Are mortgage rates really going to jump this year?

At the start of each of the last two or three years we have been warned that mortgage rates were likely to increase, possibly sharply, in the coming year. Last year, when the Fed announced that it was thinking of ending its purchase of mortgage-backed securities, there was indeed a sharp jump, but since then rates have dropped back again.

So far this year the yield on the US 10 year Treasury, the main determinant of the 30 year fixed rate mortgage, has dropped from 3% to 2.5% and mortgage rates have followed, with the rate reaching 4.12% in Freddie Mac’s latest weekly survey. The same geopolitical factors (that would be Russia’s expansionist activities) that have sparked renewed buying of US Treasuries are also restraining economic growth in Europe. There are no signs of renewed inflationary pressures.

Against that background, the yield of 2.5% on 10 year Treasuries compares favourably with that in Germany, 1.4%,or Japan, 0.6%, with only the UK at 2.6% offering a comparable return.

While it is hard to see the reason for mortgage rates to rise, it is also worth bearing in mind that we remain very close to all-time lows. I am including a chart of rates over the last year together with one going back to 1971. (more…)

…and here come the buyers

Last week I commented Here come the sellers on the wave of new houses hitting the market and asked if the buyers were ready. Well, this week we got the answer. Read on to find out what it was. Here is a table showing the number of Single Family Homes (SFHs) which received an accepted offer in recent periods: (more…)

Is the housing boom coming to your Town?

The Boston Globe this week published an article Boston and beyond – another housing boom may be bigger than the last showing that the median price of a home in Cambridge was now 30% above the previous peak in 2005 and suggesting that the boom was starting to move out further from Boston.

In my article this week  –and here come the buyers I show how prices in Marblehead have a shot this year at getting back to peak levels. I continue to believe that the strength of the housing market will encourage buyers to trade up to higher levels again, now that they can be more confident that the market is on firmer ground. And the top end continues to see increased activity, with another $3 million plus house receiving an accepted offer this week. (more…)

Oceanfront homes package in Marblehead and Cayman Islands

If you need to be based in New England but want to be able to escape the worst of the winters, this package of an oceanfront house (plus carriage house, ideal for guests or as a weekend retreat) in Marblehead and a beachfront, ground floor condo (including turnkey, professionally managed rental program) at Rum Point in Grand Cayman, could be just the thing for you.

Click Marblehead Estate for details of the Marblehead property and Paradise on the Beach for the Cayman condo.

For information about buying both properties contact Andrew Oliver, 617.834.8205 or

Retreat_beach (more…)

Marblehead housing inventory suggests prices will continue to rise

Sales of Single Family Homes (SFHs) for the first four months of the year were 49 compared with 54 a year ago, while condo sales were 11 against last year’s low figure of 6.

Both the sales breakdown and inventory suggest that the market will continue to strengthen in Marblehead this year. (more…)

Spring housing inventory points to strong market

With increasing signs that the brutal winter weather disguised the fact that the economy is actually strengthening quite strongly, buyers hoping that the spring selling season would see an increase in inventory are, so far, being disappointed.

Yes, there are more properties coming onto the market each week, but the inventory, at under 4 months’ supply in Essex County for both Single Family Homes(SFHs) and condos, reflects a sellers’ market as 6 months of supply is generally regarded as representing a market in equilibrium.

The following tables show the months of supply for each town, Essex County and Massachusetts, for both SFHs and condos; and the inventory by price in Essex County. (more…)

Is this the best app for finding real estate for sale?

I may, of course, be a little biased but I recommend the Sotheby’s International Realty app.
Text HARBORSIDE to 877-78 and download the app.
Type in a zip code and all properties for sale will pop up.
At the top right is a MAP – tap that and you get a map showing what is available and details of those properties.
Pretty cool. (more…)