US energy boom may be long-term positive for real estate

Growing US competitive advantage
This Financial Times article Cheap energy is the new cheap labour highlights the growing competitive advantage of the US over Europe as a result of the shale boom (the US is forecast to become the world’s largest oil producer in 2015.)

Oil price slump hurts country budgets
OPEC decided this week not to cut production as a way of trying to halt the slump in oil prices, down some 30% in recent months to about $70 per barrel. (more…)

Mortgage loan limits increase in MA Counties

In 5 MA Counties – Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth and Suffolk – conforming loan limits for mortgages sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2015 will increase from $470,350 to $517,500 “because those counties experienced increases in local home values”, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

This increase is good news for borrowers as it means the starting point for jumbo loans will increase in those Counties. (more…)

Most expensive homes for sale in Massachusetts

Thanksgiving is next week (how did that happen so quickly?), Hanukkah less than 4 weeks away and Christmas 5 weeks.

Those of you who are well organized will be well along with your shopping. Here are a few suggestions from a Boston Globe/Zillow article for the rest of us:
Most expensive homes for sale (more…)

Would you rent Tom and Gisele’s NY apartment furnished or unfurnished?

According to the Boston Globe Want to live like Tom and Gisele? the biggest decision for a renter is whether to pay $40,000 a month unfurnished or step up to $42,500 furnished. I think I’ll take it furnished. Saves schlepping my IKEA furniture. (more…)

Marblehead’s property tax rate drops a penny

While I was away in London, the property tax rate in Marblehead for 2015 was approved at  $11.08, down just a penny from 2014’s $11.09.

Remember that assessed values for FY2015 (July 2014-June 2015) are based upon values in 2013, so the strong market in 2014 will be reflected in the tax rate for FY2016, when I expect to see a larger drop.

Where are America’s most expensive zipcodes?

Read thisForbes article to find out.

If you – or somebody you know – are considering buying or selling a home and have questions about the market and/or current home prices, feel free to contact me on 617.834.8205 or

Andrew Oliver is a Realtor with Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty
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