One of the surprises to me this year has been the relatively low level of activity in Marblehead waterfront property. I know there is quite a lot of supply, but with the top end hitting new highs in Boston and other cities it does seem that there is an opportunity to buy wonderful property at a great price. As my attorney said to me when I closed on my house many years ago: “they can’t make any more waterfront”.
Recently a beautifully elegant waterfront property came on the market for $1 million below its Assessed Value. The house does need some updating – and I know from personal experience how much it can cost to restore an old house – but if you are in the market for a traditional, New England waterfront property, this is well worth a look.
I’d love to tell you more about this house but apparently it would be a breach of ethics for me to do so as I might be deemed to be recommending a property listed by another Realtor. Go figure.
While there may appear at first glance to be a lot of waterfront homes for sale at the moment, the detailed analysis that a buyer at this level would undertake quickly shows that there are several different categories, by location, condition and style for example, that whittle the number down rapidly when a buyer’s criteria are considered.
And as I point out in another post this morning, the buyers at the upper end are active elsewhere. Surely the delights of summer on the water in Marblehead will attract buyers soon!
In April the number of Single Family Homes (SFHs) sold in Marblehead was 23 against 17 last year, bring the Year To Date number to 54 compared with 44 last year,
As of May 1 there were 58 SFHs with an accepted offer. Were all these to close by June 30 – which they won’t, but others not yet with an accepted offer will – total sales for the first half of the year would be around 110.
Last year’s sales reached 229, the highest total since the extraordinary 285 of 2004. We are unlikely to challenge the 2004 level but we do seem to be moving back into the 220-240 range of the early 2000s.
Condo sales so far are 6 against 7. A further 8 had accepted offers as of May 1. At this stage it seems quite likely that sales will not match last year’s 42.
For the 17 North Shore cities and towns I track, sales of SFHs increased 6% for the first four months of the year while condo sales were up 12%.
Using the same data as in previous months, the inventory of Single Family Homes (SFHs) remained pretty steady at 4.6 months supply as of May 1, compared with 4.5 months at April 1. For condos, supply increased from 5.0 months to 5.5 months.
April sees a flood of new properties coming to market for the peak spring selling season so an increase in supply is normal. In actual numbers, there wee 725 SFHs available (that is without an accepted offer) compared with 623 a month earlier, while there were 346 available condos, up from 292 a month earlier.
These numbers make the point that while the absorption rate remains high, there are now more properties available for sale, as one would expect at this time of year.
I am not publishing the tables I have shown in recent months because I have decided to change my methodology. I have been using the Last 3 Months for calculating absorption rates and hence how many months of supply is represented by the available properties. The problem with that is that is that it makes no allowance for seasonality. For example, April’s number of homes for sale – the start of spring selling – was compared with actual sales in January- March, the slowest quarter of the year.
For this month I am using the Last 12 Months believing that this will smooth out some of the seasonality. It’s not perfect, but then neither is the weather in New England and that’s the real cause of the seasonality.
Using L12M, the inventory for SFHs drops to just 3.6 months, with Peabody under 2, and several under 3. Here is the table:
Similarly, condo supply drops to 4.4 months, with Salem, the largest condo market, being one of the tightest. Here’s the condo table:
The equation is unchanged: low inventory + low mortgage rates = higher prices.
Open House Sunday for Waterfront, updated 3820 sq.ft. Colonial with private dock in park-like setting of nearly an acre
36 Crestwood Road $1,375,000
West Shore Drive to Shorewood Road to Pinecliff Drive to Crestwood Road
Open House tomorrow, April 28, 12:30 to 2:30.
Click here for full details
As some of you know, I have been close to bombs in the past, while living in London during the IRA’s campaign and also with the World Trade Center.
I am a firm believer in not allowing terrorists to prevent us from living our lives, although necessarily certain changes have to be made. As the British war-time motto, now popular again, said: “Keep Calm and Carry On.” We will NEVER let terrorists win, however long the fight.
I also look forward to the day when Marathon runners who were stopped are invited back to complete their run.
In honor of the victims, and in prayerful thanks to our law enforcement officials – and the residents of Boston – for their steadfast efforts, I shall pause in my real estate writings and today post only the link to Boston Strong t-shirts ($15 of the $20 purchase price is donated to the One Fund) and to the Fund itself.
Please give generously.
As I read this editorial Can We Afford Another Housing Boom? in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, the refrain of “Oh when will they ever learn, oh when will they ever learn?” from “Where have all the flowers gone?” by Pete Seeger (although I was hearing the Peter, Paul and Mary version), came into my head.
Some people may be surprised that the WSJ should be a critic of policies aimed at driving home prices higher, but I think what the Journal is trying to point out is that government-sponsored social engineering of the housing market is exactly what played such a large role in the last boom and bust cycle.
There are several variations of the following quote but as an Englishman I will use Winston Churchill’s: “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
“Oh when will they ever learn, oh when will they ever learn?”
With foreclosure rates dropping sharply, and the likelihood that rising home prices nationally and other measures will prevent many of those entering the process actually going into foreclosure, this Evansville Courier
article is a good summary of a recent report from Realty Trac.
Here is the RealtyTrac article Foreclosure market report
The first quarter is usually the slowest of the year for sales and that pattern continued in 2013. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. As the quarter went on, activity accelerated as I have reported in several posts.
Sales were 31 vs 27 (29 vs 24 excluding distressed sales), and the median price $497,000, up 6% from last year’s depressed level, caused by the high percentage of sales under $500,000.
The most significant statistic from Q1 is the Assessed to Sale Ratio, which compares Assessed Values to Sales Prices. When sales take place above AV, the ASR is below 100%. So the lower the number the better the market! In my year rend review Read Review I pointed out that the ASR had declined during the year for SFH sales under $500,000.
Look now at the data for Q1.
We have seen quite a sharp drop in the ASR in all price ranges. Bear in mind this data refers to just 29 sales that closed in Q1, which means sales agreed late last year into early this.
At the end of March there were a further 46 houses with an accepted offer and these, which will be in Q2 numbers, will reflect the stronger market seen in recent weeks.
Is the Federal Reserve’s success in driving down interest rates giving the housing market a sugar high?
This is the question posed by Nick Timiraos today in the Wall Street Journal online.
Reasons for the strength in home prices include:
– Inventories have fallen to 20 year lows
– Many homeowners aren’t willing – or able – to sell at prices that are, nationally, still down sharply from 2006 highs
– Demand has revved up
– Improving home-price expectations have unleashed pent up demand, as household formation in the last five years was lower than at any period since the 1960s
Result? Prices are rising as buyers say “If I’m going to get in I better get in now”.
Is this the beginning of another bubble? Not according to the experts quoted in Timiraos’ article, as prices are still below long-run averages relative to income.
I covered several of these points in my post on March 17:
How Much Will Home Prices Increase this Year
Here’s Nick’s article in full.
Jump in Housing Prices Stirs New Worry