Shadow Inventory is the term used to describe properties that would normally be for sale, but for one reason or another are not. Typically that means bank-owned units that the banks just haven’t been trying to list because they can’t move them. But also things like properties people would like to sell – either a property they live in but want to leave, an investment property they’d like to sell, or a home they’re stuck renting out because they moved into a new place and can’t unload the old one.
I don’t know what category the pair of condos at 67 Church in Union Square, Somerville fall into. But they’ve been pulled from the market – both the 3BR asking under 479k and the 1BR asking just shy of 300. I don’t even know if they truly count as shadow inventory or if they’re just unsold.
Either way, over the past few months, I’ve seen several promising homes in that neighborhood go on the market, languish, and then exit without a sale, meaning there’s probably just as many sellers waiting on the sidelines as buyers. In other words, I’m not seeing any signs of turnaround or uptick. And if I’m anything like the rest of the potential first-time buyers the Globe is rooting for, I doubt we’ll see one any time soon.
Look at it this way: I’ve got some money saved up. I’ve been lusting after Boston-area real estate for almost ten years now. I’d be a prime candidate to be swooping in to buy at a discount right now. But frankly, even taking on a yearlong lease seems like a dangerously risky financial move. A 30 year loan? Nobody I know has any confidence they’ll have a job a year from now. Who on earth would make a 30-year promise when they can’t predict with any certainty at all where they’ll be in 12 months?