Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Housing Landscape of America

In just over a half a decade the number of Ameica's working families paying more then 50% of their income to housing has grown 76%, according to a study entitled "The Housing Landscape of Ameirca's Working Families 2005" conducted by The Center of Housing Policy. Freddie Mac funded the study.

The report specifically states that in 1997, 2.4 million working families spent more then 1/2 their income on housing, but by 2003 the number had grown to 4.2 million. The report also noted that immigrant families are 75% more likely to pay more then 1/2 their income to housing compared to their native born americans.

Other points of interest: 1 out of every 8, or 14.1 million of all families had critical housing needs-that means that they paid more then 1/2 their income for housing, and/or lived in physically dilapidated conditions.

Mr Alan Kingston a leader in the study summed it up "Public agencies and the private sector must work hand-in-hand to make use of new financial tools, local and land use incentivies and regulatory reforms to build more affordable housing. Unless we continue to invest in affordable housing for our workforce our economic future is at risk."

Monday, November 28, 2005

Can you afford to buy a home in Boston?

Homeownership Market

The median price of a home in Boston 2005.........$355,000.00

Annual Income Needed- $112,581

Can the Middle class afford to live in Boston?

Elem School Teacher annual income: $50,033.00

Police Officer: $48,419

Nurse (LPN): $40,330

Retail Salesperson: $26,041

Janitor: $25,120

Data on the median price home is obtained from the National Association of Home Builders Housing Opportunity Index for the first quarter of 2005. The annual income needed to qualify for a mortgage was calculated using average prevailing interest rates, assuming a 10% downpayment and the use of private mortgage insurance and includes principal, interest, taxes and insurance.

The wage data was determined as of Feb 2005 and were obtained from a proprietary database of salary information by geographic location by

Weekly Boston Real Estate Summary

The following information has been obtained by LINK. LINK is a muli-listing real estate service used by most Boston real estate brokers.

Weekly summary from November 19, 2005 through November 26, 2005

Number of new listings: 50
Number of price changes: 55
Properties back on the market: 8
Properties off the market: 64
Properties under agreement: 60
Number of properties sold: 82

Total Inventory: 3,064

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The College and University Housing Report

The Boston Foundation website reported on how the college community is confronting the vexing problem of student housing. It's findings show from 1990 - 2002 Boston colleges and universities added 16,324 new student beds, the equivalent of 2,600 apartments in the Boston area. As of 2004 there were 32,528 dormitory beds in Boston, an increase of 2% over 2002 and a 92% increase over 1990.

I commend the college community in their attempt to build more housing for their students. It should be noted that the local colleges are trying to make strides in their housing needs even though they face many hurdles from local communities and city officials. One such example is Suffolk University and its attempt to build college dorms in Beacon Hill. This college dorm proposal has created an outcry in the local community but without these new dorms Beacon Hill apartments will remain in short supply.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Mortgage Closing Costs

Mortgage Closing Costs: State Rankings gathered closing-cost information from 50 states and the Distrcit of Columbia. The three most expensive states were New York, Hawaii and Alaska. Massachusetts ranked 14th with closing costs of $2,892.00. New Yorks closing cost were $3,907.00

More information visit

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Boston Neighborhood Market Report

LINK, the Listing Information Network that tracks real estate activity in Boston published the third quarter sales report. The report compares the third quarter of 2005 with the third quarter of 2004.

The summary of the findings in reference to the median sales price are as follows:

Back Bay
2004 - $525,000.00
2005 - $660,000.00

Beacon Hill
2004 - $420,000.00
2005 - $396.000.00

2004 - $463,500.00
2005 - $489,000.00

2004 - $550,000.00
2005 - $553,000.00

East Boston
2004 - $420,000.00
2005 - $418,000.00

2004 - $287,500.00
2005 - $303,000.00

Jamaica Plain
2004 - $373,000.00
2005 - $334,000.00

South Boston
2004 - $350,000.00
2005 - $359,000.00

South End
2004 - $559,000.00
2005 - $499,000.00

2004 - $515,000.00
2005 - $499,000.00

Out of the ten neighborhoods listed 1/2 the prices went up and 1/2 the sale prices went down. This indicates to me that the market has reached it's peak and that some neighborhoods in Boston are beginning to see the downturn.

In reference to the number of sales transactions:

Back Bay/Midtown
2004 - 260
2005 - 240

Beacon Hill/West End
2004 - 142
2005 - 111

South End
2004 - 425
2005 - 274

To view the latest listings visit

Weekly Activity Summary - Boston Housing Market

The following is a weekly activity summary of the Boston housing market from November 12, 2005 through November 19, 2005.

Number of new listings: 175
Number of price changes: 209
Number of properties off-the-market: 98
Number of properties under agreement: 74
Number of properties sold: 74

Total inventory: 3,156

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Boston Real Estate Development

On Thursday, November 17, 2005 LINK Information Network and Boston Virtual Imaging sponsored a lecture series with the keynote speaker Mr. Jay Russo the Deputy Director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority. The conversation was about the development projects underway in Boston. Some of the key points from this lecture are as follows:

1. Presently Boston has 63 housing projects under review.

2. 101 housing projects are under approval.

3. 96 housing projects are currently under construction.

4. Since July 2000 there has been 13, 700 housing units built in the Boston area.

5. The approx amount of housing units under review for rentals is 1,000.

Other points of interest:

1. Boston has the largest number of 20-34 year olds in the country.

2. 72% of Boston's 20-34 year olds rent an apartment.

3. 53% of the 20-34 year olds in Boston have a B.A. degree or higher.

4. Boston is the 4th most densely populated city in the country with 12,000 people per sq. mile.

5. South Boston waterfront has 1,000 acres of undeveloped land.

More information on Boston real estate visit

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Boston Condominium Market

I had some free time last night so I compared how the Boston condo market half way through the 4th quarter is holding up in relations to the last 3rd quarter in 2005.

My findings are as follows:

Fenway 3rd Quarter

Average Sales Price: $306,772.00
Median Sales Price: $ 295,000.00

Fenway 1/2 through the 4th Quarter

Average Sales Price: $423,000.00
Median Sales Price: $369,000.00

Back Bay 3rd Quarter

Average Sales Price: $940,000.00
Median sales Price: $625,000.00

Back Bay 1/2 through the 4th Quarter

Average Sales Price: $1,178,165.00
Medain Sales Price: $782,000.00

Prices also went up in Beacon Hill and the South End from the 3rd quarter until now. If there is a housing bubble it's not reflected in these numbers.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Boston Condo Sales Market

The following information has been obtained by LINK the Boston multi-real estate listing service for the week of 11/5/05 through 11/12/05.

Number of new listings - 152
Number of price changes - 250
Properties back on the market- 10
Properties off the market - 88
Properties under agreement- 88
Number of properties sold - 107

The numbers indicate that the Boston condo market is still active regardless of the negative news being reported.

To view the most updated listings visit

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Sunday Open Houses

Sunday November 6, 2005 - Open House

One key indicator to obtain the pulse on the Boston Housing market is the turnout at Sunday Open Houses. On November 6, 2005, we had 10 people at one open house in Beacon Hill and one of our friendly competitors Phillip Street Realty had 8 at theirs. In addition, other real estate offices throughout the Boston area reported better turnouts then in the past.

One reason for the better turnouts is that more and more sellers are lowering their asking prices which is attracting the buyers to venture out and test the waters. Plus the media is raving about how it's a "buyers market" is actually helping to spur more activity.

Last week Ford Realty received two offers at our Brookline office, two at the Boston Midtown office and one at the Beacon Hill office. This is the most activity we have had in months.

Is this just a fluke? I will keep you posted.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Boston Condos Sales and Inventory

The following information was obtained by LINK. Ford Realty makes no representation or warranty regarding the accuracy of the information contained herein:

Number of New Listings: 177

Number of Price Changes: 271

Number of Properties Back On Market: 14

Number of Properties Off-the-Market: 87

Number of Properties Under Agreement: 85

Number of Properties Sold: 99

Total Inventory as of 11/6/05: 3,186

Total Inventory on the Week of 8/6/05 : 2,219

Property inventory increase of over 40%.