Interesting article in the Boston Globe about the costs of homes in and around the local suburbs.
This home on Marshall Road in Wellesley was listed in March for $890,000, one of a small percentage of homes in the community being put on the market for less than $1 million.
Home-hunters now face another hurdle, with listings for less than $1 million making up just a minor fraction of the properties for sale in some of the area’s most affluent suburbs, a recent report finds.
Those looking for anything below $1 million in Wellesley have the biggest challenge, with 12 percent of the homes for sale there in that price range, according to a first-quarter market report by Pinnacle Residential Properties.And the numbers aren’t much better for home buyers in Needham, where listings below $1 million make up just 26 percent of the market, or Weston, where the number is 30 percent, Pinnacle reports.
The result has been mounting frustration for many buyers, even those ready to pay a premium for a house, notes Elaine Bannigan, owner of Wellesley-based Pinnacle.
“We have tons of clients that are so distraught,” Bannigan said. “The prices got so high we are starting to see people throw in the towel in Wellesley.”
Homes selling for more than $1 million also make up most of the market in other area communities, real estate statistics show.
There were 90 houses priced at more than $1 million on the market in Newton as of April 9, compared with 67 below that threshold, according to MLS Property Information Network statistics collected by Redfin, a real estate brokerage company and website.
In Dover, there were 52 homes above $1 million and 18 below, while in Lexington, it was 48 above, 19 below. Concord was slightly more balanced, with 37 homes above $1 million and 25 below, according to Redfin.
Faced with limited choices under $1 million, Amol Daxikar, a manager for a consulting firm, has opted to wage a long-term campaign to find the right house in Lexington.
After selling his house in Billerica, he is now renting in Lexington with hopes of landing a house by the end of the year.
With two children, Daxikar is determined to buy in Lexington, attracted by the town’s highly rated school system.
However, the competition is fierce. When homes priced at $600,000 to $800,000 land on the market, they last only a few days.
“It’s not at all enough,” Daxikar said of the number of homes selling for less than $1 million. “If you see one of these houses come on the market Wednesday or Thursday, by Monday evening or Tuesday morning it is under agreement.
“If it stays on the market, then something is really wrong with it,” he added.
A buyer who began looking in Wellesley nine months ago and has been outbid on more than one occasion despite crossing the $1 million mark in hopes of landing a house, expressed similar sentiments.
“I have had to stretch my budget to have any chance of buying,” she said.
A general shortage of homes for sale is playing a role in skewing the numbers, Pinnacle’s Bannigan said.
Well-maintained homes that come on the market below $1 million in towns like Wellesley and Needham often spark bidding wars, she said. Homes priced over $1 million have a more limited pool of buyers.
Still, the dearth of homes for sale is not unique to local communities, but a factor across the state, with the inventory down by more than 20 percent from last year, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors reports.
Added to the shortage is another trend playing a significant role in driving up prices in some locales, Bannigan said. In recent years, builders have bought dozens of older homes in Needham and Wellesley, and torn them down to make way for much-larger replacement homes that can be marketed for well over a million dollars.
“They are much more expensive houses than the houses they are replacing,” Bannigan said.
The same phenomenon is also happening in Lexington, with the new homes selling for roughly $1.5 million, said Sandy Rosen, a local real estate agent who works for Redfin.
It has been frustrating even for clients who can cross the million-dollar threshold, with one buyer outbid because he set his maximum budget at $1.3 million, Rosen noted.
“It’s a feeding frenzy, and the low inventory really seems to be driving buyers crazy,” she said.
The dearth of homes priced below $1 million has grown steadily over the past few years, according to Pinnacle.
In Needham, 70 percent of the homes on the market in 2007 were priced below $1 million. Homes under $1 million dropped to 50 percent of the market in 2012, fell again to 40 percent last year, and hit 26 percent during the first three months of this year, according to Pinnacle.
In 2006, 46 percent of the homes on the market in Wellesley were priced under $1 million, according to Pinnacle. By 2012, the number had dropped to 36 percent, and at 12 percent for the first quarter of this year was trending toward a single digit.
More coverage:Graphic: Median home prices by town | In suburbs, rents soar | Mass. single-family home sales fell in March | Middle class eroding, gap widening in Bristol, R.I. | Tight housing market drives rising bids | When house hunting, bid fast and bid smart
Scott VanVoorhis can be reached at sbvanvoorhis@ hotmail.com.
February 19, 2013 – The housing downturn of the last few years affected not only the number of new homes that are built each year, but also the characteristics, features and size of the ones that do get built. Builders and other industry professionals now have an opportunity to find out what home buyers really want and will not give up in today’s market, as well as which features they are ready to leave behind in light of current economic realities with a new publication from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
NAHB’s publishing arm, BuilderBooks, recently released What Home Buyers Really Want, a study which outlines home buyers’ preferences for home type and size, room layout and design, kitchen and baths, windows and doors, accessibility and outdoor features, electronics and technology in the home, energy efficiency and choosing a community.
The study was conducted by NAHB’s Economics and Housing Policy Group in 2012, based on a survey of home buyers nationwide. Results from the study are available by age, income, race and Census division, among other demographic characteristics.
“This survey is a great resource for building professionals, as it provides an inside look at the things home buyers really want or don’t want in their homes,” said Rose Quint, NAHB’s Assistant Vice President for Survey Research, and one of the study’s authors. “With the housing market beginning to recover, and more consumers in the position to purchase a home, it is more important than ever for builders to be armed with this information.”
What do home buyers really want?
- First and foremost, energy efficiency. Some of the most wanted features involve saving energy, i.e. energy-star rated appliances and windows, and an energy-star rating for the whole home. Nine out of ten buyers would rather buy a home with energy-efficient features and permanently lower utility bills than one without those features that costs 2 percent to 3 percent less.
- Home buyers also want help with organization and storage. Large majorities want a laundry room, a linen closet in the bath, garage storage and a walk-in pantry.
What do most buyers not want?
- An elevator – 70 percent would be unlikely to buy a home with this feature.
- High density communities or golf courses.
- Only a shower stall (no tub) in the master bath.
READ ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE
If you are a first-time home buyer who has been looking for the perfect opportunity to buy a new home, then the time is now. The current real estate market is perfect for everything from buying a new home to investing in the real estate market, which is why first-time home buyers and investors have been going head to head and competing for the best real estate on the market.
Why, exactly, is now a great time for first time home buyers to purchase a new home? From incredible deals on foreclosure and short sales to low interest rates and a projection for rising home prices in the future, now is the perfect real estate market for first-time home buyers.
Short Sales and Bank-Owned Homes
If you are a first-time home buyer looking to buy a new home in the current real estate market then you are more than likely looking for the best deals possible. Fortunately, with the number of foreclosures and short sales on the market, you can find discounted properties that are well below market value, which essentially allows for a lower monthly mortgage payment.
In fact, with the tax break on short sales that allows struggling homeowners to avoid paying federal taxes on their unpaid mortgages set to expire December 31, there are a ton of short sale properties currently on the market. Therefore, if you are in the market to buy your first home then start looking today, especially if you are interested in short sales and other distressed properties.
Plus, with mortgage rates still remaining incredibly low, there is nothing better than for a first-time home buyer to be able to purchase a home below market value and secure an incredibly low mortgage rate. This is the perfect recipe for a low monthly mortgage payment.
Rising Home Prices
Some people may be wondering “Why now?” The simple answer to that question essentially revolves around one thing: home prices. Home prices have already started to rise as the real estate market makes progress toward recovery; however, predictions for 2013 include home prices continuing to increase as the real estate market strengthens. Therefore, if you are looking to buy a new home for a discounted price, then do so now before home prices rise.
In conclusion, with the high number of distressed properties (including short sales and foreclosures) still on the market and low home prices (coupled with low mortgage rates), now is the perfect time for first-time home buyers to obtain a new home for well below market value and secure a lower mortgage payment. So, if you are a first time home buyer, start your search for your dream home today!
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-perfect-real-estate-market-for-first-time-home-buyers-2012-12#ixzz2F1y4et49