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James P. Furlong's Blog

By James P. Furlong | Agent in Boston, MA
  • The 50 most expensive communities in MA.

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Massachusetts, Home Selling in Massachusetts, In My Neighborhood in Massachusetts  |  August 20, 2014 9:04 AM  |  18 views  |  No comments

    The 50 most expensive communities in MA.

    Weston, where the average home sells for $1.6 million, is the most expensive community in the state, according to a new report.

    The Mcgeough Lamacchia real estate firm ranked the 50 most expensive communities in the Bay State based on home sale prices in the first six months of 2014.

    The report found home prices are on the rise in Massachusetts. The average selling price for a home was $387,818 in June—a 6 percent increase from a year ago.

    Here’s the top 50 list:

    1. Weston $1,629,669
    2. Nantucket $1,415,505
    3. Wellesley 1,234,786
    4. Boston $1,110,721
    5. Dover $1,039,722
    6. Edgartown $1,026,737
    7. Lincoln $973,920
    8. Lexington $971,075
    9. Manchester-by-the-Sea $964,513
    10. Brookline $960,936
    11. Newton $932,660
    12. Osterville $925,172
    13. Concord $882,008
    14. Needham $849,803
    15. Tisbury $835,616
    16. Belmont $828,502
    17. Carlisle $825,703
    18. Cohasset $810,210
    19. Winchester $795,970
    20. Sherborn $794,200
    21. Cambridge $780,911
    22. Westwood $769,309
    23. Hingham $768,789
    24. Chatham $746,465
    25. Roxbury $689,455
    26. Wayland $678,864
    27. Sudbury $673,474
    28. Medfield $659,149
    29. Southborough $646,219
    30. Charlestown $643,974
    31. Marblehead $638,724
    32. Barnstable $617,204
    33. Duxbury $616,618
    34. Bedford $607,182
    35. Milton $605,820
    36. Lynnfield $595,420
    37. Norwell $586,508
    38. Hamilton $579,964
    39. Topsfield $578,983
    40. Boxford $564,803
    41. Arlington $563,595
    42. Somerville $557,572
    43. Andover $553,875
    44. Harvard $544,581
    45. Wellfleet $541,765
    46. West Newbury $538,875
    47. South Boston $535,047
    48. Provincetown $535,031
    49. Scituate $534,804
    50. Jamaica Plain $524,151
  • 5 Things to Consider About a Neighborhood Before Buying

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Boston  |  August 13, 2014 12:42 PM  |  41 views  |  No comments
    From RE/MAX Blog.

    5 Things to Consider About a Neighborhood Before Buying
    Thu, August 7, 2014 Buying a home is a long-term, important investment, so take the time to discover what makes your targeted neighborhoods tick. There are a number of ways to check the pulse of a community; talking to neighbors can give you a great snapshot of what it’s like to live there. Here are five other ways to determine whether a neighborhood is the right fit for you.

    1. Is it an up-and-coming area or still in transition? 
    You might start by researching local home values and foreclosure rates. Consider such factors as crime rate, development plans and proposed or new businesses. You can even contact local officials, such as the county property appraiser or the HOA manager (if applicable) for better insights. Sometimes buying a home in a transitional area may prove to be a good investment, but you probably want to make sure you'll feel good about your home in the interim, too.

    2. Do the schools make the grade?
    Even if you don’t have school-age children, you should be interested in how the schools in your potential neighborhood perform. Homes near high-ranking schools tend to maintain higher resale values. Start your research by visiting GreatSchools.org  or using the SchoolFinder tool at education.com.

    3. What’s nearby?
    Consider what’s important to you in your future neighborhood, and then explore the surrounding areas near your targeted home. Among things to keep in mind are proximity to stores, schools and green spaces. Aside from being practical, these amenities make it easy to mingle with neighbors, set up kids’ play dates or just play fetch with your pup. WalkScore.com is a great place to search for nearby amenities – all you have to do is plug in an address and mode of transportation.

    4. How far is it from work?
    Try the new INRIX Drive Time tool on remax.com to determine how long it will take you to drive to work, school or area stores from your new home. You can also time a potential commute by doing a test drive during the time of day you’re most likely to go to and from work. Explore mass transit options. In addition to offering an alternative to driving, good public transportation near your home can have a positive effect on your property value.

    5. How safe is it?
    A neighborhood watch, well-lit streets, walkways, security systems and little to no signs of vandalism are signs of a safe neighborhood. You can see a picture of the types of crimes that occur in the neighborhood by researching on city-data.com or FBI.gov and the local police department’s website.
  • Harvard’s 5 Financial Reasons to Buy a Home - from the KCM blog.

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Boston  |  August 13, 2014 8:19 AM  |  32 views  |  No comments





    Harvard’s 5 Financial Reasons to Buy a Home

    Posted: 13 Aug 2014 04:00 AM PDT

     

    Eric Belsky is Managing Director of the Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University. He also currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Housing Research and Housing Policy Debate. Last year, he released a paper on homeownership - The Dream Lives On: the Future of Homeownership in America. In his paper, Belsky reveals five financial reasons people should consider buying a home. 

    Here are the five reasons, each followed by an excerpt from the study: 

    1.) Housing is typically the one leveraged investment available.

    “Few households are interested in borrowing money to buy stocks and bonds and few lenders are willing to lend them the money. As a result, homeownership allows households to amplify any appreciation on the value of their homes by a leverage factor. Even a hefty 20 percent down payment results in a leverage factor of five so that every percentage point rise in the value of the home is a 5 percent return on their equity. With many buyers putting 10 percent or less down, their leverage factor is 10 or more.”

    2.) You're paying for housing whether you own or rent. 

    “Homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord.”

    3.) Owning is usually a form of “forced savings”.

    “Since many people have trouble saving and have to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings to another day.”

    4.) There are substantial tax benefits to owning.

    “Homeowners are able to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes from income...On top of all this, capital gains up to $250,000 are excluded from income for single filers and up to $500,000 for married couples if they sell their homes for a gain.”

    5.) Owning is a hedge against inflation.

    “Housing costs and rents have tended over most time periods to go up at or higher than the rate of inflation, making owning an attractive proposition.”

    Bottom Line

    We realize that homeownership makes sense for many Americans for an assortment of social and family reasons. It also makes sense financially. 

  • Recent activity in South Boston's Real Estate Market

    Posted Under: Home Buying in South Boston, Home Selling in South Boston  |  August 9, 2014 8:55 AM  |  21 views  |  No comments

    Summary for South Boston


    The median sales price for homes in South Boston, Boston for May 14 to Jul 14 was $491,500 based on 60 sales. Compared to the same period one year ago, the median sales price increased 11.7%, or $51,500, and the number of sales decreased 74%. Average price per square foot for South Boston was $535, an increase of 15.6% compared to the same period last year. There are currently 90 resale and new homes in Boston on Trulia, including 31 open houses, as well as 24 homes in the pre-foreclosure, auction, or bank-owned stages of the foreclosure process. The average listing price for homes for sale in South Boston was $631,743 for the week ending Jul 30, which represents an increase of 2.6%, or $15,906, compared to the prior week.

    THE FURCHIN TEAM AT RE/MAX UNLIMITED IS YOUR REAL ESTATE SOLUTION IN GREATER BOSTON.

    www.FurChin.net

  • More custom development in South Boston

    Posted Under: Home Buying in South Boston  |  August 7, 2014 12:00 PM  |  22 views  |  No comments

    South Boston Real Estate: 30-Unit, $11 Million Project Proposed

    Posted on July 25, 2014 by Ben Rego
    South Boston Real Estate, Southie Real Estate, South Boston Developments, South Boston Condominiums, Southie Condominiums

    A proposed 5-story condo building for L Street in South Boston

    South Boston, often referred to as Southie, is one of the most rapidly developing neighborhoods of the city of Boston. It is no secret that there is a widespread lack of inventory in the real estate market, especially in highly in-demand areas such as Southie. Now, while the Hub is often being defined as a city of cranes due to all of the new buildings, yet another project is likely to break ground. Peter Leoutsakos, a South Boston developer has just proposed plans for a 30-unit building on L Street.

    This project, if approved, would replace an existing auto repair shop and would cost roughly $11 Million to construct. Specifically located at 45 L Street, the five-story building would feature two-bedroom units in addition to around 1,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.

    There will also be a lowel level top-of-the-line fitness center exclusively for the residents. Furthermore, there will be private storage spaces and a meeting room that are available for use by the neighborhood.

    The aforementioned existing property today consists of two, two-story buildings on the 14,000 square foot lot between East Second and East Third Streets. Owned by the Higgins family, the new development would see Higgins Insurance occupy the new commercial space, while European Motorsport would relocate.

    This news comes at a great time given the market successes we have been realizing in South Boston. In fact, the median price for condominiums during the recently completed Second Quarter of 2014 was up to $484,000. This is a nearly 14% increase from where prices stood just one year ago. The time is indeed right to build. Since just 2012, the Boston Redevelopment Authority have already approved 14 different residential developments in Southie. This number is only likely to continue to rise.

  • Chinese Buyers Driving Up Mass. Luxury Sales

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Boston  |  August 6, 2014 1:32 PM  |  21 views  |  No comments

    Chinese Buyers Driving Up Mass. Luxury Sales

    Homebuyers from China, attracted by the Commonwealth’s colleges and universities, are behind a surge in luxury home sales in Massachusetts.Homebuyers from China, attracted by the Commonwealth’s colleges and universities, are behind a surge in luxury home sales in Massachusetts.Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe
    • By Sanjay Salomon
    • Boston.com Staff
    • AUGUST 5, 2014 10:27 AM

    Homebuyers from China, attracted by the Bay State’s internationally renowned universities and colleges, are driving up luxury real estate sales in Massachusetts.

    This high rate of international investment is helping Massachusetts outpace the rest of the nation in terms of luxury home sales, according to a recent study. “The RE/MAX Collection Luxury Housing Report” finds year-over-year luxury home sales – properties priced at $1 million and above – are up 14.6 percent in Massachusetts compared to last year. Meanwhile, the national rate of luxury sales is up by only 4 percent.

    Chinatown, Jamaica Plain, Boston’s waterfront, and the North End are seeing the highest rates of growth, among all types of investors. In Chinatown, properties are not staying on the market as long as they used to. The RE/MAX report finds the average days on market (DOM) rate for Chinatown properties is 55 days in 2014

    Paul Shao, a RE/MAX Sales Associate who specializes in Asian real estate markets, says the Commonwealth’s reputation as an education mecca is clearly a strong draw for Chinese buyers. “[They] buy in California, New York, and in Boston. We have the name-brand schools such as Harvard, MIT, and BU. They’re well known in [China].”

    Chinese homebuyers make up 16 percent of international homebuyers in the United States, according to information from the National Associations of Realtors. Overseas buyers are more likely to pay cash (60 percent) compared to using a mortgage (38 percent), according to NAR’s data.

    Financial security is another reason for the rise in Massachusetts investment. “In China, they’re concerned with [economic] instability,” says Shao. “One of the driving factors is that they’re trying to get their money out of China and into a more secure place.”

    Chinese investors have already taken an interest in other parts of the country while Massachusetts has only recently started to see a strong growth in sales.

    “They start with California because it’s closer to home. [They buy in] New York because everyone’s heard of New York,” says Shao. “In the last 2 years, we’re seeing more interest in Boston from the Chinese market.”

    Linda O’Koniewski, co-CEO of RE/MAX Leading Edge confirms that Chinese investors are turning to the Bay State as a strong investment for their families. And many Chinese families buy in Boston as an early step in their long-term plans for their children’s educations.

    “They’re looking at universities and schools first,” says O’Koniewski. “They come here to educate their kids. Some of our investors can’t wait to put their kids in Boston high schools when they’re 2 and 3 years old.”

    Not surprisingly, O’Koniewski is extremely pleased with the news that luxury sales are on the rise and that Chinese buyers are settling down around the Bay State.

    “They come for schools. They love how clean the city is,” she says. “They’re buying these homes as investements and securing a place for when their children go to high school or to Harvard.”

  • Bay State homes prices continue on their upward climb!

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Boston, Home Selling in Boston  |  July 29, 2014 11:02 AM  |  24 views  |  No comments

    Bay State home prices are not quite back at their peak yet, but they are getting close.

    The median price of a house in Massachusetts is now nearly $360,000 after a 2.8 percent jump in June, reports The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman.

    You have to go all the way back to the height of the real estate bubble to find a higher price. The median price back in June 2006 was $350,000, according to this Globe story from way back then.

    As prices rise, seller expectations are soaring as well.

    The median asking price - what sellers are seeking as opposed to the median, which reflects what they end up with - hit $371,150 in the Boston area this June, according to the Department of Numbers.

    You have to go all the way back to June 2006, when the median asking price was nearly $390,000, to find something higher.

    Meanwhile, home sales rebounded in June.

    Sales of single-family homes rose 3.8 percent in June, to 5,795, the busiest June since 2006, according to The Warren Group.

    That should put a damper on market slowdown concerns, sparked by a series of lackluster sales reports in recent months.

    And condos are smoking. Condo sales surged 11 percent in June compared to the same month last year, while the median price hit $325,000, an increase of 1.6 percent.

    Sure, prices just keep going up, but are sellers asking too much?


    The FurChin Team at RE/MAX Unlimited is YOUR real estate solution in Greater Boston.

    www.FurChin.net

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