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Real Estate Week In Review

Its February and you wouldn’t know it. There is no snow! Even better than that, the market is interestingly active.

The South End office had 7 under agreements this week. Our under agreements ranged from a property listed at $277K to one listed at $1,599K. Two under agreements over a million, 3 between $500K and $1M, and 2 under $500K.  This excites me more than anything. There is activity in all price ranges, and from what I hear around the office there are very serious buyers out there in all these price ranges just waiting for some good inventory.

 

The talk remains about the lack of inventory in all downtown neighborhoods. Available inventory is at an all time low of 2.23 months in the South End, and in certain price bands there is even less. The lack of inventory and strong buyer activity is creating many multiple offer situations. This is not mentioned to gin up excitement by any means but in order to maintain this early and healthy level of activity we do need additional inventory.

Some agents are even wondering if that winter vacation is such a good idea, as there is so much going on! I say go! Engage your coverage options and take a break as this early activity is boding well for a decent and busy Spring.

We had a great “robust” office meeting talking about the need to focus on a business plan and the need to utilize all the resources available in order to execute the plan, and of course the lack of snow and inventory. We had a fun agent and friends networking night out at Game On in the Fenway on Groundhog Day. I saw a post on fb this morning saying that Puxatony Phil is not a meteorologist and what the hell does he know anyway? 6 more weeks of winter? Hope not!

That’s it from here.

 

 

 

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Buyers Best Practices

Preparing to jump into the buyer pool in 2012? Below are Ilyce Glink’s tried and true steps. Ilyce is the home Equity Blogger from CBS Money Watch. Her advice is spot on. Steps 1-3 are just good financial practices. I think number 4 is the most important, and not because I am a realtor, but because the team you chose to surround yourself with to advise you in the biggest purchase of your life is paramount to a successful and profitable transaction.  Oy!..I could tell you stories about mismatched home buyer teams, and I probably will.

1. Pull a copy of your credit history and credit score. Mortgage lenders have become extremely conservative and restrictive in deciding which mortgages will get funded. Lenders will pull credit scores from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and Trans-Union) and then use the middle score to determine your loans interest rate and terms. You need to know that information ahead of time. Go to AnnualCreditReport.com and receive a free copy of your credit history and then pay for your credit score (about $9). You can also go to each credit reporting bureau or MyFico.com and purchase a copy of your credit history and score, if you’ve already used up your freebies.

2. Practice good credit behavior. Lenders regard borrowers with credit scores above 780 as their best customers. Unless your credit score is above that level, you should work on eliminating any errors, and practicing good credit behavior so that your credit score rises. The best thing you can do? Pay your bills on time and in full each month. The next-best thing you can do is maintain four open and active lines of credit. Each credit reporting bureau offers good credit behavior tips for free on its website, or you can go to MyFico.com. (Full disclosure: I contribute real estate posts to the Equifax Finance Blog, where Equifax’s credit experts blog about credit trends and information.)

3. Shop around for the best loan. Even though the federal government is backing more than 90 percent of all the loans through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA and USDA, it pays to shop around. Make sure you talk to at least four or five lenders before you sign your application, including a “big box” lender, a small local lender, a credit union, a mortgage broker and an online lender. Use the information you glean from each lender to negotiate a great deal for yourself. Yes, you are allowed to negotiate with lenders and ask them to give you a better deal.

4. Create a great home buying team. Whether you’re buying investment property or a home to live in, you’ll want to create a team of real estate professionals who can help you find the right property, at the right price, on the right terms, without any headaches. The team should include a great real estate agent, mortgage lender, real estate attorney, tax preparer (with experience in investment real estate if you plan on buying real estate as an investment) and real estate inspector to start. Residential real estate investors will want to add a 1031 exchange professional and commercial inspector (if appropriate) to the mix.

Having the right team in place will go a long way toward making your dream of homeownership come true.

by Ilyce Glink, RE journalist, home equity blogger @ CBS Money Watch

 

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analytics general info

2012 Housing Outlook. Compare And Contrast

In its latest economic outlook, NAR released its forecast figures for 2012. In attempting to bring it all right back home to what it means to us, I will compare and contrast these national figures with those here at home.

I have used MLSPIN data including all Boston neighborhoods for this post. MLSPIN groups all Boston neighborhoods together from South Boston to Back Bay to Dorchester and the Waterfront. This  broad data representation compares more effectively with broad national and regional data, in other words apples to apples, vs a more micro comparison with core downtown neighborhoods, which I will do in future posts.

NAR projects that new-home sales fell 5.9 percent in 2011 to 303,000, but will rise 16.2 percent in 2012 to 352,000 and jump a whopping 53.4 percent in 2013 to 540,000. National new home sales figures have less to do with our local market in that they represent such a small portion of it, but national and regional new home sales figures do drive attitudes and consumer confidence in general.

Existing-home sales, which we will use as the figure better relating  to our marketplace, fell 3.7 percent in 2010 from 2009 to 4.18 million units, according to NAR’s rebenchmarked figures. In 2011, final sales figures are expected to rise 1.7 percent to 4.25 million. In 2012, NAR predicts sales will jump 4.7 percent to 4.45 million with a further 5.2 percent increase to 4.68 million in 2013. The total number of condominiums sold in Boston in 2011 was 3,519, a 5% decrease from 3,713 sold in 2010.  The consensus varies for unit sales increases projected for 2012 but an allover 5% increase in units while not a consensus figure seems realistic to me relative to NAR’s 4.7% projected increase.

This year’s median price for new-home sales was an estimated $222,800, a slight 0.8 percent rise from 2010. NAR expects the median will rise 1.9 percent to $227,000 in 2012 followed by a projected 3.3 percent increase to $234,500 in 2013.

NAR expects the median price for existing homes to drop 4.4 in 2011 to $165,200. Nevertheless, NAR predicts prices will subsequently rise 2 percent in 2012 to $168,500 and another 2 percent in 2013 to $171,800. Median price for condos sold in Boston in 2011 was $380,000, a 3% increase over $369,000 in 2010. The average sale price in Boston for condominiums in 2011 was $535,000 a 3% increase from $520,000 in 2010.

For the first time, NAR forecasts rent inflation, predicting rents have risen 2 percent from 2010 this year and will rise 3 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively, in 2012 and 2013. We will hear more on this from Briggs Johnson my rental contributor in future posts.

 

 

 

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analytics general info trends

Solid Year End For Downtown Boston

I love getting my hands on “hot off the presses” year-end sales results from MLSPIN, the real estate industry’s data platform.  I have written in prior posts that the South End and the $1M+ markets in particular have fared well in 2011.  Well, the good new continues as we look at initial year-end data.

Boston’s core downtown neighborhoods showed strength and resiliency in 2011.  As a group of neighborhoods including Back Bay, Midtown, South End, Bay Village, Beacon Hill, Charlestown, Fenway, Seaport, Waterfront and the North End, the median condo sales price in 2011 was $545K,  up 1% from 2010. The average condo sales price $769K, was down only 2% year over year. Total sales units were 1727 vs 1707 an increase of 1%.  This is an important number as most of the year we had been up against the inflated sales numbers caused by the tax credit through spring 2010. Total core downtown neighborhood sales volume was even with 2010 at $1,329M. (That’s One Billion and three hundred twenty-nine thousand dollars in condo sales.)

When you look at all of Boston neighborhood’s*, including the core downtown neighborhoods and others from Allston/Brighton, Chinatown, South Boston, Dorchester, Roslindale, to W. Roxbury, the average median sale price for condos was $380K which was up 3%. The average sales price was $535K, up 3%.

These preliminary figures reflect  a market that remains consistently strong, and resilient. We are extremely fortunate to be living in Boston, and experiencing a relatively strong market where opportunity exists whether you are buying or selling. Boston is a great place to be in 2012.

*MLSPIN groups all these neighborhoods under Boston when doing a general “Boston” search.

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Bill Farmer Joins Beachfront Realty in Provincetown

With over 25 years of experience, Bill Farmer has made the move to Provincetown where he will continue helping buyers and sellers with all their outer Cape Cod and Boston real estate needs.

Bob O’Malley, broker/owner of Beachfront Realty says, “I’m so excited to have Bill on board. I really appreciate his years of professionalism, honesty and integrity. Please stop by, say hello and help us welcome Bill to Beachfront Realty.”

“I’m thrilled to be selling real estate in Provincetown after assisting buyers and sellers in Boston and Minneapolis for so many years,” adds Bill Farmer. Bill can be reached at 617.823.2444 or by email at [email protected].