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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.

real estate market update

Market Update: What Does Fall Hold For The Boston Real Estate Market?

What’s happening in the Greater Boston real estate market? Here’s my fall market update:

 

HI everybody. It’s Ruth. I’m in my home office and I want to talk for a minute about what’s going on in the real estate market, Fall 2018. Things have changed. They have really changed since last spring and over the summer, which were extremely busy and extremely tight markets and we’re looking at a very different real estate market here in Boston and Brookline.

So, what’s going on? First of all, home sellers. Is it time to panic? No. It’s not. This is still a very good market for home sellers. Prices have gone up tremendously in the past few years, but instead of going up at such an accelerated rate like we’ve seen since roughly 2013, the home prices will go up but I think closer to the inflation rate, which is about 2, 3%, maybe up to 5% but not much more than that. So I think we’re going to see home prices stabilize and I think right now what we’re seeing is that slow down before we take the turn to kind of a stable market.

Home buyers, this is better news for you. After years and years of bidding wars and fighting for properties, you’re going to maybe have more choices as more inventory’s going to come on the market. You’re still going to enjoy fairly low mortgage rates.

Speaking of mortgage rates, what’s going on there? We are looking at mortgage rates that are increasing. They’re increasing because income is going up, so I think what is going to happen is that interest rates are not going to put a dent in the prices, really, and they don’t always really have a great effect on the prices because interest rates rising are usually due to a growing, expanding economy, more jobs, and more income.

So, what are we looking at? I think we’re looking about a 5% plus interest rate by the end of 2019. And I think we’re going to see a steady healthier market and sellers, don’t expect people running with a check in hand to the open house. Expect that some people are going to actually think about before they’re going to put in an offer.

So, if you have any questions, want to talk about the market with me, call, text, write a comment. Love to hear from you and we’ll talk to you soon.

 

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Ruth Malkin Brookline Real Estate Expert

Boston Real Estate Market Update

Real Estate Market Update – July 2018

The market is hot right now in Boston, Brookline and Brighton. Will it stay that way? I’ve been helping clients make great real estate decisions for over 15 years. Here’s my thoughts on the Boston real estate market right now:

 

Hi, everybody. It’s Ruth. I want to give a quick market update. It is the end of July 2018, and we have had really a very robust and unusually busy market this summer. July is quiet, and August, are usually quite slow in Boston in real estate. So what is attributing to this market? I think I’ve spoken to this, about this before.

Some people are saying, “Well, the weather was really terrible through mid-April; therefore, buyers were not out, and sellers were not coming on the market until late April, early May.” More likely culprit was all the market jitters we had in the beginning of the year, plus the interest rate hikes that started, and are going to continue through the rest of the year. Everybody kind of took a pause to see what’s going on with their finances.

We’re also seeing this trend throughout the country. I’ve spoken to agents all around the country, where they do have a seasonal market, like we do here in Boston. And they are saying July is unusually busy after a very slow first quarter 2018. National statistics are out. May home sales have declined nationwide. We are looking at an inventory shortage, a story throughout this country. The people who are suffering the most are the first time home buyers, the young families, the entry-level buyers. For us here in Boston metro, we’re looking in the smaller condo, the two-bedroom condo market, and this is a problem nationwide with smaller homes.

I did some research for a client of mine and we looked at the numbers. In the past four years, four years, the average prices of condominiums in Brighton have gone up 55%, 55%. The past four years, the average price of condominium Brookline have gone up 40%. Wow, what an investment in the past few years to own a condominium in Brookline, Brighton, and really, in most of greater Boston.

But if the average price has gone up by 55%, does that mean your condo is worth 55% more? Well, not necessarily and probably not. That average price is really being pulled up by a lot of the, kind of the luxury, and the new construction, and the larger units being built this past couple of years in Brighton, and now are being sold. They are pulling this number up. Your home is not necessarily worth 55% more than it was just four years ago. But it is worth a lot more. It has been a very dynamic and generous market to home sellers in almost all of Boston’s neighborhoods, Brookline, as well as Newton.

If you have any questions about the real estate market, don’t hesitate to contact me. Text, write me, call me. I love hearing from you. Have a fantastic rest of the summer.

Boston Real Estate Market Update

Real Estate Market Update – June 2018

What’s happening in the Greater Boston real estate market? Here’s my Spring market update…. the real estate market is full of change and surprises.

Hi everybody, it’s Ruth. I wanted to give you a market update on the Spring real estate market. So the word on the street has been that Spring started a little bit late, that things seem a little slower than usual. We now have the statistics to prove to us, that hunch was correct with sales, the number of sales going down overall in the country and the year even, from last May to this May, the number of home sales is down 3%. On the flip side home prices are up 5% so it’s a tight market. We’re seeing the trend going up in prices as well.

Single family, the supply of single family homes though, is starting to inch up. There is more home sellers with single families going up. The condo market though is getting tighter overall. To me this says that we’re looking at very tight market places, very tight real estate options for buyers in metropolitan areas.

What else is going on? Well the interest rate is hovering around 4.5% but with the arms and with the 15 year you can still get a mortgage rate under 4%. So this is not gonna last probably much longer. I think this is a good time to leverage the interest rate. In the meantime, we are going to see a robust Summer. Usually things slow down, especially in Boston, the market slows down during the Summer. I think the Summer is going to be very, very busy. It’s going to be busy right through into the Fall season and into the Winter. Last Winter was very busy in Boston and it’s going to be again this year.

So late start on the market but I think we’re gonna more than make up for it in the latter half of the year. Lock in those interest rates if you’re thinking about buying. This is a great time to figure out what is the best way to secure an inexpensive loan. So if you have any questions, write comments below, text, call me, love to hear from you.

 

how interest rates affect boston real estate market

What do the Fed’s Rate Hikes REALLY Mean for Real Estate?

The Fed’s recent rate hike . . . what does it REALLY mean for Boston real estate? 

 

Hi, everybody. It’s Ruth. I wanted to quickly talk about the recent hike in rates from the Federal Reserve, and we’re probably going to see a couple more of these rate hike through 2017.

And we have real estate agents and mortgage brokers have a lot of questions about the rate hikes because consumers do believe that this will somehow affect the mortgage rates, and thus home values as well.

So what does the Federal Reserve rate hike really mean? So the reason the Federal Reserve raises rates is it maybe tapper off a little bit of inflation, seeing the market is being overheated. It’s usually a sign that there is positive economic activity going on. And it is the Federal Reserve’s way of kind of balancing out to maybe encourage more savings, encourage too much pressure on wage increases and tapper off inflation.  

So what does this rate affect? Well it’s a short term rate. The Federal Reserve is an overnight rate, interest rate, so this will affect mostly your short term loans, your credit, your credit cards, your car loans, and your home equity lines of credit. It will affect those rates. So what about the mortgage rates? Well, mortgage rates are mostly affected by the longer term rates of the treasury market. And those have not been really increasing lately. And that has little relation, really, to the Federal Reserve rate and the short term rates.  

There are several different interest rates, and I’m not going to bore you with those details or bore myself with those details, but if you want to learn more, please feel free to give me a call, and we can discuss it. I do want to say that if you are working with a mortgage broker or a real estate agent who is telling you that you need to quickly sell because your home is going to be worth less due to an interest rate increase or quickly buy because mortgage rates are soon going to go up, that means either they don’t understand the market, or they’re lying to you. Please fire that agent and find somebody who understands that your mortgage rates and your federal reserve rate are not moving in unison, and somebody who’s going to tell you the truth and never pressure you into buying or selling at any time. 

If you have any questions you want to discuss, call me, write me a text, email me. I love hearing from you. Thank you so much. 
 
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Boston real estate market analysis

The Boston Real Estate Market Is Shifting

There’s been some changes happening in the Boston real estate market. Click the video below to learn what you should do – whether you’re a real estate buyer or seller:

Hi, this is Ruth. I just wanted to give you a quick market update. Real estate is shifting a little bit, and I wanted to share a few thoughts with you. It is becoming a much more even market. We’re seeing this summer, buyers taking back a lot of the power that they haven’t had in the past few years in real estate. Generally speaking, it’s a much more favorable market to buyers, not quite a buyers market, but much more favorable. Rates are low, and sellers are having to wait a little bit longer to find the right buyer, so go get out there if you’re thinking about buying. As for home sellers, look, if you’re thinking about selling your home, you’re talking to an agent who’s saying, “This is going to take one week and one open house. You’re going to have multiple offers. This is going to go way over asking,” that’s not going to happen.

Run from that agent. Don’t count on that anymore. It is no longer the rule. It is still happening here and there for certain types of properties, but please do not depend on that if you are a home seller. In Brookline specifically, between the first half of 2015 and the first half of 2016, we’ve seen roughly a flat market, average prices for the single family homes in Brookline. The single family homes in Brookline, it’s mostly luxury market, and I’ve been saying for a while that this market is softening, and I think we’re going to see further softening in the luxury market. In the meantime, the condo market in Brookline for the same time, the average prices did go up about 9-1/2%.

That is a substantial increase, but I think this is going to taper off. We’re looking at about 3-5% in the coming years probably for the Brookline condo market. JP, Brighton, still hot markets. There’s several hot markets still in Boston, but it’s not as nuts as it used to be. We used to just call the market nuts. It’s no longer that. What does all of this mean if you’re living anywhere in the United States? I think Boston metro, as well as some other areas, metropolitan areas in the United States, are great lending indicators of what is happening in the market. If this softening is not happening in your market yet, expect it to happen soon.

This summer, we’re seeing a lot more price reductions. We’re seeing a lot more where a home buyer and a home seller had an agreement, and the home buyer backed out and the home came back on market. We’re seeing a lot more of that, and I think we’re going to see much more of that as buyers are resisting very high prices. They feel that they’re overpaying for some of these homes, and sellers are expecting to not have to negotiate. Expect some shifts in the way that we are handling these transactions. I think rates are going to stay relatively low for a while longer. I think luxury’s going to continue softening, and I think the entry level and condo market will taper off a bit. Again, this is Ruth. I’m here to help you make great real estate decisions. You need any specific information, call, text, email, you know where to find me.

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interest rate increase

Interest Rate Hike & The Boston Housing Market in 2016

The Federal Reserve’s recent interest rate hike from 0.25% to 0.5% on December 16 is expected to be the first in a series of hikes expected in 2016.   Many people asking me, “What will happen to the Boston housing market, now?”

Believing a Fed rate hike will lead to a slowing housing market is a common concern, and there is a logic behind it. The logic is the Federal Funds Rate increase leads to a mortgage rate increase, thus housing prices are lower. Affordability for homes go down as monthly mortgage payments increase.

interest rate increase

The recent interest rate hike will not impact Boston real estate

As with all things economic, it is not quite as simple as that.  There are several reasons why the recent hike, and additional ones expected in 2016, will have minimal impact on the Boston Housing Market.

To understand why, we need to understand what a Federal Reserve interest rate hike really means.

The reason the Federal Reserve decides to increase the interest rates is to avoid inflation, caused by an overheated economy.  Although many workers and earners in the United States don’t feel it yet, the economy has expanded and growth has picked up.  If the Fed finds it necessary to increase the rate, it means they are seeing a robust economy.  A robust economy means more income and more employment.  

In Massachusetts, Boston especially, the economy has been outperforming the national one.  The Beauru of Labor Statistics estimates Boston unemployment rate at a low 3.7% and the Commonwealth at 4.7%.  More citizens are working and earning.  So what does a rate hike mean at this point of the economic cycle? A growing economy, lower unemployment, which in turn, will lead to higher wages.

Although the Fed is expected to raise interest rates further in 2016, it may not be a very aggressive plan.  Falling oil prices and a slow economy in Europe, and a weakening Chinese economy will mean tepid demand for U.S. exports, and a strengthening dollar.  And, the Fed will have to think carefully before any rate increase which will damage our global trade partners’ economies further.

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Another reason why Boston real estate will not be easily impacted by interest rate increases is due to the lack of inventory in the area.  The demand for housing outstripped supply of homes in 2015.  Although I expect more homes to come on market in 2016, the balance will be on the side of shortage, and thus pushing up prices regardless of cost of financing.

Between high rents, an increase in income, and tight housing inventory, home buyers will take on the added costs of a slightly higher mortgage in order to build their equity as homeowners.  Here is an article from Forbes.com from last April explaining why higher interest rates are good for housing.

One last note, a reminder to put the interest rate hike in perspective!  This week interest rates are quoted just around 4%.  This is still a very low rate to start from when looking at a future rate increase.

Even with 12/16/15 rate increase and the predicted rate hikes of 2016, the Boston housing market will remain strong. It will remain robust in face of higher rates as high as 5%, and up to 6%.

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Banish the Boston Condo Search Overwhelm!

Are you totally overwhelmed by the idea of looking for a condo in Boston?  Are you curious, and just don’t know how to start looking?  If you are regularly thinking about becoming a first time homebuyer, but don’t know what to expect, t
his post is for you.

When prospective first time homebuyers are curious about Boston area condos, I suggest the following steps to overcome homebuyer overwhelm and make sense of the idea of becoming a condo owner.

First, choose some areas you think you’ll enjoy.  Condos in Boston greatly very  in prices and styles so narrowing down your search to specific neighborhoods is important.  If you’ve been searching  on Zillow or Trulia for condos in Boston , Cambridge, or Somerville, no wonder you are overwhelmed.  Just narrowing the search by price range will not be enough.

Second, go look at condos during Sunday open houses with absolutely no expectations to buy.  Open houses serve such a purpose for buyers, while you have an opportunity to meet real estate agents who may be eager to be helpful.  Focus on one or two areas per weekend to make good use of your time.  You’ll learn the area, different types of homes, and start developing a sense of home values.

Third, hire a real estate agent.  We are here to help, even in you very early stages of the search.  In fact, we can make the search a bit easier for you by focusing your efforts, and giving you step-by-step input and advice.  Hire someone you like and trust, and fire someone who is not doing her job.

Do not try and make sense of the real estate market online.  The web is a great resource for information about homes and for open house schedules.  But to learn what your Boston neighborhood has to offer, you’ll have to go do some offline searching.

Even if you feel you are far from buying, and just browsing, I’d love to see you at any of my open houses!

Customize you home search here.

 

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Boston Next Real Estate Bubble? More Fluff from the Globe

Last week the Boston GBoston-Real-Estate-Nowlobe’s real estate blog called Boston Real Estate Now published a post called, “The Next Housing Bubble?”  This small piece is jam-packed full of nonsense, misleading information and irresponsible journalism.

The first problem with this post is the title, “The Next Housing Bubble?”  Bubbles are a conclusion made in hindsight, and make no sense in predictions as we crawl our way out of a slump.  This whole post was based on JP Morgan’s prediction of a 12% jump in home prices over the next four years as reported in Housing Wire.  A 12% increase in home prices over four years hardly makes for a bubble.  So why call it that?

Next, the article continues to claim the Boston area as a “one of the most bubble prone metro markets in the country.”  Although I agree with the assertion of lack of inventory and new construction, lack of housing is not what creates real estate bubbles.  Shortages and scarcity lead to organic price increases, not bubbles.  Bubbles are full of air – not continuous real demand!

Of course the demand for housing has its ebbs and flows.  Prices went down in Boston but most of our neighborhoods did not suffer the economic blow of Cities where housing and new construction is abundant, like Miami and Phoenix.  Those cities had new construction condo buildings with less than 30% occupancy and price falling 50-60%.

Another quote that is the mark of irresponsible journalism, “Of course, a 12 percent jump nationally translates into a 20 percent jump in Greater Boston.”  If this is true, please provide historical evidence of Boston’s real estate outpacing national real estate markets.  It didn’t outpace the last “bubble” (if you believe we had one).

My next bone to pick is with the value of data the Globe uses.  The Globe’s purpose, I thought, is to inform the local readers.  There is no way national real estate headlines inform the local buyer or seller or provides a basis for decision making.  Furthermore, the Globe’s stretching this national prediction to apply to Boston’s market adds to confusion and nonsense.

National real estate numbers, regardless of integrity of source, are totally and completely meaningless to you, dear friend.  Real estate only matters on the local levels – your street, your neighborhood, maybe your town.  If you want to learn about your local Boston area market, Boston Real Estate Now is proving to be an unreliable source.

Lastly, the author discounts the only piece of valuable information.  “The bank (JP Morgan) predicts 2.5 million problem loans will get bailed out this year through foreclosure rescue programs – sounds like wishful Wall Street thinking to me.”

The big bank is in a pretty good position to report accurately if they believe it is likely they are to have a deal coming together with the government.  This is the only interesting information I find in the report.  The Globe calling it wishful thinking shows a lack of thoughtfulness going into the post.

Do you like keeping up with your local real estate market?  I’ve got the perfect thing for you!  Learn about my Local Housing Data Newsletter.  It’s reliable, timely, and free.  Now you can be the expert…click here.