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Summer Sizzle


Good post from Scott.


More Sellers Make Summer Sizzle

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis

Summer is typically a sleepy time for the real estate market, but not this year.

“For sale” signs are popping up across Greater Boston and other parts of the state, with a significant uptick in homes hitting the market, says Peter Ruffini, president of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors.

That, in turn, is likely to mean good news for home buyers stressed over rising prices, Ruffini says.

Certain communities, like Plymouth, seen above, are particularly seeing a pick-up in listings.

Several dozen additional homes have hit the market in Plymouth this summer, providing a significant boost to the market, notes Ruffini, a regional vice president at Jack Conway & Co. in Hanover.

That’s significant given the coastal town is often a bellwether for the South Shore real estate market, he says.

“The good news is that there are fewer (sellers) sitting on the sidelines than there were earlier this year,” Ruffini says.

Overall, June saw 8,418 homes hit the market across the state, a 13 percent jump over the same period in 2013, MAR numbers show.

More listings, in turn, could also take some of the pressure off buyers, who are too often faced with bidding wars given the long-standing shortage of homes on the market, he says.

And while the median home price in Massachusetts hasn’t quite caught up to where it was during the housing bubble years in the mid-2000s, Ruffini is OK with that.

“In my view the market recovery is more about sustainability and affordability,” Ruffini says. “It has to be a sustainable market.”

Cheers to that.

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Five Trends – Boston Real Estate

Tom Acitelli does a great job outlining issues effecting the Boston market in this post on

The Five Trends Dominating Boston Real Estate Right Now

Monday, August 25, 2014, by Tom Acitelli

[Photo by Bill Damon via Flickr]

It’s a deceptively simple question: What’s driving Boston’s housing market, both the rental and for-sale sides, right this second? The short answer is low supply and high demand. There’s more to it, though. Thus! We run down the five trends driving the city’s residential real estate. And we also offer a prediction for 2015 and beyond. Hold us to it. For now, the first of the five trends…

Low Inventory
Our numbers guru David Bates was the first to the party on this trend and has stayed with it ever since. Basically, there are way too few condos and single-family homes to satiate demand in Boston. Moreover, there is relatively little on the for-sale horizon development-wise. Also! The city’s poor planning over the last several decades hasn’t helped matters nor has Boston’s legendary aversion to height and density in its downtown areas.

Lots of New Luxury Apartments
There is a silver lining in the storm cloud that is Boston’s dearth of new for-sale development, and it comes at the expense of its luxury apartment market. In short, there are a lot of luxury apartments going up in the city, maybe too many. It’s taking some new complexes a long time and all sorts of tenant sweeteners to fill their units. Some luxury rental towers, then, have pivoted to condos, opening up that much more for-sale inventory.

Bidding Wars
Still, what little new condo development there is in Boston is not nearly enough to satisfy that demand. (And, frankly, this holds true for the rental development as well.) So those in the market for condos in particular often show up at open houses with garbage bags full of cash or some other ready financing, prepared to go above and beyond what sellers want. Yes, bidding wars are a common feature of many condo sales across the city; perhaps even most. These bidding wars lead tosuper-fast sales and to our next trend.

The redoubtable Mr. Bates has also been all over this one: Lots of Boston buyers offering lots over what condos (and single-families) are asking. It’s not only that this over-ask trend drives up prices that much more; it’s that the, um, coverage of such over-asks drives up the hype and hysteria surrounding the Boston housing market. The vibrancy of Boston real estate is a very real thing, don’t get us wrong; we just wonder how much of it is a self-perpetuating cycle and how much is really the invisible hand doing its thing.

Tougher Lending
Even though mortgage rates remain cartoonishly low, lending terms remain tougher than they were before the last bubble burst in 2007 and 2008. Simply put, it’s harder to get a home loan; and harder to get one on terms that will allow for victory in a Boston bidding war. This keeps more Bostonians in the rental market, which, in turn, dries up the inventory in that real estate sector; which, in turn, ensures that rents escalate along with sales prices. Vicious cycle, this.

But! The Federal Reserve has signaled a gradual rise in rates through 2015. This will make it more expensive to borrow money for a mortgage, which could dampen the fervor of Boston buyers (of U.S. buyers in general). That will mean fewer bidding wars, fewer over-asks, more tenants instead of owners (sorry, apartment-hunters), and, ultimately, fewer sellers, as homes are taken off the market or never put on in the first place as prices come down amid this flagging demand. Or at least that’s the scenario. Starting next year.

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Best Time To Buy Vacation Homes

“Best timing” differs in all locales but the late summer and fall market is the busiest time on the Cape to buy or sell a home. Good post by Julie from  below.
By Julie Xie Staff

Sun dresses and beach towels are on sale at the mall. So are vacation homes on the market.

Turns out, September and October are great months to go vacation home hunting in New England because prices are dropping. It makes sense — sellers want to get properties off their hands because they don’t want to maintain them through the winter.

Doug Reece, who works as a realtor for Martha’s Vineyard at RE/MAX, recently worked with a seller who dropped the price of his house from $900,000 to $699,000.

“As a buyer, you’ve got to be ready to hop in the car and get here on short notice when those things happen. Or else someone else will,” he said.

While it’s hard to put exact numbers on it, Kevin Austin, from Cape Cod Oceanview Realty, said people tend to drop their prices around 5 percent just to get people to come look at the house and stimulate some activity.

“If people feel they can get a house for cheaper, they’ll usually wait until September and October to see if the price will drop,” said Austin, who specializes in the Orleans area of Cape Cod.

The trend is expected to continue until the end of the calendar year. By the time January and February roll around, many sellers figure that if they’ve already held a property for that long, they might as well hold on to it for another season.

Early spring is another busy season for New England vacation homes, as buyers want to close on a property and use it for the summer.

Nationally, the best times to buy vacation home differ by region and climate, but in general there has been a 30-percent surge in vacation homes in 2013, according to the National Association of Realtors.

And Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, expects this upward swing to continue in 2014. A nearing-retirement baby boomer population and an improving stock market are likely to give rise in vacation home purchases.

Bottom line: Act fast and get yourself to the Cape.



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Four Seasons – Big Prices!

WOW! Great post by Scott.

Coming Attractions: Big Apple Condo Prices

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis

Christian Science tower, rendering.jpg

Take a good look at the glimmering new condo and hotel skyscraper in this rendering.

This 58-story spire, slated to take shape next to the Christian Science Plaza in the Back Bay, is one of a trio of new towers poised to bring New York condo prices to the Hub.

The new $700 million Christian Science tower, recently approved by Boston City Hall, will feature the Four Seasons brand, with 180 super-luxury condos on the top forty floors. Construction is expected to kick off next year, with a planned 2017 opening.

The new Millennium Tower in Downtown Crossing, now under construction, will hit 56 stories.

And Don Chiofaro’s proposed new harborside tower complex would top out at 55 stories, crowned by 120 multimillion-dollar units.

There’s talk of these new skyline-topping condos fetching $4,000 or even $5,000 a square foot.

That’s double or more what the most expensive condos are selling for right now in Boston, with a penthouse at the Mandarin Oriental holding the record after fetching more than $13 million a few years ago.

Double that number and you get an idea of what the future may hold for Boston’s already crazy condo market – penthouses overlooking vast stretches of Eastern Massachusetts selling for $25 million and up.

OK, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.

Kevin Ahearn, chief executive of Otis & Ahearn, a top Boston luxury condo marketing and brokerage firm, says we will just have to wait and see how prices shake out.

Still, these super-luxury condos atop Boston’s bejeweled skyline will be in a league of their own.

“These new towers will offer five-star living and drop dead views,” Ahearn says. “It’s alpha luxury and it will create a new category.”

The new skyscrapers biggest draw, besides sheer luxury, will be their height. While 58-story towers are no big deal by New York standards, they are a very big deal in the Hub.

The tallest condo towers in Boston currently max out after 40 or so stories. Not bad, but still shrimps by Big Apple standards.


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What A Deal – Listing Of The Week


43 Race Point Road is a great newer contruction entry level condo right across Rte 6 on Race Point Road in the Garden Renovations/Yoga studio complex.  It is a 370 sf 1 bedroom condo being marketed at $189K. This condo is a super opportunity for either year round living or investment.


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MLS COPY: Affordable year round one bedroom condo located on Race Point Rd, just across Route 6 and about 1 mile form the center of Provincetown. Recent new construction with efficient LP gas hot water heat. Laundry in unit. Deeded parking. Weekly rentals are allowed and this was rented for $1,000./per week in 2014.




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Nantucket vs The Vineyard


Interesting post by Scott pitting The Vineyard against Nantucket.  But we all know – Provincetown beats ’em all!


A Tale of Two Islands

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis

Hey, maybe having the commander-in-chief vacation on your resort island isn’t such a boon after all.

President Obama is one Martha’s Vineyard for his annual two-weeks of fun and sun on the resort island.

And the only thing slumping faster than the president’s approval ratings are home prices in Edgartown.



The median price of a single-family-home in Edgartown plunged more than 22 percent during the first six months of the year, to $619,250, reports The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman.

West Tisbury home prices fell nearly 12 percent during the same time period, sinking below the $500,000 mark.

Despite a strong showing in Tisbury, where prices rose more than 19 percent, the median price for the island as a whole fell by 4 percent.

Funny thing, when Obama first began vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard early in his presidency, home prices on the island were on a tear, rising faster than neighboring Nantucket. However, since a big rally in 2010, real estate values on the Vineyard, known for its  colorful mix of celebrities, writers and artists, have bumped around, rising and falling.

No more. Nantucket is now by far the hottest of the two islands when it comes to real estate values. The median price on the buttoned-down summer home for the nation’s corporate elite hit $1.1 million during the first six months of 2014, up more than 24 percent.

Wall Street gets the last laugh?


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Boston Condo Record


Boston Condo Goes for Record

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis

Four Seasons, luxuryboston.jpg


A condo sold at the Four Seasons came close to hitting the $3,000 a square foot mark.

That’s the word from Kevin Ahearn, chief executive of one of downtown Boston’s leading luxury marketing and condo sales firm.

Unit 1201 at the Four Seasons, fetched $10.5 million back in May in a quiet deal involving only a few brokers.

The final sale price weighed in at $2,908 square feet for the four-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath penthouse.

That’s the highest amount paid to date, on a per-square-foot basis, for a Boston condo, Ahearn believes.

“Big jumps in pricing are occurring,” Ahearn said. “We don’t see any slowdown, in fact we see an acceleration.”

At 3,525 square feet, the Four Seasons condo is the size of a large suburban home, but with with upper floor views of the Back Bay and Public Garden.

Given just a few months ago all the hype in the market was about a few units that managed to break the $2,000-a-square-foot mark, Boston condo prices are clearly on a tear.

The Four Season penthouse was last sold in back in the summer of 2000 for $6.3 million – some pretty decent price appreciation there.

“It is indicative of very significant upward pressure on prices,” Ahearn said.

Well you can say that again.


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New Listing Of The Week

28 Nickerson St is a gorgeous newer construction single family house in the West End. It has 3 bedrooms and 3 baths with 1,705 sf and is being marketed for $1.459M.


28 Nickerson 1









MLS COPY: West End 2013 New Construction designed with careful attention to detail, built by Cape Associates, Inc. This beautiful 3 bedroom, 3 bath home has a HERS 5+Star rating for energy efficiency, 3 zone heating and cooling, propane on demand hot water, generator and surge protection. Exterior features include professional landscaping and irrigation system, 2 car cobblestone driveway and paths, low maintenance Azek trim and Ipe hardwood decking, dipped cedar shingles, enclosed outdoor shower. Interior features include Anderson windows, red birch flooring and high end finishes including Wolf dual fuel range, Subzero refrigeration, Miele dishwasher, Waterworks and Kallista kitchen, wet bar, bath fixtures and a full basement. A perfect home for entertaining complete with screened-in porch and sun deck off master bedroom.


28 Nickerson 2

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28 Nickerson 5







This wonderful home is in the West End north of Bradford Street in the charming neighborhood bordered by Franklin Street and West Vine Street.




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Dream House Listing Of The Week – Provincetown

9 Creek Round Hill Road is a 6,100 square foot 4 bedroom 4 bath home perched above the Moors on Creek Round Hill Road. It is being marketed for $3.150M.


creek 4








MLS COPY: Breathtaking views, impeccable grounds & a care-free resort-like atmosphere captures the essence of this newly renovated Provincetown contemporary with a mid-century flair. This 6000+ SF home offers a rare retreat w/state of the art amenities. The 45 foot living, dining and gourmet kitchen area is dramatic with a wall of windows looking out to the gorgeous views of Cape Cod Bay, Wood End Light & the ocean. Everything is brand new: systems, windows, roof, exterior cedar shingles, landscaping, irrigation, security, pool, decking, generator & more. The master suite & guest suites upstairs take full advantage of the views, & both have decks & en-suite baths. An additional guest suite on the garden level enjoys its own entrance and living area. Plenty of recreation space, with a game room, screening room, and stunning salt water heated pool.


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Certainly the jewel of Creek Round Hill Road, this home has been renovated beautifully and provides the best in Provincetown living.

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S&P Case Shiller Composite: Prices Up 9.3%

Growth continues to cool

20-city index shows yearly price growth dropped to single digits in May

Teke WigginStaff Writer INMAN NEWS

Yearly growth in U.S. home prices continued to slow in May, but still remained well above average.

The S&P/Case Shiller 20-City Composite Index showed prices rising 9.3 percent year over year in May, down from 10.8 percent in April. Annual price gains slowed in May for all cities tracked by the index besides Charlotte and Tampa.

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic
Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic
Still, prices climbed 1.1 percent month over month in May, with all 20 cities posting monthly increases for the second straight month.

Tampa registered the highest monthly price gain (1.8 percent), followed by San Francisco (1.6 percent) and Chicago (1.5 percent). Phoenix and San Diego were the only cities to show monthly increases of less than 1 percent in May, with gains of 0.4 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.

The picture changes when adjusting for seasonal factors.

After factoring in the spring’s typical influence on home prices, prices decreased 0.3 percent month over month in May, with only six out of 20 cities showing gains.


Home to seven of the top eight cities showing the most annual price growth, the Sun Belt continued to lead price gains.

Despite seeing their annual price growth decrease by 2 to 3 percentage points, Las Vegas (16.9 percent) and San Francisco (15.4 percent) still posted the largest annual price increases.

The other cities that showed double-digit annual gains were: Miami (13.2 percent), San Diego (12.4 percent), Los Angeles (12.3 percent), Detroit (11.9 percent), Atlanta (11.2 percent), Tampa (10.2 percent) and Portland (10 percent).

Expanding home inventory has helped cool home prices in recent months. Economists generally view the trend as favorable because it will keep prices from rising too quickly, which hurts affordability and reduces buyers’ options.