This week's blog is the tale of my client Lynne. She's a fantastic woman and an incredible mom who is trying to help her daughter buy a home in Framingham. Sounds like an easy task, right? Their parameters are not unrealistic and quite in line with what seems reasonable for this area.
Priced between $650,000-$850,000
All style homes- Ranch, Colonial, Split Levels
The problem is they are getting outbid each time if they have the chance to put in an offer. Realtors are promising an offer deadline days out and then their sellers are changing their minds and accepting offers that are 10-15% higher than the ask before the deadline approaches- following any set of rules set forward by the agents doesn't work.
So when you ask me how the market is out here, this is what I will tell you! For some buyers it's a wave that just keeps knocking you down time and time again. Framingham is even crazier than other towns closer to Boston such as Weston and Wellesley where the price ranges are higher and less affordable for a large pool of people. In the affluent towns more properties are lingering each week or two after they are launched on the MLS. (This could be a sign of summer too) About a third of the inventory in the Newton-Wellesley area is under $2M and the rest is north of $2M. A top heavy market is building.
This trend is the problem across the country as was recently reported by the National Association of Realtors by Inman, which is real estate news for brokers. There just aren't enough houses that people can afford. "The report notes that there were about 1.1 million homes available for sale at the end of April, up 5 percent from a year ago. If the market were balanced, nearly 51 percent of households earning $75,000 or less would be able to afford to buy 51 percent of the homes available for sale. But those households can currently only afford 23 percent of listings now, whereas five years ago, they could afford to buy half of all listings, according to the report."
In other news I want to give a special welcome to my new assistant Ava! After living in New York City she moved back home to Wellesley to pursue her goal of becoming an agent. Myself and MGS group are so excited to have her on board!!
Stay Tuned - I will be selling a new development in Wayland called Launcher Way! I could not be more excited! 12 Newly renovated ranch style homes set in a beautiful neighborhood. What an opportunity for people to have a stylish, updated home for under $1M!!! Details coming soon!
Finally, I want to say congratulations to my daughter Anna who graduated last week from high school and is off to the University of Virginia! I am such a proud Mom I had to share this great news. Our first to go to college- Wow!!
Have a great week! Last week of school for the younger ones!
A lot of people have asked how the demise of First Republic bank is affecting the housing market. Behind the scenes we saw real estate firms swiftly move their hefty escrow accounts which held customer deposits to bigger banks as soon as there was even a hint of a problem at the bank. (Post SVB collapse.)
There was disappointment among consumers about the bank closing, but not a noticeable effect beyond that. Clients who had taken mortgages out for their purchases were nervous, and some pivoted to other banks, while many took a deep breath and followed through with First Republic. Overall though, the urge to buy still seems strong among those who really want to move and this situation did not slow down the pace of sales.
The real problem for banks will come in the commercial sector, experts predict. JP Morgan's CEO told the Inman news group the following regarding his concerns.
"For months now, some economists and analysts have pointed to commercial real estate as a potential problem for banks, as the pandemic spurred more workers to take advantage of fully or partly remote jobs. One result of this? Less demand for office space.
And for lenders who provided the funds to build some of these offices and other commercial properties, any distress from commercial properties might jeopardize their hopes of getting their money back.
This dynamic could create an uncomfortable environment for some banks — but not every bank, Dimon said. Smaller lenders are expected to be more exposed to the risk from commercial real estate."
It continues to be a late spring selling season for us. A number of great houses came on last week in all price ranges and in turn had accepted offers quickly. After this weekend I think that trend will continue into June as agents launch new listings during a time that generally means we wind down. Look at how many houses had accepted contracts last week, the numbers are very impressive and the remaining properties for sale is a low amount.
I will end this week with a little self promotion. It was exciting to hear I was named a top producer once again by Boston Magazine. Always an honor!! Couldn't do it without the referrals and loyalty I get from all of you. Thank you!
Finally, I hope you enjoy this Memorial Day Weekend with your friends and family. I know I will, as each year we use this time to go away and reset after a long winter defined by hard work!
Complex! That is the best way I have heard the real estate market described. Limited inventory still defines what is happening all over the country, but especially here west of Boston. Below is a look at the local stats! The inventory is creeping up slightly, but still low overall.
An agent from north of Boston called me this week and said, "Teri, you know it isn't this crazy in other parts of the state, right?" In fact I was a bit surprised to hear it aloud. Nationally, I am told by colleagues that Oregon and California, NYC and Texas (Austin) for example have seen significant slow downs in their markets. They are shifting to a more balanced market where buyers at least have a chance.
Here, if something is priced well, in a desired location and in good condition then the demand is intense. This was evident in the battle my buyers and I were part of in Newton. 13 offers on an adorable two family home south of the Mass Pike- the house traded about 20% over asking. Properties in "destination neighborhoods" where people consistently target is is a driving factor for sure in these bidding wars. You know the saying you can change your house, but not your location!
Lots of talk about a recession looming and what that means in housing. Most experts truly believe that it will not negatively impact us at all. Historically a majority of the time the market actually strengthened rather than crashed with the economy stalling. 2008 was an exception!
I do think there will be a number of good homes that will be for sale in the coming weeks- sellers aren't done just yet. Many waited for warmer weather to showcase their gardens and exterior. I think they will do just fine as we see executives and their family's moving here just in time for school.
I am clearly feeling optimistic today! Have a great week!
Just in time for graduations and the end of the school year, the spring market comes to town. So many new listings launched this week in all prices and ranges. I received lots of exciting texts from buyers, happy there are properties for them to see! It's late for this kind of burst, but we will take it. Here is a chart of the number of houses that came on just this week in a few of our towns!
As for the weather, well it's certainly spring showers. Not as fun to tour houses in the rain, but the sun will reappear soon we hope!
For the second part of the blog I thought it would be helpful to go over steps to get your house ready to come on the market. This is such a big component of what I do for clients and it can be stressful for homeowners, but worth it. I always tell sellers, "how we live is different than how we sell a house." Buyers want to envision themselves in your space, so try to neutralize it as much as possible to help them see the bones of the home. Just by removing a heavy piece of furniture a room can seem larger and brighter, for example. Think of it as doing the hard work of packing early, and by being proactive you are hopefully getting more money in the end. Trust me!!
Prepping your Home to Sell
1. Remove family photos as much as you can.
2. Make sure countertops and tabletops are clear.
3. Less is more when it comes to furniture.
4. If your furniture reads as dated, consider hiring a stager so your home feels fresher. It's worth the investment.
5. Painting your walls light and bright always helps. Touch up in much needed areas is key.
6. White or neutral bedding goes a long way. (Homegoods and Target are your friend)
7. White towels instantly freshen up a bathroom.
8. Window washing is key.
9. Do a spring clean up in your yard early. A neat garden is always attractive to people.
10. Look at your house as you approach! First impressions are everything so make sure it is in good condition and there isn't any chipping paint etc. Curb appeal matters.
11. Make sure your house number is visible so buyers driving by can easily spot it.
12. Hire an excellent broker who helps with all of this along the way! :) Examples are below.
Each week I think to myself, maybe things are slowing down and perhaps inventory is higher than I think. Then I sit down and do my research and take a hard look at the numbers and realize pretty quickly we are really in the same place we have been. It's still a struggle to build up that inventory. Not many drastic changes to report.
Here is a tale that nicely demonstrates where we are. This adorable house (not my listing) sits beautifully on a side street in downtown Wellesley.
As soon as it was listed there was a rush of people with 5 days of packed showings and pre-inspections. At a listing price of $1.3M it was attractive to many, many people from first time homebuyers to empty nesters. 22 offers later it sold nearly 30% over asking. I am proud to say it was MGS Group agent who led their clients to victory. It was underpriced to begin with, so a good agents told their buyers not to get too invested if you only wanted to spend up to $1.5M. This is the reality of house hunting for those searching under $2M in our area. According to the watch group Inman, "homes in the lower tier of pricing are still 8% more expensive than at this time last year — and inventory has barely budged, according to a new analysis released Thursday by Zillow." And the Boston Globe was reporting, "the median price in the first quarter climbed 13% in the Metro West region which include Framingham, Needham, and Wellesley according to the Greater Boston Realtors. Ditto in Central Middlesex County communities such as Concord, Lexington, Sudbury and Weston."
In Wellesley, of the 24 houses on the market right now, two thirds are over $2M and most are north of $4M. The 8 properties priced in the lower tier will most likely sell by the time you read this. Just today we tried to book showings at a few adorable houses in Wayland priced around $1M that came on days ago, had multiple offers immediately. The number of houses selling far outpaces new listings being introduced in all the towns mentioned above.
Checking in on interest rates, they have also crept a little bit higher into the low to mid 6%, ans still a better value with an adjustable rate.
I am pleased to present my fantastic new offerings that will be coming soon. These are both impressive properties in very desirable locations, so I know the market will be pleased to see them coming in the next few weeks.
This was school vacation week and a lot of people were lucky enough to go on vacation to warm destinations. Lucky them, but with the buds on the trees the real spring season is within reach and I can't wait! Have a great week!
I have that overwhelming feeling that comes with this time of year. This season feels a little different though. The pace is the same as other years, it’s busy with showings, inspections listings, and feels like a marathon to get to summer when things slow down.
As you know there are fewer listings than what is needed for a balanced market, and that brings on the bidding wars. If a house is slightly underpriced for the demand there are typically 6 or more offers received. Even when there are less people in the battle, the end result can be just as impressive with one person stepping out and offering 5-20% over asking to just “shut it down” and take the home off the market. Perhaps online betting can move into housing! We can take bets on which houses fetch a new record setting price, which don’t, and what those prices will be.
At the same time, there is a feeling of change that’s in the background. There are a handful of properties coming on that don’t sell in just days or hours. A sign perhaps that there is a slight shift in market patterns. I don’t think this indicates prices are coming down, but you have to price thoughtfully from the start. Inventory is building ever so slightly as you can see from the weekly numbers, yet sales are still outweighing new houses that are being introduced.
Following the market, and in my case living it daily, isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s a moving target and quite exhausting to chase for everyone- buyers, sellers, agents, inspectors and mortgage brokers. The end game can be exhilarating, but you need to be determined to get to the finish line.
I am excited to be helping the "cause" and proud this week to have introduced 144 Oakland Street, Wellesley which is a one of a kind property complete with a barn, extra lot and sweeping views of Centennial Park. 88 Audubon, Wellesley is coming soon and offers a really cool modern twist on like new construction. Happy to share more if you want to reach out.
Finally, my dear assistant Elise is leaving to go into the medical field. She’ll be tough to replace, but it has to be done. If you know anyone who is an organized, positive, and hard working person with an interest in real estate, please send them my info. Looking to fill the job ASAP.
Have a great week! Hope you are enjoying the warm weather!
Real Estate seems to always be on everyone's minds. It's fun, intriguing and always changing. Last week I spoke in front of the Wellesley Hills Junior Women's Club and the members had some thoughtful questions I wanted to share.
1. Where do you see the market going in the next year?
As a reader of my blog you know that each season tells a different story. This spring the market continues to be strong for sellers and somewhat of a struggle for buyers, as they connect with a popular home that will ultimately sell after receiving multiple offers. The environment does not seem to be moving away from that dynamic just yet. This week I had two different buyers win the chance to own their houses in fierce competitions with multiple bids. One home had 6 offers in Weston, and another in Wellesley had 3. We had to be creative and decisive to be the winning bid. That scenario is useful on most houses that are in high demand. That's the story here in Massachusetts. The Wall Street Journal wrote a great article about the "Tale of Two Housing Markets", referring to a cooling market on the West Coast and a competitive climate on the East Coast that keeps reaching new heights. Check out this week's numbers for an inside look. Houses are getting scooped up and inventory is still historically low.
2. What is with "off market" listings, and is it a strategy for everyone?
"Off Market" in our world is defined by a grassroots effort to sell a house by connecting with top agents in the area to spread the word of a home for sale. In this scenario we do not advertise the property on MLS or the Internet. This strategy can be used when a property is one-of-a-kind and has some really unique features (a unicorn property.) For buyers, it's exciting to know about a listing that others don't and they have an opportunity to own something special on the terms agreed upon by them and the sellers. There is an air of exclusivity. Some homeowners also just don't want the intensity that comes with broadcasting their home for sale to the world, and prefer a more manageable showing schedule. There is a risk that without advertising, the selling price could be less, but the convenience of not having their house totally show ready offsets the discount that could come with an off market sale. Most times a full marketing platform is best because the reach is so vast and you are connecting with buyers all over the world, potentially creating a stronger demand and hopefully higher price.
3. Where exactly does MGS Group help buyers and sellers?
Our reach is wide! MGS Group covers the metro west towns with our office in Wellesley, and we also have top agents who cover Boston, Cambridge, and Brookline. We even have a strong presence in the luxury markets of New York City and Miami. Finally, we have wonderful partnerships with agents on the Cape and Islands. We have you covered!
As always, have a great week and reach out with any questions!
1. We have all heard about the run on banks, and I am here to tell you what a colleague said so eloquently.
"Your real estate investments are secure and won't disappear in a bank run."
What better place to put your money than into an asset that you can take care of and improve on, all while it offers you tax benefits and appreciation. Trading up or down in this market is ideal as well, since you are cashing in and buying in the same climate. Your money in the bank won't take care of you like that, and your stocks are a lot moodier.
2. If you are one of the many who say, "I will wait on the sidelines and buy when the market cools down", you have missed opportunities for about 10 years now. That's a big chunk of life that's passing by. A wise man who works with Warren Buffet once said,
"we all know if you buy low and sell high you make money, but you can also buy high and sell higher."
Think about that - if you and bought a house in 2020 when it seemed like the peak, there's a VERY good chance your house is worth a lot more today. Make calculated risks and keep moving forward.
3. Your home's intrinsic value far exceeds what you paid for it! It's a place to make memories, stay healthy, raise your children, your pets, and let your creative juices flow. It's a place to sleep well and be safe. It's a gathering place for friends and family. While you are doing those things you aren't thinking about a past negotiation with the seller, or the one outlet that didn't work during your inspection, or even a slightly older boiler that can be replaced. You truly can't put a price tag on what your home gives you back, so take a step back and look at the big picture. If the economy does shift, don't you want a home you love to be your backdrop?
4. Thinking of selling? Now is the time to do it! Inventory is still historically low in our area and buyers are out there; especially if you are under $4M where there is a huge void in inventory. Take a look at this week's numbers below for the full scope. Sellers are still building wealth through real estate. We can't predict the future, but we can control the present, and it's a great time to list your home for sale.
As always, have a great week and reach out with any questions!
One of the most common questions I hear from sellers is, "what should I do to get my house ready to sell, and what will I get back?" We evaluate on a case-by-case basis what makes the most sense for each listing, and factor in each seller's priorities, time, and resources.
By choosing the right projects you can add value to your home, especially if you decide to sell! Here is a cheat sheet that may help you decide what to do. Balance these numbers with what works for the layout of your home, as well as your budget, and you will likely see great returns!
And now, on to the real estate market itself: The bottom line is, sellers aren't selling and buyers want to buy! Houses come on and then they are gone in a matter of days. The absorption rate is quick! For those properties that languish, most likely they are starting at an unreasonable number and buyers just don't see value. Strategy matters. Those properties priced well are trading with multiple offer scenarios, sometimes upwards of 15% over the asking price. While last week more than a dozen new properties came on in Wellesley and Weston combined, this week only 6 were introduced. It feels strange since this is typically the height of the selling season.
The Federal Reserve noted that they will most likely raise rates faster and more aggressively than anticipated to get inflation down. This quote from an NBC article clearly explains how this move will effectively cool the economy. ".....higher rates could also risk job losses, as a slowing economy pushes businesses to cut costs by laying off staff members. The Fed itself projects the unemployment rate rising. But outside of certain sectors like technology, the job market remains remarkably tight. The national unemployment rate currently stands at a more-than-50-year low."
"We don’t think we need a significant increase in unemployment, and we’re certainly not aiming for one,” Powell told lawmakers Tuesday. “But we do think there will be some softening in labor market conditions to get to 2% inflation.” If this is the case, will the promise of rates going up create even more sense of urgency for buyers to buy their houses now and snag a lower payment?
My prediction is despite some worries nationally, it will be a later spring market for us. With the daffodils and tulips we may see for sale signs. You heard it here first. We shall see!
I'm always available and more than happy to provide an analysis for you! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 617-306-3642 to schedule a meeting.
A Bloomberg business reporter called me this week for an article he is writing about what we are seeing in the suburbs west of Boston. Fresh off of another round of bidding wars with buyers, I had a lot to say! It feels like the wild west - houses being scooped up as quickly as sellers and listing brokers will allow them to be captured. Two of the homes I sold last week never even made it to MLS - those are lucky buyers who didn't have to battle for a win! That said, I am having a hard time pinning down where we go from here. Here are last week's inventory numbers.
Nationally, the picture is a little more complex. Rentals seem a bit soft, and in other parts of the country houses are certainly trading, but according to my colleagues in other states, they're not receiving the amount of offers we are experiencing here. The media outlets report layoffs daily at major corporations and vendors are telling me that some of their customers are holding off on big design or building projects. Perhaps the power of our area and influx of people moving here is a tribute to this great place we call home. :)
Additionally, rates spiked up again towards 7% - inflation hasn't retreated as much as the government had hoped. I am thankful for my amazing group of mortgage brokers who are creative and still offer some low pricing to help clients achieve their dream of home ownership. Always happy to share contacts with you if that helps! Just respond to this email.
The luxury end of our market ($3.5M+) is also in a good place. While weeks ago the inventory looked like it was becoming top heavy, existing listings are now going under contract daily, including two $10M homes in Weston and Wellesley. Four people were bidding on a property priced at $3,695,000 that was new to market and it will land close to $4M! (After I wrote this, a second home with the same price tag also went with multiple offers). I sold that same property which has not had any capital improvements since I listed it in 2016 for $2,775,000. It has gone up more than 25% in 7 years!! A nice investment.
My message to anyone even thinking of selling in the near future is:
why not do it now? This crazy seller's market can't last forever, and to maximize your profit we know the best time is now.
I am excited about the weeks to come. On Thursday, dozens of houses came on for buyers in an array of price ranges and different towns. If this trend continues that will bring more choice to clients coupled with a healthy sales price for sellers. Welcome to the Spring Market everyone!!
I'm always available and more than happy to provide an analysis for you! Email me at email@example.com or call at 617-306-3642 to schedule a meeting.