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Ruth Malkin Boston Real Estate Predictions

Greater Boston Real Estate Predictions – 2019

What’s in store for the Greater Boston real estate market in 2019? Here’s my thoughts and market update:

 

Hi everybody. It’s Ruth. I want to give you a bit of an update and tell you what I see coming up in 2019 in the real estate market. It’s only January 2019 and we’re off already to a very, very strong start. Inventory coming on the market and traffic has picked up. Traffic meaning buyers are booking showings for listings. We are out and about as real estate agents looking at properties with buyers at whatever is on the market.

 As predicted, the market was steady and did not stop throughout the holiday season. It’s been a really, really busy holiday season. What are we going to looking at going forward? It is a little bit hard to exactly predict at this point what the Fed is going to do and what the market is going to do as it’s been so volatile since roughly October but we are pretty sure about rising interest rates, rising mortgage rates, we’re going to see a little bit of that.

What does that mean? It means buyers – their ability, their affordability is lowered as the monthly payments go up for any property. I think price wise we’re going to see a pretty flat market. Not much going up and I don’t think much is going to down though either especially in the strongest markets in the United States.

There are some slithers of the market where we’re finding shortage of housing. Still we’re seeing it in urban areas, properties that are big enough for young families. Two, three bedroom condos in highly walkable areas, those are still highly desirable. Those are still in short supply and they may still be competed for during 2019 but not with the vigor of the past few years.

As for the mortgage market, I think that we’re going to find that mortgage companies are going to come out with some new products, new solutions, new ways for people to borrow money and get a little bit more creative as the refi business has really much died down and we’re not going to see much refis as this is a rising interest rate environment.

As for rising interest rates, what are we going to see? That’s a little bit hard to predict. I think most of the gains and most of the increase we’ve seen in the latter half of 2018 already, they will go up probably a little bit more. Certainly by mid 2019 we’re going to see I think another quarter of a point. I think that’s going to be it for a little bit. That’s my prediction. I’ll catch you in 2020 to see if that is correct.

If you have any questions about the market, if this is a good time to buy or sell property, give me a call and we can discuss whether or not this is something you should be considering doing right now. As usual I tell my clients that first we need to talk about your lifestyle needs and what it is you’re going to be doing that would require new housing and then we see how the financial piece of it works out. Lifestyle first, family first and I wish you all a happy, healthy, joyous 2019.

2018 real estate predictions boston

2018 Real Estate Predictions

Were my 2017 real estate predictions correct? What do I think 2018 will have in store for the Greater Boston real estate market?

Hi everybody, it’s Ruth. Happy New Year. Happy 2018. A quick video just to talk about what I think is going to happen in the Greater Boston real estate market in 2018. I think the first thing we’re going to see is finally more inventory. I did make that prediction for 2017, and I was wrong, but I am sticking to that prediction for 2018. I think finally we’re going to see some of that inventory come on the market and less pressure on the market. More homes to choose from.

With that, I see a flattening out of the prices. Prices only went up about 3.5% in Boston and Brookline in the past year, so I think the prices are just above flattening out. Less pressure, fewer multiple offers on each listing. This is great news for buyers. It’s going to be easier to pick up a home. It doesn’t mean that it’s going to be a buyer market. I think it’s still going to be a seller leaning market though.

Mortgage rates, last year I did predict they’re going to stay under 5%. The absolutely stayed under 5%. They’re hovering around 4%. I think they are going to go up a little bit and still stay under 5%. Mortgage rates are looking good.

I think the changes in the tax code and refer to a previous video I did with my tax accountant Bob Ingle about how the tax code is going to impact housing. I think it’s going to impact mostly housing in the higher end market, $1.5 million and above. These are the buyers that are going to feel that impact the most and maybe the buyers for those price ranges, their budgets are going to go down slightly. That may be reflected in the price as we will see.

 In general, I see a very active market coming up in 2018 in Greater Boston. The ultra luxury and luxury markets are going to be slowing down $2.5, $3 million and up. Slowing down already for the past year. They’re going to keep slowing down, which is the first indicator of a leveling off.

Some markets that are going to pop, I think the condo market in Brookline is still going to be extremely hot and the condo market in Brighton as well. We had almost no inventory last year in Brighton. I think that’s going to change and I think prices are going to go up more significantly in places like Brighton, in West Roxbury where these are entry level housing for Boston residents. And of course, Brookline and Newton on the lower end of the market, under $1 million are also going to be very active, very hot as young families are moving into these wonderful communities with excellent schooling.

Some of the hot topics that are going to be discussed in the housing realm in Greater Boston. One hot topic is going to be walkability. The closer the home is to a walkable area, meaning a place with some commercial activity and public transportation, the better the home is situated. Walkability is very high on the priority list and the lifestyle that the buyers are looking for.

As for the design trend, I think we’re going to see a continuation of a preference for minimalistic and smaller homes. More flexible designs. The location is more important than the square footage. We’re going to see higher prices per square footage for smaller homes. We’re going to see a continuation in that trend as families value open space and flexible space over the amount of space, and the location being the number one priority for most home buyers.

If you would like to discuss how the housing market in 2018 is going to impact you as a home buyer, as a home seller, I would love to talk to you individually. Every story is different. Everybody has different needs, a different lifestyle and a different home. Give me a call, write me a text, make a comment below. I would love to hear from you. Have a wonderful, happy, joyous 2018.

 
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Ruth Malkin Brookline Real Estate Expert

 

6 Larch Street in Brighton: Boston Single Family House

6 Larch Street Brighton MA 021356 Larch Street in Brighton is a single family house in Boston, rarely available.  The neighborhood around Chandler Pond in Brighton sees little turnover.  Frankly, if I lived here I would never leave. This neighborhood is situated between the beautiful Boston College campus and lively Brighton Center.  It is a perfect location for a commute to Boston, Cambridge, and all points West.

This house is a rare treat in particular.  A young traditional center-entrance Colonial, built in 1987, 6 Larch Street was renovated in 2009.   You will find a water view from the living room and deck.   A walk-out lower level gives you bonus space perfect for a family room and a home office.

Bring your family, bring your dog, and come visit during the open house on October 19th, 12.30-2

PRICE REDUCED $575,000

Basic Information:

1723 square feet, plus 250 +/- square feet in lower level.

3 Bedrooms, 1.5 Baths

Granite / Stainless Steel kitchen

Incredible view of the Pond

Deck, patio and yard

For an interactive version, please click on the map.

Brighton single family home for sale

 

Got a Question?

We would love to hear from you! Please fill out this form and we will get in touch with you within 24 hours. *YOUR INFORMATION IS CONFIDENTIAL AND WILL NOT BE SHARED WITH OR SOLD TO ANYONE, EVER!*

Living at Westinghouse Plaza Boston Loft

Loft in Boston: Westinghouse Plaza Unit C301

Living at Westinghouse Plaza Boston LoftThe Lofts at Westinghouse are like nothing else in Boston.  When you are lucky enough to visit one of the penthouse units, you are sure to tell your friends about this amazing home you saw.

Located a walk from the Readville station and in up-and-coming Hyde Park, the Lofts at Westinghouse offer not only convenience, but also a building anyone would be proud to call home.

The building’s original industrial architecture has been preserved with exposed brick, wood beams, pipes and ducts.  Soaring ceilings and huge windows.  In the floor you will find evidence of the fan factory which was once here.

Converted to condos in 2010, the units are modern and updated.  Unit 301 is an end unit, with a loft, offering two levels of living.  One private bedroom is downstairs.  Living space has three 10 foot arched windows across, and a 17 foot ceiling.   Large storage area, central air, low fee, exercise room across the hall.  Come take a look, you will love it.

$325,000

Click the image for an interactive map.

Boston Condo for sale

Cabot Estates JP Penthouse

Cabot Estates Luxury Penthouse: 241 Perkins St. D601

Cabot Estates JP PenthouseThere are not many homes like this.

Luxury two-level penthouse, all the amenities, set on 23 acres of serenity, next to the Emerald Necklace’s prettiest gem.

The condo located at 241 Perkins Street, Unit D601 has been tastefully renovated extensively, for a comfortable and spacious home.  You will be happy in every room with tree top views from every window.

Listing on Market 4/24/14

2 Bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2578 square feet (not including study nook and half bath)

Price: $849,000

Visiting the Property

When you arrive at Cabot Estates, the gate will open and you’ll be greeted by the courteous staff.  Parking will be plentiful, and the quiet privacy will surprise you.

When visiting unit D601, first you’ll find the main level: a large open kitchen, dining room and living room with sliders to the deck.  There are two bedrooms and two full baths on this floor.  The stairs to the next level lead you to a sun-splashed media / family room with bonus study nook and half bath.

Unit amenities include:

  • Central Air
  • Modern KitchenCabot Estates JP Penthouse
  • Laundry room
  • Media room
  • Built-in custom shelving
  • California Closets in bedrooms, Cedar closet
  • Murphy bed for the unexpected guests
  • Deck with area and nature views
  • Two car garage parking
  • Extra storage outside the unit
  • Elevator access
  • Fireplace

Cabot Estates is luxury complex across from the Jamaica Pond.  Read more about Cabot Estates in Jamaica Plain by clicking this link.

Click to learn of other condos available in Jamaica Plain, or simply contact me directly.

Video of 241 Perkins Street Unit D-601 in Jamaica Plain


Realtor in Jamaica Plain Boston

Got a Question?

We would love to hear from you! Please fill out this form and we will get in touch with you within 24 hours. *YOUR INFORMATION IS CONFIDENTIAL AND WILL NOT BE SHARED WITH OR SOLD TO ANYONE, EVER!*
Boston Condo with Parking

Brighton MA 8 Kinross Road Unit 8

Rarely available one bedroom condo a walk from Cleveland Circle. Beautiful and spacious, this condo comes parking, and a private deck. Eat-in kitchen and plenty of closets, hardwood floors and great light leave you wanting nothing more. Good building minutes to B, C, D lines.  Asking price $319,000.


Assessed Value in Boston

Boston Real Estate Abatement: Don’t Overpay Real Estate Taxes!

Assessed Value in BostonAvoid overpaying taxes by understanding Boston’s abatement process for real estate taxes

Every year the City of Boston adjusts assessed home values for a real estate tax base, and there is a lot of confusion around this number.  Allow me to offer some clarifications and suggest how to avoid overpaying real estate taxes.

What is the city’s Assessed Value?

The City’s assessed assessed value for your house or condominium is not the market value of your home.  It should roughly represent the market value of three years ago, I was told anecdotally.  But I recommend you attach no interpretations to the number provided by the municipality.

Most likely, Boston’s assessed value of your home in Brighton, Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury and almost anywhere in Boston is well under current market value.  This is a good thing.  Remember, this number is your tax base, so a lower assessed value means a lower real estate tax liability.

What is Abatement?

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts allows homeowners to request abatement  from their town or city if it is believed the assessment is wrong and needs to be adjusted.  Most commonly, the abatement process is used when the home’s assessed value is higher than the market value.

I requested abatement when my Brighton condo’s value well exceeded the market value.  If I would have sold the condo at the time, it would have been worth about $30,000 less than the value the City used to calculate my taxes.

The abatement procedure was painless and quick, and my condo’s assessed value was adjusted and my taxes lowered.  But I realized many of my neighbors did not do the same.  Either they didn’t realize there was a way to lower assessment or they didn’t realize the assessment was too high.

Should I Request Abatement from the City of Boston?

If you believe your condo’s assessed value is too high, meaning it exceeds the market value, you should request an abatement.  If your neighbor’s similar condo just sold for less than your assessed value, apply to have your value reduced.

If you are unsure of the market value of either Boston or Brookline property, contact me and I can provide you with this information for free.

Don’t know your Boston property’s assessed value?  Find it here: http://www.cityofboston.gov/assessing/search/

For your Brookline property’s assessed value database is here: http://apps.brooklinema.gov/assessors/propertylookup.asp

Abatement instructions are provided here: http://www.cityofboston.gov/assessing/abatement.asp

Boston’s abatement application is not available online, you must pick it up from City Hall or give them a call:(617) 635-4287.

Town of Brookline Abatement:

Brookline real estate abatement is similar to Boston’s.  The abatement application is available online with more information at http://www.brooklinema.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=166&Itemid=90

 

If you want to apply for abatement, do it NOW, deadline is February 1!

Brighton, MA condos

Brighton, MA Condo Update: Summer Numbers, Fall Predictions

The Brighton condo market has seen a visible change for the better this summer compared to last, and I’ve put together some numbers for you to see.  Notice average prices are up 8%, and days on market as much shorter, 33 days less time on market!  The number of sales during the summer of 2011 and 2012 are fewer but I think this only points to a very dynamic fall.

Brighton, MA condos

One of my favorite statistics is the average sale price to original price ratio.  This number tells us how far apart buyers and sellers are.  The lower the number, the more price reductions and negotiations.  SP:OP in Brighton is up 2%.  It is now at 96%, which means the final sale price is on average 4% lower than the asking price.  A shrinking gap indicated a tightening market.

Expect a busy fall real estate market for Brighton, MA condos.  I have several listings coming on, and sellers are excited to finally be able to move into bigger homes, or sell unwanted investment properties without losing money.  This is the first time since 2008 that I can regularly give home owners in Brighton good news.

Do you want some good news?  Give me a call and let me know if you are ready for a bigger home, or you are sick of being a landlord.  It may not be your time to sell quite yet, but you may be surprised.

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Buyer Agency Contract

The Risks of an Exclusive Buyer Agency Contract

first time home buyerFinally buyer agency contracts are becoming more popular in Greater Boston.  As a first time home buyer in Boston you should be especially interested in signing a buyer agency contract.  Boston, Newton, and Brookline Realtors are usually happy to discuss the contract and demonstrate how it protects you.

The goal of a buyer agency contract is to cement a relationship between broker and buyer for a set period of time.  The broker is obligated to meet fiduciary responsibilities to the buyer, which essential means the buyer’s interests and instructions always trump the broker’s interests and advice.

Like in any contract, there are risks and benefits to both the agent and the buyer.  Let’s clarify what they are so you can judge if you need the buyer agency when you buy a home.

Risks to Buyer

To the buyer, there are two main risks.  First, the buyer is obligated to work exclusively with the buyer agent for a set period of time, as outlined in the contract.  But what happens after a couple of months the agent proves unhelpful or a bad match?

This risk can mostly be averted by interviewing agents and asking for referrals.  Some agents happily work with you for a bit to ensure there is a good match between broker and buyer.

The second risk to the home buyer is the possibility of an added cost.  But, that’s not really the case – it only seems like a risk.  The prices of homes almost always include the buyer agent’s commission.   Most For-Sale-By-Owner homes pay a buyer agency commission.

What about a listing with a discount commission.  Say you are a first time home buyer in Boston and you are looking at small condos.  Some of them may have a commission paid to buyer’s agent of 2%, and your contract is for 2.5%.  Where is the missing 0.5% coming from?

You can build the added commission into the offer price and it can still come out of the seller’s final price.  Alternatively, you can pay the balance at the closing yourself remembering sellers who discount commission usually negotiate badly – meaning, you probably have a decent deal on your hands!

Risks to Broker

The broker also takes risks in these contracts.  First, just as the buyers, we may not want to spend six or twelve months committed to you.  Sometimes agents don’t like their clients, and fat chance we’ll get referrals from a client’s accountant / attorney / financial planner / parents to learn if you are reasonable.

But the guarantee of getting paid has brokers working a bit harder for clients and more committed to the process regardless of how unreasonable.

The other risk we have, and the biggest of all risks, is somehow failing to meet all the obligations spelled out in the contract.  We can’t miss a house!  This is especially daunting in a very tight market where everything sells so quickly.

Every obligation and task on the contract is a potential lawsuit if not done correctly.  The buyer agency contract carries a huge responsibility for the broker.  This is not a bad thing, but it is important to point out.

The Benefits

Signing a contract awards the buyer benefits of fiduciary obligation and commitment from the broker.  You have someone working for you, no need to ponder the agent’s agenda.  As a serious buyer you want to hire a buyer agent so you are guaranteed a level of service, which you deserve.

The broker benefits from the guaranteed income if he should successfully sell a home.  It is very frustrating for agents to work for buyers only to find they walked into an open house and bought a home direct from the listing agent.

We don’t get paid if you don’t buy, but if you do buy, we want to get paid. The buyer agency contract guarantees the buyer receives services in return.  This begs the buyers to consider their agents more carefully, which is a very good thing.

Buyers often mistakenly think the buyer agency contract was developed to protect agents, when the buyer is the one who has most to gain.

West Roxbury Homes Selling Fast

After a bit of a sleepy tour of some Brookline condos on Sunday afternoon, I headed to West Roxbury, where every house I visited was jam-packed.  It was a frenzy, with multiple offers on several properties.  Buyers grabbed homes on first open houses, as the number of colonials on pretty streets is too few to satisfy the market.

Expect a lively Fall market as West Roxbury homes for sale are in high demand.  Between the proximity to the City, the peace and quiet, and the aesthetics of the neighborhood, I’m not surprised.

Last year, between May – July, average market time was 80 days, down to 68 Spring of 2012.  The average price is about the same as last year.  What I find interesting is how many fewer price reductions we have.   May – July of 2011 had 68 listings reduce their price by at least once.  In the same period this year we saw 54 listings reducing price, and those reductions where smaller.  That’s a 20% drop in the number of listings reducing their prices.  Either the sellers are pricing their homes better, or the buyers are negotiating less.  Perhaps a combination of both.

In the chart below you’ll see the number of sold and pending sales for the past 26 months in West Roxbury.  Notice the huge jump in pending transactions.  These will close in the coming weeks.  This jump in transactions is a testament to the importance to anecdotal evidence from your well informed agent.  Pending sales do not show up in the sales statistics, but they are the best gauge of current marketing conditions.

west roxbury homes for sale pending

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