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Updated: December 25, 2023 Economic Forecast 2024

Real estate 2024 economic forecast: Housing to hit a rough patch

A large apartment building under construction Photo | Matt Wright Construction is nearing completion at the Alta on the Row multi-family development off Mulberry Street in Worcester.

There’s no shortage of proposed new housing and other large-scale developments in Central Massachusetts. There’s also no shortage of commentary regarding out-of-control rent prices, homelessness, and the impact of new development of all types on existing infrastructure. Real estate remains an economic driver of the region, so expect the debate over the impact of growth to intensify in 2024.

Housing construction slowdown

You’ll be hard pressed to find any experts who think the factors causing rising construction costs will suddenly dissipate in the coming year. There’s no shortage of need for housing, but if the financial numbers don’t make sense, we probably shouldn’t expect developers to keep building. Until costs come down, more builders will likely press the pause button or scale back existing plans.

Community Preservation Act

Next year will be the first year Worcester property owners will see a 1.5% Community Preservation Act surcharge included in their tax bills. Passed by voters in 2022, funds from this surcharge are meant to support efforts like building community housing and new parks, as well as protecting historical buildings. Expect plenty of debate over the use of these funds, as other Central Massachusetts municipalities considering their own CPA watch closely.

Alternative uses for big box retail

In a modern age where online shopping is ubiquitous, more companies are abandoning massive retail storefronts, forcing landlords to get creative to fill these spaces. Don’t be surprised to see more stories about pickleball facilities and other unique businesses filling spaces formerly housing big box brands.

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