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!

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
Dec. 9, 2019

Registry Fees Going Up

Cost to Buy/Sell Your Home on the Rise

When you buy or sell a home in Boston there are unavaoidable fees whether you sell with or without a real estate broker. These fees include the property transfer tax (aka stamp tax) as well as recording fees. These are scheduled to go up. For details on recording fees, please click here.

Posted in Market Updates
Dec. 9, 2019

Boston City Council to Impose Higher Taxes & Burdens on Landlords

 

Sponsors: Wu, OMalley, Flaherty, Edwards, Essaibi-George, Flynn, Janey, McCarthy, Zakim, Campbell

 

Status: March 18th, Public Hearing, GBREB testified in opposition, vote scheduled Wednesday, December 11th at noon.

 

GBREB has joined NAIOP Massachusetts in expressing our concerns regarding several items in the proposal that will cause chaos for existing projects by taking effect immediately upon a vote by the City Council. It also would mean that projects could be denied if they have an effect on contagious land and regulate projects outside the buffer zone. Notice to abutters would be required within 300 ft. vs 100 ft, which is consistent with other wetlands bylaws. This would be unheard of in an urban area. Lastly, it requires applicants to consider the “cumulative effect” on “foreseeable future projects” found in Boston Master Plans or other documents approved by the City.

 

 

 

 

Sponsors: Edwards, Janey, Wu, Ciommo, Esssabi-George, Flaherty, Flynn, Garrison, O’Malley, Zakim and Campbell.

 

Status: March 19th public hearing. GBREB testified in opposition. Vote scheduled Wednesday at noon

 

On Monday, the Committee on Government Operations released a report regarding the real estate sales tax introduced by Councilor Lydia Edwards. The Committee report included a report prepared by the Walsh Administration and PFM Group Consulting on the Economic Impact of a Real Estate Transfer Tax. The bill reported out of Committee changes the proposed sales tax from 6% to 2% and strikes in its entirety the language regarding a 25% “flipping tax” on repeat sales. It also has been amended to allow but not require the City of Boston to partner with the Registry of Deeds for the Collection of fees.

 

 

 

 

Sponsors: Zakim, Wu, Ciommo, Edwards, Essaibi-George, Janey, Flynn, O’Malley and Campbell

 

Status: Public Hearing, Tuesday December 10th at 3:00, posted on the Council Agenda for Wednesday.

 

Docket #0549, entitled “Ordinance regarding providing voter registration to tenant” would require all residential landlords to provide voter registration forms to all residential tenants at the time of lease signing. While the proposed Ordinance would exempt owner-occupied dwelling and certain institutional housing, it would require the inclusion of these voter registration forms with all leases and would subject any property owner or manager to a $100 fine and other potential liability if they fail to comply. It also imposes fines and potential liability for treble damages and attorney’s fee pursuant to G.L. c. 93A for any ministerial error. Docket #0549 imposes liability not only on the landlord, but on managers and rental agents.

 

 

 

Your voice is critical! Please keep up the pressure and call the Boston City Council and let them know you oppose ANY new sales tax on homes or commercial property and to consider reasonable amendments to the wetlands by law before rushing it through.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 28, 2019

Real Estate is Hyper Local

Real estate is often in the news. Talking heads are sharing about how houses are appreciating or depreciating in value based upon national sales figures. However, real estate markets are not only NOT national, they are not just local either. They are hyper local. The Boston metroplex is not a national market. It is local to you and me here in Boston; but, the market can be vastly different in different areas of Boston!

Here is a chart of property data in and around Boston, comprising about 60 towns and neighbors:

Locality Available Pending Total Sold - 7/31 Absorption Mo Supply
Allston 11 13 24 37 5.3 4.5
Arlington 35 72 107 298 42.6 2.5
Back Bay 112 38 150 199 28.4 5.3
Bay Village 6 5 11 2 0.3 38.5
Beacon Hill 52 31 83 99 14.1 5.9
Belmont 28 31 59 152 21.7 2.7
Braintree 66 71 137 243 34.7 3.9
Brighton 50 54 104 154 22.0 4.7
Brookline 91 72 163 373 53.3 3.1
Cambridge 89 125 214 455 65.0 3.3
Canton 82 99 181 145 20.7 8.7
Charlestown 39 52 91 211 30.1 3.0
Chelsea 25 32 57 145 20.7 2.8
Chestnut Hill 60 24 84 139 19.9 4.2
Concord 84 34 118 169 24.1 4.9
Dedham 44 58 102 201 28.7 3.6
Dorchester 107 162 269 422 60.3 4.5
Dover 55 17 72 54 7.7 9.3
Downtown 134 42 176 134 19.1 9.2
East Boston 88 142 230 257 36.7 6.3
Everett 32 64 96 174 24.9 3.9
Fenway 14 29 43 56 8.0 5.4
Framingham 88 135 223 456 65.1 3.4
Hyde Park 38 45 83 134 19.1 4.3
Jamaica Plain 60 95 155 269 38.4 4.0
Lexington 85 57 142 201 28.7 4.9
Lincoln 35 10 45 40 5.7 7.9
Malden 43 88 131 269 38.4 3.4
Mattapan 8 29 37 60 8.6 4.3
Medfield 45 27 72 96 13.7 5.3
Medford 66 90 156 329 47.0 3.3
Melrose 34 59 93 193 27.6 3.4
Milton 60 44 104 159 22.7 4.6
Mission Hill 6 4 10 12 1.7 5.8
Natick 78 68 146 277 39.6 3.7
Needham 54 47 101 227 32.4 3.1
Newton 194 140 334 547 78.1 4.3
North End 20 13 33 37 5.3 6.2
Norwood 33 64 97 216 30.9 3.1
Quincy 179 193 372 526 75.1 5.0
Revere 43 92 135 244 34.9 3.9
Roslindale 29 50 79 188 26.9 2.9
Roxbury 34 24 58 79 11.3 5.1
Sharon 53 32 85 144 20.6 4.1
Sherborn 46 15 61 58 8.3 7.4
Somerville 125 109 234 472 67.4 3.5
South End 60 52 112 282 40.3 2.8
South Boston 131 130 261 442 63.1 4.1
Sudbury 93 40 133 188 26.9 5.0
Walpole 51 67 118 183 26.1 4.5
Waltham 62 83 145 361 51.6 2.8
Watertown 48 54 102 251 35.9 2.8
Wayland 52 17 69 108 15.4 4.5
Wellesley 71 43 114 208 29.7 3.8
West End 6 3 9 15 2.1 4.2
West Roxbury 30 44 74 185 26.4 2.8
Weston 96 31 127 83 11.9 10.7
Westwood 56 83 139 97 13.9 10.0
Weymouth 117 165 282 446 63.7 4.4
Winthrop 38 33 71 105 15.0 4.7
Totals 3671 3642 7313 12306 1758.0 4.2

First, some vocabulary tips!

  •  Locality can be a town or neighborhood of Boston.
  •  Available means a property that no one has made an acceptable offer on.
  •  Pending means a property has an accepted offer but has not closed yet.
  •  Closed means money and title have transferred between seller and buyer.
  •  Total on the top line means all available and pending properties added together
  •  Sold - 7/31 means the total number of closed sales Jan 1 - Jul 31, 2019
  •  Absorption rate is the average number of sales per month between 1/1/19 and 7/31/19
  •  Months Supply is the number of months it might take for all the existing properties to sell**

** Months' supply of inventory does not take into account that new properties come on the market almost daily and that some sellers give up and take their homes off the market voluntarily! This means that the number of months of inventory is not a fixed fact but is a moving target!

Second, why is this chart important to you?

The bottom line is what you might find reported in the Boston Globe.
   "There is a 4.2 supply of inventory in the Boston area as of today's news. Realtors say that a 0-3 months' supply
   indicates a seller's market, a 3.1-6 months' supply indicates a balanced or neutral market, and 6.1+ months' supply
   of inventory indicates a buyer's market. A seller's market means bidding wars and rising prices. A buyer's market
   means falling prices. Boston is in a "neutral" market."

Such a story, although using real, accurate figures is "fake news!" Why? Because real estate is not just local, it is hyper local. Although it points to the truth that our seller's market has come to an end and we are eventually going to find ourselves in a buyer's market, this is just painting with a broad brush. If everyone in the Boston metroplex believes and acts as if we are in a neutral market, he will find some pleasant and not so pleasant surprises! Values and market timing are NOT the same from town to town or neighborhood to neighborhood. Look at Arlington or Belmont. Their supply of inventory is under 3 months each and so they are still enjoying a seller's market and might be surprised at how fast his property sells and for top dollar while places like Revere or South Boston ARE in a neutral market and it might take awhile to sell and maybe not for as much as the seller is hoping to get. On the other hand, if you look at Weston or Westwood, they are already deep into a buyer's market and are finding their properties sitting on the market, getting stale at the price they were hoping to get. They have to lower their prices if they want to sell sooner than waiting for the 10 months' supply to be finally absorbed.

Just so you know, hyper local does not simply indicate "confined to a town". In large towns, some parts sell better than others. Some price ranges sell better than others. Therefore, even in a town where you have, on average, a 4-months' supply of inventory, each price tier is likely different. One tier might sell in within a month. Another tier might not sell for a year!

If you'd like to know what market you are in specifically, please reach out to me and I will be glad to drop by and give you a hyper local estimate of value and time to sell.

Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 14, 2019

Interest Rates Dropping

PSA for buyers, sellers, and real estate agents alike - 45 days should be the time frame used in offers to purchase for getting a new mortgage. Think it's a benefit to go 30 days?  Well, with the yield curve on treasuries officially inverting today, we're officially in a refinance boom. What does that mean? Longer turn times for lenders - literally every lender in the country is experiencing an influx of refinance volume - at levels rarely seen before.

Extend your deadlines

The last time rates were this low, consumers had nowhere near the levels of home equity they currently do. Last time they had home equity in the amounts they currently have, rates were closer to 6%.  We currently have the perfect storm of huge rate drops (down from the 5's last November to the 3's today) immediately following a 6-year period of extreme home appreciation.  For home owners, this means the time is now to refinance - either for rate/term refinances or cash out refinances (rarely is the market primed for both to offer such huge benefits).

 

For real estate agents, this means setting oneself (and more importantly, clients) up for failure if trying to push for 30-days or less escrow periods.  

 

Lenders might still be telling you they can get stuff done in 30 days; and the reality is, they probably can - but with operations teams being maxed out with an overload of applications and bulging pipelines, turn around times are being affected proportionally. Underwriters simply can’t get everyone’s file reviewed as quickly as we want.

 

If your option is to push for an escrow period of 30 days or less and almost guarantee a stressful closing for just about every party involved, or, to set your escrow period at 45 days and ensure everyone is happy, all deadlines are met, and all expectations are exceeded, which scenario makes more sense? Why choose the former? Just don't do it!

 

The verbiage everyone I will be using for the foreseeable future is "45 days or sooner, if all parties agree", in any and all contracts where that's possible. Buyer agents are still feeling the pressure of "our offer won't get accepted with more than 30 days" in many hot markets with tight inventory, so they're still going to push for 30 or 21 day escrows. Lenders, feeling the pinch and afraid of losing business, will succumb to this same pressure - and then everyone will be upset come closing time because deadlines are being missed or things are not happening until the very last minute. Again, the answer is simple... Just don’t do it!

Posted in Market Updates
July 10, 2019

Don't Buy Old When You Can Buy New!

TWO NEW CONSTRUCTION HOMES FOR SALE!!

54 Birchwood Street, West Roxbury, MAStop previewing all of the old houses in Boston with their tiny closets, no or window air conditioning, and bathrooms or kitchens that need enlarging or updating?

Admittedly, there is not a lot of single-family new construction homes to choose from in Boston. Fortunately, however, you now have an opportunity to buy a brand-new home in a great location. 5

2 and 54 Birchwood enjoy Boston's low tax rate and are just minutes from all the great shopping available in Dedham and Westwood. The sooner you buy, the more custom touches you will be able to add! The homes will be available for occupancy in early fall.

Click on this link to follow the construction progress.

Posted in Market Updates