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Provincetown Market Snapshot

So, we have had a snow storm every weekend, regular 60 mph winds, astronomical high tides, and snow cover, but spring is just around the corner. The first few months of the year have been active considering the weather. Sales have been strong, but not quite as strong as the state in general, and listing volume is moderate.

Sales of single family homes are even with last year at 5 properties, while sales of condos are down from 16 sales last year to 10 this year. Below are a few that have recently sold.(copy lifted straight from MLS). These properties illustrate well the quality and diversity of properties for sale

28Pleasant St. Sold $890K

 28 Pleasant Street is a charming single family property in a great neighborhood, and sold for $895K…. Antique lovers take notice. Built in 1802, this Greek Revival house has wide pine floors, wavy window glass and charming nooks. Truly a place out of time, in the best possible way! The upstairs master suite includes a cathedral ceiling, dressing room and walk-in closet. There is also a sun-filled private bath complete with soaking tub and pedestal sink.. Parking for 3 cars; irrigation to ensure a lush lawn and beautiful gardens.






28 Commercial St. Sold $865K

28 Commercial Street #2, sold for $865K…. This beautifully maintained & romantic condominium residence, has 1288 sq.ft. of living space on two floors with exquisite period detail & charm. The first floor has beamed ceilings, a cozy living room with gas fireplace, and a guest bedroom both with lovely bay views. There is a good sized dining room off the galley kitchen with french doors to a spacious new deck. The entire second level is devoted to the master suite with cathedral ceiling & wonderful views of the bay from the cozy dormers. The grounds are extensive & professionally maintained & lead to a large heated pool – a rarity in Provincetown. Steps away from your front door is your private beach access.





The first several weeks of 2013 haven’t  brought a flood of properties on the market, in fact inventory is kind of at a standstill. So far this month 12 properties have come on the market, 4 condos and 8 single family properties. Below are two incredible properties. 493 Commercial is a condominium in the Bayshore complex in the east end and 6 Oak Drive is in an east end neighborhood of larger single family homes.


493 Commercial St #13, $1.1M, 2/2, 1,588sf.

493 Commercial Street is a 2 bed/2bath condo of 1,588 square feet and is being marketed at $1.1M. . Cape Cod Bay is your front yard from this beautiful two level residence! A wall of glass faces the large bayfront deck with spectacular views of Long Point lighthouse, the harbor and the entire sweep of the Cape. The great room with a gas fireplace, has cathedral ceilings with windows right up to the peak. The high-end kitchen also has a cathedral ceiling with a skylight and a large pass-thru to the living room which provides a great view of the water. The main level is finished with the master bedroom and ensuite bath.  A wide spiral stair leads you up to the second bedroom with bay views. There is parking for one car & the assoc.




6 Oak Drive. $1.399M, 3/3, 7,020 sf

6 Oak Drive is a single family home with 3 beds/3baths, 7,020 square feet and is being marketed at $1.399M. Private, situated in a quiet neighborhood 5 minutes from town and the gallery district. Open, sun drenched first floor plan offers field stone fireplace, huge living and sitting area with adjacent private media room which flows to an outside deck overlooking the pool. Service Bar, beautiful dining area complimenting the perfect designer kitchen with guest seating, walk in pantry for complete storage. Stainless appliances, cove ceiling lights, expansive glass windows and doors overlook the patio deck and pool. Double staircases lead to three bedrooms, two architectural bathrooms with stone walk-in showers.



Look for a February month end review for Provincetown and downtown Boston.

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January Sales At Highest In Five Years.

News from The Warren Group:

Bay State January Home Sales At Highest Level In Five Years

Condo Sales Break 1,000 Mark For First Time Since 2008

The Warren Group

The strong sales trend in January in just the beginning of a hot spring selling season. Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group, weighs in.

Single-family home sales in Massachusetts rose more than 10 percent in January to 2,680, reaching the highest level since 2007, according to new data from The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman.

January home sales in the Bay State were up over last year’s 2,436 sales. This is the highest January sales volume for single-family homes in Massachusetts in five years, when there were 2,953 transactions in January 2007.


We ended 2012 on a pretty positive note, and this is carrying into January,” said Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group. “Recent pending sales data are a hopeful sign for a strong spring market. And given low mortgage rates and steady prices, there are positive signs that 2013 will be a second year of recovery.”

The median sale price of single-family homes in Massachusetts increased for the fourth consecutive month in January. Median sale prices rose 6.8 percent in January to $277,750, up from $260,000 in January 2012. This is the highest median home price for January in three years.

“Low inventory is slowly driving up prices. This should in turn give sellers more confidence to put their homes on the market,” Warren said.

Condominium sales statewide also rose in January, increasing almost 11 percent to 1,006 from 907 in January 2012. This is the first January since 2008 where home sales broke the 1,000 mark.

The median condo price in January slipped almost 2 percent to $240,000 from $244,500 in January 2012. This is the lowest price for condos statewide since 2009, when the median price was $209,900.

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WSJ Calls A Sellers Market

Below is Nick Timiraos’s article in the Wall Street Journal. We are certainly seeing different degrees of this dynamic in our local markets.

Housing: It’s Becoming a Seller’s Market

By Nick Timiraos
National Association of Realtors

The National Association of Realtors said on Thursday what home buyers in many parts of the United States have known for months: it’s becoming a seller’s market.

The number of homes listed for sale in January fell by 4.9%, leaving 1.74 million properties on the market. That’s the lowest since December of 1999, when there were 1.71 million homes on the market. By contrast, there were 2.91 million homes on the market two years ago at this time.

After adjusting for seasonal factors, home sales rose by just 0.4% in January, to an annual rate of 4.92 million units. Still, that’s up from 9.1% one year ago.

The upshot is that there’s a growing pool of buyers chasing a shrinking supply of homes. If the trend holds, prices will keep going up. At the current pace of sales, it would take just 4.2 months to sell the current supply of homes available for sale, down from a 6.2 months’ supply one year ago.

While inventories typically increase in the spring, the Realtors’ group has expressed growing concerns that sales volumes are being held back by the lack of choice. This is good news for homeowners who have watched home prices drop over the last six years, but it’s bad news for buyers—and for anyone that makes their living selling real estate.

Inventory declines have been the most dramatic in California, Arizona, and other markets that witnessed some of the largest home price declines. Those cities have large numbers of underwater borrowers—people who owe more than their homes are worth—while many others may have equity but aren’t willing to sell because prices have fallen so far.

Investors have also been aggressive in buying up properties that are selling for less than their replacement cost.

National Association of Realtors

Home sales could rise to 5.2 million units this year, an increase of nearly 12% from last year, according to economists atGoldman Sachs GS +2.13%. They base their forecast on household formation and demographics, which both suggest rising demand for housing in the coming years, and affordability measures such as mortgage rates and home prices.

But the economists note that there’s a considerable amount of uncertainty that could make those targets hard to hit, particularly if there’s nothing for would-be buyers to purchase.

Follow Nick @NickTimiraos

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Sales Edge Up In ‘Sellers Market’

USA TODAY article indicating national trend of sales being affected by low inventory.  Local implications will be explored in later posts.

Ray Goldbacher, USA TODAY10:32a.m. EST February 21, 2013

Sales of previously owned homes edged up in January, held back by a shortage of homes for sale, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Single-family home sales increased 0.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.34 million in January vs. 4.33 million in December, and 8.5% above the 4 million-unit level in January 2012.

The median single-family home price was $174,100 in January, up 12.6% from a year ago.

Lawrence Yun , NAR chief economist, said tight inventory is a problem and, as a result, “We’ve transitioned into a seller’s market in much of the country.”

“Buyer traffic is continuing to pick up, while seller traffic is holding steady,” he said. “In fact, buyer traffic is 40% above a year ago, so there is plenty of demand but insufficient inventory to improve sales more strongly.”

Homes available for sale at the end of January fell 4.9% to 1.74 million previously owned homes, a 4.2-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 4.5 months in December, and the lowest supply since April 2005, when it was also 4.2 months, the NAR said.

The inventory is 25.3% below a year ago, when there was a 6.2-month supply. The number of homes available for sale is at the lowest level since December 1999, when there were 1.71 million homes on the market, the Realtors said.

“We expect a seasonal rise of inventory this spring, but it may be insufficient to avoid more frequent incidences of multiple bidding and faster-than-normal price growth,” Yun said.

Sales rose in every region but the West.

Overall, sales of single-family homes, condos and townhouses were up 0.4% from December, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.92 million. That was up from a downwardly revised 4.90 million in December, and 9.1% above the 4.51 million-unit pace in January 2012.

Distressed homes — foreclosures and short sales — accounted for 23% of January sales, down from 24% in December and 35% in January 2012.

The median time on market for all homes was 71 days in January, down from 73 days in December and 28.3% below 99 days in January 2012.


What’ s Keeping Sellers From Selling?

As we are all assessing the outlook for the spring market, Scott at has some good points, and while this post is based on national polls, we are hearing the same thing in our marketplaces.  Sellers wonder if they do list and sell there propertry, will there be anything decent to buy! An important question as we move into the spring selling season.




Really, why shouldn’t sellers wait for higher prices?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis

That’s the question many potential home sellers are asking as they watch prices climb again in an increasingly tight market.

Would-be home sellers, as they consider taking the plunge, are no longer primarily concerned with the state of the economy in deciding whether to list their house now or wait. Instead, the top concern now is whether by selling now, they will pass up even bigger gains down the line if they should choose not to hold out for a few more months, Redfin reports in a new survey on seller attitudes.

It’s not that they are not interested in selling – just under half the more than 1,800 homeowners polled by Redfin said they were planning to sell, up from 45 percent in the fourth quarter. (Just to be clear, this was not a broad sampling, but rather a tally of homeowners who visited Redfin’s website.)

But 34 percent  of homeowners surveyed told Redfin that missing out on future gains was their biggest concern with diving in now, up from 30 percent at year end. Moreover, potential sellers are also growing increasingly bullish in their take on the market as well, with 81 percent now predicting more increases in home prices over the next year, up from three-quarters last fall.

Needless to say, with warmups beginning for the annual spring market, this is not a good sign. In fact, we could see some sellers sit out the spring market altogether, waiting to see if prices continue to rise. After that, we could see new inventory start to trickle on, but it seems unlikely at this point we are going to see an avalanche of new listings in the next few months.

That’s my bold prediction – feel free to jump on the comment board with your own take.

It’s certainly not what frustrated buyers, yearning for more listings to choose from, want to hear, but the market is what it is right now.

Of course, there are other factors at work here. Any broker will tell you another big concern of potential home sellers, especially here in the Boston, is the fear they won’t be able to buy anything decent if they go ahead and sell what they have now.

Not unreasonable given the precipitous drop in home listings, which fell by more than 25 percent in Boston alone over the past year, helping push prices up 4.1 percent, according to the Department of Numbers.

So why shouldn’t sellers keep holding out for more? Until buyers and brokers come with a better argument – or really any counterargument at all – sellers are likely to keep on watching and waiting instead of listing.



Tight Inventories Effect Growth Prospects.

The Inman News article below provides interesting national context to the extreme lack of inventory in our local markets.

NAR: Pending sales dip from November to December


Inman News®

Tight listing inventories are likely to constrain growth in 2013 home sales, the National Association of Realtors said in releasing a report showing that pending sales dropped 4.3 percent from November to December.

Despite the month-to-month drop, existing homes under contract were up 6.9 percent from a year ago, making December the 20th month in a row to see an annual gain in pending sales.

NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index, which represents existing-home contracts signed but not yet closed, rose to 106.3 in November before slipping to 101.7 last month. In April 2010, when the federal homebuyer tax credit was still in place, the index hit 111.3, but soon dipped back down.

An index score of 100 is equal to the average level of sales contract activity in 2001, the first year examined by the trade group and a year in which home sales fell in what’s considered a normal range for the current U.S. population. Contracts signed in a month typically close one or two months later.

Although NAR is projecting that home sales will pick up by 9 percent in 2013, tight inventory, paired with near-record low new-home construction levels, is an obstacle to more rapid growth.

The month-to-month dip in the pending sales is not a “statistical fluke,” Yun said, but signals a loss of momentum in home sales. The momentum, however, is inventory-related, he said — demand is still high.

New homes, Yun said, are the solution to the inventory challenge. “True relief to the inventory has to come from new home construction.”

Regionally, the West, with extremely tight inventory, was the only region to see a decrease in pending home sales in December from a year ago with a 5.3 percent drop.

December 2012 year-over-year change in pending sales of existing homes index by region

Source: National Association of Realtors

The Midwest, South and Northeast had year-over-year index increases of 14.4 percent, 10.1 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively, in December.

On a monthly basis, only Midwest’s index increased in December — 0.9 percent. The pending existing-home sales index fell in the West, Northeast and South from November to December 8.2 percent, 5.4 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively, in December from November.


Local Market Best Since ’06’

A great article below from The Boston Globe’s Jennifer McKim. 
  • The Boston Globe
  • By Jenifer B. McKim

The Massachusetts housing market made a comeback last year, with 46,887 single-family homes sold — the best showing since 2006!

Single-family home sales statewide rose by 18.4 percent in 2012 compared with 2011,according to Warren Group, a private company that tracks real estate. Prices also rose, with the median price, or midpoint price, climbing a modest 1.8 percent compared with 2011, to $290,000.The new data seem to confirm what housing specialists have been saying for months — that the Massachusetts and US housing markets have turned a corner. The state’s single-family housing market hit a price peak in 2005 — at $355,000 — before dropping about 20 percent by 2009, Warren Group said. Home values have fluctuated, but now appear to be strengthening steadily, especially in the Boston area.This year “is going to be the base the housing recovery is built on,’’ said Alex Coon, a Boston market manager for the online brokerage firm Redfin.The state’s condominium market also is improving, with sales rising more than 25 percent in 2012 compared with the previous year, marking the highest number of condo sales in Massachusetts since 2008,according to Warren Group. The median condo sale price rose $277,000 in 2012, up 2.6 percent from 2011.The annual data were given a boost by brisk activity in December. Single-family home sales jumped by 8 percent compared with December 2011. Median home values rose to $300,000, a 12.3 percent increase compared with the same time in 2011, according to Warren Group.Condo sales also increased by 5.4 percent in December, compared with December 2011. The median condo sale price increased to $275,000 last month, 8 percent higher than during the previous December.

“It is clear we have turned the corner and are gaining ground rapidly,’’ said Timothy M. Warren Jr., chief executive of Warren Group.

Greater Boston showed even better numbers in 2012, with the median price for singlefamily homes hitting $470,000, 6.8 higher than in 2011, the Greater Boston Association of Realtors said. The group includes communities largely within the Interstate 495 loop. Condo prices in that region rose to $380,000, a 10.3 percent increase compared with 2011.

But as more buyers compete for homes, the number of properties on the market continues to shrink.

The inventory of single-family homes fell by 28.1 percent at the end of December, compared with 2011, according to the Massachusetts Association of Realtors, which also released data Thursday.

The number of condos for sale fell by 34.3 percent in December, compared with 2011, the association said.

John Ranco, senior associate at Hammond Residential Real Estate in Boston’s South End, said the lack of homes to sell is proving a challenge to the market’s recovery.

“We seem to have lots and lots of people looking for housing and very, very little to choose from,’’ he said. “It’s a little bit of a horse race to get properties into agreement right now.”

Christopher Doherty, president of the Northeast Association of Realtors, said he hopes more people start to realize now is a good time to put their homes on the market. “Buyers are out looking now, and every property that comes to the market is getting tremendous attention,” he said.

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3 Bradford Street

Anyone who has visited Provincetown over the years has certainly seen the fabulous Provincetown Welding Works, the late Clarence Kacergis’s studio/workshop on Bradford Street right  before Victors Restaurant in the West End. Clarence was a huge personality and an important cultural icon throughout his life. He was much loved.

Below is an excerpt about 3 Bradford Street from Building Provincetown, a wonderfully written and informative blog, itself an important cultural resource written by David Dunlap.

Provincetown Welding Works
The amazingly animate yard of the Kacergis family’s Provincetown Welding Works looks like a Tim Burton movie come to three-dimensional life. The works were established in 1946 by Clarence Kacergis (born 1916). “At first, he imagined a simple welding shop until several Provincetown artists and sculptors looked to stretch themselves and embrace metal as a heightened form of expression,” Gerry Desautels wrote. (“Forging a Dynasty in Steel,” The Banner, Oct. 16, 2003.) Among them was Chaim Gross. In the present day, Desautels continued: “Maritime objects, fauna, flora and Cape characters — strumming musicians, rowing sailors and sawing woodsmen — are depicted in quirky Kacergis style throughout the chock-a-block shop.”

“The works are wonders of modern recycling and years of collecting parts and pieces from unspecified junkyards on and off-Cape. They keep their sources guarded like classified military information. Ball bearings, dulled blades, washers, chains, quahog rakes, frying pans, and retired oxygen tanks and lawn rakes are just some of the remnants incorporated into airy mobiles and butterflies, charming folk figurines, bright bird and flower sculptures, and precious metal mammals.” Clarence’s son, Michael Kacergis, who now runs the business, acquired the property at 3 Bradford Street in 1999. His son, Aaron, “tinkers with welding on weekends,” The Banner said. Lonely Planet noted that “each generation has its own style, themes and motifs.” Even after he stepped down, paterfamilias could keep an eye on the shop from his home at 4 Bradford Street.










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$500K In Provincetown And The South End

Provincetown waterfront or the heart of  Boston’s South End. Two great condos priced at $500K (+-).  One in a waterfront complex in Provincetown and the other a new construction one bedroom/ one bath condo on Washington Street in the South End. Zero Worcester Square #F is being marketed at $822 per square foot, and 381 Commercial #9 is being marketed at $852 per square foot. An interesting comparison….and remember my caveat…descriptive copy has been taken directly from MLS.


Zero Worcester Square #F, $495K, ..1/1, 602 sf. Fabulous new construction one bedroom residence with private elevator access. This is a unique opportunity to live in an elegant contemporary space surrounded by a charming nineteenth-century view! This sun-filled corner home has walls of windows, a southwestern exposure looking over the Square, private balcony and hardwood floors throughout. The beautiful kitchen has three windows, gas cooking and is fully applianced. Located just steps from the best of the South End’s restaurants and shopping!



 381 Commercial St #9,  Bull Ring Wharf. $499K, 2/2, 586 sf . A charming home filled with Cape Cod charm provides the ultimate in beachfront living. Situated in the heart of Provincetown this newly renovated 2 bedroom condo has been updated with new custom tiled bathroom, new kitchen cabinets with granite countertops, new appliances and gleaming refinished wood floors throughout the living room and bedrooms. Quite simply this condo is the perfect Provincetown getaway or rental. There are 2 expansive common decks to enjoy sun bathing and beachcombing, all just steps from your door. Parking for one car, common laundry and extra storage for owners. Pets and weekly rentals allowed. Very strong rental history! Buyer to assume remaining sewer betterment.


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Changes In The Old Neighborhood

Interesting story on regarding the wonderful wooden house on Taylor Street in the South End right off of Dwight Street . Hopefully things will work out to everyones satisfaction as it is a very special property and one which many south-enders are so familiar with.

Neighbors on Taylor St. House Demolition: Conditions Were Unsafe

The original stop work order put on the 8-10 Taylor Street wooden house property was because of environmental and project concerns, neighbors say. Now, it’s related to an entirely different issue.

Imagine sitting in your home one morning and feeling the entire floor shake. That’s how Taylor Street resident Louane Hann was notified of the construction happening on her street last Tuesday.

“I was working from home, and all of a sudden, I felt the earth move,” she said. “There was a guy with a backhoe and a guy with a hose, and they were ripping the house down.”

Hann said neither she nor anyone else in the neighborhood was notified that construction would begin at the wooden house at 8-10 Taylor Street, and that it would involve demolition of the building.

“We get notices about someone getting a roof deck you can’t even see half the time, and no one got a notice about this,” she said. “It’s unbelievable.”

Couple the lack of notice with the complete surprise that the building, which neighbors thought had been approved for a renovation and addition, was being completely demolished. And the day of demolition left dust everywhere, debris on neighbors’ porches and properties, and even broke a window at a home next door, said nearby residents.

“During the demolition I saw two kids standing outside watching, and I remember thinking, ‘Is it safe for those kids to be breathing that?” Hann said. “All of these old homes have lead in the paint,” she said.

Neighbors said they called Boston’s Enviornmental Department to complain about the mess and to voice the worry that the old home contained lead paint that was now swirling through the air on their street.

Through those calls to the city, the Landmarks Commission learned that an extra wall on the property was demolished that was not included in the project’s original plans, the home’s east wall.

A stop work order was posted on Friday, Jan. 25th and the owner was asked to appear at a public meeting of the Landmarks Commission on Tuesday.

By Monday, Jan. 28th, the project’s architect Scott Slarsky said the city’s Inspectional Services team had come through the site and determined there was no asbestos or lead paint, and lifted the stop work order due to the environmental concerns. But that still left a stop work order related to the site’s demolition of the property’s east wall.

Property owner Ramy Rizkalla said contractors and inspectors found the east wall was bowing in, it was rotting, and there was termite damage, and a structural engineer ruled the wall was unsafe to leave on the property. Rizkalla said the decision to take down the wall was approved by the city’s Inspectional Services department. However, it is the Landmarks Commission that requested the hearing on Tuesday.

“Though they aren’t going to comment on the design of the east wall, they did want to review the rebuilding, so that’s what we’re going in for on Tuesday,” Rizkalla said.

So for now, the project is still on hold until Tuesday night’s meeting of the South End Landmarks Commision. The meeting will take place at 6:45 at Boston City Hall, room 801.

But for neighbor Hann and other neighbors who feel like they were fed some kind of bait and switch between the plans that were presented to them and the actual demolition, the damage is already done.

“We’ve lived there about 20 years and really value that house as one of two remaining wooden houses in the South End,” said Hann, who wasn’t in favor of the orignal plans to begin with because she felt certain modern elements in the design didn’t fit in with the neighborhood. The demolition of the extra wall adds insult to injury, she said, calling it “obnoxious and insulting.”

“Now it’s really heartbreaking to look at that house,” she said.