The region’s internal market more difficult than ever

The weapon in the attic was a surprise.

Emily Luong and her husband, Tony, knew they were in for some unexpected and likely unwelcome discoveries when they bought the century-old home in Arlington, foregoing the inspection and agreeing to pay $76,000 more than the asking price.

It was in disrepair, with original single-glazed windows and fabric-wrapped wiring, asbestos, and mice in the basement. The back yard had standing water and the stove didn’t work.

Then, after moving in last year, they found a 1940s shotgun that had gone unnoticed by previous owners for decades.

“We walked in and were like, ‘OK, we love this house and we think there’s potential because it needs to be gutted,'” Emily Luong said. “It was just shitty enough that a lot of people didn’t want it.”

Pressures on the Massachusetts housing market, long marked by tight inventory and steadily rising prices, have escalated to a frantic point. Buyers are paying an exorbitant amount for what would be considered a rejection under normal circumstances. The Luongs, outbid in six attempts for other homes, ended up paying $825,000 for what is essentially a full rehabilitation.

For many buyers, measures that were once unthinkable, such as waiving inspections or mortgage contingencies, are now commonplace. Prices have hit record highs — the typical Greater Boston single-family home now routinely topping $750,000 — and the intense demand that erupted after the early COVID-19 lockdowns hasn’t slowed.

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