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      Blog :: 03-2015

      Why Waiting to Buy a Boston Home May Not Make Sense

      Why Waiting To Buy Might Not Make Sense | Keeping Current Matters

       

      Whether you are a first time or a move-up buyer, there are two factors that will impact the amount of house you can afford in your price range: home prices & mortgage rates.

      Let’s look at what the experts are predicting over the next twelve months for these two areas:

      PRICES

      Over 100 economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists were recently polled as a part of the Home Price Expectation Survey. They were asked to project where home prices are headed. The average value appreciation projected over the next twelve-month period is approximately 4.4%.

      MORTGAGE INTEREST RATES

      In the latest Economic & Housing Market Outlook from Freddie Mac, they predict that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate will be 4.7% by this time next year. As of last week, the Freddie Mac rate was 3.69%.

      What does this mean to you?

      If you are a first-time buyer currently looking at a home priced at $250,000, this is what it could cost you on a monthly basis if you wait until next year to buy:

      Cost Of Waiting Spring 250K | Keeping Current Matters

      If you are a move-up buyer currently looking at a home priced at $500,000, this is what it could cost you on a monthly basis if you wait a year to buy:

      Cost Of Waiting Spring 500K | Keeping Current Matters

      Bottom Line

      With both home prices & interest rates projected to increase, waiting to buy could put a serious dent in your family’s wealth.

       

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        Boston Housing Inventory Slowly Disappearing

        The price of any item is determined by the supply of that item, and the market demand. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their latest Existing Home Sales Report this week.

        Inventory Levels & Demand

        Amidst reporting on the fact that sales of existing homes rose 1.2% from January, and outpaced year-over-year figures for the fifth consecutive month, was the news that total unsold housing inventory is at 4.6-month supply.

        This is down 0.5% from last February and remains below the 6 months that is needed for a historically normal market.

        Consumer confidence is at the highest level in over a decade. Pair that with interest rates still under 4%, new programs available for down payments as low as 3%, and you have an attractive market for buyers.

        Buyer demand for housing remains twice as high as this time last year.

        Prices Rising

        February marked the 36th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains as the median price of existing homes sold rose to $202,600 (up 7.5% from 2014).

        So What Does This Mean?

        The chart below shows the impact that inventory levels have on home prices.

        Impact of Inventory on Home Prices | Keeping Current Matters

        NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun gave some insight into the correlation:

        "Insufficient supply appears to be hampering prospective buyers in several areas of the country and is hiking prices. Stronger price growth is a boon for homeowners looking to build additional equity, but it continues to be an obstacle for current buyers looking to close before (interest) rates rise."

        Bottom Line

        If you are debating putting your home on the market this year, now may be the time. The amount of buyers ready and willing to make a purchase is at the highest level in years. Contact us to get the process started. 617-536-8000.

         

        Empty Nesters Have Alternatives to Simple Downsizing

        The children have grown; home feels…a little empty…

        Many people assume that an empty nest means it’s downsizing time—time for a smaller house or condo. In truth, for many homeowners in the area, downsizing is just one of a number of appealing directions.

        It may sound obvious, but it’s your interests and plans that should guide your next step. After a lifetime of deferring to other people’s priorities, many of us are ill-prepared to think creatively about what it is we want. When we do, downsizing might not necessarily be the springboard to life’s next great adventure.

        For instance: consider Upsizing. Moving a smaller family into a larger home may sound backwards, but if you have special interests or hobbies that call for a lot of space, now may be the chance to add the workshop, rehearsal space, or studio you’ve always longed for. A larger home can also provide space for guests when the family (and it might be a growing one!) comes to visit.

        Have you always wanted to live near water, or be able to step out on the front porch any time of the day to drink in a panoramic view of the mountains?

        Or maybe the reverse, and you’d like to sample life in the city—urban living, with its museums, shows and restaurants on every corner. Alternatively, perhaps it’s time to look into one of the increasingly-popular planned communities; one built around a golf course, or one emphasizing social activities, clubs and outings that cater to older adults

        The serious point: dream a little! If not now, when? With the children out the door, this could finally be a chance to indulge yourself. Raising a family means putting other people’s needs first. Now it’s your turn. A luxury home or condo could have the amenities you’ve always wanted—a swimming pool or home spa, designer furniture or classic architecture. Your empty nest may give you the chance to own the kind of home you’ve only daydreamed about.

        Among the down-to-earth details you’ll want to consider before acting—

        · whether you’re truly ready to leave your Boston area home and community behind

        · the real estate market and comparative housing values in town and in alternative venues

        · health issue implications now and (as much as predictable) into the future

        Finally, give yourself time…enough time to be sure that the home ownership path you choose is one that’s most likely to prove rewarding. And remember, too, that I (or a qualified Realtor® wherever you land) is your invaluable resource. Do give us a call whenever you want to investigate your choices or leave us a message!  617-536-8000

        A Deft Hand Needed for Boston Area Luxury Home Marketing

        If you own a luxury home in the Boston Metro or surrounding areas, this will be good to know: according to researchers at DataQuick, the number of homes sold at more than $1 million rose nationally by 37% in the first half of 2014.  A short while ago, the Wall St. Journal headed its Mansion section with “the recovery in high-end real estate,” and Bloomberg reports that luxury home prices in the biggest four cities that had fallen nearly 46% during the downturn have now more than doubled.

        If the formerly-missing luxury home buyers have been buoyed by record-breaking Wall St. returns, it’s not surprising that they’re now ready to come out of hiding. For some owners of luxury homes in the Boston area, that’s what they’ve been waiting for.

        Of course, marketing a luxury home in this market takes a deft hand.  Selling any product in the luxury category requires some familiar skills: since the price tags are top-tier, the buyers require service and goods to match. The ‘customer’ is a successful person; someone whose time is important; who is likely well-schooled in discerning quality that goes beneath the surface and who won’t hesitate when it comes to making important decisions. 

        To appeal to discriminating prospects, you need first class marketing. Briefly, here are some of the technical points I advise my clients to keep in mind when I list their luxury homes:

        We will be targeting a very narrow segment of the population. Our advertisements need to be placed on websites and in luxury publications that those buyers frequent. It’s important to realize that placement in elite publications will enhance a property’s perceived value by association.

        When people purchase a luxury property in Boston area, they aren’t just buying a house, they are reinforcing a preferred way of life. That means the community should be a prime selling point. You have insider knowledge of your community—knowledge that I as your agent can use in marketing. When potential buyers have a sense of being in the know, it allows them to more confidently picture life in their new community.

        Successful people usually regard themselves as standouts because, well…they are! It’s hard to find the luxury home buyer who wouldn’t choose a distinctive property over one that, even though luxurious, isn’t special in some way. That’s why we carefully identify the points that make a luxury home in Boston and the surrounding areas unique—then tell that story!

        If you are preparing to sell your area luxury property, it’s also important to team with a Realtor® with the contacts and networks that keyed to that segment. For a completely confidential property evaluation, contact me today to see what your luxury home might be worth in today’s market!  617-536-8000.

        Beyond Comfort...Choosing Your Boston Area Realtor

        When it comes time to put your home on the market, one key early decision is which real estate company will be your sales partner. Of course, you will choose someone you feel comfortable working with, but there are further hard-nosed criteria that can help guide your choice:

         

        Experience in Our Market

        There’s nothing wrong with giving a brand new real estate school graduate a try, but especially if it’s important to sell quickly, you’ll want to work with a professional with demonstrated local experience. For openers, those agents know more about the history and direction of home sales in this area—they’ve been participants! That’s first-hand knowledge that will be vital in helping you arrive at a smart asking price. You’ll find that the experienced agents also have a smart phone loaded with the kind of established connections that help accelerate any sale.

        But your agent isn’t a one-person show. A lot of hard work goes into selling a property—from creating the listing on MLS directories to maintaining a web experience and promoting your property through the maze of marketing channels. The real estate company that’s your agent’s home base will determine the efficiency with which it all gets done.

         

        Membership in the National Association of Realtors

        One thing you will notice in your search for a realty company is that not all real estate agents are NAR members. Choosing an active member means working with a pro who is bound by the strict NAR Code of Ethics, who is also a member of the local Real Estate Board—with the accompanying connections and resources that bestows. 

         

        Proven Track Record

        It’s also a good idea to aim for an agent with a history representing properties in your price range. A Realtor whose experience is confined to homes sold at the $250-300K price point may never have dealt with luxury properties. If that’s your market, you will want an agent—and a real estate company—with that kind of track record.

        Finding a real estate agent to represent your home is just one of many steps that will lead to the successful sale of your property. I welcome the opportunity to meet to explore whether we are the right fit to get you top dollar for your home!  Call us for a free Competitive Market Analysis (CMA) to get started in the right direction.  617-536-8000.

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