Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Women Homebuyers

According to a study conducted by the Joint Center of Housing Studies of Harvard University "Social and economic trends have given women a more powerful presence in the housing market." The study also indicated:

1. Twice as many single women buy homes as single men.

2. Between 1994-2002 the number of single women owning homes climbed from 13.9 million to 17.5 million.

3. Single women purchase one in five homes, single men one in ten based on 2003 information.

Boston Housing Inventory Continues Downward

According to LINK, for the 6th week in a row property inventory continues its downward trend. Presently there are 2,622 properties for sale in the LINK database that is down from 2,684 reported on 12/17/05.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Wealthy Americans - See No Housing Bubble

In a news release from Market Watch dated December 23, 2005 it stated "Wealthy Americans don't appear to be too concerned over the state of the housing market. Nearly two-thirds of those with incomes over $150,000.00 and investable assets of $500,000.00 or more say they expect the value of their primary home to increase by double digits over the next five years and nearly one-third think the increase will be 20% or more according to a survey this week from PNC Financial Service Group."

Massachusetts Home Sales on the Rise?

According to the Associated Press news report dated December 24, 2005 the Northeast home sales are on the rise. The article stated "Home sales were down in all parts of the country accept the northeast where it staged a 13.4% surge, the biggest percentage increase in the region since January 1994."

Could this be a sign of good times ahead for Sellers?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

2006 Housing Outlook

According to a recent Fannie Mae housing report, home sales in the U.S. will drop as much as 10% in 2006 a decline caused by higher interest rates and housing jitters.

How long will the Fed raise rates?

The following is from Business Week "After tighening for the 13th time the Federal Reserve appears to be signaling that it's nearing the end of the rising-rate cycle. Standard & Poor's expects another 25 basis point hike at the Jan 31 meeting, and another 25 basis points in March, if economic growth remains strong. We then expect the Fed to close up shop for the rest of 2006"

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Changing Face of Massachusetts

A study of the demographics of Massachusetts was conducted by The Center for Labor Market Studies and was made possible by Verizon, Polaroid and the Bank of Ameirca. The summary of their findings are as follows:

1. As of 2004, one in seven Massachusetts residents was born in another country.
2. Over the last 25 years, immigrants in our workforce has nearly doubled.
3. Today, 17% of our workforce are immigrants - up from 9% in 1980
4. Nearly half of all new immigrants hail from Latin America and the Caribbean.
5. Another 23% come from Asia.
6. 1 out of every 5 immigrants entering the state was Brazilian.
7. The growth in the amount of immigrants entering Boston has increased 32% since 1990.
8. The immigrant population in Ma. grew 35% over the course of a decade to 773,000.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Magazine Ranks Healthiest Cities for Men

Mens Health magazine has once again ranked the nation's "healthiest cities" for men and Boston did not make the top 5 on the list this year.

According to the magazine, the top five cities are as follows:

1. San Francisco
2. Honolulu
3. Austin
4. San Jose
5. Salt Lake City

Beacon Hill Outlook

The following are the stats for Beacon Hill real estate via LINK:

1. Inventory fell from a high of 144 condos to 92

2. Day's on the Market is still on the rise, average today 127

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Boston Housing Inventory Continues to Drop

The following information is provided by LINK one of the largest real estate muli-listing services for the Boston area:

Number of New Listings: 47
Number of Price Changes: 68
Properties Back on the Market: 11
Number of Properties Off the Market: 142
Number of Properties under agreement: 75
Number of Properties sold: 108

Total Inventory: 2,684

This marks the fifth consecutive week that the Boston housing inventory has dropped.
Presently, there are 502 fewer condos on the market for sale today then there was on November 1, 2005.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Housing Inventory......Going Down

According to Link one of the largest muli-listing real estate services in Boston, the number of listed properties for sale has been steadly going down for the last four weeks.

The number of properties for sale according to LINK:

12/3/2005 through 12/10/2005 ..................2855
11/26/2005 through 12/3/2005....................2920
11/19/2000 through 11/26/2005..................3064
11/12/2005 through 11/19/2005...................3156
10/29/2005 through 11/5/2005.....................3186

Friday, December 09, 2005

Real Estate Investors Slowing Down.......

One true sign that the market is slowing down is the increased number of real estate investors pulling the plug on new housing projects. Two well known sources made comments this week on the real estate investor outlook:

David Berson, Chief Economist at Fannie Mae stated "Homes sales may fall 10.4% over the next few years due to a drop in the number of investors and second home purchases."

The National Association of Home Builders reported "Even interest in condo development has waned ............"goes on to say, "condo development cancellation rates have been rising"

The Most Educated Cities

CNN/Money conducted a survey based on the percentage of residents who have a graduate degree, the findings are as follows:

1. MD - Chevy Chase - 48%
2. MD - Bethesda - 47%
3. MA - Brookline - 45%
4. MD - Potomac 45%
5. MA - Newton Center- 43%
6. NY - Larchmont - 42%
7. MA Lexington - 42%
8. MA Cambridge- 41%
9. VA - McLean - 41%
10. NJ- Princeton - 41%

Information was based on data for more than 1,300 cities in the Best Place database. Included are cities with population of more then 14,000 with above average income, population growth and real estate appreciation during the past five years
Source: OnBoard

Boston Rental Market is Soft

According to a new study by Housing and Development (HUD) the Boston apartment rental market is soft. As of this year rents have dropped 10% from the previous year. The main reason according to the study is that Massachusetts has lost 180,000 jobs.

Looking to rent

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Moving Out

According to a CNN report many residents of high priced housing markets are cashing out and moving to more affordable areas.

The report stated "In Massachusetts, a quarter of the people in the state said they would leave if they had the opportunity, according to a poll by MassInc, a non-profit public policy think tank. They would join some 170,000 Bay Stater's who left for other parts of the United States between 2000-2004.

The number one reason cited by those who want to leave: The high cost of living. And the number one area needing major improvement: Housing affordability."

Accoding to MassInc report:

1. 39% of Mass baby boomers expect that they will work in their retirement years not by choice but due to financial necessity.

2. More then one-third of boomers (35%) say they want to leave the state for their retirement years. This would translate roughly 650,000 people, or 10% of the state's population. The report stated "While some degree of retirement migration is to be expected, the sheer size of this generation makes their exodus worrisome."

Thinking of selling your home? Contact Ford Realty

New Real Estate Web Site announces its low cost annual memebership to post unlimited real estate listings and more.

Sellsius an all inclusive real estate web site, schedule to launch in January, announces its low cost annual membership to post unlimited real estate listings and more for $29.95 per year. "If it's real estate related, you can post it"

Look for Ford Realty listings on this site.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Baby Boomers and the Housing Market

For those who like doom and gloom in the housing market you will enjoy these two reports:

In a article entitled "Fed Study Says Home Prices May Fall as Population Ages" claims that US housing prices could collapse by 2015 if the retiring baby-boomers reduce the labor pool and productivity.

In study entitled "The Baby Boom: Predictability in House Prices and Interest Rates" stated "In the near term, house prices will peak in level terms sometime between 2005 and 2010" and a collapse would begin by 2015 according to this study. "Following the peak, house prices will decline over 30% in value over the next 50 years."

The authors indicated the credibility for this study is based on his model's ability to predict the boom and bust of the Japanese real estate markets in '74 and '90

The study was written by Robert Martin, an economist in the Fed's division of international finance. The report is not an official view from the Federal Reserve.

Pending Real Estate Sales Drop

Pending Home Sales Index

According to the National Association of Realtors survey entitled "Pending Home Sales Index" the number of pending home sales in the northeast fell 6.9 percent from this time last year.

David Lereah, NAR's chief economist commented "The drop in pending home sales is an affirmation that we are experiencing a modest slowing in the housing sector" he went on to say "The index is pointing to a soft landing of home sales, which will help correct the inventory shortages that have dominated housing over the last five years."

I was not able to obtain Boston's pending home sales index but when I do I will post it on this blog.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Housing Tax Survey

On a recent survey, given a choice of simplifying the federal tax laws or retaining the current tax incentives, Americans resoundingly prefer the latter according to a ntionwide survey of adults.

Two out three survey participants (68%) favor retaining deductions for mortgage interest, state and local taxes over a plan to simplify the current tax code, according to the survey conducted by RT Strategies on November 7-20, 2005.

As a real estate broker I hope this is a wake up call for Capitol Hill and the President's Advisory Panel on Reform, which has indicated the repel of the popular tax incentive that has promoted homeowneship.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

How Big is Craigslist?

This has nothing to do with real estate but I thought you might find it of interest.

The following information was obtained by Adam Lashinsky, Fortune Magazine senior writer.
The highlights of the article are as follows:

"Craigslist's numbers are mindboggling. Ten million Craigslist users click on an estimated 6.5 million classified postings each month at 190 local sites in 35 countries, generating three billion page views."

"Craigslist is also mind-bogglingly small. It has just 18 employees and no sales marketing departments..........."

"The privately held company currently makes all its money--2005 revenues are in the neighborhoods of $20 million--by charging employers in three cities for listing jobs.........."

"Total annual expenses--salaries, rent and about 100 server computers--cannot possibly run more then $5 million."

"In San Francisco, for example, Classified Intelligence Report, an industry newsletter, found that the major newspaper lost more then $50 million in classified revenue in 2004 because of the Craigslist effect."

No Housing Bubble in Boston?

The debate over the Boston housing bubble continues.

You can make an argument for or against the housing bubble. Listed below are the best reasons that I have heard for against the housing bubble.

The factors that have been listed as providing the fundamental basis for the recent run-up in Boston home prices:

1. Shortage of buildable lots.

2. Enviromental restrictions on buildings.

3. Growing incomes.

5. Growing population of foreign immigrants with high paying jobs.

Predatory Lending Practices

Consumer Tips to Avoid Predatory Lenders

The National Associaton of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB) has been working to raise the awareness of fraudulant mortgage lending practices for years. The following tips are on the National Association of Mortgage Brokers web site.

1. Walk away from anyone suggesting that you lie on your mortgage application(e.g., encouraging you to inflate your income, exaggerate your work history, ect.)

2. Don't sign blank mortgage documents or any that are incomplete.

3. Don't borrow more than you can afford and beware of those who try to get you to borrow more.

4. Beware of door-to-door salesmen, telemarketers, or internet ads. These are scam artists' favorite sales techniques.

5. Don't give in to high-pressure salesmen. No reputable broker or lender will try to pressure you to take out a loan.

6. Don't use lenders who want you to refinance your mortgage over and over again in a short period of time (charging you higher fees, interest rates, and prepayment penalties each time).

7. Be sure you know the terms of the loan. Loans with low monthly payments probably include a balloon payment - i.e., the remaining principal must be paid in full at the end of the loan term.

8. Beware of lenders who charge excessive fees and prepayment penalties. Predatory lenders often charge hidden fees.

More info visit

Saturday, December 03, 2005

House Appreciation By State

Single Family Home Appreciation By State

The top five rankings in one year:

1. Arizonia
2. Florida
3. Hawaii
4. District of Columbia
5. Maryland

Massachusetts was ranked 32.

1. Arizonia - In one year single family home appreciation was 30.33%. Five years 78.87% and since 1980 - 263.35%

2. Florida - In one year 25.18%, Five years 99.69%. From 1980 - 316.26%

3. Hawaii - In one year 21.33%, Five years 102.75%. From 1980 - 374%

4. District of Columbia - In one year 20.53%, Five years 118.87% From 1980 - 471.22%

5. Maryland - In one year 19.29% Five years 92.47% From 1980 - 368.53%

Ranking of 32 Massachusetts In one year 8.02% Five years 67.19% From 1980 - 617.87%

Real Estate Trivia

Here is some fun trivia questions for you.

Question. What building has the largest windows in the world?

Answer. The Palace of Industry and Technology in Paris, France has three matching windows, each 715 feet high and comprised of multiple panes of glass.

Question. Who is the world's largest landowner?

Answer. The United States goverment, with holdings of 728.8 million acres of land.


Question. What private residence is considered the most expensive house ever built?

Answer. The William Randolph Hearst Ranch in San Simeon, California cost over $30 million, equivalent today to $277,883,320. Bill Gates recently built a home for over $40 million.


Question. What land did the U.S. Goverment buy for $7.2 million?

Answer. The U.S. bought Alaska from the Russian Czar in March 1867.


Question. Whose mansion sold for about $2 million after just one day on the market?

Answer. Soon after the death of George Burns his home was put on the market; the home sold in 24 hours.


Question. How much does a celebrity's name boost the price of a property?

Answer. Typically no more than 5%, but there are exceptions--the greater the fame, the higher the price.


Question. What is the most expensive piece of property ever recorded in the world?

Answer. In October 1988, the Mediya Building in central Tokyo was qouted at 358.5 million yen in American currency it equals $248,000 per square foot.


Question. What house in America is considered to be the first house with running water?

Answer. John Heady's home built in Newport, RI in 1723, was equipped with an underground pipe from the nearby spring.

Friday, December 02, 2005

How Boston Has Changed in 11 years..............

According to the findings from HOI:

Boston in 1994

Average Home Price - $138,000.00

Affordability Index based on income: 73.3% of Bostonians could afford to purchase a home.

Average income: $51,300.00


Boston in 2005

Average Home Price: $380,000.00

Affordability Index based on income: 23.9% of Bostonians could afford to purchase a home.

Average Income: $76,400.00

Housing Affordability........Low Grades for Boston

A new report came out yesterday on the housing affordability across the United States for the 3rd quater of 2005. The report indicated that the affordablity to purchase a home is at the lowest level since the Housing Opportunity Index began tracking in 1992. Presently, only 43% of all new and existing homes sold in the country in the 3rd quarter were affordable to the median-income families.

Boston is near the bottom of the list with only 23.9% of homes affordable based on Boston's median income of $76,400.00 a year.

The report also ranked the 10 least affordable metro areas with a population of less then 500,000 and Barnstable, Ma was ranked 10th on the list.

Source: Housing Opportunity Index

Thursday, December 01, 2005

City of Boston at a Glance

Suffolk County

In the year 2000 the Boston Population: 589,141

Male Population of Boston: 283, 588 - 48%

Female Population of Boston: 305, 553 - 52%

Massachusetts Population: 6,355,568


Owner Occupied: 77,226

Renter Occupied: 162,302

Vacant: 12,407

Source: Research Bureau

How to Prequalify for an FHA Loan

Many readers of this blog who are first time home buyers have been asking what are the requirements to pre-qualify for a home mortgage loan. According to the web site the essentials to prequalify for a FHA loan (home mortgage) are as follows:

1. Steady employment history, at least two years with the same employer.

2. Consistent or increasing income over the past two years.

3. Credit report should be in good standing with less then two 30 day late payments in the past 2 years

4. Any bankruptcy on record must be at least two years old and good credit for at least 2 years.

5. Any foreclosures must be at least three years old with good credit for the past three years.

6. Mortgage payment to qualify must be no more then 30% of your monthly gross income.

Looking to buy or sell visit