Listed for $550,000; sold for $630,000

The above example appeared in a Wednesday Boston Globe article Boston-area house hunters face bidding battles.
– The sale referred to above took place in Cambridge.
– In Jamaica Plain a buyer bid 12% above a condo’s asking price.
– reported that 89% of Cambridge deals this year involved multiple bids.
– A friend who owns a multi family in Boston’s South End has received three unsolicited offers in the last month, and I have reported earlier about the chronic shortage of condos for sale in Boston.

The market on the North Shore tends to lag behind Boston, but there are already signs that buyers here are feeling the pressure of increased competition for the small number of properties available for sale. I have reported before on multiple bid situations over the asking price in the last few weeks. (more…)

Small Business Owner: buy with only 10% down


257 Washington Street – next to 5 Corners Kitchen!

Less expensive than leasing!

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Attractive entrance: brick pathway and vestibule
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Mike Cannuscio, Managing Partner

Real estate market remains red hot

Perhaps more important than the actual numbers – which show a continuing recovery in home prices and sales – is the tone of commentary on the announcements.

The headline above was the Associated Press’s headline of a story about this week’s data for existing home sales.
Read Article to see the data

The New York Times, referring to single family housing starts, used “Housing, ailing for years, start to recuperate”
Read article

The Wharton Public Policy Initiative pointed out that “Housing starts to Give Promising News for Economic Recovery”
Read article

How much will home prices increase in the next decade?

According to a Bloomberg report, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) more than doubled its forecast for U.S. home price gains in 2013 to 7 percent this week, and predicts a more than 14 percent increase through 2015. Bank of America Corp. (BAC) said last week property values will jump 8 percent this year, up from a prior estimate of 4.7 percent in a report titled “Someone say house party?”

I have previously written that I expect any surprise in 2013 to be on the upside. I also reported a recent open house in Marblehead on a snowy and blustery day when 30 people showed up and multiple offers were received. Then last week before a new property came on the open market it received several offers above the asking price.

What every oceanfront property buyer should do NOW

Some oceanfront houses get battered by storms time and time again, while others remain unscathed.

What is the difference?

Largely, it is a question of the direction the house faces and the protection – or lack of it – from the elements, mainly water and wind.

If you are looking for an oceanfront property, what you should do this weekend is get in your car and drive around the areas in which you are interested. And take a compass with you (I find the compass on my iPhone unreliable).

FHA announcements raise costs, lower defaults

In a letter to Sen. Corker, FHA Commissioner Carol Galante committed to “aggressive action”, including raising minimum credit score requirements, raising downpayment requirements on jumbo-sized loans, and restricting access to FHA mortgages after a foreclosure.
The FHA changes may impede your ability to get a loan beginning April 1, 2013. March 10, 2013

Letter to Sen.Corker

Is this why the housing market is heating up?

The stock market hit an all-time high this week, unemployment dropped to 7.7%, and the Federal Reserve reported that Americans have regained the $16 trillion in wealth lost during the Great Recession.

In contrast, home prices nationally remain, depending on the index, up to 30% below peak levels, while mortgage rates are at all-time lows.

Plus, as I reported last week, home ownership between 2004 and 0212 declined by 3.6% or some 4 million households.

Add to that an historically low level of houses for sale, and what do you get?

In classical economic theory, the relation between supply and demand determines the price of a commodity. As demand for an item increases, prices rise. When manufacturers respond to the price increase by producing a larger supply of that item, this increases competition and drives the price down

Demand is up and increasing
Supply is at historic lows
New housing starts remain well below “normal” levels and can’t be increased quickly

Based on the above, where do you think prices are headed in 2013?

Associated Press; March 7, 2013

WASHINGTON — It took five years, but surging stock prices and steady home-price increases have finally allowed Americans to regain the $16 trillion in wealth they lost to the Great Recession.

The most important website for first time and Veteran homebuyers

For many first time home buyers the process can seem intimidating, but information available on the internet can help the buyer become well informed and able to be in control of the process.

This website North Shore Home Programs provides a remarkable amount of information, ranging from a step-by-step guide to home buying, to a list of programs available to help with down payments.

The greatest gift of the internet is the way it empowers the consumer through knowledge. Spending a little time on this website, and then googling “first time home buyer”, will go a long way to giving power to you, the buyer.

Knowledge helps to remove intimidation from the process of buying your first home.

Foreclosure activity in Massachusetts continues to drop

Foreclosure petitions down 30%
Foreclosure deeds down 63%
Foreclosure auction announcements down 80%

The Warren Group; March 5, 2013

Read article

“Local housing market, packed with eager buyers, is desperately seeking home sellers”

If you have been reading my articles in the last couple of months it will come as no surprise to read today’s front page article in the Boston Globe about the severe shortage of homes for sale. While this article is written about Boston it applies just as much to our North Shore communities.

The message is clear: if you have been waiting to sell, wait no longer! And if you have been thinking of buying or trading up, wait no longer! (more…)

Home ownership in MA exceeds national average for first time ever in 2012

It came as a shock to me to discover that home ownership in MA had trailed overall numbers for the US ever since 1900 – until 2012 that is.

First look at this table from 1900 to 2010:

Home Ownership_1900_2010Source: US Census Bureau (more…)

There is no housing bubble. Really?

When I saw this headline I wondered if I had done a mini Rip van Winkle and fallen asleep for a few years. But no, it was a headline this week in an article read here referring to Southern California.

As America appears to be ready to go on a national diet after many years of super-sizing I found myself wondering if housing terminology were going through a similar metamorphosis. (more…)

Is it time to trade up?

Last Sunday, as you may recall, was a cold, snowy, stormy day. Harborside had a new listing and planned an open house, but the broker wondered whether anybody would venture out in the snow. Should he cancel the open house? He decided to go ahead and see if anybody would show up.

Um. Some 30 people “showed up” and the result was multiple offers for the property. (more…)

Boston condo sales booming

There were just 500 condos for sale in Boston at the end of January, yet 421 condos had accepted offers in the last 30 days. That means supply is not much more than one month! Read this article to find out what is going on.

David Bates Bates By the Numbers
Full Story

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
Full Story