Wellesley & Weston Real Estate News

May 21, 2022

Market Update: Week of 5/16/22

While out shopping last week I spotted a man in a T-shirt that said “Resilience 2020.” I was so struck by the shirt. The definition of resilience is to be “able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions”, and we have needed this trait so much in the last few years. We have had to rely on resilience to overcome so much uncertainty and change. 

Sadly, we have seen that it’s been easier for some to muster the strength to be resilient more than others.

To personify the real estate market, it also has shown resilience. Despite the pandemic, an economy twisting and turning, rising interest rates, and a struggling stock market, the housing market has been quite resilient. It keeps on challenging buyers and pleasing sellers.

All of this to say that the real estate market continues to have strength, even with constantly changing conditions. How do I know? Look at the statistics below showing the number of houses that went under contract last week. And yes, those houses will trade for a significant percentage more than their listing price. Inventory overall has increased in some towns, especially Wayland where we were seeing only two houses on at one time.

 This shows us that buyers continue to be resilient too. Even if they've lost out on houses in the past, they are still in the game with a determination to win. In my opinion, I commend sellers thus far for not getting greedy and pricing their homes reasonably, so that buyers still see value. Don’t get me wrong, there are some homes that missed the mark and are sitting. In that situation this offers an opportunity for buyers to negotiate a property down and get a house. I have done that successfully in recent days for two clients!

My thoughts above don’t mean we aren’t in somewhat of a cooling period. Realtors across the nation are reporting that while they are still reaching historically high selling prices, in recent weeks the number of bids presented on properties in general is significantly less than just a few months ago. Instead of 10-12 offers on a property, agents are seeing two or three savvy, educated buyers who are stepping up and offering a lot of money and clean terms to get the job done. A much more efficient process.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that in April, sales dropped and “fell to their weakest pace in nearly two years.” In that same article it says that “prices rose 14.8% from a year earlier.” Interest rates are having a slight effect perhaps, but this chart should keep it in perspective where they stand historically.

 

Finally, this week my colleague Maggie Gold Seelig and I introduced this exceptional property at 91 Dean Road in Weston. Designed by architect Patrick Ahearn, this stunning home is not to be missed.

 

After Memorial Day I will be releasing another stunning listing on Carisbrooke Road in Wellesley - a chance to live on one of the most sought after roads! Also in Wellesley we will introduce a charming mid century modern home that is incredibly warm and inviting. 

 

Are you curious about what your house is worth in this market? I'm always available and more than happy to provide an analysis for you! Email me at teri@teriadler.com or call at 617-306-3642 to schedule a meeting.

Have a great week!

May 7, 2022

Market Update: Week of 5/2/22

The topic of conversation when people see me these days continues to be: what is going to become of this market? You probably know that (along with most other experts) I believe we are NOT caught in a bubble that is going to suddenly break. It's an appreciation of prices with sound fundamentals, and that isn't going anywhere. 

The National Association of Realtors broke it down in terms of US Regions.  "These increases come as median single-family existing-home prices rose at a faster rate nationally – 15.7% – from one year ago, up to $368,200. In comparison, the year-over-year pace in the prior quarter was 14.3%. Notably, the South region made up 45% of single-family existing-home sales in the first quarter and notched a double-digit price appreciation of 20.1%. Meanwhile, the Northeast saw a climb of 6.7%, the Midwest 8.5%, and the West 5.9%."

If I were to take the temperature of the Metro West real estate market, I would say there seems to be a very slight lull. I attribute this minor pause primarily to buyer fatigue. It seems harder for me to convince buyers to head out and see good houses because they are in a pattern of assuming they won't win in a bidding war. Remember though, that isn't always the case. Someone has to win, and I know how to structure an offer to do so - just ask my readers who are sitting in their new homes reading this! 

As well, on some properties there is still room to negotiate. I had two old fashioned negotiations last week with houses that had been on for an average of 60 days. These buyers were able to have inspections, and in one case put in the safeguard of a mortgage contingency. How very 2019 of us! The market won't absorb just anything- if it's priced too high, people know and shy away.

Seasonally we typically slow down as we head towards Mother's Day and Memorial Day Weekend. Spring activities, graduations, proms, sports, etc. all ramp up with the warm weather and are a distraction from the house hunt.

The topic of the interest rates is a hot one too. In our market, sophisticated buyers aren't going to halt a search because of a 5% mortgage rate. Some people may hold off on selling because they don't want to trade up on a higher rate. Others may accelerate listing their home in anticipation of rates going up even further, and buyers may join them in that race.

Finally, I was speaking with a friend who is an executive at a major shoe company - she says their data indicates people aren't buying goods right now, rather it's all about experiences. If you try to book any trip this summer it's nearly impossible. Airline flights are filled and expensive, as are hotels. Retail numbers are trending up slightly, but at a much slower pace than last year. If people are spending more on travel and experiences they may pull back a little on homebuying. However, in my opinion not enough to make a dent in the demand and scarce inventory. Most of your "experiences" in life are in your home, and that's not going to change. 

 

Are you curious about what your house is worth in this market? I'm always available and more than happy to provide an analysis for you! Email me at teri@teriadler.com or call at 617-306-3642 to schedule a meeting.

Cheers to a great week! 

April 23, 2022

Market Update: Week of 4/16/22

We're jumping right into this week's blog with a more serious mood than last week, as the real estate market has suddenly taken on a different vibe. Industry experts, including myself, are grappling with what's to come. In fact, economists at Fannie Mae are reporting the following about the future of home sales, and they're inferring there could be a modest recession. This is from an article by Inman News, a newsletter geared towards agents.

"In their latest forecast Tuesday, Fannie Mae economists said the projected downturn 'is not expected to resemble the severity or duration of the Great Recession,' but that higher mortgage rates are likely to cause home sales to decline by 7.4 percent this year and by 9.7 percent in 2023.

 

Fannie Mae had previously forecast that home sales would drop by 4.1 percent this year and 2.7 percent next year." 

The higher rates are really wreaking havoc as the Federal Reserve had planned. Rates now inching above 5% are slowing down refinances and the purchases of vacation homes. But this isn't going to increase inventory, in fact if someone is locked into a low rate, they may put off a move since that means taking on an interest rate nearly double what they are paying now.

These are long term predictions that are just whispers in the background. If we are to look at this moment in time, US home prices actually surged to a new record in March while the volume of sales decreased. According to the WSJ, existing home sales fell 2.7% in March. Some buyers have tapered off, exhausted from trying to find a home, and others have accelerated their search, anxious to lock in a mortgage before the rates creep even higher.

Locally we have seen a real slow down this week, but that's a seasonal "self imposed" break by Realtors in some ways. With the holidays last weekend and public school break this week, agents waited to put on new properties. A number of beautiful properties hit the market on Wednesday, and I would be surprised if they hang around long. Once we see the bidding wars subside, I promise you will be the first to hear about it in this newsletter.

I've listed another beautiful townhome in Wellesley this week, in the same development as one we listed a few weeks ago. SO close to Linden Square and the train, etc. A great place for someone out there who craves easy living!!

Next week I am pleased to officially present  this gorgeous Victorian in the heart of Wellesley Farms.

I think having impeccable taste and a design flair is a prerequisite to working with me this week, as my sellers each have amazing style!! Lucky me!!

Are you curious about what your house is worth in this market? I'm always available and more than happy to provide an analysis for you! Email me at teri@teriadler.com or call at 617-306-3642 to schedule a meeting.

Cheers to a great week! 

 
 
 
    
 
April 16, 2022

Market Update: Week of 4/11/22

The other night, I was watching one of the many real estate shows on Netflix. I know you've all watched these series showing glamorous agents selling houses in mere hours or days, and then moving on to the next one. It all looks so easy, and those glamorous brokers are in heels too! Even I am impressed with how calm, cool, and collected they are with each deal, because that just isn't real life.  The truth is that reality is not quite as glamorous, but it is probably even more rewarding than you would think.

Recently I've had so many people say to me, “wow, it’s a great time to be a real estate agent!”. For the top performers (and I will humbly put myself in that category) it is always a great time, but only because we have always worked hard. That hard work pays off when we finally make it to the finish line. However, being paid at closing is truly the last thing we think of because there are so many important steps to get there. One misstep, and a deal can fall apart instantly. So this week, I thought some insight into the real world of a selling agent may be helpful!

First of all, selling houses in New England is done with a good coat and flat shoes. There is the occasional wedge heel that I will throw in to mix things up! I know of one Realtor around here who wears heels, and she’s a rock star in her 80’s. The rest of us would have a hard time in the snow, rain, or sleet,  climbing stairs dozens of times a day while navigating a stunning Jimmy Choo heel. If we can get away with a stylish sneaker that’s a win.

To be a listing agent is exciting these days, but it’s an early sprint that turns into a marathon. Thoughtful sellers are still putting in hard work to get their houses ready for the market, and I am in the backdrop managing that process with painters, stagers, organizers, landscapers, photographers, and floor plans. All of these resources were used to get the result pictured here - a very worthy investment!

All of this takes time, and not to mention the energy that homeowners put into the decision to move. It is a major life milestone, and not something I have ever seen someone take lightly. Some houses do sell in days after all of the preparation work and dozens of showings from morning to evening. Other properties don’t sell right away. Counseling clients, strategizing price, and staying on top of marketing is something I take very seriously. Sellers and buyers are on my mind day and night, and I know when they are in the game the feeling is mutual. In many cases I am helping sellers build wealth through the sale of their home, and that’s a big responsibility seven days a week.

Once a house sells and we have signed the purchase and sale contract, that doesn’t mean I am out of the picture.  You know the scary background music in a film when a potential villain approaches? Well... these days, that’s what we hear when the appraiser walks into a house armed with their measuring tape and notepad. Appraisers are great people - but they aren’t in every listing like we are, and don’t know what houses are going to trade for if they haven’t closed yet. In such a fast moving market with soaring prices, you have to question; will they take into account the other comparable properties that also sold for 20% over the listing price, or will they not see the value and send a report that is under the agreed upon price? It’s happened to me recently, and it is not fun. Managing this step in the process is critical these days to help move a deal forward. 

The dance to get to closing includes smoke inspections, final utility readings, buyer visits, furniture sales, and a final walk through. The last time a buyer walks through their new home before they send the money to the seller is a hold-your-breath moment for agents. We pray that the seller took the time to really clean their home after they've moved out.. The P&S states a house has to be “broom clean”,  a mere sweep and that’s it.  But can you imagine walking into your new house and having to deal with the previous owner's dirty fridge, toilet, and stove? You will hear a collective sigh of relief from the agents when we walk into a home that is sparkling and clean. It makes for a good closing, and well worth the time or money the seller used to get that result. Essentially, the golden rule applies! Too many times we are at the closing table scrambling to find a cleaner because the buyer is upset. That can easily be avoided so that everyone can move forward. Finish line reached!

So, yes - it takes lots of work and a thoughtful strategy to put a house on the market, even today. Houses don’t sell themselves like you see on TV and that’s where I come in- in practical shoes of course :) See below for this week's market numbers and mortgage rates!

 

To all who celebrate, we wish you a happy Passover and happy Easter this weekend!

April 2, 2022

Market Update: Week of 3/28/22

Showing houses is an exhilarating and well-needed workout! Lots of trips up and down stairways, turning lights on and off, and conducting guided tours. I am constantly talking, selling, counseling and smiling - and we are having fun, that's the good part. On Friday, our online schedule had 24 showings throughout the day spread between our listings and buyers. We met a lot of people and it's such a treat! Camping out all day in the beautiful homes we sell is a true privilege too. The profile of buyers flooding the market includes some traveling from overseas, and some transferring here for work from other states. The world is clearly opening up! In fact, a colleague I was with during a showing received a call from a Ukrainian woman who escaped to Poland and was looking to move her family to Wellesley! She was asking about our market and the process to buy. Incredible!
As you know, I keep my eye on the interest rates - but to be honest there has not been much talk about it among buyers . Their determination to land a house seems to outweigh any concerns they may have about paying a few dollars more a month. At one property, we had six pre-inspections, so you can tell that their focus is on the prize-for some at whatever cost it takes. The average rate this week for a fixed rate jumbo loan is 4.67%. In January, an average home loan was in the low 3% range. However, while mortgage brokers report home refinancing applications are down, they are still seeing an increase in applications for purchases. In my opinion, what seems to be the biggest deterrent for some people is buyer fatigue.
This week a good number of new listings were presented, offering a variety of different price ranges and styles in most towns (although Weston had a slower week)! The inventory boost was refreshing, to say the least - feels a little like old times. My guess is that for the most part, they will all go under contract. It's only Saturday and I noticed a few homes already flagged on MLS as already having accepted an offer. 
I wanted to end with one design tip that stuck with me this week. A client with an eye for style and design told me, black is the new neutral. She adds a pop of black in her rooms as if it were white, grey or beige. I found it genius and she's right. It's not expected but really pleasing. So if you want to take change things up, why not try black in your room. 
Have a great weekend, everyone!
March 26, 2022

Market Update: Week of 3/21/22

Last week I saw a headline that read, "People are Making More Money on their Homes than their Yearly Salary." That is incredible to think of, really. Up until this time I have always told sellers and buyers, "we can't think of your primary residence as an investment opportunity, it's a home for your family". This advice comes from experience - as a Realtor, I am a product of the crash in 2008 when people saw deep losses when trying to sell their homes. The story is so different now.
These days, demand is incredibly strong for nice solid houses that are priced at a reasonable starting point (most of these bidding wars tend to take place under the $3M mark). As I have written before, the properties that benefit the most from this historic time are on streets or in places that were seen as secondary locations in slower markets. For example, houses on busy streets, near highways or train tracks, towns that are a longer commute to Boston and without a commuter rail nearby are all seeing record sales numbers and interest. The demand is so intense that buyers are quickly willing to overlook these potential objections, just to win a house and get settled. Two houses that heard the roar of Route 9 because of their proximity to the highway were super hot homes in the last few weeks, and will trade close to $3M. This NEVER would have happened three years ago. The blue chip (established) neighborhoods will always be desirable and the first to sell whether it's a down or up market, so they have less to gain during these unprecedented times.
Mortgage Rates
I know the topic may seem boring, but the mortgage rates shown in the chart above are working really hard to spoil the real estate party. They are inching up towards 4 - 4.5% for end users, and well over 5% for investors and second homes this week - an increase of nearly a point from last year. That really can inflate your payments, and is not ideal for investors or homeowners. 
All that said, from sizing up the profile of buyers at my listings, the fundamentals in our area seem very solid. There are many relocation clients moving to the Boston area for jobs in bio-tech, pharma, finance and the medical field. Some people are making moves back to this area to be near family, which is always so touching. People have jobs and are still choosing to settle here, and that sets a healthy foundation for the housing market.
Now comes the fun part! I have so many fantastic houses and a townhome coming up that we want to share!!
A stunner in the Poet's Corner of Wellesley
A stately young colonial in Wellesley Farms
A gorgeous townhome near Linden Square and Wellesley Center
In Wayland, I am listing a lovely home on the same street where I grew up :)
30 Cliff Road in Wellesley had a price improvement - this one of a kind home is a must see!
5 Erwin Road in Wayland is coming on officially next week, and is just dreamy!
So there you have it, this week's wrap up. Can you believe April is just next week? I can feel the warm weather coming our way!
 
March 13, 2022

Market Update: Week of 3/7/22

Wednesday is such a fun day here in Metro West. It's when the Realtors hit send on their computers and release their new listings on MLS. The post is then blasted into the universe for us all to see! Phones and computers all over the world receive alerts that a new property is for sale. After days of wishing for many new listings to come on, buyers have another chance (or not if things didn't pop in their price range) to land a house. The last few weeks were somewhat encouraging, as a good number of homes were introduced. Most were north of $1.5M; price range is critical when examining the market.
For example, in the towns of Wellesley and Weston, inventory is slightly building up in the higher price range. As I am writing this, 44% of the inventory in Wellesley is above $3M, and in Weston 60% of the inventory is above $3M.
That is more houses than we have seen sitting in a long time. Of course, there are less buyers in that range, and they traditionally take longer to sell. However, compared to three years ago the overall number is still low. 
Meanwhile, properties under $3M tend to be scooped up in a weekend with multiple offers. Last week's listing at $1,875,000 had nearly a dozen offers, as did other homes for sale in town. Almost all went over asking by at least 10%, and many higher than that.
The buzz this coming week will be about interest rates. According to Realtor.com, "All this comes as the Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates next week and to give its outlook for the rest of the year. This has the potential to send mortgage rates even higher than the 3.85% that Freddie Mac reported as the average this week for 30-year, fixed-rate loans".
Let's remember that rate is still lower than just a few years ago, and the adjustable rate is still enticing and in the 2%'s. If you are budgeting, and inflation is eating into your checkbook, then a higher rate could make a difference. We have not seen the effect of rates slowing down the pace just yet, but it is something I am watching closely. The fear among economists is that if the government raises rates too quickly, it could send the economy into a recession. It's a delicate balance to maintain right now.
I wanted to share two beauties that are currently on the market! 30 Cliff Road which is a special property with a bright and stylish vibe that blends effortlessly with classic details and charm. The carriage house is a must see! Check it out. 
115 Great Plain Avenue is a young colonial that you can move right into, and has an incredible pool for those summer months. Twenty groups strolled through the open house there yesterday! 
I know that buyers have fatigue. I see it in their faces, and hear it in their voices. But you can win a house in a bidding war! My strategy in multiple offers has benefited buyers who thought it was impossible. Being decisive, prepared, and aggressive is key. Put your best foot forward in an offer scenario and don't mess around. 
Have a great week as always! 

 

March 5, 2022

Real Estate Market Update: Week of 2/28

This week was the first time in two years that it began to feel like a "healthy" environment again out in the field. The rush of open houses and showings was attended by buyers, who were for the most part mask-free. I saw smiles and I heard laughter. People took the time to really see each other, and conversations were so much better as deeper connections were made through facial expressions. It was quite moving to see this shift toward normalcy.
The shift to our old ways didn't stop there - in Wellesley and Weston, 31 houses combined came on the market in all price ranges! Overall in the suburbs/Boston market that we cover, there were 78 new properties introduced. This is a staggering increase compared to 29 new properties the week before. Spring is awakening, bringing new listings and more robust inventory. Buyers had their choice of houses to see which was refreshing too! However, that doesn't mean there isn't a rush at each open house, or multiple offers submitted for most properties. We are in March Madness, after all!
Our new listings were, and still are, buzzing with activity. 68 Woodcliff Road sold in a matter of hours over asking, with a solid offer from a prepared buyer. Cheers to them! Bold and decisive moves continue to win the house. We expect multiple offers on others as well, and will report back next week.
I have lots of new listings that we're preparing to launch! Wouldn't you like to lounge by this pool in the coming months? You can do that and more at this special Wellesley property that brings indoor-outdoor living to a new standard.
There's also a fabulous young colonial coming on in the Bates neighborhood in Wellesley. It is simply stunning, and will be on MLS in a few weeks. Happy to fill you in on those and more coming soon!
With the war in the Ukraine, rates dipped slightly, but are still expected to rise next month to help curb the inflation we are experiencing. In all honesty, I am not hearing people complain about the rates; like everything else, it becomes our new norm and we adjust our expectations.
Of course, behind the numbers a tragic situation is unfolding; friends and clients of mine struggle knowing their loved ones are in the middle of conflict in Ukraine. My Russian friend has shared these links to aid refugees during this time, if you would like to help.
Have a great week!
Feb. 25, 2022

Market Update: Week of 2/21/22

As I write this week’s blog I am in Los Angeles making the best of being stranded on the west coast as a result of the storm back east. I have heard from many of you who were also vacationing in the south or out west and also couldn’t make it home because of canceled flights. Of course, there are worse places to be stranded :)
Even from California I am busy preparing for the spring market, while my assistant Elise works hard helping sellers get their houses ready!
So, let’s start with some good news. Next week we will be showcasing these four fantastic properties. They are each distinctly special - call for information on all of them!
30 Cliff Road, Wellesley
3 Auburn Road, Wellesley
5 Erwin Road Wayland
68 Woodcliff Road
I am thrilled for buyers that come March there will be more houses for them to choose from. Bring it on!!
While it’s a pleasure to see my sellers benefit from this historic market, it’s equally difficult to see buyers, who I care deeply about, fight valiantly to get a house and lose. I represented buyers as we competed against 21 other people for a darling Cape-style house in Wellesley. Clearly the market deemed that this house was underpriced with that many offers. In the end, it was the person who paid cash that won. This is a common story in many of these bidding wars- cash takes it. We experience it time and time again. It can feel so deflating since most people don’t have millions of dollars in cash to buy a house. So what does one do? It’s hard to say. There are no easy answers. Perhaps the wave of inventory that will be launched by brokers in coming days will help people who are financing (which is typical) to have a chance.
There were some excellent national metrics released last week that are worth noting here. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, which measures average home prices in major metropolitan areas across the nation, rose 18.8% over the 12 months (ending in December), unchanged from the prior month. This calendar-year increase was the highest since since they started reporting in 1987.
Interest rates are also higher with a 30-year average at 3.92% according to the WSJ. Experts think this will really slow down the buying pace, but mostly in areas with lower median home prices and primarily first-time buyers - which is not Boston’s Metro West area.
After writing this blog, it was posted that 35 Sawyer Road, Wellesley which was on for $1.85M closed in a week at $2.7M with a cash offer. This is 32% over asking! The sellers purchased the same house in 2018 for $1.54M and have not made huge capital improvements. So far this is an unprecedented sale, and definitely an outlier statistic worth noting.
Can you believe it’s almost been two years of this frenzy? It started last April right after Covid initially hit. This story is far from over and I will keep documenting what I see. What a wild ride it’s been. Thanks for being there with me!
Have a great week!

 

Feb. 19, 2022

Market Update: Week of 2/14/22

I felt like jumping for joy last week! Last Wednesday in Wellesley and Weston, 12 listings hit the market at the same time. It felt so good to make the call to buyers that we finally had some properties to tour! As you can imagine the scene in each house was hectic, with streams of people crossing paths in hallways and brokers trailing behind.
I took this photo of a traffic jam in front of an open house at a cute home in Wellesley priced at $1,075,000. Of course it was caused by the attendees at the open house and inspectors in tow conducting pre-inspections. The small ended street was a parking lot with cars stuck and unable to go in any direction.
By the end of the weekend, almost all but 2 of the Wellesley homes went under agreement. And of course, there is talk of the incredible price tags that it took to claim victory in bidding wars. One property was rumored to go 18% over asking.
I spent a good amount of time on the phone today with agents in the San Francisco market, connecting them to a client who is moving out west. One of the agents I spoke with had to call me back because she was presenting an offer for her buyer that was 50% over the asking price with no contingencies (of course). She had seen some houses sell 100% over the asking price in the San Fran suburbs. I still find this just stunning, when you think we would be used to this frenzy by now!
Realtor.com just released a list of the highest benefitting markets in the country. Check out #1, which is in New England - Manchester, NH. I lived in Manchester and met my husband in Manch-Vegas as they jokingly called it. Here is what this tells you - that in this hot market, it's going to be these "secondary markets" that benefit the most from the low inventory and buying rush. Major metro centers will always be in demand as will blue chip towns, but as people realize they are out-priced in those areas or can't even find a house, they will move further out, even to a different state to get what they are looking for. Their criteria may change as the quest for a house takes priority over big details like location. For example, a longer commute won't seem as big an objection as it once did if a buyer is finally able to snag a home after looking for weeks or months with no luck.
I do have some exciting news in Wellesley. I spoke with a landlord today who owns many of the commercial buildings on Central Street, and he is really excited about the new restaurants and shops coming our way. From sushi to Southwestern cuisine to pizza, we will now have even more choices to dine. And in Linden Square they've announced new restaurants including Karma, Oath Pizza, and Tatte. Something to look forward to for sure!
I am off to California with my family this week to visit with my parents and extended family. Lucky us, the weather is warm and sunny! This will be a great recharge to get ready for March - when I promise there are going to be many beautiful houses to showcase!
Have a great week!!