Boston Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Oct. 4, 2020

Are Sales Popping in Your Area?

Boston Area Winners and Losers for September

The real estate market around Boston has been very active in many areas this summer. September has seen sellers receiving multiple offers on their properties and consequently many disappointed buyers losing out to multiple offer situations. However, there is a way to be the winner every time instead of the loser! One of the best ways of avoiding a bidding war altogether is to try and find your next home in an area with an oversupply of inventory or for a property that has been on the market for more than 30 days. Here follows a list of the seven areas which qualify as experiencing a buyer's market:

Downtown
Chinatown
Bay Village
Fenway
Back Bay
Beacon Hill
North End

And here follows the areas that are super hot and ripe for multiple offer situations:

Ashland
Foxborough
Framingham
Weymouth
Sudbury
Dedham
Melrose
Braintree
Malden
Mattapan
Medfield

The following chart lists 60 major towns and neighborhoods. You can compare one town or neighborhood to another using the Historical AR column. The lower the number the greater chance of multiple offer scenarios. The higher the number are areas where buyers should be able to negotiate a good deal. See details below the chart to understand how to interpret the data in the table.

Town or Avg Sales Sold in Active  Inventory Historical
Neighborhood YTD1 Sep '20 10/4/202 Supply3 AR4
           
Allston 8 8 25 3.1 3.4
Arlington 50 63 66 1.0 1.4
Ashland 26 22 17 0.8 0.7
Back Bay 16 23 146 6.3 7.4
Bay Village 4 4 39 6.3 9.3
Beacon Hill 13 13 97 7.5 7.2
Belmont 23 32 38 1.2 1.7
Braintree 40 57 43 0.8 1.2
Brighton 26 23 122 5.3 4.6
Brookline 54 46 198 4.3 3.9
Cambridge 68 90 165 1.8 2.6
Canton 35 41 47 1.1 1.5
Charlestown 31 34 104 3.1 3.5
Chelsea 16 20 45 2.3 2.8
Chestnut Hill 16 19 81 4.3 4.7
Chinatown 6 4 71 17.8 10.5
Concord 25 19 54 2.8 2.1
Dedham 32 37 37 1.0 1.0
Dorchester 74 82 191 2.3 2.6
Dover 12 14 38 2.7 4.4
Downtown 7 7 99 14.1 11.2
East Boston 37 37 123 3.3 3.3
Everett 26 31 48 1.5 1.7
Fenway 6 4 59 14.8 7.4
Foxborough 20 30 16 0.5 0.9
Framingham 73 88 65 0.7 1.0
Hyde Park 18 20 33 1.7 1.7
Jamaica Plain 43 50 120 2.4 2.7
Lexington 41 45 68 1.5 2.0
Lincoln 6 5 22 4.4 3.5
Malden 42 59 46 0.8 1.2
Mattapan 7 8 9 1.1 1.1
Medfield 18 22 20 0.9 1.2
Medford 50 64 93 1.5 1.9
Melrose 32 56 33 0.6 1.1
Milton 30 39 36 0.9 1.4
Mission Hill 3 6 15 2.5 4.2
Natick 48 51 64 1.3 1.5
Needham 30 45 64 1.4 2.1
Newton 88 106 227 2.1 2.8
North End 12 10 79 7.9 7.5
Norwood 27 24 43 1.8 1.6
Quincy 87 110 152 1.4 1.8
Revere 40 58 59 1.0 1.6
Roslindale 33 34 65 1.9 2.4
Roxbury 11 10 52 5.2 4.0
Sharon 27 16 54 3.4 2.5
Sherborn 9 10 17 1.7 2.1
Somerville 60 74 190 2.6 3.0
South End 37 38 273 7.2 7.1
South Boston 71 68 357 5.3 4.9
Sudbury 31 22 27 1.2 1.0
Walpole 34 38 48 1.3 1.6
Waltham 51 64 73 1.1 1.4
Watertown 36 45 60 1.3 1.7
Wayland 23 32 32 1.0 1.7
Wellesley 36 42 62 1.5 1.9
West End 3 4 20 5.0 5.1
West Roxbury 33 41 52 1.3 1.7
Weston 17 19 75 3.9 5.0
Westwood 18 22 30 1.4 1.7
Weymouth 76 100 65 0.7 0.9
Winthrop 18 27 34 1.3 1.9

1. Avg sales YTD. The numbers in this column reflect the total number of sales for the area between Jan 1 and Sep 30 and divided by 9.

2. Sold in Sep 2020. The numbers in this column reflect the number of properties in each area that received offers from Sep 1 - Sep 30, 2020. This number is presented to offer you an opportunity to compare whether sales for September are higher or lower than the average number of monthly sales. Historically, September and October enjoy robust sales. Consequently, we should expect the number of sales in this column to be equal to or greater than the average number of sales YTD.

3. Active 10/4/20. This column is of great significance for buyers and sellers. The higher the inventory the better for buyers. The lower the number, the better for sellers. Why? Low inventory creates a high demand for what is available and creates bidding wars. High levels of inventory create a glut and decreasing property prices.

4. Inventory Supply. The numbers in this column indicate the number of months it might take in order to sell all of the properties on the market as of Oct 4. This calculation is based upon the number of sales in September only. Therefore, the numbers in this column are only valid if sales in October and November are the same as September. This might be true for October, but November and December typically drop due to the holiday season and the onset of winter.

5. Historical AR. The numbers in this column reflect the number of months it will take to sell off the current inventory as of Oct 4, 2020 based upon the average number of sales for the past three years. The past 36 months of activity more accurately reflect the potential number of sales over the next several months and not just October. If the number in this column is 3 or less, this indicates that the area is enjoying a seller's market with the potential of bidding wars. When the number is between 3 and 6, we are likely looking at a balanced market where properties are continuing to sell but not necessarily with bidding wars. If the number is higher than 6, then technically, we are looking at a buyer's market with rising inventory and falling property values.

Posted in Market Updates
Sept. 10, 2020

Cash for Keys

What Landlords Need to Know

 

 

 

Cash for Keys: What Landlords Need to Know

Cash for keys is a lesser talked about topic when it comes to running a rental business and is also unknown to many renters. It can be a tricky subject and landlords must be careful to follow local and federal laws when offering cash for keys agreement. While the concept might be unfamiliar to you, it is a great alternative to the eviction process which can be expensive and time-consuming. Knowing all your options when it comes to removing or changing tenants will help you seamlessly run your rental business.

 

What is a Cash for Keys Agreement?

 

 

 

A cash for keys agreement is exactly what it sounds like – you offer a sum of cash for your current tenant to vacate the property. You might be wondering if that type of agreement is legal in the first place. It is, as long as you follow the right procedure and have checked your local and state laws regarding cash for key agreements. Some types of situations where cash for key agreement might be a smart option are if a tenant is damaging property, if the tenant can’t consistently pay rent, or if the landlords want to sell the specific rental property. More often than not, tenants are open and motivated to accept cash for keys agreement – if they can’t afford rent, the idea of getting cash to vacate can be a win-win situation for both parties. 

 

It’s also a great alternative to the eviction process as evictions can take months and be quite costly for both landlords and tenants. Evictions require specific steps and legal procedures that are different in every state – typically, landlords have to give notice, then file an eviction with the courthouse, and participate in the eviction hearings. It’s important to know your options as a landlord and consider what’s best for you and your property long term.

 

Cash for Keys Process

The process for cash for keys is simple, fast, and efficient, plus, it only requires a few short steps:

Communicate with your tenants – Having an honest conversation with your tenants and explaining to them what cash for keys is will be the first step you need to take. Also, explain to them how an eviction would be pricey for them, long-winded, and could potentially stay on their records.

Give them the cash for keys agreement form – getting a written agreement with both parties’ signature is essential and necessary for your records.

Transaction Records – make sure you have proof of the transaction via a receipt or written if it was paid with cash – give the tenant a copy of the receipt as well.

Cash for Keys Amounts

The amount for the cash for keys agreement will obviously depend on where you live and the cost of living of your location – also, be sure to check certain laws locally or statewide. Generally, the amount is usually half a month’s rent plus security deposit, or a full month’s rent. Another option is to offer how much court fees would’ve been if an eviction notice was filed – typically, it can range from $1,000-$3,000.

 

Things to Avoid When it Comes to Cash for Keys

While the process can be fairly simple, there are some things you should probably avoid:

 

Fair Housing Violations – remember to always follow fair housing laws and to make sure you are not discriminating against tenants purposefully. 

Self-help Evictions – A self-help eviction is any type of action landlords take to evict a tenant that is not in the legal state and local laws. This includes things like changing the locks, turning off the heat or water, or removing a tenant’s belongings. 

Negotiating – It’s best not to negotiate the price with the tenants. You could make an adjustment after speaking with them if they have valid reasoning, but it’s best to know exactly how much you can offer and to have solid reasoning and explanation for the amount.  

Foregoing Security Deposits – While you might have signed cash for keys agreement, you should still treat the tenants’ security deposits like you would for any tenant moving out. This means doing an inspection and deducting for damages as you normally do with a written notice and explanation sent to the tenant with their remaining deposit.

 

 

 

Cash for Keys Form

Having the proper agreement will make sure both you and your tenant are on the same page and have communicated properly. It will also provide a legal and binding record that you both agreed to. 

Overall, cash for keys agreements can be the perfect solution for not only landlords but also tenants who need cash and who don’t want to go through the complicated and expensive eviction process. Make sure you follow the correct protocol and are always checking your local and state laws regarding your actions. Remember that proper tenant screening will help you avoid situations like cash for keys or evictions from the start.

Posted in Market Updates
Sept. 10, 2020

Landlord Pitfalls

Thinking about becoming a landlord? Are you one already?

One word: **Beware** There are so many different laws and regulations that can get you in hot water if you do not follow them all to the letter. Why? If a renter believes he is being wronged and decides to Google his rights, your ignorance of the laws or blatant disregard of them can create a legal mess for you. There are 4 major areas of concern that can land you in court and/or cost you money:

  1. Security deposits;
  2. Lead-base paint;
  3. Short-Term Rentals; and,
  4. Discrimination.

This post deals with #SecurityDeposits.

Hundred dollar bill

Basic Points Governing Deposits!

1. The Security Deposit Belongs to the Tenant, Not You

Yes, you are authorized to collect and hold in escrow a security deposit; however, deposits still belong to the tenant *until the landlord is authorized to use it*. Consequently, you, the landlord, are required to escrow the money in a *separate, interest-bearing Massachusetts bank account*. I recommend that you set up an account labeled *(rental address) Special Account*. You are required to do this and within 30 days of collecting the security money, inform your tenant of the specific bank/location where the money is to be held.

2. The Deposit Interest Belongs to the Tenant, Too

When the landlord holds a security deposit from a renter for 1 year or longer, they are required to pay interest on that money whether it was put in an interest-bearing account or not!! Since the security deposit belongs to the tenant, you are required to pay interest annually to your tenant.

3. What If You Fail to Open an Interest-Bearing Account?

It’s going to cost you! If you refuse or fail to notify your tenant which bank is holding their money, you must pay a rate of 5% per year on their deposit. Yes…. that’s the law! Considering that banks pay much less, you will want to ensure that you are not paying more than you have to. For example, if you collect a security deposit of $2,000, and choose to spend it, your renter will be entitled to $100 at the end of the first year. On the other hand, if you put the money in the bank and only received .05% interest on that money during the year, your tenant only gets $1.

Tenant’s Remedy

If 30 days after the first year, the renter has yet to receive the interest money, they can subtract what is owed to them from their next rent check. Massachusetts is very pro-Tenant and it is incumbent upon you to be familiar with its strict requirements or to hire someone to manage your rentals. Failure to comply with all the regulations can result in very serious consequences. Please let me know if you have any other questions about the Massachusetts security deposit law. Email jim@jimsellsboston.com

https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartII/TitleI/Chapter186/Section15B

Posted in Home Tips
Sept. 2, 2020

August Winners and Losers

Unsurprisingly, August doles out surprises to buyers and sellers.

The Covid pandemic that landed in the US this spring has understandably affected our real estate market... but not too terribly. In fact, it has been a boon to a tremendous number of sellers. Typically, market activity picks up speed in February and explodes in March and April. Depending upon areas, the activity might continue through May and June. One might expect the greatest market activity in the summer when children are out of school in July and August, but the opposite is the case. July, and especially August, see very slow sales. However, this summer, sales have continued to hum along and in many areas eclipsing the number of sales this past spring. Since September and October experience robust sales until Thanksgiving, we should expect to see a high volume of sales continue for the next couple of months provided the current limited supply of inventory doesn't increase suddenly.

Top 10 Markets for Sellers

Arlington
Ashland
Foxborough
Framingham
Malden
Mattapan
Melrose
Sudbury
West Roxbury
Weymouth

Top 8 Markets for Buyers

Back Bay
Bay Village
Beacon Hill
Chinatown/Leather District
Downtown
Fenway/Kenmore
South End
West End

You might notice that the markets which are suffering the slowest volume of sales are all neighborhoods of Boston. Although much of the city of Boston is experiencing a buyer's market, it is not unusual for Boston to recover and outpace outlying areas when the market flips again.

So, sellers, please, take this post as an early warning message. Boston is the precursor of what is to come to its neighboring towns! Get your property on the market now while you can still enjoy a seller's market and buyers competing against each other to buy.

Buyers, you might have heard of friends losing out in bidding wars in their attempts to buy a home. However, in the 8 neighborhoods of Boston highlighted above, you should expect to be able to submit offers below list and negotiate yourselves a good deal.

Call Jim to take advantage of whichever market you are in!

Here is the raw data for 60 markets - contact Jim if your market is not listed:

 

Town or Mo Sold On Mos Actual
Neighborhood Sales1 August Mkt2 Supply3 AR4
           
Allston 8 13 25 1.9 3.2
Arlington 55 61 35 0.6 0.6
Ashland 30 24 10 0.4 0.3
Back Bay 15 17 115 6.8 7.8
Bay Village 4 8 31 6.3 8.3
Beacon Hill 11 16 76 4.8 7.0
Belmont 26 35 30 0.9 1.2
Braintree 43 41 54 1.3 1.3
Brighton 23 33 82 2.5 3.6
Brookline 48 74 174 2.4 3.6
Cambridge 65 109 138 1.3 2.1
Canton 35 52 54 1.0 1.6
Charlestown 30 47 84 1.8 2.8
Chelsea 18 21 27 1.3 1.5
Chestnut Hill 15 17 60 3.5 3.9
Chinatown 6 5 57 4.0 9.9
Concord 30 31 40 1.3 1.3
Dedham 31 47 37 0.8 1.2
Dorchester 74 89 136 1.5 1.9
Dover 12 21 38 1.8 3.3
Downtown 7 6 88 14.7 13.5
East Boston 37 51 123 2.4 3.3
Everett 29 37 37 1.0 1.3
Fenway 7 8 50 6.3 7.4
Foxborough 21 16 19 1.2 0.9
Framingham 82 79 65 0.8 0.8
Hyde Park 18 26 24 0.9 1.3
Jamaica Plain 43 69 81 1.2 1.9
Lexington 46 53 57 1.1 1.2
Lincoln 8 6 20 3.3 2.6
Malden 45 47 42 0.9 0.9
Mattapan 7 7 4 0.6 0.6
Medfield 20 22 25 1.1 1.2
Medford 55 66 80 1.2 1.4
Melrose 33 40 30 0.8 0.9
Milton 29 49 45 0.9 1.6
Mission Hill 3 4 9 2.3 3.3
Natick 47 62 65 1.0 1.4
Needham 28 48 64 1.3 2.3
Newton 85 149 222 1.5 2.6
North End 13 21 60 2.9 4.7
Norwood 27 36 43 1.2 1.6
Quincy 85 128 131 1.0 1.5
Revere 43 58 56 1.0 1.3
Roslindale 33 41 43 1.0 1.3
Roxbury 14 15 49 3.3 3.5
Sharon 32 40 47 1.2 1.5
Sherborn 10 14 18 1.3 1.7
Somerville 67 60 139 2.3 2.1
South End 35 47 184 3.9 5.3
South Boston 71 89 257 2.9 3.6
Sudbury 37 36 26 0.7 0.7
Walpole 39 56 43 0.8 1.1
Waltham 49 69 79 1.1 1.6
Watertown 36 45 60 1.3 1.7
Wayland 22 34 36 1.1 1.6
Wellesley 36 61 80 1.3 2.3
West End 4 4 27 6.8 7.3
West Roxbury 32 52 35 0.7 1.1
Weston 17 26 70 2.7 4.1
Westwood 17 20 30 1.5 1.7
Weymouth 83 92 63 0.7 0.8
Winthrop 20 27 36 1.3 1.8
1. This column (Mo Sales) includes the average number of sales per month of condos, houses and multi-families year-to-date. For comparison purposes, the next column shows how many properties sold just in the last month (August).
2. This column (On Mkt) tells how many listings are being actively offered for sale as of the date this has been posted. This number changes daily, and so, if you want an accurate count and view what listings are truly available, return to the home page and scroll down to the town or neighborhood you are interested in.
3. This column (Mos Supply) is calculated by taking the amount for each town or neighborhood in column 4 and dividing it by the corresponding amount in column 3. The result is the number of months it will take if sales continue apace just like the past month with no further listings added to the inventory. However, the real estate market is dynamic and the number of listings can change not only daily, but hourly!
4. This column (Actual AR) is a more realistic look at how long you can expect your listing to stay on the market before it sells. Although it is more realistic because it is based on a long-term average (2.5 years), the real estate market is cyclical and is always in flux due to many factors. Bottom line... this is the column to keep your eyes on.
Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 28, 2020

COVID Travel Order Update

On August 28, Colorado, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia were added to the COVID-19 lower-risk state list. View map. Travelers from COVID-19 lower-risk states are not required to fill out the Massachusetts Travel Form and do not need to quarantine.

The initial announcement of the COVID-19 travel order on July 24 stated that all persons arriving in Massachusetts, including residents and non-residents, must quarantine for 14 days unless they meet one of seven exceptions:

  1. They are coming from a lower risk state (currently including CT, RI, NH, VT, ME, NJ, NY, HI, CO, DE, PA, WV and subject to change) and have not been present in any other states during the last 14 days.
  2. They have received a negative test result for a COVID-19 test performed within the last 72 hours.
  3. They pass through Massachusetts in the course of traveling to another place.
  4. They regularly commute either into or out of Massachusetts to a fixed place of work or school. This exception applies only to their commute.
  5. They are a patient or accompanying a patient receiving medical treatment in Massachusetts.
  6. They are required to travel to Massachusetts by a Federal or State military authority.
  7. They enter Massachusetts to perform a critical infrastructure function.

Any person required to quarantine or provide the specified negative test result must also submit a Massachusetts Travel Form acknowledging and certifying their means of compliance with the order. Failure to comply can result in fines of $500 per day. It's important to note that this quarantine requirement would extend to vacationers coming to short-term rentals and incoming college students if they do not fall into one of the above categories.

Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 3, 2020

Housing Market Normalizes

What Pandemic?!

As soon as the governor and mayors allowed the showing of homes for sale, sellers began putting their homes on the market. And what was the result? Buyers cast aside fear of the virus and turned out in droves to buy a home as if there were no pandemic.  Although home sales were generally down in July compared to sales in June, sales are typically lower in July. In fact, sales usually drop off even further in August. So, a slowing market at this time of the year has nothing to do with the Corona Virus. As ever, the following two points need to be kept in mind:

1. Sellers are best off when the Actual AR column value for their town is less than 1. However, all is not lost if the value is less than 3; but, as the number rises, there will be fewer buyers looking or making offers. Values which are less than 3 indicate that that town or neighborhood is still enjoying a seller's market. 

2. Buyers are best off when the Actual Ar value is greater than 6. Housing prices in areas of 6+ like Back Bay, Bay Village, Beacon Hill, etc., will be more negotiable than those seeing values less than 6.0. Another indicator which tells you if you can low-ball a seller is the number of days/weeks a property has been on the market. You cannot expect to steal a house that is new on the market; but you can certainly try if it has been on the market for a month or two!   

Since a table is published each month, you can scroll back to see whether the AR is rising, falling, or stable.

Town or Mo Sold On Mos Actual
Neighborhood Sales1 July Mkt2 Supply3 AR4
           
Allston 8 13 18 1.4 2.3
Arlington 47 61 37 0.6 0.8
Ashland 24 24 12 0.5 0.5
Back Bay 15 17 107 6.3 7.0
Bay Village 4 8 31 6.3 8.3
Beacon Hill 11 16 73 4.6 6.7
Belmont 21 35 36 1.0 1.7
Braintree 35 41 44 1.1 1.2
Brighton 22 33 82 2.5 3.7
Brookline 47 74 174 2.4 3.7
Cambridge 65 109 138 1.3 2.1
Canton 33 52 54 1.0 1.6
Charlestown 30 47 84 1.8 2.8
Chelsea 16 21 24 1.1 1.5
Chestnut Hill 14 17 60 3.5 4.2
Chinatown 6 5 49 4.0 8.4
Concord 27 31 39 1.3 1.5
Dedham 31 47 37 0.8 1.2
Dorchester 74 89 120 1.3 1.6
Dover 11 21 38 1.8 3.5
Downtown 7 6 71 11.8 10.4
East Boston 36 51 123 2.4 3.4
Everett 24 37 45 1.2 1.9
Fenway 7 8 50 6.3 7.4
Foxborough 17 16 23 1.4 1.3
Framingham 68 79 65 0.8 1.0
Hyde Park 17 26 24 0.9 1.4
Jamaica Plain 42 69 68 1.0 1.6
Lexington 40 53 69 1.3 1.7
Lincoln 6 6 19 3.2 3.0
Malden 37 47 49 1.0 1.3
Mattapan 7 7 4 0.6 0.5
Medfield 18 22 25 1.1 1.4
Medford 46 66 75 1.1 1.6
Melrose 28 40 22 0.6 0.8
Milton 27 49 45 0.9 1.7
Mission Hill 3 4 7 1.8 2.2
Natick 47 62 65 1.0 1.4
Needham 27 48 64 1.3 2.3
Newton 82 149 222 1.5 2.7
North End 13 21 59 2.8 4.7
Norwood 25 36 43 1.2 1.7
Quincy 82 128 131 1.0 1.6
Revere 34 58 47 0.8 1.4
Roslindale 32 41 32 0.8 1.0
Roxbury 14 15 47 3.1 3.3
Sharon 28 40 50 1.3 1.8
Sherborn 9 14 17 1.2 1.8
Somerville 56 60 128 2.1 2.3
South End 35 47 212 4.5 6.1
South Boston 71 89 266 3.0 3.8
Sudbury 30 36 39 1.1 1.3
Walpole 33 56 43 0.8 1.3
Waltham 46 69 79 1.1 1.7
Watertown 34 45 60 1.3 1.7
Wayland 22 34 36 1.1 1.6
Wellesley 33 61 80 1.3 2.4
West End 4 4 22 5.5 6.2
West Roxbury 33 52 35 0.7 1.1
Weston 18 26 70 2.7 4.0
Westwood 17 20 30 1.5 1.8
Weymouth 71 92 70 0.8 1.0
Winthrop 17 27 30 1.1 1.7
Posted in Market Updates
July 2, 2020

Covid Be Damned, Say Buyers!

Update as of July 3

Check back each month around this time to see which way the real estate wind is blowing in your town!

Last month I was concerned about the effect the covid virus lockdown would have on June. Would things return to normal or would people still be afraid to venture out. Survey is in and the results are mixed!

In most areas, April and May are supposed to see the greatest numbers of sales for the year; but not so this year. The Covid virus lockdown really kicked our butts this spring! In many areas of the Boston Metropolis, not only have buyers returned as if there were no virus, towns like Canton, Milton, Natick, Quincy, Wayland, West Roxbury and Weston have outpaced normal year-to-year volume! In fact, Newton was up about 30% and Wellsley 50% over past years. The winner, though, goes to Dover with a year-over-year increase of nearly 100%! Dover was in dire need of a resurgence because it is on the brink of turning into a buyer's market.

On the other hand, other areas are still struggling for air. The neighborhoods of Chinatown-Leather District and Downtown are technically in a buyer's market and might well expect to see falling prices. South End is also fast nearing becoming a buyer's market. So, for the most part, my statement from last month was pretty accurate: "Although June sales are typically lower than April and May, we actually might see an increase this year as folks who are tired of being cooped up are willing to get out and get on with their lives."

Bottom line remains the same: do NOT expect sellers to be too negotiable where the number of months supply is less than 1; whereas deals can be made with reasonable sellers where the months supply is 5 or more.

If you are interested in buying in a town not listed below, please don't hesitate to click on Contact Us and ask for its market activity. See footnotes below on how to interpret the data in the table which follows.

 

Town or Mo Sold On Mos Actual
Neighborhood Sales1 June Mkt2 Supply3 AR4
           
Allston 7 13 6 0.5 0.9
Arlington 45 79 35 0.4 0.8
Ashland 24 35 10 0.3 0.4
Back Bay 15 17 104 6.1 7.1
Bay Village 4 8 16 6.3 4.0
Beacon Hill 11 16 61 3.8 5.8
Belmont 19 34 42 1.2 2.2
Braintree 34 63 30 0.5 0.9
Brighton 22 33 34 1.0 1.6
Brookline 43 74 138 1.9 3.2
Cambridge 59 109 118 1.1 2.0
Canton 31 52 65 1.3 2.1
Charlestown 27 47 32 0.7 1.2
Chelsea 15 18 20 1.1 1.4
Chestnut Hill 15 17 50 2.9 3.4
Chinatown 6 5 45 4.0 7.7
Concord 26 39 52 1.3 2.0
Dedham 28 47 41 0.9 1.4
Dorchester 73 89 103 1.2 1.4
Dover 12 21 48 2.3 4.2
Downtown 7 6 68 11.3 10.2
East Boston 35 51 80 1.6 2.3
Everett 22 41 38 0.9 1.8
Fenway 7 8 35 4.4 5.3
Foxborough 17 31 13 0.4 0.8
Framingham 66 104 76 0.7 1.2
Hyde Park 17 26 14 0.5 0.8
Jamaica Plain 39 69 70 1.0 1.8
Lexington 38 73 72 1.0 1.9
Lincoln 6 8 22 2.8 3.5
Malden 36 67 34 0.5 1.0
Mattapan 8 7 10 1.4 1.3
Medfield 18 33 64 1.9 3.6
Medford 43 78 58 0.7 1.4
Melrose 26 48 15 0.3 0.6
Milton 25 49 45 0.9 1.8
Mission Hill 4 4 1 0.3 0.3
Natick 47 62 62 1.0 1.3
Needham 27 48 65 1.4 2.4
Newton 79 149 232 1.6 3.0
North End 12 21 46 2.2 3.8
Norwood 22 36 27 0.8 1.2
Quincy 80 128 129 1.0 1.6
Revere 30 53 47 0.9 1.5
Roslindale 30 41 24 0.6 0.8
Roxbury 15 15 38 2.5 2.6
Sharon 26 45 54 1.2 2.1
Sherborn 9 10 25 2.5 2.9
Somerville 56 84 113 1.3 2.0
South End 32 47 182 3.9 5.7
South Boston 67 89 242 2.7 3.6
Sudbury 30 42 48 1.1 1.6
Walpole 29 61 43 0.7 1.5
Waltham 46 69 57 0.8 1.2
Watertown 33 45 38 0.8 1.2
Wayland 21 34 34 1.0 1.6
Wellesley 31 61 95 1.6 3.0
West End 4 4 20 5.0 5.2
West Roxbury 32 52 25 0.5 0.8
Weston 16 26 60 2.3 3.7
Westwood 17 20 31 1.6 1.9
Weymouth 67 92 57 0.6 0.8
Winthrop 16 35 18 0.5 1.1

1. This column (Mo Sales) includes the average number of sales per month of condos, houses and multi-families year-to-date. For comparison purposes, the next column shows how many properties sold just in the last month (June).

2. This column (On Mkt) tells how many listings are being actively offered for sale as of the date this has been posted. This number changes daily, and so, if you want an accurate count and view what listings are truly available, return to the home page and scroll down to the town or neighborhood you are interested in.

3. This column (Mos Supply) is calculated by taking the amount for each town or neighborhood in column 4 and dividing it by the corresponding amount in column 3. The result is the number of months it will take if sales continue apace just like the past month with no further listings added to the inventory. However, the real estate market is dynamic and the number of listings can change not only daily, but hourly!

4. This column (Actual AR) is a more realistic look at how long you can expect your listing to stay on the market before it sells. Although it is more realistic because it is based on a long-term average (2.5 years), the real estate market is cyclical and is always in flux due to many factors. Bottom line... this is the column to keep your eyes on.

As of today, the best neighborhood to have your property on the market is Mission Hill. The best town is Ashland. The most challenging neighborhood to be selling in is Downtown. The most challenging town is Dover.

Posted in Market Updates
June 3, 2020

Need to know if you're dealing with a buyer's market or a seller's market?

Update as of June 4

Check back each month around this time to see which way the real estate wind is blowing!

Caveat... due to the shelter in place and fear of the corona virus, the market has taken somewhat of a hit and numbers might be skewed through June.

In most areas, April and May are supposed to see the greatest numbers of sales for the year; but not so this year. Although sales have remained somewhat robust in certain areas (see where Sold in May numbers are greater than the average monthly sales (January - May), sales in other areas remained down in May. Although June sales are typically lower than April and May, we actually might see an increase this year as folks who are tired of being cooped up are willing to get out and get on with their lives. Bottom line remains the same: do NOT expect pricing to be too negotiable where the number of months supply is less than 3; whereas deals can be made with reasonable sellers where the months supply is 6 or more.

If you are interested in buying in a town not listed below, please don't hesitate to click on Contact Us and ask for its market activity.

Town       Avg      Sold       On           Mos
N'hood     Sales      May      Mkt       Supply
         
Allston 6 6 6 1.0
Arlington 38 55 43 0.8
Ashland 22 21 16 0.8
Back Bay 14 11 88 8.0
Bay Village 3 0 19 6.3
Beacon Hill 9 8 51 6.4
Belmont 16 21 29 1.4
Braintree 31 40 43 1.1
Brighton 19 22 34 1.5
Brookline 37 39 128 3.3
Cambridge 49 46 118 2.6
Canton 26 34 65 1.9
Charlestown 23 47 32 0.7
Chelsea 15 18 20 1.1
Chestnut Hill 14 17 50 2.9
Chinatown 6 9 32 4.0
Concord 24 33 52 1.6
Dedham 25 20 41 2.1
Dorchester 69 87 99 1.1
Dover 10 14 48 3.4
Downtown 7 4 49 12.3
East Boston 31 28 80 2.9
Everett 18 15 44 2.9
Fenway 6 10 19 1.9
Foxborough 15 20 21 1.1
Framingham 58 67 66 1.0
Hyde Park 15 10 14 1.4
Jamaica Plain 33 15 59 3.9
Lexington 31 56 80 1.4
Lincoln 6 7 27 3.9
Malden 30 35 36 1.0
Mattapan 8 8 10 1.3
Medfield 14 26 43 1.7
Medford 36 44 57 1.3
Melrose 21 34 23 0.7
Milton 20 26 45 1.7
Mission Hill 4 4 5 1.3
Natick 44 61 62 1.0
Needham 23 32 65 2.0
Newton 64 79 212 2.7
North End 10 11 43 3.9
Norwood 19 25 27 1.1
Quincy 70 109 121 1.1
Revere 26 35 55 1.6
Roslindale 28 53 25 0.5
Roxbury 15 19 32 1.7
Sharon 23 26 54 2.1
Sherborn 8 9 21 2.3
Somerville 50 58 77 1.3
South End 29 41 123 3.0
South Boston 53 68 167 2.5
Sudbury 27 33 51 1.5
Walpole 23 34 39 1.1
Waltham 41 40 57 1.4
Watertown 30 37 38 1.0
Wayland 19 23 34 1.5
Wellesley 25 40 95 2.4
West End 4 3 17 5.7
West Roxbury 28 42 24 0.6
Weston 14 21 60 2.9
Westwood 16 20 31 1.6
Weymouth 64 88 61 0.7
Winthrop 12 22 22 1.0
Posted in Market Updates
May 5, 2020

Lockdown's Effect on Real Estate

BOSTON HOUSING SALES DOWN!

Everyone wants to know what effect the corona virus/shelter-in-place lock downs have had and will have on real estate. Although some governors have labeled real estate an essential service, the media have sufficiently scared the public into cowering in their homes and not getting out and looking for their next home as much as they would normally be doing at this time of year. With very few exceptions, sales this April are less than what they should be. Since real estate markets vary from state to state, county to county, and even within cities, we shouldn't be interested in general stories you might read in the newspaper or hear on the nightly news regarding real estate sales
"nationwide" or in one state or another. What matters is what is happening in your town. Consequently, what follows below is a table showing 63 individual towns and neighborhoods in and around Boston to give you a hyper-local feel for what is going on in our "local" area.

The table has four columns next to each town. The first is the average number of sales from Jan 1, 2020 through Apr 30, 2020. Therefore, 20 total sales = 5 on average per month. The second column shows what impact the shutdown has had on April sales. You will notice that 57 of the 65 market areas saw a decrease in the rate of sales when April should have seen a significant increase. This does not bode well for May.

The third column shows the number of homes on the market and available for purchase as of May 4. Not unexpectedly, there are fewer homes on the market that what we would normally expect due to the fact that sellers, unless they are desperate to sell, do not want strangers parading through their home and possibly contaminating it. Although determining absorption rates usually utilize the average number of sales per month, for example, 5.5 for Allston, given current circumstances, I think it wiser to use the most recent month's sales to calculate how many months it will take for the current inventory to sell off. The caveat, however, is that this assumes that no other properties will come on the market until all of these sell.

Real estate markets are dynamic. They change daily. So, although absorption rates are constantly changing, they do give us an idea of whether we are in a buyer's or a seller's market.

BUYERS

You obviously want to get a good deal on your purchase, right?! Your strategy should be to find homes that have been on the market a long time. The usual reason for them not selling boils down to the property being overpriced. Being overpriced gives you the opportunity to make a low-ball offer without worrying about others bidding up the price which occurs in a seller's market. Ideally, you want to be buying in a buyer's market. A buyer's market occurs whenever there is so much inventory on hand that it will take more than 6 months for everything to be sold. If you look down the fourth column for numbers 6 or more, those are the places you should be able to negotiate a good deal.

SELLERS

We have had a long, great seller's market beginning back in 2012. Prices began rising until finally plateauing in 2018. Robust markets where sales have continued at a good pace have not seen many bidding wars, certainly not above asking price; and so, you have to be careful about how you price your property. You don't want to be too high and have it sit without showings and/or offers. The higher the number in the fourth column, the more realistic you are going to need to be about pricing. The question you now have on your mind is likely: should I put my property on the market now or wait? Since the best time to sell is March through June, you cannot afford to wait. Sales drop off precipitously in the summer time!

Interpreting absorption rate data:

0-3 months = seller's market. 3-6 months = balanced market. 6+ months = buyer's market.

Town or Mo Sold On Mos
Neighborhood Sales Apr Mkt Supply
         
Allston 5.5 3 6 2.0
Arlington 34 33 27 0.8
Ashland 22.8 17 12 0.7
Back Bay 15 9 57 6.3
Bay Village 4 2 12 6.0
Beacon Hill 9.8 3 48 16.0
Belmont 15.3 13 21 1.6
Braintree 28.5 14 37 2.6
Brighton 18.5 12 34 2.8
Brookline 36.5 29 89 3.1
Cambridge 50.3 32 75 2.3
Canton 24.3 15 66 4.4
Charlestown 17.3 17 32 1.9
Chelsea 14.3 14 25 1.8
Chestnut Hill 13.5 9 30 3.3
Chinatown 4.5 0 24 4.0
Concord 23 8 46 5.8
Dedham 25.8 20 31 1.6
Dorchester 64.8 48 101 2.1
Dover 8.5 6 53 8.8
Downtown 7.5 7 39 5.6
East Boston 32.3 23 80 3.5
Everett 19.3 14 33 2.4
Fenway 5.5 2 13 6.5
Foxborough 13.8 14 19 1.4
Framingham 56.8 49 57 1.2
Hyde Park 16.5 11 14 1.3
Jamaica Plain 37 33 55 1.7
Lexington 24.8 22 62 2.8
Lincoln 5.8 10 21 2.1
Malden 29 17 21 1.2
Mattapan 7.8 4 10 2.5
Medfield 11.8 13 46 3.5
Medford 34.3 27 37 1.4
Melrose 18.5 15 12 0.8
Milton 19 14 35 2.5
Mission Hill 3.5 3 6 2.0
Natick 39.3 27 61 2.3
Needham 20.8 16 50 3.1
Newton 60.8 35 157 4.5
North End 10 11 24 2.2
Norwood 17.5 13 17 1.3
Quincy 60.3 44 110 2.5
Revere 24.3 16 40 2.5
Roslindale 21.3 16 25 1.6
Roxbury 13.8 7 25 3.6
Sharon 23.8 17 49 2.9
Sherborn 8.5 10 19 1.9
Somerville 48.8 38 74 1.9
South End 25.8 22 93 4.2
South Boston 49.8 36 128 3.6
Sudbury 26.3 16 45 2.8
Walpole 21 19 49 2.6
Waltham 41.5 35 52 1.5
Watertown 28.8 22 32 1.5
Wayland 17.8 14 27 1.9
Wellesley 21.5 13 69 5.3
West End 4 3 20 6.7
West Roxbury 24.5 20 24 1.2
Weston 12.5 11 48 4.4
Westwood 14.8 17 32 1.9
Weymouth 58.5 55 56 1.0
Winthrop 9.3 3 21 7.0
Posted in Market Updates
Dec. 19, 2019

Boston Real Estate Stages a Rebound

BOSTON HOUSING INVENTORY DOWN!

Between late summer and the end of the year many areas in Boston have defied history. An expanding inventory has suddenly contracted and have not only slowed the inevitable change from a balanced market (3-6 months of inventory) but have reverted many areas back into a seller's market! The chart below shows over 60 towns/neighborhoods around Boston, providing you a glimpse into which towns/neighborhoods are best to buy or sell in as of today. The market is in constant flux as houses come off the market due to seller fatigue, withdrawn for the holidays, or change of mind about selling, or as other new listings come on the market. 

Typically, sales from November to January shrink in number. You will see below that every town or neighborhood has seen a drastic drop in home sales for the first 18 days in December relative to the average number of sales per month from Dec 1, 2018 through Nov 30, 2019.

BUYERS

Generally speaking, the best time to buy is now through January as competition will really start to heat up in February. If you want to know in which towns you might get the best deal, look down the column of # of months supply and see which are at 6 months or greater. Another way to look at it is to see which areas have had the fewest number of sales this month... especially if the number that have been selling on average is drastically higher.

SELLERS

The hottest time to sell is from February to April. Therefore, get your home on the market in January!!

  # # Avg #
Town or On Sold Mo Mos
Neighborhood Mkt Dec Sales Supply
         
Allston 9 3 6.0 1.5
Arlington 20 9 49.9 0.4
Ashland 21 7 26.9 0.8
Back Bay 63 7 22.7 2.8
Bay Village 17 1 6.5 2.6
Beacon Hill 29 4 13.3 2.2
Belmont 19 7 22.6 0.8
Braintree 38 12 38.7 1.0
Brighton 35 12 25.0 1.4
Brookline 54 13 41.8 1.3
Cambridge 45 19 67.3 0.7
Canton 53 8 29.7 1.8
Charlestown 32 9 30.7 1.0
Chelsea 24 9 19.7 1.2
Chestnut Hill 38 11 18.9 2.0
Concord 68 6 22.8 3.0
Dedham 28 11 29.7 0.9
Dorchester 125 38 78.2 1.6
Dover 46 3 7.3 6.3
Downtown 114 8 19.8 5.8
East Boston 83 8 42.3 2.0
Everett 39 13 30.0 1.3
Fenway 12 3 5.6 2.1
Foxborough 26 9 18.1 1.4
Framingham 65 26 66.8 1.0
Hyde Park 26 8 21.0 1.2
Jamaica Plain 61 22 43.3 1.4
Lexington 47 15 31.9 1.5
Lincoln 22 4 5.9 3.7
Malden 29 15 38.9 0.7
Mattapan 12 3 9.2 1.3
Medfield 23 6 15.8 1.5
Medford 32 19 49.3 0.6
Melrose 20 14 31.9 0.6
Milton 39 9 25.3 1.5
Mission Hill 8 2 1.3 6.4
Natick 57 27 41.9 1.4
Needham 40 14 30.8 1.3
Newton 149 21 71.3 2.1
North End 35 35 4.9 7.1
Norwood 14 15 29.8 0.5
Quincy 129 34 95.8 1.3
Revere 37 22 38.9 1.0
Roslindale 24 11 27.3 0.9
Roxbury 22 9 10.3 2.1
Sharon 45 6 19.3 2.3
Sherborn 30 6 8.2 3.7
Somerville 93 28 21.5 4.3
South End 60 9 34.9 1.7
South Boston 127 20 62.6 2.0
Sudbury 62 5 25.6 2.4
Walpole 42 7 28.8 1.5
Waltham 50 27 53.4 0.9
Watertown 37 16 36.3 1.0
Wayland 28 6 16.1 1.7
Wellesley 59 9 27.9 2.1
West End 13 2 4.7 2.8
West Roxbury 20 8 27.6 0.7
Weston 42 3 13.8 3.1
Westwood 28 6 20.6 1.4
Weymouth 97 35 71.8 1.4
Winthrop 17 8 17.3 1.0
Posted in Market Updates