Monday, January 23, 2012

Boston among cities set for a real estate rebound

The New England hub has a low 5.7 percent unemployment rate thanks to the presence of more than 100 universities and colleges in the metro area and a variety of biotech and financial services companies. “Income is well above average. The housing boom was mild, with a 16 percent rise in prices followed by a 10 percent drop. The recession also was mild, with jobs down just 2 percent,” explains Winzer. Clear Capital and Trulia also have positive forecasts for Beantown this year

See the entire article at: San Jose, Boston among cities set for a real estate rebound

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The North Shore Massachusetts Real Estate Market in 2012

Where is real estate going in 2012?
I know everyone gets confused by all the real estate news that you read about almost every day with each report contradicting the other. Each author usually has an ultimate agenda when writing an article. Those who make their living in real estate try to paint a good (or not so bad) picture of the market because they want to encourage people to buy or sell a home. On the other hand the typical reporter working for a newspaper wants to attract viewers to his/her article, and nothing does that better than doom and gloom - bubble bursting, rising foreclosures, etc. When reading these articles, if you are interested in what is happening with your north shore home's value, or want to know if now is a good time to buy in Massachusetts, then ignore all the national statistics. What is happening in Nevada, Michigan or Florida has almost no bearing on the local market here in Massachusetts., a leading internet real estate company, has come out with its top five places slated for a quicker recovery. They are AustinHoustonSan JoseBoston, and RochesterNY.  The Boston area is home to the technology belt with lots of smart, well-educated people.  Highly educated, tech-savvy cities tend to push through the recovery quicker than other parts of the country. 2011 brought a stabilization of prices on the north shore, with the average home selling for $386,251, statistically insignificant from the average of $390,794 in 2010. Even though I predict it will be a robust year, watch for stable prices in 2012 as more foreclosures coming on the market, holding down any valuation increases.

Right now we currently have 5.7 months supply of single family homes on the market. A normal market is considered to have 5 to 6 months worth of inventory, so we are approaching something close to "normality". The average days on market (DOM) for sold single family homes last year was 137 days. I would like to see the days on market below 125 before I feel we are back to a normal market. During the last few years the DOM has been between 125 and 140, while during the "Home Rush" of 2000-2005 it was just 71 to 93 days. Back 15 years ago in 1997, which was what could be could a "normal" year, the average DOM was 102 days.

The total number of homes sold, down slightly last year over 2010, will increase as interest rates stay at record lows, unemployment continues to drop and job security increases, and home affordability remains the highest in decades. Buyers will step off the sidelines and into home ownership as consumer confidence returns and realize that owning is now less expensive than renting on the north shore of Massachusetts

Jim Armstrong
Armstrong Field Real Estate

Sunday, January 01, 2012

But MY House is Worth Much More Than That!

This weekend, on New Years eve, I place an offer on behalf of one of my buyer clients on a property in Lynn. This home is a 3 family in a nice area and has a good size double lot. It also has new heating systems, a newer (7 years old) roof and a garage. The kitchens and baths are outdated, however, and there is quite a bit of cosmetic work that needs to be done in all three units. The 2nd and 3rd floor units also share a heating system and a hot water heater.

 This home is listed in the low $300,000's. I looked up what sold within the last 6 months in Lynn for 3 family homes. There were only 3 sales in Lynn that went just above $300,000 - and those were properties that were completely rehabbed with new kitchens & baths. The average 3 family sold for just over $220,000. Now there are many factors that go into determining the market value of a home, so you can't just take the average price and think that this is what the property is worth. After looking at similar properties, I determined that $280,000 was a fair price to offer to the seller. In fact, there had been only 5 three family homes in Lynn that had sold for more. I submitted my buyers' offer along with an explanation to the seller of how we derived at that price, and a list of all three family homes that had sold showing that his asking price was too high.

The seller rejected the offer without even giving us a counter-offer. The listing agent said the the seller wanted to get a offer very close to his asking price. He didn't care what the reality of the market was, and that he had put a lot of work in the house and it was worth much more than what the statistics showed. Needless to say my buyers were put off by this, and didn't want to submit another offer.

Before this property was listed, the seller's agent showed him all the comparable properties, the market stats, and the properties that were currently listed that would be competing for the same buyers. He chose to ignore all that information and the advice of the professional that he hired, and came up with his own list price.

It will be interesting for me to watch this listing, because if it is follows the usual pattern of overpriced listings this property will have its list price drop until it reaches a point where it is in line with (or below) the market. The multifamily market is hot right now, and if a property is priced right it sells in a matter of days. If it is not priced right, it will just sit on the market for months. This particular property had just come on the market last week, and had it been priced right it would have had several showings. My buyers were the only ones to look at it, and that was because the property suited what they were looking for, even if it was overpriced.

I will probably receive a call from the listing agent in the near future asking me if my buyers are still interested in home because they hadn't received any other offers. Unfortunately for the seller, my buyers will probably have already purchased another home.

- Jim Armstrong
Here is a good article on overpricing a home: