homes for sale in Newton, MA

Is Renting Right for Me?


Newton, MA. Real Estate, Top Broker in Newton, Compass, Sotheby’s

Is Renting Right for Me? | MyKCM

If you’re currently renting and have dreams of owning your own home, it may be a good time to think about your next move. With rent costs rising annually and many helpful down payment assistance programs available, homeownership may be closer than you realize.

According to the 2018 Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report, 74% of renters plan on buying within the next 5 years, and 38% are planning to buy within the next 2 years.

Is Renting Right for Me? | MyKCM
Is Renting Right for Me? | MyKCM

When those same renters were asked why they disliked renting, 52% said rising rental costs were their top reason, and 42% of renters believe their rent will rise every year. The full results of the survey can be seen below:It’s no wonder rising rental costs came in as the top answer. The median asking rent price has risen steadily over the last 30 years, as you can see below.There is a long-standing rule that a household should not spend more than 28% of its income on housing expenses. With nearly half of renters (48%) surveyed already spending more than that, and with their rents likely to rise again, it’s never a bad idea to reconsider your family’s plan and ask yourself if renting is your best angle going forward. When asked why they haven’t purchased a home yet, not having enough saved for a down payment (44%) came in as the top response. The report went on to reveal that nearly half of all respondents believe that “a 20% down payment is required to buy a home.”

The reality is, the need to produce a 20% down payment is one of the biggest misconceptions of homeownership, especially for first-time buyers. That means a large number of renters may be able to buy now, and they don’t even know it.

Bottom Line

If you’re one of the many renters who are tired of rising rents but may be confused about what is required to buy in today’s market, let’s get together to determine your path to homeownership.
« The Cost of Waiting: Interest Rates Edition [INFOGRAPHIC]

Home Buyers are Optimistic About Homeownership!


Newton, MA. Brookline, Sotheby’s Compass Suburban Boston Team #TopRealtor

Home Buyers are Optimistic About Homeownership!

Home Buyers are Optimistic About Homeownership! | MyKCM

When we consider buying an item, we naturally go through a research process prior to making our decision. We ask our friends and family members who have made similar purchases about their experience, we get opinions and insights, and we read reviews online. There’s no difference when considering a home purchase!

Most homebuyers start by listening to the news to hear what is being said about the real estate market. They check with family and friends about their experience. They spend time online reading reviews about their desired neighborhood.

The challenge is that comments from the news and those closest to us can contradict the data and reports. One source says one thing, while another source says something completely different.

There is a group of homebuyers that are not allowing comments about an upcoming recession to interfere with their decision to buy a home. According to a survey by realtor.com®,

Nearly 70 percent of home shoppers this spring think the U.S. will enter a recession in the next three years, but that hasn’t stopped them from trying to close on a home…Despite the fact that they foresee an economic downturn, they generally expressed confidence that a future recession will be better than 2008 for the housing market.”

The report provides more insights from the survey:

  • Nearly 30% of the active home shoppers* surveyed expect the next recession to begin sometime in 2020.
  • 56% of shoppers believe home prices have hit their peak.
  • 41% believe housing will fare better than 2008.
  • 45% of home shoppers feel at least slightly more optimistic about homeownership.
  • 33% reported no impact on their feelings about homeownership.

Homebuyers are aware and making decisions with their eyes wide-open. As the report mentioned,

“The fact that some [36%] home shoppers expect the next recession to be harder on the housing market than the last recession suggests that they are buying homes with eyes wide-open and very sober, if not slightly pessimistic, views of the housing market.

This is a stark contrast to the years leading up to the last recession when ‘irrational exuberance’ was more common and yet another reason to expect that the next downturn will be very different for the housing market than the last.”

Bottom Line

If you are considering buying a home, let’s get together to help you understand our local market and determine if buying a home is the right choice for you now.

*Active home shoppers are those consumers who responded that they plan to purchase their next home in 1 year or less.

 

Buyer Demand Surging as Spring Market Begins


Newton, MA, Compass, Sotheby’s Newton’s Top Brokers

Buyer Demand Surging as Spring Market Begins

Buyer Demand Surging as Spring Market Begins | MyKCM

Last fall, some predicted that the 2019 residential real estate market would be a disaster. There was even belief we might experience a housing crash like the one that occurred during the last decade.

However, according to two separate reports*, buyer demand dramatically increased over the last three months, leading into this spring buyers’ market (the March data is not yet available).

Both the ShowingTime Showing Index and the National Association of REALTORS Buyer Traffic Index show that buyer demand has increased in each of the last three months.

Buyer Demand Surging as Spring Market Begins | MyKCM

Why the increase in demand? Increased buying power.

According to the National Association of Realtors’ Economists’ Outlook Blog, purchasing a home has become more affordable, which has led to increased demand.

“Due to the combination of falling home prices and mortgage rates, the income needed to make an affordable mortgage payment (mortgage no more than 25% of income) on a median-priced home with 10% down payment and 30-year fixed rate mortgage decreased from $60,425 in June 2018 to $53,783 as of February 2019, and the difference of $6,642 represents a gain in buying power because one can afford a home purchase at a lower level of income.”

Bottom Line

It appears the spring buyers’ market is going to be much stronger than many had projected. Whether you are selling or buying, this is important news.

 

*The methodology behind the indices:

The ShowingTime Showing Index

“The ShowingTime Showing Index® tracks the average number of buyer showings on active residential properties on a monthly basis, a highly reliable leading indicator of current and future demand trends.”

The National Association of REALTORS® Buyer Traffic Index

“In a monthly survey of REALTORS®, NAR asks respondents ‘Compared to the same month last year, how would you rate the past month’s traffic in neighborhood(s) or area(s) where you make most of your sales?’ NAR compiles the responses into an index, where an index above 50 indicates that more respondents reported “stronger” traffic than “weaker” traffic.”

Sampling Newton’s Restaurants


Newton, MA.  Compass, Sotheby’s Newton’s Top Realtors

Discover the best restaurants in Newton for pizza, ramen, brunch, and more

Moldovan food? Newton has it.

A side of meatballs at Fiorella's in Newton
A side of meatballs at Fiorella’s in Newton. –Justin Saglio

A leisurely trip from Boston on the Green Line, Newton may not at first seem like a suburb to visit for Moldovan food. But it is — along with classic Neapolitan pizza, Chilean cuisine, and steaming bowls of ramen. The next time you find yourself in Newton Centre, Newton Highlands, and other Newton villages, head to one of these fantastic restaurants, which make up the area’s globally diverse cuisine.

Buttonwood
A May 2018 kitchen fire caused this Newton Highlands neighborhood eatery to close for 10 months, but it has triumphantly returned with its entire staff (led by the team behind Sycamore and Little Big Diner) and many of its beloved menu items, including the BW cheeseburger, pork schnitzel, and a slew of Mediterranean-inspired grilled dishes. The cocktails are nothing to scoff at, either: Try the Crimson King, made with rye, ginger-maple syrup, lemon, and angostura bitters. (51 Lincoln St.)

Comedor
An order of crispy chicken drumsticks at Comedor. —Justin Saglio for The Boston Globe

Comedor
At Comedor, a colorful and inviting bar and restaurant in Newton Centre, Chilean soul food takes center stage in the form of chili-glazed pork ribs, papas fritas, and Spanish octopus with roasted root vegetables. It’s a popular spot for brunch, too, with homemade doughnuts and a nap-inducing s’mores French toast with chocolate ganache. (105 Union St.)

Dunn Gaherin’s
It’s not easy to find an Irish pub in the Boston area that serves both great beer andfantastic food, but Dunn Gaherin’s — fun to say, even better to visit — is one of the exceptions. Inside the quirky space, customers tuck into plates of steak tips and gravy-drenched meatloaf (stop by on Fridays and Saturdays for the shepherd’s pie special). Imported and local brews flow from the taps, including the necessary Guinness. (344 Elliot St.)

Fiorella's
Gnocchi at Fiorella’s. —Justin Saglio

Fiorella’s
At Fiorella’s in Newtonville, you’ll find the types of Italian food that can cause sudden cravings at unsuspecting moments: chicken parmigiana, shrimp scampi, four-layered lasagna. A hefty salad section is ideal for the lunch crowd (and includes everything from chopped Italian salad to a roasted beets and arugula bowl), and desserts are ideal for, well, anytime — especially if your order involves the peanut butter ice cream pie. (187 North St.)

The Landing Pizza & Kitchen
This Newton newcomer has only been open for a few months, but pizza fans are already raving about the pies here. Owner Massimo Ottani is certified in making traditional Neapolitan pizza, and his training shows: Thin-crust dough is topped with fresh ingredients that range from sweet sopressata and anchovies to potato. Oven-baked focacce sandwiches and calzones are also on the menu, but you’d be remiss if you skipped out on Ottani’s exceptional pizza. (223 Adams St.)

Little Big Diner
The spicy miso ramen at Little Big Diner. —Suzanne Kreiter

Little Big Diner
For a soul-warming bowl of ramen, Little Big Diner is the go-to spot in Newton. The tiny lunch and dinner hangout serves brown rice bowls, poke, and shared appetizers, but it’s the ramen that draws in locals, from traditional miso or shoyu ramen to the spicy tan tan ramen, a take on tantan mien with both chashu pork and chili ground pork. (1247 Centre St.)

Lumiere
The takeout family meal of roast whole chicken, salad, grilled broccoli, potatoes, other vegetables, and cookies at Lumiere. —Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff

Lumiere
As one of Newton’s more upscale restaurants, Lumiere excels at on-point service and expertly executed French fare. Chef Jordan Bailey focuses on approachable classics like an herb-roasted half chicken, steak frites, and smoked fish pate, but if you really want to put your faith in Bailey, go for the chef’s whim tasting menu: five blind courses with the option to pair with wine. The kitchen also offers a family meal, a takeout dinner meant to feed two adults and two children. (1293 Washington St.)

Max & Leo’s
Emotions run rampant when discussing the quality of pizza in the Boston area, but Max & Leo’s delivers on both great pies and a family-friendly atmosphere. The sibling-owned pizzeria, which also has locations in Sudbury and the Fenway, allows you to build your own pie or choose from one of the custom pizzas — the Steve’s Old Fashioned is an exercise in refined simplicity, made with fresh mozzarella, slices of tomato, fresh basil, and garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil. (325 Washington St.)

Moldova
A pie with savory filling at Moldova. —Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

Moldova
Moldovan cuisine takes inspiration from its surrounding neighbors — Romania, Ukraine, Turkey, Bulgaria — and you’ll find a little bit of all of these influences at Moldova, a colorful cafe on Watertown Street. Serving brunch, lunch, and dinner, the menu includes dishes like Platou Moldovenesc, a mix of scrambled eggs, your choice of meat, hash browns and polenta; as well as sarmale, which are hand-rolled cabbage and grape leaves stuffed with rice, chicken, and herbs. (344 Watertown St.)

Sycamore
Seasonal fare dictates the menu at Sycamore, a neighborhood bistro where crispy Rhode Island squid and mushroom lasagna are listed alongside a Colorado lamb board for two. Bring a friend (or a date) and settle in to the brick-walled space, where a small, cozy bar serves beer, wine, and craft cocktails. (755 Beacon St.)

 

Home Buyer Demand Will Be Strong for Years to Come


Newton, MA. Compass, Sotheby’s Newton’s Top Brokers, Real Estate, Greater Boston

Home Buyer Demand Will Be Strong for Years to Come

Home Buyer Demand Will Be Strong for Years to Come | MyKCM

There has been a lot written about millennials and their preference to live in city centers above their favorite pizza place. Some have even gone so far as to say that millennials are a “Renter-Generation”.

And while this might be true for some millennials, more and more research has surfaced that shows for the vast majority, owning a home is a major part of their American Dream!

New research shows that 66% of millennials who currently rent are determined to buy a home! Seventy-three percent of those surveyed by

Pulsenomics plan to buy a home in the next five years, with 40% planning to do so within the next two years!

Home Buyer Demand Will Be Strong for Years to Come | MyKCM

“Millennials want to own a home as much as prior generations,” Ali Wolf, Director of Economic Research at Meyers Research says. “We saw millennial shoppers scooping up homes in 2018—and 2019 will be no different.”

Bottom Line

Are you one of the millions of renters who are ready and willing to buy a home? Let’s get together to determine your ability to buy now!

Why Has Housing Supply Increased as Sales Have Slowed Down?


Newton, MA. Real Estate, Compass, Newton Top Brokers, Sotheby’s

Why Has Housing Supply Increased as Sales Have Slowed Down?

Why Has Housing Supply Increased as Sales Have Slowed Down? | MyKCM

According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the inventory of homes for sale this year compared to last year has increased for the last four months, all while sales of existing homes have slowed compared to last year’s numbers.

For over three years leading up to this point, the exact opposite was true; Inventory dropped as sales soared.

NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun shed some light on what could be contributing to this shift,

“This is the lowest existing home sales level since November 2015. A decade’s high mortgage rates are preventing consumers from making quick decisions on home purchases. All the while, affordable home listings remain low, continuing to spur underperforming sales activity across the country.”

Let’s take a deeper look:

Interest Rates

Since January, 30-year fixed mortgage interest rates have increased nearly a full percentage point (from 3.95% to 4.9%). Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the National Association of Realtors, and the Mortgage Bankers Association are all in agreement that rates will continue to increase to about 5.2% over the next 12 months.

“The rise in [mortgage] rates paired with this very strong price appreciation absolutely is slowing housing,” said Fannie Mae’s Chief Economist Doug Duncan.

Even though rates are higher than they’ve been in a decade, they still remain below the average for the 1970s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s!

Mismatch of Inventory

Elizabeth Mendenhall, President of NAR, said it best, “Despite small month over month increases, the share of first-time buyers in the market continues to underwhelm because there are simply not enough listings in their price range.”

Prices of starter and trade-up homes have appreciated faster than their higher-priced counterparts. Over the last 5 years, the lowest-priced homes have appreciated by 47% while the highest-priced homes have appreciated by only 24%.

According to the Institute of Luxury Home Market’s Luxury Market Report, the $1M-and-up price range is now experiencing a buyer’s market. This means that supply (inventory) has finally caught up with demand and buyers are in the driver’s seat when it comes to negotiations. Additionally, many listings in this price range have experienced price cuts in order to entice buyers to put in offers.

Bottom Line

Additional inventory coming to market could help normalize the housing market and allow incomes to catch up to home prices. For more information about sales and inventory in our area, let’s get together so we can help you make the best decision for you and your family.

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The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Keeping Current Matters, Inc. will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

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Newton Home Prices Have Appreciated 8.4% vs. a Gain of 6.9% Nationally.


Newton, MA. Newton Top Broker, Compass, Sotheby’s

Newton Home Prices Have Appreciated 8.4% in 2018.

Home Prices Have Appreciated 6.9% in 2018 | MyKCM

Between 1987 and 1999, which is often referred to as the ‘Pre-Bubble Period,’ home prices grew at an average of 3.6% according to the Home Price Expectation Survey.

Every month, the economists at CoreLogic release the results of their Home Price Insights Report, which includes the actual year-over-year change in prices across the country and their predictions for the following year.

The chart below shows the forecasted year-over-year prices for 2018 (predictions made in 2017). According to their predictions, the average appreciation over the course of 2018 should be 4.8%, which is still greater than the ‘normal’ appreciation of 3.6%.

Home Prices Have Appreciated 6.9% in 2018 | MyKCM

If we layer in the actual price appreciation that has occurred this year, we can see that over the course of 2018, home prices have appreciated by an average of 6.9% and have outpaced projections all year!

Home Prices Have Appreciated 6.9% in 2018 | MyKCM

What does this mean?

The tale of today’s real estate market is one of low inventory, high demand, and rising prices. The forces at work can be simply explained with the theory of supply and demand. That being said, if a large supply of inventory were to come to the market, prices may start to appreciate closer to the forecasted rate which would STILL be greater than the historic norm!

Bottom Line

If you are a homeowner whose house no longer meets your needs, now may be a great time to list your home and capitalize on the equity you have gained over the last year to make a significant down payment on your next home!

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