January Pending Home Sales up again in Massachusetts

Properties under agreement in January increased 18% from a year ago for SFHs and 22% for condos. In both cases January was the 21st straight month of year over year increases.

Massachusetts Association of Realtors; February 12, 2013
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Why numbers do matter – but so does a good agent

In my new career as a Realtor I recently attended a class on using the data in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). Two comments struck me. The first came from an agent of more than 20 years’ experience who said:  “I know my market; I don’t need data to tell me what a house is worth.”

The second came when the agents present were asked what they had been taught to say in response to the question: “how’s the market?” I was almost deafened as those present (this was a continuing education class) shouted out words like “great” and “terrific”. To which the instructor wryly commented that that was how Realtors got a bad name. (more…)

Where have all the sellers gone?

Buyers are out there, but sales are being held back because of a shortage of supply. If you are thinking of selling you don’t have to wait until the traditional spring market.

Conventional wisdom is that a market is in balance when the inventory represents about 6 months of sales.Currently, for the North Shore as a whole, supply is just 3.2 months for SFHs and 3.7 months for condos. What does this mean? (more…)

Boston Condo Market Soars

According to LINK, a firm that analyzes Boston real estate, sales rose 29% in 2012 while the median price reached a record high.

Boston Globe February 2, 2013
Bston condo market soars

National Year End Housing Data

Last week’s publication of year end confirmed that 2012 was the year of recovery in the nation’s housing market. Here are the key data:

Existing home sales reached 4.65 million, up 9.2% from 2011, and the highest volume since 2007

Total inventory, or houses for sale, fell to 1.82 million, or 4.4 months of supply, the lowest since May 2005. Inventory is down 21.6% from a year ago, when the supply was 6.4 months.

The median price was $180,800 in December, up 11.5% from a year ago: 10.9% for SFHs and 16% for condos. For the year overall the median price increased 6.3%.

Distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – accounted for 24% of sales in December, down from 32% a year ago. Foreclosures sold at an average discount of 17% and short sales 16%, according to NAR.

New homes sales: 367,000, up 19.9% from 2011.

The median new home price was $243,600, up 7.2% from 2011.

30 year mortgage rate: 3.35% in December, down from 3.96% a year ago.

Sources: National Association of Realtors; Commerce Department; Freddie Mac

Marblehead 2012 housing review and 2013 outlook

People often ask: how’s the market? Well, there rarely is one “market”. The answer can vary by price (the under $500,000 market may be active while another price range is less so) and location (quiet wooded cul-de-sac versus busy main road).

This review of 2012 SFHs will follow my usual pattern of breaking down 2012 sales by price range, as well as looking forward to 2013.

And as so often, detailed analysis of the data reveals some surprising conclusions. Let’s get started. (more…)

Marblehead condo market 2012 review: apples and oranges

Any claim that “the condo market” in Marblehead is doing this or that should be treated with caution.

As I have commented many times, there are two main condo markets in Marblehead: purpose built condos like Glover Landing, Adams House, Oliver’s Pond, Marblehead Highlands, etc; and old 2/3 family houses that were ‘condo-ed” in the boom years.

The former category has seen prices hold up well, while the latter has suffered. And the overall market is so small that very often there are large price gaps between sales, making median prices even less meaningful.

Nevertheless, by digging deep into the numbers I can explain what is actually happening in the market, and it’s not what the headline number suggests.

So let’s get to the numbers. (more…)

Boston real estate market looks good to Asian investors

The South China Morning Post (Hong Kong’s leading daily) has just published an article on Boston’s real estate market.

The founder of IP Global, a HK based international property investment company, is quoted: “Boston benefits from a strong local economy supported by growth industries such as technology, education, healthcare and bio-tech. Buoyed by strong demand and low inventory levels, the city is likely to see continued price and rental growth over the long term.”

Luna Management Group, a real estate services firm catering to Asian investors, also lists Boston as one of the three key US cities for Chinese buyers to consider, given its stable economy, advanced technology, and “advantageous polices, regulation and incentives on taxes”.

North Shore cities and towns should benefit from the ripple effect as the Boston market continues its expected recovery.

Read the full article: Boston regains Favour

How many million dollar homes sold in Marblehead last year?

The answer is 26, up from 24 in 2011. The highest price MLS sale was $4.1 million. At the start of 2013 a house listed at $4.75 million went under agreement.
If the past is any guide, then 2013 should see increased demand at the top end.
Here are the numbers:

MHD_SFH_$1 million_plus_2009_12

Mortgage Rates forecast to rise 1% by end of 2013

In my November 27 article Refinancing – don’t make just the minimum payment I wrote: “Don’t assume that rates will either go lower still or that they will necessarily stay this low for as long as the Federal Reserve is currently saying. If the economy does strengthen from here, interest rates my move up sooner than expected.”

The Mortgage Bankers Association has just issued a forecast that mortgage rates will increase gradually as the economy improves and finish around 4.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013.

More reason to consider buying NOW!

Massachusetts pending home sales up 25% in 2012

Another indication of the recovery in the housing market in 2012 comes with the release of pending sales for Massachusetts. For the year pending sales of single family homes rose 25% and of condos 26%.
December was the 20th consecutive month of year over year increases.
Massachusetts Association of Realtors January 8, 2013

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Fannie Mae Housing Survey shows expectations of rise in home prices and mortgage rates in 2013

Consumer confidence in the housing sector grew last month, marked by continued positive attitudes toward home price, rental price, and mortgage rate expectations, according to Fannie Mae’s December National Housing Survey results. The growing belief held by Americans that these housing indicators will climb in 2013 may inspire a boost in home purchase activity during the coming months.
Listen to a podcast:Fannie Mae housing-survey-podcast-010713
or read the surveyFannie Mae December 2012 national housing survey

Another way to show the breakdown of Marblehead Single Family sales in 2012

Here’s another way to look at SFH sales in 2012:

First, by percentage. Note that the % of sales above $750k went up from 2011 to 2012, but that below $750k there was a marked shift from the $500-749k range to below $499k. (more…)

Big Papi strikes Marblehead housing market again

My 2009 mid-year review published in the Marblehead Reporter described the phenomenon that the local real estate market was like David Ortiz’s season: starting so poorly that even with great numbers later in the season the year’s median price would still be quite low.
Well 2012 was much like 2009, at least for the local real estate market (Big Papi himself, courtesy of a new diet and/or because he was entering a contract year, hit 318). (more…)

2013 starts with very low housing inventory

After a stronger sales year in 2012 on the North Shore – sales were up 18% for SFHs and 23% for condos -2013 starts with very low levels of inventory, echoing a trend being seen across the country.

Nationally, the latest figures for November show supply at 4.5 months of average sales.

Locally, the market appears even tighter, with just 3 months of supply of SFHs and 3.7 months for condos at the beginning of the year.