Tuesday, January 31, 2006

January Roundup

Mortgage rates were up slightly at the end of this month. Yet from a historical point of view mortgage rates are still very low. Freddie Mac Chief Economist pointed out that favorable loan rates continue to fuel the housing market. According to HSH Associates, a publisher of mortgage data, HSH says. "Truly, we have enjoyed a remarkable run with interest rates, and there are no current signs that the end of low rates are near."

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Real Estate Transfer Tax Opposed

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors calls a plan to fund affordable housing with a 1 percent transfer tax on homes priced over $750,000.00 as "unfair". Presently, a proposal included in a bill S, 2330, is pending in the legislature's Joint Committee on Revenue.

Michele Lerner wrote in a trade magazine: Home owners and home buyers in targeted areas shouldn't have to pay for something that's the responsibility of the entire community. Steven Ryan, MAR general council and director of goverment affairs states "MAR opposes transfer taxes in any locality because they're essentially an entrance fee into a town."

Ford Realty will keep you posted on this proposed bill.

One Year Ago Today

Comparing today's Boston housing market to a year ago.

1/29/05 - New Listings: 81
1/29/06 - New Listings: 144

1/29/05 - Price Reductions: 31
1/29/06 - Price Reductions: 149

1/29/05 - Back On the Market: 6
1/29/06 - Back On the Market: 19

1/29/05 - Off the Market: 40
1/29/06 - Off the Market: 81

1/29/05 - Properties Under Agreement: 82
1/29/06 - Properties Under Agreement: 94

1/29/05 - Total Inventory: 1,550
1/29/06 - Total Inventory: 2,555

In the month of January 2005 300 properties went under agreement.
In the month of January 2006 290 properties went under agreement.

Source: LINK

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Survey - Buyers Market

Ford Realty conducted a survey of Boston real estate brokers and the general consensus by a majority is that the Boston housing market is a "buyers market" however, most real estate brokers feel very optimistic for 2006.

Boston Homes staff writter Marilyn Jackson wrote "Boston brokers and real estate developers have a positive outlook for the 2006 housing market in the city..........."

The week of January 21st

The following data was provided by LINK:

Number of New Listings: 114
Number of Price Changes: 149
Listings Back On the Market: 19
Number of Listings Off the Market: 81
Properties Under Agreement: 94
Number of Properties Sold: 67
Total Inventory: 2,555

Friday, January 27, 2006

Tips for Homebuyers

1. Stay cool, don't fall in love with the first home you see, shop around.
2. Find a good broker that can help you through the buying process.
3. Lawyers, have a lawyer review both your written offer and the purchase-and-sales-agreement.
4. Inspectors, don't skip a professional home inspection the few hundred dollars you spend now can save you thousands latter on.
5. Insurance, make sure you can get affordable homeowners' insurance for a given property.
6. Mortgages, shop as carefully for a mortgage as you do for a home.
7. Be firm, if you have qualms, don't let anyone pressure you into buying.
8. Make sure you obtain an agency disclosure form which indicates who the real estate broker represents, either you or the seller.
9. When buying a condo ask about any possible future assessments or increases in condo fees.
10. Drive around the area at different times of the day to ensure you like the surroundings.

Source: Some info was provided by the Boston Herald.

Read today's Boston Herald for more information on Home Buying Tips.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Condo Sales Surge

Today, Kimberly Blanton from the Boston Globe reported that single family home sales were down 3 percent last month from sales in December 2004. One positive note in her Boston Globe article was with the Massachhusetts condo market. She wrote "But the state's condo market surged 16.5%, achieving a fourth consecutive record year, with 29,089 sales. The median price in December was $275,000,....."

Ford Realty Inc was mentioned in The Boston Globe story. For the full story click on the link below:

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

MA Homes Appreciated 67%

Home prices in Massachusetts have appreciated 67% in the past five years, according to the federal Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. October median selling price for a single-family home was $349,000.00. For condominiums, October's median price was $271,350.00.

Monday, January 23, 2006


There are two multi-listing services in Boston LINK and MLS. As reported last week LINK data showed a 15% decline in Boston condo sales. MLS results look much brighter.

MLS 2004 Condo Sales: 4,200

MLS 2005 Condos Sales: 4,636

If you include condos, single-family homes and land the results are as follows:

MLS 2004 Total Sales: 6,726

MLS 2005 Total Sales: 7,213

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Weekly Activity Summary

1/14/2006 Through 1/21/2006

Number of New Listings: 153
Number of Price Changes: 129
Properties Back on the Market: 29
Properties Off the Market: 94
Properties Under Agreement: 87
Number of Properties Sold: 72

Toatal Inventory: 2,569

Friday, January 20, 2006

Federal Reserve - Outlook

For a report on the outlook of Boston's economy click on the Federal Reserve "Beige Book" report.

Brief Summary regarding housing from the report dated January 18, 2006

"Residential real estate markets in New England continues to slow, but as indicated three months ago, contacts say this represents a return to normal, rather than significant market corrections."

Realtor Stats

The following information is from

- Married couples make up the largest share of the housing market 61%
- Single women 21%
- Single males 9%
- Unmarried couples 7%
- Other 2%

- Typical buyer walked through 9 properties and searched 8 weeks to buy a home and moved no more then 12 miles from their previous residence.

- Typical seller placed their home on the market for 12 weeks, lived their for 6 years. Moved 15 miles to a new residence

-44% of buyers found their real estate agent via freind.

-11% used an agent from a previous transaction.

-7% found an agent on the internet

-7% found an agent at an "open house"

-Six other groups account for a smaller share each.

Deflating The Housing Bubble Talk

Heres a brief excerpt from a story in the New York Times earlier this week:

"As of yesterday, the Census Bureau officially pegged the resident population of the United States at closing in on 297,000,000. The bureau estimates that with a baby born every 8 seconds, someone dying every 12 seconds and the nation gaining an immigrant every 31 seconds on average, the population is growing by one person every 14 seconds.

At that rate, the total is expected to top 300 million late this year. But with those projections adjusted monthly and the number of births typically peaking during the summer, the benchmark is likely to be reached about nine months from now."

For our local home builders, keep building those homes, 300 million people need to live somewhere.

Housing Data

The National Association of Realtors, reported in their home purchasing survey that 43% of first time homebuyers financed 100% of their purchase, while another 50% financed betweeen 71% to 99% of their home.

The trade group also noted that the for-sale-by-owner market has gotten smaller, from 20% of total sales in 1987 down to 13% in 2005.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Net Worth of Homeowners vs Renters

The average net worth of homeowners vs renters:

$80,000 and up the average homeowner has a net worth of $451,200 and a renter has a networth of $87,400.00.

$50,000 to $79,999.00 the average homeowner has a net worth of $194,610.00 and a renter has a net worth of $25,000.00

$30,000.00 to $49,999.00 the average homeowner has a networth of $112,600 and a renter has a net worth of $4,240.00

Source: VIP Forum Federal Reserve

Condos cut into U.S. Apartment Supply

Conversions on rental apartments to condominiums decreased the apartment supply, which boosted the market overall. As a result, apartment rents in the 69 largest U.S. markets rose 0.7% durring the last three months, as vacancies dipped to 5.7% according to the recent report from Reis Inc.

Housing Starts Drop in December

The rate of housing starts dropped an estimate 5.7% from December 2004 to December 2005, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today.

Boston's First Interactive Real Estate Window Display

Ford Realty is proud to annnounce Boston's first" Interactive Real Estate Window Display" at its 151 Tremont Street office. The interactive window display will debut on March 1, 2006.

Our new window display enables pedestrians to use a standard mobile phone like a remote control, to browse property information displayed on an internet connected flat TV screen located in our storefront and connected to the broker 24/7 to leave a message.


Susan is walking past the Ford Realty 151 Tremont Street office and notices a flat panel TV screen in the window. It displays 30 or so thumbnail photos of condos with a number underneath each photo with the price. She'd like to know more about one of the condos and dials the phone number displayed on the screen. She follows the voice prompt on her cell phone along with the visual prompts on the TV screen and starts using her mobile cell phone as a remote control for the TV monitor in the window diplay. She would like to know more about condo number 7 on the TV monitor, so she presses 7 on her phone. The TV screen will then enlarge the photos of condo #7 from the MLS selection. She uses her phones * and # keys to navigate forward and backward of photos of various rooms in the condominium along with other data. She views several properties she likes and then presses "0" to leave a message to the broker requesting a showing. The broker instantly obtains an email with a voice attachment from her and is able to follow-up 24/7.

We feel that this will be the future look of the next generation of real estate offices. From our studies on Gen X and Gen Y we found that this group does not necessarily want to enter into a real estate office and have contact with a broker to obtain housing information, but rather do more research on their own online. Gen X and Gen Y behavior patterns are different from the Baby Boomers and we are hoping to fill that niche.

Some of our findings on the Gen X and Gen Y home buying habits:

1. Responsiveness and efficiency is a must they are an impatient group
2. Being competent is more important then "Schmoozing"
3. A rich web site experience is key
4. Email is the preferred way to communicate.

On March 1st please stop by to witness first-hand the real estate office of the future.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Internet Home Searches climb

The internet is an increasingly popular tool for both buyers and sellers. According to the 2005 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers about 77% of home buyers reported that they used the internet to search for a home - a 3% increase since 2004. One other note of interest, in 1995 only 2% of home buyers said they used the interent.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Boston Sales fell 15.4% Last Year

Home sales fell by 15.4% last year to 2,196 properties, down from 2,595 in 2004 according to data from LINK the Boston multi-listing service. Beacon Hill, Fenway, South End, and West End all saw double digit declines. The largest drop was in the West End where sales fell a whooping 34.8%. Back Bay fell 8.26% according to LINK statistics.

Although sales were off prices are still heading upward, the median price in the above neighborhoods was $505,750.00 last year, up $465,000.00 in 2004, an 8.8% rise. Back Bay was the most expensive area with a median price of $668,500 up from $550,000 in 2004.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Weekly Inventory

The following informations was obtained via LINK:

Number of New Listings: 154
Number of Price Changes: 115
Number Back On Market: 37
Number Off Market: 95
Number Under Agreement: 56
Number Sold: 109

Total Inventory: 2,587

Friday, January 13, 2006

Condo Sellers Pull units off the Market

Jay Fitzgerald a reporter for the Boston Herald wrote a story today stating that "condo owners appear to have pulled their condos off the market rather than sell for lower prices in a soft market." Ford Realty was mentioned in the story.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Mortgage Applications

Overall mortgage applications climbed 9.9% last week on a seasonally adjusted basis from the week before, the mortgage Bankers Association reported today.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

No Suprise: We Have Expensive Housing

Massachusetts is one of the most expensive states in which to rent an apartment, exceeded only by Hawaii and California, according to a recently published report on housing affordability.

In its seventh annual Out of Reach study, the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a Washington, D.C. based housing advocacy group, stated that a worker must earn $15.78 an hour in order to afford rent and utilites in the United States, while Massachusetts average $21.88 per hour. Ma is nearly $6 higher than the national average.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Moving Trends

During the year 2005, many people packed up and moved their home to the Southeast and West, while the Midwest and Northeast experienced an increase in residents leaving, as measured by the business trends of United Van Lines, the nations largest household goods mover.

Highest inbound migration states in 2005

1. Florida

2. Texas

3. Washington

Highest outbound states

1. California

2. Lousiana

3. North Dakota

4. Ma. lost residents for the 18th straight year.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Boston Housing Inventory continues to Drop

Weekly activity Summary:

Number of New Listings: 125
Number of Price Changes: 91
Back On The Market: 44
Off The Market: 100
Under Agreement: 53
Properties Sold: 64

Total Inventory: 2,548

Boston housing inventory has been on a steady decline for a couple of months.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Last week of 2005 - Summary

The following is the last week in December housing summary report:

Number of New Listings : 17
Number of Price Changes: 9
Properties Back on the market: 6
Number of Properties Off the Market: 34
Number of Properties Under Agreement: 25
Number of Properties Sold: 50

Total Inventory: 2,570