Wednesday, January 6, 2021

As The Pandemic's End Approaches, Experts Offer Predictions for Mass. Housing Markets in 2021

Although 2020 was full of dark and unprecedented times, the real estate market continued to thrive and boom. The flourishing housing market was one glimmer of hope in an otherwise struggling economy. Now with emerging COVID-19 vaccines, a path out of this painful pandemic is approaching. Many are wondering, what will a return to normalcy mean for the housing market in 2021?
 
Housing economists are predicting another big year for real estate. The chief economist at Redfin, Daryl Fairweather, predicts 2021’s real estate market will be ever stronger than 2020. “As the economy recovers, as the vaccines get the virus under control, people will be back at work, and people who have delayed selling this year will be ready to sell,’’ Fairweather stated. Fairweather also believes the interest rates may slightly tick up but stay historically low, which makes buying a home more affordable. 

Low mortgage rates are one of two reasons experts anticipate continued price growth in 2021; most economists expect rates on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to average just over 3 percent. The other reason is: supply and demand. There still simply aren’t enough houses available for everybody who wants one. 
 
Homes are selling incredibly quickly, nearly 2 weeks faster than last year, because the market is so starved for inventory. Daniele Hale, the chief economist from Realtor.com, expects the housing market to ride its current momentum through next year, with home prices climbing 5.7 percent in 2021, both nationally and in the Boston area. Hale forecasts sales volume to increase 7 percent overall and 5.4 percent in Boston. She also predicts a return to “seasonality,’’ with strong spring and summer buying seasons and a wind down in the fall and winter. Boston, specifically, continues to experience a vast shortage of inventory. 
 

The lack of new listings put a lid on home sales this year, Fairweather states, and continued to drastically push up prices. However, as the pandemic comes to an end, and buyers and sellers start feeling more confident about their future, and thus more comfortable with listing their home for sale or making a purchase, Fairweather predicts home sales will jump 10 percent in 2021, and price growth will slow somewhat, to a little less than 5 percent. 
 
As more inventory hits the market in the second half of 2021 however, it still won’t be enough to satisfy buyer demand. There will definitely be an unrelenting demand for homes and another seller’s market next year. 
 
As it did this year, that buyer demand will likely continue to center on larger homes with offices and outdoor space. 
 
Furthermore, once people feel confident that life will return to normal, Fairweather expects buyers to return to cities like Boston — if not for the jobs, then for the lifestyle.  “Boston isn’t just about office buildings; it’s also a place where people go on vacation. It’s a college town. There’s a lot to offer besides office buildings, so if office workers don’t come back, I don’t think that’s the end of Boston,’’ she said. “Young professionals and college students are going to want to live in a place that has nightlife and bars and restaurants.’’
 
Boston ranked among the 10 hottest markets in Urban Land Institute’s 2021 Emerging Trends in Real Estate report. “The industry is pretty bullish about Boston as sort of staying a top-tier city.’’
 
With a competitive market expected in 2021, agents said it’s essential for buyers to prepare. That means researching home values, canvassing what’s available, connecting with a local agent, and getting preapproved by a lender so you can act quickly. When you have something that works for you, you have to be ready and well-prepared to place a strong offer. 

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Greater Boston Home Prices and Sales Broke Records in October




According to a report by the Greater Boston Association of Realtors released last Tuesday, The Greater Boston single-family and condo home markets saw record sales in October. 


The 1,433 single-family homes sold last month reflected a 36.9 percent year-over-year increase in sales, while the median sales price rose to a new record for the month: $700,000. It was $593,000 last October.

Meanwhile, the condo market boasted a 9.3 percent year-over-year increase, at 949 units sold. The median sales price, $575,000, also broke records for the month. The median sales price in October 2019 was $549,700.

The multifamily home market saw a 6.4 percent increase in sales, with 198 properties sold.

The COVID-19 pandemic pushed the spring sales rush off to the fall. The prices reflect high buyer demand amid low interest rates and low inventory.

Long-term Mortgage Rate Falls to Record Low For 13th Time in 2020


US long-term mortgage rates fell this week, reaching record lows for the 13th time this year, amid fresh signs of weakness in the pandemic-ravaged economy. 

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year benchmark loan declined to 2.72 percent from 2.84 last week. For contrast, the rate averaged 3.66 a year ago. 

Meanwhile, the average rate on the 15-year-fixed-rate mortgage slightly declined to 2.28 percent from 2.34 percent. 

Home loan rates have trended downwards throughout most of the year, stimulating buying interest from potential home-owners. 

However, fresh signs emerged this week, revealing that the Coronavirus is likely continuing to slow the economy and force businesses to cut jobs. The government reported Tuesday that retail sales in the United States (which represent a third of overall consumer spending), grew a sluggish 0.3 percent in October, despite retailers offering early holiday discounts online and in stores. 

Furthermore, a recent report from the Labor Department showed that the number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose last week to 742,000, the first increase in five weeks. The worsening pandemic and arrival of cold weather could encourage layoffs in the weeks ahead. Of the roughly 20 million Americans receiving some form of jobless benefits, about half will lose that aid when two federal programs expire at year's end. 








Sunday, November 1, 2020

4 Powerful Ways To Freshen Your Space

1. Embrace natural light

Throw open the curtains, let the breeze in and brighten your home decor. Open those blinds and bask in the natural light. Instead of flipping on your lights in the morning, pull back the curtains and let sunshine light the way. The simple act of opening your windows can help lift your mood, and you’ll save a little on your electric bill too. Don’t have big windows? By using large mirrors you can reflect light and brighten up your room.


2. Freshen up your furniture

A white, beige, or light gray couch is a perfect and cozy nesting spot. Light neutral chairs set the tone, reflect light and set a peaceful atmosphere. If you don’t want to commit to white furniture, invest in slipcovers that you can use seasonally and remove whenever you desire. 


3. Incorporate natural tones 

Incorporate lightweight natural materials into your decor — think wicker, woven baskets, light wood grain and cotton curtains. Keep it airy and light, leaning on nature to inspire you.

Switch out heavy blankets for light throws, and pack away heavy, dark decor items in favor of woven baskets paired with colorful or nature-inspired accessories. By adding earthy materials to your home, you invoke nature inside and out for a fresh and renewed feel.

4. Go green and breath fresher air

Adding potted plants, bouquets of flowers and herb gardens to your home is a great way to bring the outdoors in. Not only do they provide beautiful focal points and improve your mood, they also give off little hits of oxygen — so breathe deep.

Visit your local farm for pretty blooms, or grow herbs in windowsill pots. Also, faux plants can still give off a fresh green look, but without all the hassle and maintenance. Give yourself a new outlook and a fresh perspective by taking the time to revitalize your space and refresh your mindset. From mixing up colors to looking to nature for inspiration, you can powerfully transform your home into a sunny, bright and airy space.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Single Family Home Prices Jumped 18% in Massachusetts This September


Two reports released Wednesday affirmed the autumn housing market is thriving and healthy in Boston. The cost of a single-family home in Massachusetts in September averaged $472,000, which reflects an 18 percent year-over-year increase. Furthermore, sales were up more than 27 percent, according to a report by The Warren Group, a real estate analytics firm.

 

Historically in September the real estate market sees a significant slowdown in single-family home sales, but this proved not to be the case in 2020. As expected, Suffolk and Middlesex counties were the primary drivers behind the significant uptick in condo sales in September. 

 

In Greater Boston, sales of condos and single-family homes rallied, according to a report the Greater Boston Association of Realtors released Wednesday. The condo market experienced a 19.1 percent year-over-year increase in sales and a median price jump of 7.7 percent to $592,500. The median price for a single-family home rose 12.4 percent year over year to $680,000, and sales skyrocketed 32.2 percent.

 

Even throughout the pandemic and impending presidential election, the Boston real estate market still holds a lack of housing inventory, which is driving prices up.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

4 Ways to Make Your Home Office Work



Working from home is the new normal for many Americans, which emphasizes major importance upon your home workspace functioning well, and looking great. Here's 4 tips on how to design and revitalize your home office space for maximum capability. 

1. Declutter


Now is the time to be honest for yourself and completely declutter your desk and draws. The importance of having a clean workspace with only the necessary items is astronomical, and will help keep your brain running smoothly and lower stress levels. Toss away any unnecessary items that need to be thrown out, pair similar items, contain stray pens into one decorative cup, and make sure you have all your workday essentials close at hand and non-essential items moved away. 

2.  Commit to Your Space 

Designating an area strictly for work in your home is highly important and will help you enter a driven and focused mental space. Whatever spot you choose, make sure it feels like a designated and functional work area. This means adequate lighting, a comfortable office chair, and a seamless tech set-up with plenty of space. 

3. Create an Inspiration Board


Now that you've set the stage, it's time to look forward. The wall behind your laptop (or desktop) should inspire you. This a great time to curate an inspiration board full of quotes, pictures, and your favorite images to inspire you and motivate you each day. You can also include your to do list and important reminders on the board. 

4.  Set the Mood

This is your time to create an inspiring space. Scented candles usually aren't allowed in your crowded office space, but those rules don't apply at home. Aromatherapy options are also available if you are concerned about kids or pets. Also now, your playlist can softly play out loud rather than through ear buds. Similarly, you can set out healthy snacks and any of your favorite drinks to overall create a cozy and comfortable atmosphere. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

4 Surprising Features That May Increase How Much Your Home Is Worth

Thousands of data points correlate with home values and sale prices, many which are obvious (like the condition of the home) and some features that aren’t obvious. 

Here are several surprising features which have the power to affect ethe existing value of your home or the price someone is willing to pay for it, based on factual data.

1.    Proximity to Starbucks

A surprising feature which may raise the value of your home is your proximity to the nearest Starbucks. A 2015 Zillow report found that, between 1997 and 2014, homes within a quarter-mile of a Starbucks increased in value by 96%, compared to 65% of all U.S homes. This information was based on a comparison of Zillow Home Value Index Data with a database of Starbucks locations. 

To evaluate if this effect is isolated to Starbucks, the Zillow research team looked into another coffee hot spot (one with particular pull on the East Coast): Dunkin’ Donuts.

The data showed that homes near Dunkin’ Donuts locations appreciated 80 percent, on average, during the same 17-year period — not quite as high as homes near a Starbucks, but still significantly above the 65 percent increase in value for all U.S. homes.

2.    Blue kitchens and blue bathrooms

Curb appeal is definitely important to prospective home buyers, and what’s inside counts too, especially the colors you choose to paint the rooms. 

According to Zillow’s 2017 Paint Color Analysis, which examined more than 32,000 photos from sold homes around the country, homes with blue kitchens sold for a $1,809 premium, compared to similar homes with white kitchens.

Blue is also a well-liked bathroom shade. The same analysis found that homes with pale blue to soft periwinkle-blue bathrooms sold for $5,440 more.

Walls painted in cool neutrals, like blue or gray, can signal that the home is well cared for or has other desirable features.

3.    Trendy/Modern Features

Zillow listings mentioning trendy features, such as barn doors and farmhouse sinks, tend to sell faster and for a higher premium. This information is according to a 2016 Zillow analysis of descriptions of more than 2 million homes sold across the country. 

Listings with “barn door” in the description sold for 13.4 percent more than expected — and 57 days faster than comparable homes without the keyword. Meanwhile, listings touting “farmhouse sink” led to a nearly 8 percent sales premium.


4.    City Proximity 

 If you are lucky enough to own a home in a major metropolitan area, you’re most likely sitting on a significant (and rapidly appreciating) financial asset. For example, home values in the New York, NY, metro area are worth $2.6 trillion. The average urban home is now worth 35 percent more than the average suburban home. Since 2012, the median home value in urban areas has increased by 54 percent, while the median home value in suburban areas is up just 38 percent.