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…)
The final transmission to the New England power grid is scheduled for 1 second before midnight tonight. The message, according to the Salem News article What next for Salem Power Plant?, will be, in effect: “closed for business.”
According to the Salem News, this is what we can expect to happen in the coming months:
– for about six weeks, the grounds will be made safe – draining oil from machines, disconnecting electricity – for the demolition contractor
– around mid-July sound-proofing fencing will be erected near Derby Street and the demolition of the plant, starting with the oil tanks, will start
– the smokestack that once served units 1-3 will come down, followed by the taller one
– the demolition crew will work roughly south to north along the harbor, and the main plant building will be one of the last things to be demolished
According to Kathy Winn of the Salem Planning department, the deep-water coal dock will be revamped to accommodate cruise ships, the first of which is scheduled to arrive in mid-October. (more…)
On a(nother) dreary Saturday morning, let’s take ourselves away and look at trends in luxury home sale listings. This table shows the changes in terms used in listings of luxury homes (those listed at 4 or more times the median price for their area) from 2012 to 2013 according to Trulia.
Overall, the trend shows increased emphasis on “expansive windows, great views and fitness amenities” and away from “indoor cooking and eating.” (more…)
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…)
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…)
Each week in Marblehead – and in some other surrounding towns – there is a Broker Tour of new houses coming to the market. This is when selling brokers have the opportunity to show their listings to other agents so that they can recommend the property to their buyers.
It is also a gauge of how much new supply there is. As the spring selling season gears up one would expect the number of listings to increase. It has. And this week there were 18 new Single Family (SFH) and 5 new condo listings on the Tour.It was a hectic morning dashing round to see as many as possible! (more…)
I have written Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that the best solution for the housing market would be to make sure that Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac(FRE) returned to their core mission of providing liquidity to the housing market. They got away from that mission during the boom and Congress, in typical knee jerk fashion, decided to shut them down – with no plan to replace them, other than a vague hope that the “private sector” would step in.
Well, that hasn’t happened, and this week Mel Watt, the recently appointed head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which oversees FNM/FRE, reversed course on some of the new mortgage rules amid concern that they would hinder the housing market recovery. Mr. Watt went further and said:” I don’t think it is FHFA’s role to contract the footprint of Fannie and Freddie.” Winding down the companies without clear proof that private investors are willing to step in “would be irresponsible.” (more…)
In a number of posts over the last year I have suggested that with the stock market at an all time high it made sense for wealthy investors to turn their attention to real estate. And that now seems to be happening. (more…)
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.
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…)
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…)
Luxury condos are “flying off the market” according to the Globe article. It cites Millennium Place, which opened last fall, with 256 condos priced from $550,000 to $3.5 million. The last condo sold two weeks ago. Next up, Millennium Tower, which opened its sales registration portal this week. (more…)