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S&P/Case-Shiller: Greater Boston Values Up 10%

Good article by Chris Reidy below. November S&P/Case-Shiller numbers certainly forecast year end figures we have been reporting of Boston neighborhood sales prices up an average of 8% in 2013. The most important result of this good news is in the last paragraph which does follow what we are hearing and experiencing in the field. Sales are moderating and even declining in some neighborhoods while prices do continue to rise.

S&P/Case-Shiller: Greater Boston home values up nearly 10 percent

By Chris Reidy / Globe Staff / January 28, 2014

Home values in Greater Boston rose 9.8 percent in November on a year-to-year comparison basis, according to a report on the US housing market issued Tuesday by the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.

The widely watched indices tracks repeat home sales around the United States.

The Boston area’s annual rate of 9.8 percent for November represented an improvement of 1.2 percentage points from the previous month. In the 20-city universe that the indices track, Boston was one of nine cities where values accelerated on an annual basis.

From October to November, home values in Greater Boston rose 1.3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices added.

The November report included a statement from David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, commenting on the latest US results.

“Beginning June 2012, we saw a steady rise in year-over-year increases,” Blitzer said. “November continued that trend with another strong month although the rate of increase slowed.”

The Warren Group and the Massachusetts Association of Realtors are expected to issue separate reports on the state’s housing markets later this week. Those reports will focus on Massachusetts home sales in December.

In reporting on November sales, Warren Group chief executive Timothy M. Warren Jr. stated: “This has been a banner year in local real estate, but one with a focus on rising prices. The sales volume growth has been more restrained and now we see a modest decline. We’re seeing the same thing in Massachusetts that the rest of the country is experiencing: a slight slowdown in home sales, driven by increasing interest rates and tight supply.”

Chris Reidy can be reached at [email protected].

© Copyright 2014 Globe Newspaper Company.
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Most Expensive Sales Of 2013

The Provincetown  luxury market performed strongly in 2013 with 22 properties selling for over $1M, 27% more than the 16 sold in 2012. 19 single family homes and 3 condos sold with an average selling price of $1.48M. The average property had 3 bedroom,  3.5 bath and 2,626 sf of living space. This increase is because of rising prices, as well as the quality of $1M plus inventory of properties for sale. As reported earlier 3 incredible homes sold in 2013 on Telegraph Hill, a first since the neighborhood was built.

Below are the top 4 residential property sales of 2013. Real Estate at its best.


571 C

571 C 2

571 C 3






571 Commercial Street sold for $2.265M. It is a gorgeous 5 bedroom, 4 bath 2,757 sf house on a 5,489 waterfront lot originally built in 1900. This house has always been a favorite of mine in the East End.

MLS copy: Endless harbor and bay views greet you upon entering this wonderful 5 bedroom beachfront historic home! Filled with charm, privacy inside and out, a spacious terraced yard, 62′ waterfront deck, and private steps to the beach, this rare offering is ready to enjoy. Extremely well maintained and loved by its previous owners, this is the perfect second home or year round residence for all who seek the unspoiled Provincetown experience at its best!


3 CRH 2


3 CRH 3







3 Creek Round Hill Road sold for $2.3M. It is a 4,500 square foot 3 bedroom with a guest/in law apartment on the lower level.  It sold for $2.3M in the fall. In years past this h0use was know to its neighbors as the “wedding house”as it was regularly rented out for weddings and other special events. Hopefully the new owners will relegate it to good old residential use only.

MLS copy: Enjoy commanding water views and sunsets from this glamorous West End home. This custom built two family home features over 4,500 square feet of luxury living with uncompromising attention to detail. The first level boasts a chef’s kitchen, open concept living/dining room with sliders leading to spacious decks, guest bedroom, and spectacular views of the Breakwater, Longpoint, Moors, and dunes of Herring Cove. The second level features a grand master suite, luxurious master bath, and sensational views. The second level also features two guest bedrooms and bath. The garden level walkout offers a nicely appointed 1BR apartment with private entrance and bath. There is also a one car garage and laundry room on this level. The home has a substantial rental history of $130K annually making it the perfect home for the savvy investor.


59 c 3

59 C 2

59 C







59 Commercial St sold for $2.4M. This  is an incredible piece of property with a 1,468 square foot main house fronted on Commercial Street, and a 984 square foot darling cottage on the waterfront. n July 22. 2/3 1468 plus 984 sf cottage.

MLS copy: West End Waterfront Compound with two beautifully restored year-round homes. The main house was floated over from Long Point and has all the wonderful detail you would find in a period residence but with all the amenities for today’s lifestyle such as central air and a high-end fully equipped kitchen. Between the main house & the waterfront cottage is a large courtyard with a Belgian block parking area for three cars. The 984+- square foot cottage has its own systems that are mostly separate from the main house and would be an excellent income producer. The views are exquisite from this space with the Long Point lighthouse right in front. The cottage has two decks, a bluestone patio and a staircase directly onto the beach. The entire property is connected to the sewer system and the grounds are irrigated. Please call for an appointment.


8 Th

8 TH 3

8 TH 4







8 Telegraph Hill sold for $2.89M This is a 3 bedroom 4 bath house of 3,510 square feet.

MLS copy:  This is the best view on Telegraph Hill. Custom built (heavy duty construction)in 2002 this home home offers panoramic views of Provincetown Harbor,the shores of Truro & Wellfleet, west end rooftops of Provincetown & a stunning view of the Monument. Meticulously maintained, well appointed w/hardwood floors, custom Hunter Douglas blinds, marble & limestone baths, commercial grade Viking appliances, double fireplace, high ceilings w/custom lighting, central ac, mature gardens, irrigation system & a 2 car garage. The upside down design gives you living and dining space on the top floor w/an open floor plan, along with a wrap around deck for outside entertaining. The entry level has 3 large bedrooms including two master suites, all with en-suite baths. Lower level offers a finished room, laundry room & 2 car garage. Granite block driveway.

Each of these homes is so special, and each of them represents their neighborhood beautifully. The far East End is represented by 571 Commercial Street, the far West End by The “Wedding House” on Creek Round Hill Road and the near West End by 8 Telegraph Hill and 59 Commercial Street. All gorgeous properties!


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First 4 Sales Of The Year

The first 4 sales of 2014 beautifully illustrate the diversity of real estate in Provincetown. From a $385K townhouse on Race Point Road, to a one of a kind $925K East End waterfront beauty – these first few sales of the New Year speak to what Provincetown real estate is all about.


60 RPR

60 RPR 2

60 RPR 3







60 Race Point Rd sold for $384K, a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo with 1,015 square feet in the White Pines at Race Point Road condo association of 15 units.

MLS copy: Beautifully maintained 2-bedroom townhouse just a short distance to Race Point Beach, Province Lands, bike path, and walking trails. Convenient to shopping, dining, and entertainment. Backed up to conservation land, this well maintained complex is well designed with attention to detail. Flooded with light and opening to front porch and exclusive side deck, the 1st floor is open plan: living, dining, and well-appointed kitchen. Oak floors throughout great room – oak cabinets, stainless appliances, granite countertops finish the kitchen. Full bath on this level. 2 large bedrooms on 2nd level, shared full bath with jacuzzi tub. Large closets, attic space and full basement (exclusive to this unit) allow for plenty of seasonal storage OR finish basement for additional living space. Central A/C. Weekly rentals and pets for owners allowed.


1 Holway

1 Holway 2

1 Holway 3







1 Holway Street #1 sold for $480k,  a 3 bedroom 1 bath condo with 962 square feet.

MLS copy: Located just two blocks from Commercial Street and the bay beach, this freestanding cottage-style condominium is perfect for year round living or a vacation retreat. This charming three bedroom home features an updated kitchen with stainless steel appliances, renovated bathroom, hardwood floors, abundant natural light, air conditioning, washer/dryer, attic storage, and one tandem parking space. This home is being sold turnkey. Weekly rentals permitted. Buyer to assume sewer betterment.


19 Tremont 2

19 Tremont 3

19 Tremont







19 Tremont sold for $641,500, a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo with 885 square feet.

MLS copy: If you’ve been waiting for just the right West End home or vacation escape, you’re in luck. This 2 Bed, 2 Bath Townhouse has it all. A wood-burning fireplace in the living room stretches toward the vaulted ceiling, the bright, granite-countered kitchen w/intimate dining area overlooks the very private, superbly landscaped & well-designed spacious, fully enclosed outdoor living room complete w/hot tub, shower, koi pond, mature plantings including a fully integrated Dogwood. Back indoors, the 1st floor guest suite features a private bath & separate entrance.The entire top level is a master suite w/full bath, delightful bedroom overlooking the outdoor oasis & a spacious loft, ideal for office, entertainment or additional storage. Basement laundry & parking add to the appeal; proximity to the beach & Commercial Street complete the package.


493 com

493 com 3

493 om 2







493 commercial sold for $925K, a one of a kind 2 bedroom 2 bath waterfront condo with 1,588 square feet.

MLS copy: For a discerning buyer who enjoys the luxury of waterfront living with service to make it hassle free. Unique association- fees include interior maintenance,landscaping, in-unit heat,AC, electric and cable.Spectacular in design,this penthouse embraces the harbor through its two story wall of glass and expansive deck.Property has flexible space ideal for dining, entertaining and lounging all leading to a private waterfront deck.The kitchen is designed with a separate prep area open to the living space and has upgraded cabinets,appliances, stone countertops and a bfst bar.There are two bedroom suites both with tiled baths;the master has a dressing room & views.This home is ready for your enjoyment,but should the day come that travel takes you elsewhere, the projected gross rental is $70K to $80K annually. Buyer assumes betterment.

These were the first four…more sales highlights as they occur.

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Market Highlights Provincetown 2013








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Goode & Farmer Report – Boston Year End 2013

 Goode & Farmer Report – Boston Year End 2013

January 15, 2014

The challenge remains lack of inventory.

The Big Numbers are 6, 8 and 44! Combined, all Boston neighborhoods saw a 6% increase in the number of condos sold in 2013 to 4,605 from 4,361 sales in 2012. The average sales price of condominiums increased 8% to $608K from $563K in 2012. Average days on market dropped 44% to an average of only 46 days from an already historic low last year of 82. This real estate market is healthy except for the continuing decrease in inventory levels. There are only 374 condominiums for sale in downtown Boston, a slight increase from the 347 last year at this time, but still a very low number.

The Back Bay, saw a 4% increase in the average sales price of a condominium to $1.228 from $1.18M. Total sales of condos were down 12% to 474 from 537 in 2012 with the average days on market down a remarkable 44% to only 59. There are only 58 condos available for sale in the Back Bay today.

The South End saw a 7% increase in the number of condo sales to 578 from 540 condos sold last year. The average price of a condo sold increased 14% to $802K compared with $704K last year. Total sales volume was up 22% to $463M. Interestingly there are only 28 condos for sale today.

South Boston saw an 8% increase in the number of condos sold to 630 from 585 in 2012. The average sales price of a condo increased by 10% to $467K compared with $423K in 2012. South Boston had the largest drop in average days on market to only 32. There are only 54 condos on the market today.

It is so evident that inventory remains the problem in all of the downtown Boston markets, but as I have said repeatedly this market is so resilient and so desirable that declining inventory levels have not  affected the steady increase in prices in most neighborhoods. Although in some neighborhoods like Beacon Hill sales have decreased 25% to 140 from 186 last year – due to the total lack of inventory available for sale. There are a total of only 6 condos for sale on The Hill. Time will tell if this dynamic continues. The addition of Ink Block and numerous other condominium projects just may signal an end to the seemingly endless lack of inventory.


Boston chart























I hope this clean and simple year end analysis of some favorite and important Boston neighborhoods has been interesting.

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Goode & Farmer Report – Provincetown, Truro and Wellfleet Year End 2013

Goode & Farmer Report – Provincetown Truro and Wellfleet Year End 2013

Well, we all thought 2012 was a year filled with trepidation and anxiety. That was before we experienced 2013 – the year of the government shutdown, the Boston Marathon bombings, Washington DC gridlock and numerous other international diversions.

While not a record breaker relative to last year, 2013 was in fact a very strong year on the Outer Cape. Nationally, one of the biggest news stories was improving real estate markets as supported by the S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index showing home prices up 13.61% over last year – the largest gain in almost 8 years.

The strength of our local market is important as it has created equity for homeowners, boosted buyer confidence, and pulled many underwater homeowners into positive equity positions. Year-end results again seem to have surpassed what many in the industry expected. Total sales in Provincetown were down 12% from 229 units in 2012 to 201 units in 2013. Total volume closed was up 4% from $127M to $132M in 2013.

There were 124 condominium sales in 2013 totaling $56M vs. 166 condo sales in 2012 totaling $70M – a decrease of 25%. The average sale price for condominiums in Provincetown was up 8% over 2012 to an average sale price of $453K. The time on market for condos decreased by an average of 33 days this year. The average price per square foot for condos sold was $526.

Single-family home sales in Provincetown remained strong with 48 sales in 2013 totaling $49M vs. 52 sales for $47M in volume in 2012 – a 5% increase in volume. The average sale price for a single-family home was up 12% to an average sale price of $1.024M.

Provincetown leads the way on the Cape for positive real estate news and tends to follow the key downtown Boston neighborhoods in performance stats more than other towns on the Cape. Provincetown continues to attract buyers from cities and towns around the country and international buyers who have visited over the years that now want to have a home here on the Outer Cape.

This market dynamic continues to build the case for spring 2014 being another historically opportune time for those sellers who have been waiting on the sidelines to put their property on the market. This strong demand for Provincetown real estate by more confident buyers just may be the highest in many years.


PTOWN chart












Other towns on the Outer Cape did relatively well too. The number of single-family sales in Truro was down a moderate 9% to 48 from 53 in 2012. The average sales price was down 15% to $594K from $698K last year. The Truro market consists mostly of single-family homes.

In Wellfleet, the average sales price of single-family properties sold increased slightly to $536K from $532K last year. The number of sales decreased by 13% to 70 from 80 in 2012. Wellfleet is predominantly a single-family sales market as well.













A very active real estate market is indeed back – along with improving prices! And nowhere is this more evident than in continued buyer confidence in Provincetown and the Outer Cape.

Buyers do need more choices though as inventory remains low. Positive buyer and seller attitudes coupled with a continuation of relatively low mortgage rates and an improving economy bode well for 2014 being a great year to jump in the market and own a piece of paradise.

Please call or stop in if you are considering selling or buying, or if you are just curious as to what your home is worth. Our business philosophy has always been that the best-informed buyers and sellers are most satisfied with their real estate results. And that’s what we do best!





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Home Appreciation Back To Historic Norms

Zillow sees home price appreciation headed back to historic norms


The cumulative value of U.S. homes is expected grow by 7.9 percent in 2013 — the biggest annual increase since 2005 — according to an analysis by Zillow, which expects gains to continue into this year, at a slower pace.

“The housing market is transitioning away from the robust bounce off the bottom we’ve been seeing, toward a more sustainable, healthier market,” said Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries in a statement. “This will result in annual appreciation closer to historic norms of between 3 percent and 5 percent.”

Zillow said two years of home price appreciation have added $2.8 trillion to the cumulative value of U.S. homes –  or 44 percent of the $6.3 trillion drop seen from 2007 to 2011


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First Annual Decline For Existing Home Sales In Over 2 Years

Interesting INMAN post with a national perspective mirroring the issues we are seeing locally in both our primary and second home market.

Existing-home sales post first annual decline in more than 2 years

Higher mortgage rates, constrained inventories and tight credit slowed pace of sales in November.

The uptick in construction will help elevate the consistent inventory shortages we are seeing, and the lessening of negative equity will help as Zillow said that by 2014 U.S. homes will have recovered 44 percent of the total value they lost from 2007 to 2011.

Teke Wiggin Staff Writer, INMAN

Higher mortgage rates, constrained inventories and tight credit slowed the pace of existing-home sales for the third month in a row in November, producing the first annual decline in sales in more than two years, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported today.

Existing-home sales dropped 4.3 percent from October to November, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.9 million, and were down 1.2 percent from a year ago, marking the first time in 29 months that sales were below year-ago levels.

“There is a pent-up demand for both rental and owner-occupied housing as household formation will inevitably burst out, but the bottleneck is in limited housing supply, due to the slow recovery in new-home construction,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a statement.

Rents are rising at the fastest pace in five years, Yun said, and annual home prices are rising at the highest rate in eight years. The spike in mortgage rates that occurred in late spring of this year has hampered home sales over the last few months, Yun and others say.

Members of the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee announced Wednesday that the Fed will finally begin to reduce its $85 billion-a-month purchases of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities in January. The news did not immediately drive up mortgage rates, but a Fed pullback is still expected to nudge them up further.

If interest rates rise, that could further crimp existing-home sales. Market indicators suggest they are likely to decrease for at least another month. NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index — a forward-looking indicator of sales — dropped for the fifth straight month in October. Purchase loan applications recently hit a one-year low.

Yun recently predicted that sales of existing homes will remain flat in 2014 due to headwinds including declining affordability, limited inventory and tight mortgage lending standards.

Despite declining home sales, the outlook for the housing recovery is by no means bleak. Other market barometers point towards improvement. Single-family housing starts jumped to their highest level in well over five years in November, increasing 20.8 percent month over month and 26 percent year over year, the U.S. Census Bureau reported.

The uptick in construction could alleviate an inventory shortage that many analysts say has constrained demand, perhaps boding well for home sales in the long term. Meanwhile, sales of new single-family homes skyrocketed in October, ending a three-month slump that began in July and providing evidence that elevated mortgage rates have not seriously hobbled the housing recovery, research firm Capital Economics said.

While the number of existing homes for sale at the end of November slipped 0.9 percent to 2.09 million, the amount of time it would take for those homes to clear at the current sales pace increased to 5.1 months, up from 4.9 months in October and 4.8 months a year ago, NAR reported.

The median price of an existing single-family home slid 0.6 percent from October to November, to $196,300, but was up 9.4 percent from a year ago. Elevated home prices have begun to chip away at buying power, analysts including Yun say.

But the price appreciation has also freed millions from the shackles of negative equity, making it possible for them to sell their homes without having to resort to a short sale. Zillow said that by 2014 U.S. homes will have recovered 44 percent of the total value they lost from 2007 to 2011.

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2013 Provincetown Sales

Interesting “aerial” view of the 172 property sales in Provincetown in 2013.

Each dot represents one of the 172 sales of single family properties and  condominiums sold in 2013. They seem pretty balanced East End to West End, don’t they?

I’ll post more on that perennial discussion…which end of town has the most sales, the higher prices , as we move into the spring market.  I think what we are going to find is that the answer is so subjective, even when we look at empirical data which will show a healthy balance between the two.


12 month sales
















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US Economy On Best Footing Since 2007

Interesting year in review article from Lou Barnes at INMAN.

US economy is on best footing since 2007 — maybe even 1998

Lou Barnes INMAN Contributor

As with all New Year look-aheads in this space, begin with Peter Drucker: “Nobody can predict the future. Stick with a firm grasp of the present.”

Thus a focus on where we are, and things to watch, not wild swings at the blue sky.

Then note that we focus on real estate, investors and owner-occupants, mortgages and credit. The stock market does affect the economy and interest rates from time to time, but its wanderings defy grasp, firm or otherwise.

Changing my mind is a painful process. An original hypothesis may have grown obsolete, but a new one can double the chance of error. Nevertheless, the U.S. economy is on a better footing and facing lighter headwinds than any time since 2007, and maybe since 1998.

On the turn of the century we labored in the goo of a blown stock bubble, and then splattered credit and housing bubbles all over our faces. The bulk of those messes is past. The most durable and stiff breeze against us, still: Since circa 1990 global competition has capped U.S. wages.

The table set, here follows the watch list:


Stagnant income has been the primary force frustrating the Fed’s stimulus, and tripped every Fed forecast since the show stopped in 2008.”

Above all else, watch incomes, especially wages in the bottom two-thirds of the workforce. Stagnant income has been the primary force frustrating the Fed’s stimulus, and tripped every Fed forecast since the show stopped in 2008.


Until incomes grow, a ramping of inflation is impossible. That was your dad’s — or granddad’s — problem.

The Fed

So long as incomes and inflation behave, the Fed can and will continue extreme stimulus. It has to pull back from QE and will, even if the economy slows.


Next to incomes the most important thing to watch. We cannot accelerate, or even get off Fed life support without it. My very smart friend, Paul Kasriel, has detected an acceleration in bank credit, one strong enough to offset the gradual end of QE. I can’t find it. I will look, early and often.


Ow and ouch. Most folks have noticed the difficulty the administration has had with “Obamacare.” These are the same officials who have presided over implementation of Dodd-Frank. The nation has felt the chaos of “Obamacare” for two months. The same people have been rearranging the financial world for four years. It’s amazing that we make any loans at all. At banks the combined effects of new capital requirements and the Volcker Rule are incalculable, but none lead to more credit.


Under the heading “Everybody Gets Lucky,” the White House has at last succeeded in replacing the Fannie-Freddie regulator. The White House’s intentions (trying fitfully for three years): Find somebody who would make life easier on underwater households, specifically by forgiving loan balances, a very bad idea. Now they’ve got their guy, Mel Watt, but the foreclosure tide has receded to scattered puddles. However, he may be just the man to lift the dead hand choking mortgage credit. At the top of the we’ll-see list.


Will not lead a cyclical recovery. Not. See “incomes,” above. Also far too many households damaged by the Great Recession. Good jobs replaced by poor ones, savings exhausted, credit damaged. Hey, Mel Watt! Want to do something useful for foreclosed families and the nation? Shorten the punitive lock-out intervals for new mortgages. Housing will over time repair itself the old-fashioned way: As rents rise, a new generation will grasp the big benefit of homeownership: The monthly payment stays put, and the mortgage balance falls over time for the persistent and disciplined.

Wild cards

The whole friggin’ outside world! Which is today a lot bigger relative to us than it used to be. One major nation is in genuine recovery: the United Kingdom. Europe is a wreck with no structural political progress at all, financial and social stresses rising. Japan’s risks are internal, but we’d all get wet in the tsunami following implosion. China is an all-time black box. Makes us look well-governed. Perverse benefits: Trouble over there might help here, just as the U.K. looks safer for business than the Continent.


Oh, that. Mortgages will rise into the fives on the slope of GDP. Or not. :-)