will make a good investment.
Don’t be fooled by statistics
Statistics don’t tell the full story. Ask for local input from existing homeowners, business owners, and real estate agents.