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South Florida Builders Upbeat About New Home Market

I have reposted an article below about the positive response builders are having to current high demand which is the highest in over 6 years with 5 straight months of positive growth…but just like buyers in some some South Florida markets finding a lack of  available inventory, builders are finding a lack of  building lots inventory to build on.

Steve Roberge



By Paul Owers, Sun Sentinel Blog

Builder confidence continues to grow, rising to its highest level in more than six years.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index hit 40 in September, the best reading since June 2006. It was a fifth consecutive monthly gain.

South Florida builders have been saying for months that business is picking up. GL Homes, Standard Pacific and Toll Brothers, among other companies, have announced new projects or started construction in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Builders are bullish on sales, future prospects and consumer foot traffic, NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said in a statement.

But Crowe added that lack of building lots in certain markets is a concern, as is the rising cost of building materials. “Given the fragile nature of the housing and economic recovery, these are significant red flags,” he said.

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Local Market Performs Counter to National Trends

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 6.3 percent to an annual level of 590,000 in September but are 7.3 percent above September 2011. The median price in the Northeast was $238,700, up 4.1 percent from a year ago. (see post below)

How do our hyper-local markets stack up to national and regional stats for September?

In Provincetown condo sales increased 115% month over month from 8 sales in 2011 to 22 sales in 2012! The average sale price increased by 8% to $438K, and average days on market decreased by almost half to 193 days!

In downtown Boston the condo market performed differently in September. The number of sales increased 14% month to month to 333 from 292. The average sale price for condos decreased 6% to $525K from $558K, and the median price decreased 3% to $405K. Inventory decreased by almost half to 859 properties on the market vs 1515 last year.

So locally, which for me is Boston and Provincetown, sales are way up, prices are mixed, and inventory  is way down. Quite contrary to regional and national figures.  Go figure!

One of my favorites from  AGBeat blog, Tara Steele posts her regional and national analysis below.

by  in EconomyNews 

Home sales down, prices up

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), September existing-home sales dropped 1.7 percent as inventory levels continue to tighten, also reporting that the median home price jumped up, the first time since November 2005 to May 2006 that prices rose for seven months consecutively.

Existing home sales may have dipped slightly, but are up 11.0 percent from September 2011. The national median existing-home price hit $183,900, up 11.3 percent from September 2011.

Dr. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the market trend is up. “Despite occasional month-to-month setbacks, we’re experiencing a genuine recovery,” he said. “More people are attempting to buy homes than are able to qualify for mortgages, and recent price increases are not deterring buyer interest. Rather, inventory shortages are limiting sales, notably in parts of the West.”

Housing inventory and distressed sales

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to a record low 3.47 percent in September from 3.60 percent in August; the rate was 4.11 percent in September 2011.

Distressed homes accounted for 24.0 percent of sales in September (13.0 percent were foreclosures and 11.0 percent were short sales), up from 22 percent in August; they were 30 percent in September 2011. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 21 percent below market value in August, while short sales were discounted 13 percent.

Total housing inventory at the end September fell 3.3 percent, representing a 5.9-month supply at the current sales pace, down from a 6.0-month supply in August. Listed inventory is 20.0 percent below a year ago when there was an 8.1-month supply.

“The shrinkage in housing supply is supporting ongoing price growth, a pattern that could accelerate unless home builders robustly ramp up production,” Dr. Yun said.

Median time on market down 30%

The median time on market was 70 days in September, unchanged from August, but down 30.7 percent from 101 days in September 2011. Fully 32.0 percent of homes sold in September were on the market for less than a month, while 19 percent were on the market for six months or longer.

NAR President Moe Veissi said some buyers who could easily afford a mortgage can’t assume they’ll get one. “Home buyers need to be more focused on the mortgage process in the current environment where lenders and banking regulators are being risk averse,” he said, recommending that buyers shop for competitive mortgage terms.

First time buyers coming back

First-time buyers accounted for 32.0 percent of purchasers in September, compared with 31.0 percent in August; they were 32.0 percent in September 2011.

All-cash sales were at 28 percent of transactions in September, up from 27 percent in August; they were 30 percent in September 2011. Investors, who account for most cash sales, purchased 18 percent of homes in September, unchanged from August; they were 19 percent in September 2011.

Single-family home sales declined 1.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.21 million in September from 4.29 million in August, but are 10.8 percent higher than the 3.80 million-unit level in September 2011. The median existing single-family home price was $184,300 in September, up 11.4 percent from a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales were unchanged at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 540,000 in September, but are 12.5 percent above the 480,000-unit pace a year ago. The median existing condo price was $181,000 in September, which is 10.0 percent higher than September 2011.

Regional performance varied

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 6.3 percent to an annual level of 590,000 in September but are 7.3 percent above September 2011. The median price in the Northeast was $238,700, up 4.1 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest slipped 0.9 percent in September to a pace of 1.10 million but are 19.6 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $145,200, up 7.0 percent from September 2011.

In the South, existing-home sales increased 0.5 percent to an annual level of 1.93 million in September and are 14.2 percent above September 2011. The median price in the region was $163,600, up 13.1 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West fell 3.4 percent to an annual pace of 1.13 million in September but are 0.9 percent above a year ago. With continuing inventory shortages in the region, the median price in the West was $246,300, which is 18.4 percent higher than September 2011.

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Cape Cod Neighborhoods Asking $250K

Below is an post from curbed boston showing properties in different Cape Cod neighborhoods with asking prices of $250K. Curbed Boston left out our little fishing village of Provincetown. I just had to add it to the list… and with two properties…for an interesting Cape-wide comparison. Again, I apologize for grammar and spelling in the property descriptions. The copy was lifted directly from the blog and from MLS.

These few properties are but a small sampling of those available Cape wide in this price range. Buyers are constantly surprised when we are able to show them delightful and very livable properties in this price range.  In Provincetown  alone there are 42 properties with asking prices of $300K or less. 


484 Commercial Street, Provincetown $249K.
This is a delightfully light and airy 1 bed/1 bath condo of 454 square feet.  Renovated and Charming East End One Bedroom Condominium. Sneak peeks of the water from every window. Beach access across the street. New hardwood floors in the living room. New carpet in the bedroom. Small 4 unit association. Pets for owners. Common laundry room with some storage for owners. Shared back yard. Weekly rentals permitted. This unit is priced to sell quickly. Condo fee includes hot water, building insurance, water and sewer, common area maintenance..
293 Commercial St #3, Provincetown $249K
608 square foot,  2 bed/1 bath condo with a total cosmetic interior renovation including new
floors, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, counters, lighting and paint. Located in the heart of Provincetown, downtown between the two wharfs. This is a top floor unit above commercial spaces below. It is well designed to provide two good size bedrooms, 3 huge closets, and bath with tub. Redesigned galley kitchen with bar counter opens to bright living room. New window treatments and AC units for each room are included in the offering. Pets and weekly rentals are allowed.
In Wellfleet, at 420 Chequessett Neck Road,  a 352 sq. ft. cottage built in 1945. Located in Chequessett Village with a stoner-friendly address, the property has been renovated “to the studs.” The two bedroom, one bath is fully insulated and includes two new skylights, energy efficient heat, wood flooring, Corian counters in the kitchen and bath, and a rear deck. The condo first hit the market in March with an asking price of $275,000. Three pricechops have brought the listing down to $250,000.

Over in Sandwich, at 24 Tabor Road we find a 1,001 sq. ft. two bedroom, two bath ranch. Built in 1975, the updated Forestdale neighborhood property features hardwood floors, an eat-in-kitchen with custom cherry cabinets and new appliances, formal living and dining rooms, radiant heat, air conditioning and a new bathroom. There’s also a lower level family room and home office. Outside, the .24 acre property includes a deck, shed and “great landscaping.”

In Harwich, at 228 Chatham Road, we find an opportunity for some “This Old House” action. The repetitive brokerbabble doesn’t have much to say other than, “RESTORATION OPPORTUNITY. CIRCA 1750 CAPE IS ALL ORIGINAL READY FOR RESTORATION.” Apparently, the photos speak for themselves. The 1,117 sq. ft. antique includes three bedrooms, one bath in eight rooms. In addition, the .94 acre property also includes some sort of out-building (Shed? Garage? Barn?)

Over in East Falmouth, at 804 Old Barnstable Road, we find a three bedroom, two bath with a “surprise inside!” According to the brokerbabble, “A sweeping boudoir Master Bedroom on the 2nd level removes you from a strenuous, hard days work and recaptures what life’s all about,” placing you into a hodgepodge of bathroom trends, from 1980s glass blocks to a vessel sink straight out of the early aughts. There are also two first floor bedrooms, along with a kitchen that “sweeps and opens” to the living room in the 1,110 sq. ft. Cape. The property last sold in March 2008 for $235,900.



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44th Annual South End House Tour

Get a Glimpse Inside the South End’s Coolest Homes on the South End House Tour

This year’s South End House Tour will take place on Saturday, Oct. 20.

by Sara Jacobi…South End Patch

It’s a little bit like the History Channel meets HGTV. Right in your backyard.

Get a peek into several of the South End’s historically notable or highly designed homes on the 44th annual South End House Tour, put on by the South End Historical Society.

The tour, to be held on Saturday, Oct. 20 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., is a self-guided walk through six amazing South End homes starting at the Southwest Corridor and ending mid-way down Shawmut Avenue. Since the tour is at-your-own-pace and snakes around on a more than 1 mile path, the full tour can take anywhere from two to four hours. It starts at the Boston Center for the Arts.

South End Historical Society Executive Director Hope Shannon said the idea for the house tour began more than four decades ago as a way to showcase the creativity and history of the neighborhood.

“People were buying a lot of run down or abandoned buildings in the South End and restoring them,” she said. “The neighborhood was much different back then.”

Today, the tour seeks to showcase all sorts of notable homes, from the historical, to the “green,” to the homes with unique architecture or high design.

Special to the 2012 tour is a combination deal with the Ellis Memorial Antique Show, which will be held at the Cyclorama on the same day. A ticket to the house tour comes with a complimentary admission to the antiques show. This year’s tour will also feature a stop inside the New Hope Baptist Church, which will soon be turned into condo apartments.

Shannon said that besides serving as a significant fundraiser for the historical society, the house tour’s main goals are to continue bringing people into the South End and to showcase the neighborhood’s history and charm.

“The neighborhood has changed so much, and the homes have so much history,” she said. “We want to remind people of the long history and bring awareness for continued preservation. We want visitors to leave with positive memories of the people they meet and the businesses they patronize, and recognize the South End is an important place historically.”

Tickets are on sale now through Oct. 19 for $25, and can be purchased online at the Historical Society’s website or through several different realtors in the neighborhood. Tickets will also be on sale on the day-of for $30 each. A $50 ticket includes admission to a private party at an additional house. 

Related Topics: south end historical society and south end house tour


Home Prices Increase in Broward, PB Counties

The repost below is from Steve Roberge, my South Florida contributor writing about market conditions in Ft Lauderdale.  Steve is a top producing agent with Coldwell Banker in Ft. Lauderdale.  Steve will be a regular contributor to my blog. [email protected]

Confirmation of what we are seeing in the Ft Lauderdale market. “After the six years of turmoil that we had, it’s good to see the trends strongly moving in the right direction,” John Tuccillo, chief economist for the Florida Realtors. A repost by Paul Bowers.

By Paul Bowers , Sun Sentinel Blog


South Florida’s housing recovery continued in August with higher prices and robust sales.

Broward County’s median price for existing homes last month was $214,950, a 13 percent increase from $191,000 a year ago, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors said Wednesday.

There were 1,369 homes changing hands in August, up 15 percent from August 2011.

Palm Beach County’s median was $215,000, a 12 percent increase from a year ago, according to the Realtors Association of the Palm Beaches. The county had 1,247 home sales, up 8 percent.

Many areas across the country are seeing housing conditions improve following years of price declines.

“After the six years of turmoil that we had, it’s good to see the trends strongly moving in the right direction,” John Tuccillo, chief economist for the Florida Realtors, said in a statement.

Sellers now are commanding more money for homes, largely due to a lack of properties for sale.

At the end of August, Broward had 4,784 homes on the market, less than half the number from a year ago. Palm Beach County’s inventory is down 44 percent.

When a home hits the market, buyers usually flood the listing agent with requests for showings.

“I feel like we’re back in 2004 and 2005, where we’re having to race the customer to the house,” said Terry Story, a real estate agent in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

First-time buyer Gabrielle Harbin got married last week, but she had to interrupt wedding preparations and her work schedule to tour a Boca Raton house that just hit the market. The seller accepted her offer, and she hopes to close on the deal by October.

Harbin, 29, said the market is so tight that buyers can’t wait until the weekends to leisurely visit homes and make offers. “It just feels so rushed,” she said. “But that’s just the reality of it all.”

Connie Adcock listed her Davie home for sale or lease after taking a new job in California. She figured the process might take six months, but she had six offers in six days.

Zack Spinks sold his five-bedroom Coral Springs home this summer for $400,000. He had 25 showings in two and a half weeks and ended up with two offers.

“I was getting calls every day and had three or four showings a day,” Spinks said. “I was shocked. I didn’t expect that kind of activity.”

Meanwhile, data released Wednesday show that the South Florida metro area remains a top spot for home flipping.

Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties rank fourth nationwide with 5,114 flips during the first half of the year, according to RealtyTrac Inc. That’s up 59 percent from the same period of 2011.

The flippers – investors who buy homes and resell them within six months – earned a profit of $38,943, RealtyTrac said. The average number of days per flip is 105.

During the housing boom, flippers often bought and sold homes within days or weeks, capitalizing on rapid price appreciation. Today’s flippers are renovating the homes and adding value before reselling, RealtyTrac spokesman Daren Blomquist said.

“Ultimately, that’s good for the market,” he said. “They’re fixing these homes up so they’re the best properties for sale in the neighborhood.”

Categories: South Florida home prices (96)

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Boston Q3 Condo Sales Review

The Big Number is 21%. That’s the increase in condo sales year over year at the end of the 3rd quarter, September 30. Combined, all Boston neighborhoods saw a 21% increase in the number of condo sales year to date, a 3% increase in the average price of a condominium sold to $545K, and an 8% increase in the median sales price to $409K. This real estate market is healthy except for the continuing decrease in inventory levels. Inventory levels of available condo’s for sale have fallen 41% to 919 properties for sale versus 1,567 at this time last year.

The Back Bay,  saw a 20% increase in sales year to date, but the average price  of a condo sold dropped by 2% to $1.120M. The inventory level of condos for sale dropped 53% to 95 condos for sale vs 204 last year.

The South End saw a 13% increase in the number of condo sales to 425 condos sold year to date compared to 377 last year.  The average price of a condo sold increased 4% to $690K compared with $665K last year. The inventory of condos for sale decreased 52% from 173 last year to 83 today. This will continue to be a factor in market performance going forward.

South Boston saw a 28% increase in the number of condo sales year to date compared with 360 last year. The average sales price of a condo increased by 9% to $421K compared with $388K last year.  South Boston has the largest drop in inventory of all downtown n’hoods down 60% from 196 properties for sale last year to 78 available for sale today.

Inventory remains the problem, but as I have said repeatedly this market is so resilient and so desirable that declining inventory levels have not negatively effected the steady increase in sales and prices. Go figure!



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3Q Ptown. Condo sales Up 50% YTD (No Kidding!)

3Q Provincetown

What a summer we have had in Provincetown… the great energy that we began to see in the second quarter continued into Q3. Ongoing economic optimism and low interest rates continue to attract buyers. We are seeing a wonderful phenomenon here where buyers who have been on the sidelines have decided to jump into the market. With such a wide variety of properties for sale – both in price and character – buyers have much to choose from.

Year-to-date condominium sales through September 30 totaled 115 properties – a full 50% more than last year’s 76 sales. The average selling price for a condo was $411K – a 15% increase from last years $357K. The median selling price was $398K – up 19% from $334K last year. And condos sold at an average 95% of asking price.

Total sales volume in the condominium category was $47M year-to-date compared with $28M last year – a solid 68% increase. Days-on-market, an important indicator of market strength, decreased 30% to an average of 219 total days-on-market from last years 314. There are 134 condos on the market today with an average asking price of $481K with an average of 804 square feet and $598 per square foot.

Sales of single-family homes increased even more dramatically to 38 units – a 100% increase from last years 19 single-family home sales. The average selling price was $795K – a 1% decrease from $800K last year. Total sales volume on this category was $30M compared with $15M last year – a 100% increase. Average total days-on-market decreased 15% to 227 vs. 266 last year. There are 72 single-family properties on the market today with an average price of $1.388M and 2,295 square feet at $605 per square foot.

Fall is one of the busiest selling season’s here, so we look forward to more good news in our year-end reporting. But, that is a full three months away. A lot can happen in that time!

If you are visiting for Halloween, Holly Folly, or New Years, stop in to say hello.

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Herring Cove

A great Boston Globe article below. The Herring Cove Bathhouse’s last hurrah!

Events to honor Cape Cod  bathhouse

By Cate McQuaid



Artist Jay Critchley places a found flag on bathhouse benches outside the Herring Cove Beach bathhouse in Provincetown as part of his upcoming art installation/show.


Artist Jay Critchley places a found flag on bathhouse benches outside the Herring Cove Beach bathhouse in Provincetown as part of his upcoming art installation/show.

PROVINCETOWN — The bathhouse at Herring Cove Beach is on its last legs. The nearly 60-year-old modernist structure dominates this little slip of the National Seashore at the tip of Cape Cod, but the floors are cracking, and the second floor was condemned years ago. Demolition will begin in October.

But the bathhouse is going out with a bang. Artist and impresario Jay Critchley has spearheaded “Ten Days That Shook the World: The Centennial Decade,” featuring art installations, performances, panel discussions, video screenings, and more at the bathhouse and on the beach, Sept. 28-Oct. 7. Friday’s opening includes a campfire and marshmallow toasting on the beach, with music by Screem Along with Billy/Clap for Sue and Magic & the Reggae Stars.

“It’s a classic modernist structure, built as a fortress to protect us from nature, and now nature is encroaching,” Critchley said of the bathhouse. On a blustery, sunny day earlier this week, as electricians laid cable through sand and artists busily worked around the bathhouse, he was taking a break in the musty-smelling lifeguard lounge.

Critchley is known for running the Provincetown Swim for Life & Paddler Flotilla benefit, and for a variety of comic, politically incisive art projects. These include his massive multi-artist 2007 installation “The Beige Motel,” for which he completely encrusted a North Truro motel in sand and invited artists to create installations in the rooms. But even with Critchley’s experience organizing such events, “Ten Days That Shook the World” has been a marathon run at a sprinter’s pace.

Ten Days That Shook the World: The Centennial Decade

Herring Cove Beach bathhouse, Cape Cod National Seashore, Provincetown 508-487-0011.

Opening date:
Sept. 28-Oct. 7.

“The bathhouse was originally going to be torn down in 2014,” he said, and he had spoken to George Price, National Park Service superintendent for the Cape Cod National Seashore, about doing the project then. “But money came in early, and I got a call from George in July.” Critchley said. “It was a two-year planning project in two months.”

More than 30 events will touch on themes such as the environment, time and impermanence, and Provincetown’s inception as an art colony 100 years ago, between 1910 and 1920. “Ten Days That Shook the World” is held under the auspices of the Provincetown 10 Days of Art 2012 Festival and the Provincetown Community Compact. The event’s title refers to journalist and activist John Reed’s account by the same name of the Russian Revolution in 1917. Reed was also an early member of the Provincetown Playhouse, founded in 1915.

“That decade was the progressive era in American history,” said Critchley. “There was suffrage, birth control — Margaret Sanger was in Provincetown. There was the labor movement, muckrakers. Then World War I came, and the government started cracking down on activists.” He sees parallels today, he added.

History-themed events will include actor Tim Babcock’s performance “1912 or 2012? You Decide,” a couple of renditions of plays by Eugene O’Neill, a Provincetown Playhouse founder, and a panel discussion, “Provincetown’s Centennial Legacy: State of the Art Colony.”

While Critchley spoke about “Ten Days,” artists were at work on their installations. Vicky Tomayko and Maryalice Johnston had set up a work table covered with paint and stencils in the men’s changing room, and were painting female figures and fish in the shower stalls. Jennifer Hicks had filled the original electric utility room with sand, gauzy fabric, and sparkles, and intended to create a nest on the floor complete with giant eggs visitors might sit on.

“It’s about the tree swallows roosting around here right now,” Hicks said. “There are thousands of them, eating bayberries.” In addition to her installation, Hicks is scheduled to lead a free class in Butoh, an image-based Japanese dance tradition, on Sept. 29 followed by a performance on Sunday. “I’ve got everyone a hazmat suit, and people will be painting birds on their backs as they move,” Hicks said.

Outside, Paul Wirhun was covering the concession stand with designs and illustrations in tape. He planned to paint the walls, then remove the tape to reveal a seascape. Inside, photographer Marian Roth had boarded over the windows of the hot dog stand in order to turn it into a giant pinhole camera. According to Critchley, performance artist Heather Kapplow will take over another portion of that building Oct. 6, and invite visitors to make their own concessions.

Every evening, there will be a campfire on the beach, and the bathhouse will be lit.

Next summer, visitors to Herring Cove Beach will have new facilities. Several smaller shingled buildings, linked by boardwalks, will provide a more intimate experience compared with the bulwark of the old structure.

“This isn’t charming,” said Critchley. “This is monolithic. It’s out of character with the landscape and architecture of Cape Cod. But this is a monument. People wouldn’t build anything like this again. It’s an excess of material, an excess of space.”

He was standing on the concrete platform that separated the building from the beach, squinting at the few tiny windows along its beige walls. “There’s a determinism to this building, that it will last forever. It is a self-righteous and in a way arrogant building. And it has held its ground for 60 years,” he said.

The wind riffled his shirt. “But the times are a-changing,” he said, “and the climate is a-changing.”


Cate McQuaid can be reached at [email protected].