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Housing Prices Cool Down

Another repost from my new favorite writer with a national slant. Brena Swanson of Housing Wire.

Housing prices cool down amid winter freeze

Annual home price growth is not as robust: Clear Capital

Home prices dipped back down to 10.8% year-over-year growth, a meager decrease from last quarter’s 11% annual growth, the latest Clear Capital Home Data Index shows.

The HDI compares the most recent four months to the previous three months, with no fixed-start date to reduce time delay.


“As the year comes to a close, make no mistake, home prices across the country are cooling from the red-hot 2013 recovery,” said Alex Villacorta, vice president of research and analytics at Clear Capital. “Though some market observers may take this as a sign of a deflating bubble, we see this as a natural, and welcomed evolution on the horizon of the new housing landscape.”

In addition, the quarter growth witnessed a more substantial tumble and fell to 1.8% from the previous quarter’s growth of 3.3%.

The Midwest and Northeast were the only two regions to experience small gains in yearly rates of growth over the previous quarter.

“Since the market trough in the fall of 2011, national prices are up 17%, undoubtedly a strong resurgence in overall prices. Yet, national prices today are back to where they were in 2003, indicating that overall the housing market is at pre-run-up norms,” Villacorta added.

Meanwhile, REO sales made up 21.6% of all national sales over the previous quarter, which is significantly lower than peak rates of 41% in 2011. However, distressed activity, as a portion of sale saturation, is expected to increase over winter as buyers prepare for a more active spring season.

For the first time, Phoenix was kicked out of its number one spot on the top 15 performing cities list, as the city was one of the first markets to experience a sustained recovery alongside its high levels of distressed sale saturation.

Understandably, many current home owners would like to see hot gains continue for some time to come. Market participants, however, are better served by a cooler and more sustainable recovery,” Villacorta said.  “Moderating gains will create a stable market, instilling confidence in a broader base of buyers.”


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Boston Is One Of The Healthiest Markets

I like Scott’s take on what constitutes a healthy real estate market.  A more balanced inventory picture certainly is part of it.

Greater Boston one of the “healthiest” markets?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis

The Boston area has been anointed one of the “healthiest” real estate markets in the country by real estate website Zillow.

In fact, we weigh in at No. 6, behind only the top California markets and Denver, healthier than 75 percent of the hundreds of markets surveyed by Zillow.

And how did Zillow come to this conclusion? Apparently, we have a relatively low foreclosure rate – just one in every 10,000 was foreclosed on in October – while just 12 percent of homeowners in the Boston area are mired in the negative equity trap.

Overall, home values were up more than 9 percent in October to a median of $343,000.

I beg to differ.

Zillow’s metrics speak volumes about the health of the Greater Boston jobs market, one of the strongest in the country for some years now.

More high-paying jobs compared to other metro markets mean higher prices, less negative equity and fewer foreclosures. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that one.

But while Boston-area sellers are doing better now, this has to be one of the worst markets in the country for home buyers right now.

Listings of homes for sale are skidding along at all time lows and construction of new homes and condos remain mired in what has become a decades-long slump.

Some buyers have become desperate enough to resort to mass mailings in a hunt for potential homes to buy.

At least for buyers, the Boston area is hardly a healthy market. In fact, right now, it has to be one of the sickest housing markets in the country, if measured by buyer frustration.

So what’s your take? Is Greater Boston really one of the country’s healthiest housing markets? And frankly, what does “healthy” truly mean when we are talking real estate?


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Sellers No Longer Sitting So Pretty?

It is smart to pay attention to what the national market prognosticators are thinking and then digesting the information relative to our market. We need to pay attention to the NAR too. But when Lawrence Yun of NAR says, “…sellers cannot keep jacking up the prices since there is a lack of buyers…” we need to be a bit suspect. This doesn’t sound like a savvy sound bite from the leader of NAR, and it is not the case in our markets.  Whatever happened to the natural dynamic of the supply and demand curve Lawrence?

Substantial price jumps are unlikely

Brena Swanson of Housing Wire

As more inventory hits the housing market and buyers rebel against rising home prices, the real estate market is likely to shift from seller dominance to one that is more counterbalanced by buyer reluctance to acquire homes deemed too expensive.

The tighter inventory conditions of this recent spring and summer are going away as the spring months of next year start to approach, analysts say. Right now, builders are trying to make up for a lack of inventory with new homes,  Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, claimed.

According to the latest Home Price Index report fromCoreLogic, home prices, including distressed sales, increased by only 0.2% in October when compared to September.

“In October, the year-over-year appreciation rate remained strong, but the month-over-month appreciation rate was barely positive, indicating that house price appreciation has slowed as expected for the winter,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic.

“Based on our pending HPI, the monthly growth rate is expected to moderate even further in November and December. The slowdown in price appreciation is positive for the housing market as almost half the states are now within 10% of their respective historical price peaks,” Fleming said.

The report comes with both good and bad news. It is good news certainly for the owners and home sellers who are getting the appreciation and housing equity increases, in addition to helping the economy in terms of consumer spending, Yun explained.

However, the report is not as positive for homebuyers. “There are still in my view a lot of potential homebuyers getting blocked out from buying due to rising home prices,” Yun said.

He added, “It is a clear signal that sellers cannot keep jacking up the prices since there is a lack of buyers. More housing inventory is coming into the market from new home construction, but it is still a sluggish pace.”

If prices increase, homebuyers may choose to step out of the market if sellers do not adjust their list prices.

Home prices, including distressed sales, increased 12.5% annually in October, marking the 20th consecutive monthly year-over-year increase in home prices.

In terms of home price appreciation, the housing market appears to be catching its breath as we head into the final months of 2013,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic.

“The deceleration in month-on-month trends was anticipated as strong gains in home prices over the spring and summer slow in line with normal seasonal patterns and the impact of higher mortgage interest rates,” Nallathambi added.

Heading into 2014, sellers are still in fairly good shape with prices edging up, but they don’t have that much further to rise, CoreLogic suggests.


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Favorite New Listing Of The Week


This house has always been one of my favorites in the East End. It is in the gallery district next to the house with the huge front yard, and one house east of Ciro and Sals restaurant alley. MLS copy below.

$1.695M, 436 Commercial Street is being offered for $1.696M, 4 bedrooms, and 4 baths, with 3,620 sf and a 9,147 sf  lot. Famous Provincetown artist, Charles Hawthorne made his home here and built the grand Federal addition. This is a home for entertaining with its floor through design and separate suites. A large chefs kitchen dominates the back of the house with formal dinning area. Custom built in closets and cabinets were done in the period style along with wood work by fine craftsmen. There is a very large master bedroom suite with a deck overlooking the garden. Peeks of the water is an added bonus!


436 Commercial









This is a legal two family home giving the new owner condo possibilities.

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WA – Unique Opportunity – Commercial Condo For Sale

The home of  WA the most valuable commercial property in Provincetown is being offered for sale or lease. Located on a highly trafficked block of Commercial Street in the center of town, WA is a beautiful destination retail store with incredible street appeal with gardens in front and a spectacular Zen garden showcasing numerous water features in the rear. The store has multiple display windows and a flexible interior space housing close to 4,000 square feet of space including 2,400 sf showroom/store and a 1,600 sf storage/office area. This is an opportunity to own a turnkey commercial condo providing an immediate and substantial retail presence in Provincetown for an existing or new business.

WA front









Crossing the threshold one enters an environment diametrically opposite the busy street scene behind. Handicapped accessible, the red painted historic front doors beckon shoppers into an array of intriguing and beautiful merchandise.  The thoughtfully designed retail space includes shops within shops, an orderly arrangement of display spaces down the sides and the center of the space. With partially vaulted ceilings and additional skylights the interior space is attractive and bright. There is a separate office, and  3 storage spaces, and a  1/2 bath. There is central air conditioning, upgraded electric service, gas fired heat.  The space is newly remodeled and in very good condition.











The Wa gardens, which extend from the front of the store alongside the walkway into the shade filled Zen-like back gardens, exemplify the WA culture outdoors. Tom Rogers Wa’s creator designed a space that would stimulate all of ones senses.










Buy the commercial condo with or without the business or lease the store. WA has a solid 18 year track record and operation systems are solidly in place. This property is perfect for anyone looking to open a retail operation in a successful existing location,  relocating their existing business to Provincetown, or acquiring a very successful retail company and its real estate.

Call Bill or I if you have any questions about this unique opportunity.