The Southcoast is still the hot coast

There have been subtle changes in the Southcoast real estate market, but overall things are about the same — sizzling hot

By Scott Pickering
Posted 9/13/23

Call it what you will — the Southcoast, the Farm Coast or God’s Country. The region that begins somewhere around Tiverton Four Corners and extends through Little Compton, Westport, …

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The Southcoast is still the hot coast

There have been subtle changes in the Southcoast real estate market, but overall things are about the same — sizzling hot

Posted

Call it what you will — the Southcoast, the Farm Coast or God’s Country. The region that begins somewhere around Tiverton Four Corners and extends through Little Compton, Westport, Dartmouth and beyond, is one of the great places to live anywhere.

Through the extensive efforts of land conservationists, farmers and community leaders, as well as the natural beauty of the coastline, the region is highly desirable — and the real estate market reflects it.

Will Milbury, broker and owner of Milbury and Company, has been working in that market for decades, and he’s seen it transform from the best-kept secret, to the hot place to be.

“The word is definitely out,” Milbury said. “There’s been a lot of positive PR about the Southcoast recently. South Dartmouth, Padanaram and all of the Southcoast are all the rage these days.”

In the early days of the pandemic, the Southcoast market exploded. Buyers from other parts of the country, particularly Boston, Connecticut and New York, but even from as far away as California, began bidding up and buying up Southcoast properties, sometimes sight unseen, at prices never before seen around here. It was a feeding frenzy, as wealthy buyers wanted a way out of urban areas, into the green vistas of this region.

Those buyers weren’t the only ones, however. The entire market rode that wave, and prices soared at every price point.

That is mostly still the case today, driven by historically low inventory. However, Milbury sees some slight changes happening this year. For the first time in three years, he’s seen a few actual price reductions.

“The market was so hot during Covid, that sellers took the bit by the teeth and were being very aggressive with their pricing. And in that market, they were getting those prices,” he said. In those cases, properties would typically sell within days, not weeks.

More recently, however, a few properties are not being bought within hours, they’re actually sitting out there for weeks. “For three years, you never saw any price reductions,” Milbury said. “These days, we’re starting to see some price reductions.”

In many cases, those sellers might be admittedly aggressive, fishing for a dream price to see if anyone will bite. If no one does, they often lower it within 30 days.

Buyers have changed their behaviors slightly, too. More savvy and less desperate, some are content to watch and wait, even with properties they might like. “They might say, ‘we like it, we want it, but let’s wait and see what happens,’ ” Milbury said.

“That being said, it’s still an excellent market,” he added.

Rates not a deterrent

Despite mortgage interest rates hovering around 8%, Milbury does not believe the high rates are impacting the buying pool. “Even in the lower ranges of the market, I don’t think the rates are holding anybody back,” he said. “Houses in the village of Padanarm, and in the nice residential neighborhoods of New Bedford and other communities — houses that are listing from $350,000 to $550,000 — are getting snapped up very quickly.”

He said in Padanaram, where inventory is very low, it remains commonplace for any new listing to receive multiple offers, immediately. Houses priced in the $500,000 range are still attracting no-contingency, no-inspection offers.

At the higher ends of the market, the trends continue, too. Milbury and Company recently listed at property at just under $3 million. It attracted four offers almost immediately, all of them over the asking price.

“Everybody asks us what we foresee down the road,” Milbury said. “We have no crystal ball, but for the foreseeable future, we think this market is going to be very strong.”

The word is out. The Southcoast is a special place.

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