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Fall is the New Spring in Real Estate

Courtesy of Andrea Brambila - Inman News.

      

Record-low mortgage rates, skyrocketing buyer demand, and shrinking inventory have pushed the housing market's busy season forward through at least the end of the year.

Record-low mortgage interest rates, the increased need for more spacious, multifunctional homes during the coronavirus pandemic, and timelines that no longer necessarily revolve around the start of the school year have fueled homebuyer demand so much that fall is looking more like a new spring in the housing market this year.

“This spring was like no other,” Brian Rubenstein, senior director of mortgage at online lender Ally Home, told Inman in a phone interview. “The pandemic and the market dislocations were quite unprecedented.”

Due to the pandemic, the Federal Reserve has kept interest rates low in an effort to shore up a faltering economy, and rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages have been hovering around 3 percent. This week, National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun declared that 2020’s housing market was outperforming 2019’s housing market and predicted that this year’s home sales would end up higher than the 5.34 million homes sold in 2019.

Rubenstein doesn’t expect rates to rise and that means that the market will likely see what he called an “extended spring cycle.”

“We’ve begun to see a steady increase in people hitting the market, inventory remains lower than usual, but at the same time, with demand being so high, we’re seeing the average home price jump dramatically.

“For the first time we’re also seeing the new entrants into the market — first time homebuyers — not really being scared off by that. They’re really looking to settle in and really begin their home purchase journey, given everything that’s happened in the current landscape.”

Ally saw a delay in the spring market that lasted about two months. Whereas the market typically starts heating up in March as homebuyers figure out where they want to be for the following school year, this year it wasn’t until May that mortgage application volume started picking up, according to Rubenstein.

“Our app volume’s up close to 160 percent of where it was year over year. The purchase market has begun to pick up steam as the refi wave continues to dwindle a little bit,” he said.

Although Ally declined to share raw numbers, the company said the share of first-time homebuyers in July and August had grown to 60 percent of purchase volume, up from 42 percent of purchase volume in July and August 2019 — a 43 percent year-over-year increase.

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“I would expect us to continue to see a steady pick up in purchase volume through the remainder of this year and … [stay] buoyed by the spring market next year,” Rubenstein said.

While there is usually a dip in mortgage volume around the holidays, whether there is one this year is up in the air, in part because people are less likely to travel extensively until there’s a vaccine, according to Rubenstein.

“If folks are not open to traveling during the holiday season, it could present an opportunity for us to continue the continued climb in the mortgage space,” he said.

Additionally, companies that are currently having their employees telecommute could decide to extend that arrangement, allowing people to ditch their previous commutes and “re-tether” themselves to an area that’s more important to them because it’s closer to relatives or a particular school, according to Rubenstein.

“It could help perpetuate … the late spring market through the fall, through the winter, into the following spring,” he said.

Because school is unlikely to be solely in-person, that could encourage families to move around more as well.

“If the caregiver or parent is remote, and the child is either remote, or there are going to be multiple options in the future for children to facilitate learning, whether it’s through virtual or e-learning, that provides a lot more flexibility optionality for folks when they’re making home purchase decisions,” Rubenstein said.

“People are going to be thinking about that probably in a different way, given the landscape of the environment. I think that could help further stimulate this market that we’re seeing now and continue on at least through some point next year.”

Real estate data firm CoreLogic saw home prices rise 5.5 percent year over year in July — the highest rate since 2018. Real estate brokerage Redfin saw home prices rise even more in the markets it operates in — 8.2 percent — canceling outa 6.9 percent increase in buyer purchasing power due to low mortgage rates. The firm attributed the price increases to a combination of low inventory and high buyer demand.

Instead of experiencing their usual fall decline, home prices will at least hold at their current “record high levels” for the next quarter, according to Mike Simonsen, CEO of housing market analytics firm Altos Research. Simonsen hosted a webinar Thursday titled “The Key Data to Watch Right Now in Real Estate.”

Source: Altos Research

“Normally where we are in late summer is the high and we’re starting to reduce prices before the end of the year. We don’t want to be stuck with a home in November that’s been on the market since July, so they get cut,” he said.

“[This year] our whole seasonal reset is way lower than a normal year. Twenty-five [or] 26 percent instead of 36 [or] 37 percent of homes are taking price reductions. That’s because there’s demand in the market. That’s homes getting listed and sold quickly. That’s multiple offers, and that says that the homes that are listed now in the prices that we’ve got now hold up for transactions that happen later in September, in October, November.”

        

Source: Altos Research

That demand is being met with shrinking inventory. Altos predicts the number of single-family homes for sale will continue to drop through the end of the year.

Source: Altos Research

“We had just a couple of weeks in March of climbing inventory in 2020, and then the rest of the year when normally we’d have all this inventory increasing, inventory dropped rapidly every week from April all the way through,” Simonsen said.

“It’ll be flat for a couple of weeks here in September and then you can expect the majority to pull back. The second week of January is when we get our inventory turn. It starts the new listings for the springtime. We may be at 378,000 homes for sale for the whole country. It’s insanely low. That would be half of what a normal January would start at and like a third of what a healthy market would be.”

Source: Altos Research

Altos expects that some homes will come on the market as the first six months of mortgage forbearance end for some homeowners at the end of September. At that point, some will decide to sell their homes, but most will re-extend their forbearance period so that it ends in March, which may mean new inventory in April, according to Simonsen. Still others who are currently in forbearance but not responding to their lenders may go into foreclosure on January 1 as the current foreclosure moratorium ends, or may decide to sell to avoid foreclosure, he added.

“Because prices are high, equity is at record levels, homes are moving fast, it seems unlikely that we’re going to get a wave of foreclosures, but more likely that we might have folks that say, ‘Well, I’m going to take my cash now,'” Simonsen said.

“For Realtors that communication of the opportunity to walk away with your cash pretty quickly because demand is high is a listing opportunity to take advantage of.”

In response to a post on Inman’s Coast to Coast Facebook page, real estate pros mostly expected the fall market to be as busy as their spring normally would be.

“The [Washington D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area] has been extremely busy,” wrote Don McGlynn, associate broker at Compass. “Low inventory is resulting in a price squeeze. Things would have to change drastically for that to slow down in the fall.”

“We are still seeing low inventory and multiple offers on many homes,” he added. “30 years in the business and I have never seen this before.” But, he added, “[R]eal estate is cyclical. I think when the pandemic is over we will see more homes coming on the market. It should lead to a more balanced market.”

Some agents and brokers anticipate staying busy, but predict low inventory will stymie sales.

“In the Chicagoland market as long as people don’t have to commute to an office to work in, we will continue to see homes selling in specific price points where home buyers can have the separate living spaces to accommodate the household needs for working and education as well as greater outdoor space,” wrote Andrea Geller, a broker at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Chicago.

“For the most part I haven’t had a lull and still continue to get new opportunities with new and past clients, which is giving me a good pipeline of business,” she added. “One of many [factors] choking up listings and some buys are the courts are so behind that sales that are a result of things like divorces or estate issues are on hold until the right to sell them is there.”

Glenn Phillips, CEO of Lake Homes Realty which operates in 30 states, anticipates “above-average buyer demand continuing, and the deal flow continuing to be limited by low inventory through the [f]all.”

But he predicts the repercussions of the pandemic to hit next year. “After the stimulus money runs out (sooner or later, even if there is another round), this tempo may change as the economic scars from the pandemic will become more obvious to the markets and the economy. The election outcomes will also influence the tempo of the market next year,” he wrote.

Tim Marsh (Owner | Broker)

Marsh Properties, Inc.

tim@bostonluxuryrealestate.com

(C) 617-548-7145

$6,675,000 Heritage On The Garden Exclusive Sold and Closed in Just 49 Days!

          

Listed for sale on 7/13/20 by Exclusive Broker Tim Marsh, one of Boston's quintessential luxury condominiums sold and closed in just 49 days.

Full service living in this palatial 3BR, 2.5 bath residence with 2,583 interior SF at the world-class Heritage On The Garden! One of only four residences at the Heritage with a ~1,200 SF private side terrace that offers 25' of frontage on the Public Garden and postcard views! 

Elegant entry foyer. Unobstructed views of the Public Garden from the 31' wide Fp'd Living/dining room. Classic Heritage kitchen with window. Large 25'x21' master BR features a terrace, marble bath en-suite and W-I closet. Two family BR's. 2nd full bath. Powder room. Laundry closet. Two full garage spaces are included. One storage closet. 

Boasting one of Boston's most valuable addresses, the Heritage is also close to the Boston Common, Newbury Street shops and restaurants, Charles River and Esplanade and the Back Bay and Downtown Business Districts. Services include daily tea service and Sunday brunch in the Great Library overlooking the Public Garden, on-site mgmt., 24/7 Concierge, Doorman and Major Domo.

Click to see a virtual tour: Heritage 1002 Virtual Tour

Click to see more info on this property: Heritage 1002 Property info

Click to see property floor plan: Heritage 1002 Floor Plan

 

Contact Exclusive Listing Broker - Tim Marsh

(C) 617-548-7145 or tim@bostonluxuryrealestate.com

 

Gorgeous Marlborough Street 3BR Penthouse Features a Private ~1,000 SF Roof Deck With Postcard Views!

Stunning 3 Bedroom, 2.5 bath penthouse duplex of almost 2000 sq.ft of luxurious living featuring an additional 1000 +/- sq.ft. mutli-level roof deck with dramatic views of the Back Bay & Boston downtown skyline. The large marble, fireplace'd living room is flanked by 2 sets of French doors leading out to an additional 6'x24' terrace overlooking Marlborough St. Both outdoor spaces are fully landscaped & complete with an automated 3 zone irrigation system, dressed with accent lighting throughout. The open floor plan provides for fabulous entertainment with a separate marble wet bar & N'Finity Pro wine refrigerator. The grand dining room has a large skylight & lovely period sconces. Renovated, sky-lit kitchen is accented with an unusually large piece of inlaid granite floor matching the counters & back splash. Custom cabinetry, double Viking ovens, 5 burner Miele cooktop  & Subzero refrigerator provide all the elements needed for that perfect kitchen. Elevator. One full parking space.  $2,999,000

Take a Video Tour

    

  

Cheryl Marsh

(C) 617-797-5781 or cheryl@bostonluxuryrealestate.com

Boston had nation's worst rush-hour traffic congestion in 2018

By Tom Acitelli - Curbed Boston 

Boston drivers wasted an average of 164 hours in rush-hour traffic in 2018, the highest total among U.S. cities, according to a new report from research firm INRIX

The company analyzes millions of bits of data for its annual Global Traffic Scorecard. Boston always scores rather high, but this year the city appears to have rated particularly bad. 

For the first time, too, INRIX looked at commutes in terms of peak (slowest travel times) versus inter-peak (fastest point between morning and afternoon commutes) travel times. In Boston on average, commutes increased 27 percent during peak versus inter-peak hours.

There was a bit of good news in the report. “[I]n cities like Boston, Washington, D.C., and Chicago, a higher proportion of trips are taken via public transportation, walking, or cycling.” Any car trips then are more likely to be related to business, the report said—unlike in, say, Los Angeles, where everyone drives everywhere for everything. In fact, INRIX said that L.A. was the most car-dependent city of the top 10. 

A rundown of that top 10 is below. 

Perhaps its status as the U.S. city with the worst rush-hour traffic will drive Boston’s leaders to reconsider congestion pricing once again. Or maybe the T will be fare-free sooner rather than later.

Tim Marsh - Owner/Broker

Marsh Properties, Inc.

Fall vs. Spring - Debunking the Myth

Tim Marsh Sells Another Full Service Luxury Condominium in the Four Seasons at the Public Garden!

Tim Marsh sells a palatial and beautifully renovated full service penthouse condominium at the Four Seasons to one of his direct customers.  Two units were seamlessly combined to create this 2,760 SF 3+BR, 3 bath residence at the world-class Four Seasons at 220 Boylston Street, across from the Boston Public Garden.  Features include a 25' living room with architectural ceiling, fireplace and wall of picture windows.  Chef's kitchen with all the bells and whistles.  Three bedrooms plus den/4th BR.  Sumptuous master bedroom suite with huge walk-in closet and spa-like bath.  Two self-park or valet garage spaces.  

Five Star services from the Four Seasons Hotel include a fitness center and heated lap pool.  In-room dining is available.  Direct access to the Hotel lobby and the popular Bristol Lounge and Restaurant.  Conveniently located across from the Public Garden and Boston Common.  Close to the Financial and Back Bay Business Districts, Theatre District and the famous Newbury Street shops and restaurants.  

List Price:  $5,600,000

     

Boston's Neighborhoods: How They Got Their Names.

By Tom Acitelli of Curbed Boston

Geography, infills, independence movements—all played roles in shaping the city’s positional vocab.Felix Mizioznikov/Shutterstock

Boston is named after the town of Boston in eastern England. But what about the city’s neighborhoods? A lot of them have similar roots in old Albion, while a sizable chunk are tethered etymologically to geography. 

Read on for the origin stories of Boston’s 22 large neighborhoods.

Allston

This neighborhood was for years simply the stockyards and rail yards of the town of Brighton. It also had a post office and quite a bit of woodlands. 

One gentlemen who liked to hike the woodlands was the painter Washington Allston, who lived across the Charles River in Cambridge.

By the time Boston annexed the area in 1874, it was known by his surname.

Back Bay

This photo from 1858 shows the Back Bay on the left and the Charles River on the right.  Public domain.

There is a reason many people call this neighborhood the Back Bay: From 1857 to 1882, one of the largest urban infrastructure projects in U.S. history filled in about 450 acres of pestilential tidal basin known colloquially as “the Back Bay.” 

Beacon Hill

 

A depiction from 1811 of the reduction of Beacon Hill to 80 feet from 138.  Wikimedia Commons

Multiple hills—some say three, some say five—comprised what became Beacon Hill, one of the first settled areas on the Shawmut Peninsula.

One of those hills became known as Beacon Hill because of a signaling beacon on it; and the name stuck. 

Bay Village

The smallest neighborhood that the city itself breaks out, Bay Village was born in the 1820s as the collection of homes for the workers who built the tonier nearby Beacon Hill. Therefore the architecture looks similar. 

Bay Village used to go at various times by the Church Street District, South Cove, and Kerry Village. Bay Village stuck, perhaps given its immediate geographic proximity to the pre-infill Back Bay. 

Brighton

Brighton was its own town until Boston annexed it in 1873. 

By that point, it had been independent for only about half a century; and, before that, was known, along with what became Allston, as an agricultural and cattle-rustling appendage of Cambridge that went by the diminutive nickname Little Cambridge. 

It changed its name to Brighton, after a town in southern England, upon independence in 1807. 

Charlestown

Charlestown was named for—wait for it—an English king named Charles; in this case, Charles I, the Stuart on the losing end of the English Civil War. 

Europeans began settling what became Charlestown in 1629—20 years before Charles I lost his head—and it remained an independent municipality until 1874, when Boston annexed it. 

Chinatown

This neighborhood is named after its predominant ethnic group; though rising housing costs and other reasons for emigration have reduced the number of residents of Chinese descent. 

Dorchester

A regional map from 1858.  Walling, H. F.—David Rumsey Collection

Boston’s largest neighborhood by area is named for Dorchester, a town in southern England. 

Dorchester, USA, was an independent town until 1870, when Boston gobbled it. As a town, it included parts of what became known as South Boston. 

East Boston

The infill-spurred linkage over 150 years of five islands east of Boston formed this neighborhood. And the “east of Boston” bit gave it its name. 

The neighborhood’s private developers saw to its annexation to Boston in 1836. 

Fenway

Frederick Law Olmsted’s plans for the Back Bay Fens, circa 1887  Public domain

Take your pick: This neighborhood’s name came either from the Back Bay Fens, a park that landscape architect extraordinaire Frederick Law Olmsted designed, or from a road that ran along it. Fens, incidentally, is a term to describe a marshy or flood-prone area, which this eventual neighborhood was.

Boston annexed Fenway and its Kenmore Square and Audubon Circle areas from Brookline in the 1870s.  It’s sometimes called “the Fenway”—often an unconscious nod to the theory that the neighborhood was named for the road. 

Hyde Park

Boston’s southernmost neighborhood—and the last to be added through annexation, in 1912—is named after the park in London dating from the 1630s. 

Jamaica Plain

This is another tossup in terms of origin. JP was either named after the Caribbean island from which some residents drew their wealth via the slave-driven rum and sugar trades; or after the Anglicization of the name of a Native American leader. 

Or! As in the case of Jamaica in Queens, New York, it comes from the name of a Native American tribe called the Jameco. 

JP became part of Boston in 1874. Interestingly, it was part of the town of Roxbury and parts of Jamaica Plain became the town of West Roxbury. 

This is the best day and time to list your home for sale

By Diana Click of CNBC

For homesellers, even in a market with next to nothing for sale, timing is everything. Listing your home on a certain day — and even a certain time of day — may make it sell faster and for more money.

Thursday is the most popular day for agents to debut new listings, and homes listed on that day apparently sell fastest, according to Redfin, a real estate brokerage. Redfin analysts based their findings on a sample of 100,000 homes that sold in 2017. It used Sunday, the worst day to list, as a baseline and then calculated the relative advantages for every other day.

Homes listed on Thursday sold an average of five days faster than homes listed on Sunday. Redfin also found homes listed Thursday were more likely to sell within 90 to 180 days.

"Our market is programmed to look at houses Thursday and to plan their weekends out," said Marshall Carey, a Redfin agent in Washington, D.C. "You really want to have the most eyes on your property, and Thursday seems to be the day to do that."

The theory is that most people tour listings over the weekend, and they begin planning their weekends on Thursday. Redfin found that a home gets five times more views on the first day it is listed than on subsequent days. This is likely because most online real estate sites offer alerts of new listings to potential buyers. Before the internet, new listings were put in newspapers on Sundays, advertising open houses, and some even in late editions Saturday night, but the model has completely changed.

 

A home is offered for sale in Chicago, Ill.

Getty Images

A home is offered for sale in Chicago, Ill.

"I normally aim for Thursday or Friday," said Peggy Ferris, an agent with Compass. "I don't like to put it on too early because then agents want to show it and you lose the really good momentum for an open house on Sunday."

Sunday open houses are still popular but losing the momentum they used to have now that people can tour homes in pictures and video online. In today's incredibly competitive market, some sellers are getting offers without home tours or getting tour requests immediately. Offers are coming in even before the first open house.

"In this competitive market, most of the agents are sort of abiding by the Thursday, Friday and then taking offers on Tuesday," said Karen Kelly, also with Compass. "I like to give everybody a shot and take a look at 10 offers instead of just one."

While listing the home later in the weekend can create more urgency, listing it slightly early, on Wednesday, could actually get your more money. Homes listed on Wednesday had a $2,023 advantage in sale price over homes listed on Sunday, according to Redfin, although analysts there could find no clear reason as to why. Most agents I spoke with didn't buy that finding but were definitely interested to hear it.

"I think false," said Jennifer Myers, a real estate agent with Dwell in the D.C./Virginia area. "It's not just what day you list but also your entire strategy."

Myers agrees with the Thursday plan but adds a specific time of day. She puts her new listings online at 5 p.m.

"The afternoon is better because on Thursdays all of us are listing, and so if you list in the morning, you end up actually on Page 2 of the listing, you end up further down, and you want to be on the top," she said.

House Hunting? Here's How To Win a Bidding War.

How to win a bidding war when buying a home from CNBC.

Today's housing market is arguably one of the most competitive in history. A record low supply of listings, coupled with extraordinarily high demand from the largest generation, mean fast-rising home prices and more people going after the hottest properties. Bidding wars are now the rule, rather than the exception.

So how do you win a bidding war? Best to be prepared before you even begin your search and to carry equal amounts of patience and humor with you … if possible.

Decide on your absolute maximum price. This factors in the monthly payment on your mortgage (if you need one), property taxes, homeowners insurance, potential homeowner association or condominium fees, and a general estimate of monthly upkeep (lawn care, pool guy, unforeseen repairs). Then start looking for homes priced slightly less than that maximum. This gives you some wiggle room in the bidding war.

1. Come with cash. Not everyone can do this, but if you can make an all-cash offer, you will have an advantage. In certain very hot markets, investors are heavy, and they usually come with cash. Sellers don't want to deal with the possibility that your loan might not come through, or they may not want to wait the extra time for the mortgage processing, so they prefer cash. In some cases they may even cut the price a bit to get the cash. Coming with cash can actually double your chances of winning a bidding war, according to Redfin, a real estate brokerage. You can always take out a mortgage after the deal closes.

2. If you don't have all-cash, try waiving the financing contingency.That is when the deal is contingent on your loan being approved by the lender. Be careful though, you don't want to end up on the hook for cash if the loan doesn't come through, so get a fully underwritten loan pre-approved from your lender before submitting your offer. This could improve your chances of winning a war by 58 percent, according to Redfin.

3. Try a personal letter to the seller. I did this once myself, and it worked on a deal I never expected to win. Selling a home is just as emotional as buying one, especially for sellers who have lived in the home a long time and have raised their kids there. Sellers want to know a little about the people taking over their precious nest. If you're a young family, write about how you can see raising your children in the cozy family room and how you already envision them playing in the back yard. Write about how much you love the neighborhood and want to become an active part of it. DO NOT tell the seller if you plan to gut the home. That could gut the deal.

4. Finally, don't be afraid to walk away. The last thing you want to do is get over-emotional and overstretch your budget. Don't be house-poor. That defeats the whole purpose of the investment.

And remember, there will always, always be another perfect home.

Marsh Properties Sponsors the 23rd Annual Taste Of The Back Bay!

Courtesy of NABB  

  

       at the Prudential Skywalk

This Year's Lineup of Back Bay restaurants and purveyors:

Abe & Louie's

Kashmir

Atlantic Fish

Kings Boston

B3 Restaurant & Bar

La Voile

Back Bay Wine & Spirits

L'Espalier

  Bauer Wine & Spirits

Lucca Back Bay

The BeBop

Mooncusser Fish House

Capital Grille

Off the Common

DeLuca's Market

Papa Razzi

Eastern Standard

Sorellina

Eataly

Stephanie's on Newbury

Flour Bakery + Cafe

Top of the Hub

Georgetown Cupcake

Towne Stove and Spirits

Joe's American Bar & Grill

This year a portion of the proceeds will benefit The Women's Lunch Place.

Musical entertainment provided by the Berklee College of Music.

For more information about this truly enjoyable night out and how to buy tickets, click on the link below:

http://www.nabbonline.com/event/taste_back_bay