29 Things You Need To Know Before You Move To Newton

29 Things You Need To Know Before You Move To Newton

Newton is more than just a Beantown ‘burb. As this list will demonstrate, it’s also the home to a famous composer, a New World religion, and the namesake of a very famous cookie.
Very cute and informative at the same time.  Special shout out to Dave at Buff’s Pub!

Is There a Window of Opportunity for Sellers Right Now?

Sothebys, Newton, MA.  Listing and Buying Agent, Newton, MA.  Top Agent Newton MA.

Is There a Window of Opportunity for Sellers Right Now? YES YES YES there is an opportunity here in Newton, MA!!!

by THE KCM CREW on FEBRUARY 25, 2013

  • 3081280_thumbnailOne of the most interesting revelations of the latest National Association of Realtors (NAR) Existing Home Sales Report is the shortage of housing inventory being reported throughout much of the country. At the same time, buyer demand is dramatically up over last year.  Here are some key points:
  • Total housing inventory at the end of January fell 4.9 percent to 1.74 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 4.2-month supply at the current sales pace.
  • This represents the lowest housing supply since April 2005 when it was also 4.2 months.
  • Listed inventory is 25.3 percent below a year ago when there was a 6.2-month supply.
  • Raw unsold inventory is at the lowest level since December 1999 when there were 1.71 million homes on the market.

What Does This Mean if You Are Selling a Home?

The price of anything is determined by supply and demand. According to NAR’s report, inventory is at its lowest level since the real estate boom eight years ago. At the same time, demand is up. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, reveals:

“Buyer traffic is continuing to pick up, while seller traffic is holding steady. In fact, buyer traffic is 40 percent above a year ago, so there is plenty of demand butinsufficient inventory to improve sales more strongly. We’ve transitioned into a seller’s market in much of the country.”

Does that mean you should sell your house now? Or should you wait to see if prices increase? Nobody knows for sure. However, some feel that there may be a pent-up inventory about to come to the market because, as prices increase, it will free up some sellers who have been locked in a negative equity situation (where the house is worth less than the remaining mortgage).

The Zillow Negative Equity Forecast predicts:

“The negative equity rate among all homeowners with a mortgage will fall to at least 25.5 percent by the fourth quarter of 2013, freeing more than 999,000 additional homeowners nationwide.”

If these homes come to market, the supply/demand ratio will begin to balance out and lessen the opportunity a seller now has.

Calculated Risk, a well respected blog which analyzes the economy:

“With the low level of inventory, both in absolute numbers and as a month-of-supply, and the recent price increases in some areas, it would seem likely more inventory would come on the market.”

Lawrence Yun agrees:

“We expect a seasonal rise of inventory this spring.”

Yet, Yun is quick to add:

“It may be insufficient to avoid more frequent incidences of multiple bidding and faster-than-normal price growth.”

Probably the most interesting comment on this comes from Calculated Risk:

“I need to think about this…This will be an interesting issue all year.”

This is an issue that is important to every seller. Make sure that you are working with a true professional that is dedicated to keeping current on what matters in the real estate market so he/she may provide you with the best advice possible as this situation becomes clearer.



5 Reasons You Should Buy a Home NOW!

Newton, MA. real estate, Top Agent Newton, MA,  Newton Centre  Sotheby’s Real  Estate, Newton, MA.


HomeMany potential buyers are waiting until they can be 100% sure the real estate market has fully recovered before making the move to purchase a home. Here are five reasons why waiting might not make sense any longer:

1.) Prices Are on the Rise

The latest Case Shiller Home Price Index revealed that home prices have appreciated 5.5% over the last year. This is occurring across the nation as increases were reported in 19 of 20 metros. The Home Price Expectation Survey, which polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts, calls for continued appreciation over the next five years.

2.) Mortgage Interest Rates Are Expected to Increase

The Mortgage Bankers Association has predicted that, after reaching record lows in 2012, mortgage rates will creep up slowly in 2013 to 4.4%. Rates have already increased by 2/10 of a point (3.32 to 3.53) in the last two months.

3.) Rents Are Continuing to Skyrocket

Recently, Zillow  reported that rents in the U.S. increased by 4.2% over the last year. Increases were 5% or more in many major metropolitan areas including Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Detroit, Baltimore, Denver, San Jose and Charlotte.

4.) New Mortgage Regulations Will Be Announced Later This Year

Six regulators, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Securities and Exchange Commission, are currently drafting the new Qualified Residential Mortgage (QRM) rule. They will decide on two major requirements for buyers looking to qualify for a mortgage: minimum down payment and minimum FICO score. Many experts believe the new rules will be more stringent than current requirements.

 5.) Timelines Will Be Shorter

The dramatic increase in transactions caused many challenges to the process of buying or selling a home in 2012. We waited for inspections, dealt with last minute appraisals and prayed that the bank didn’t ask for ‘just one more piece of paper’ before issuing a commitment on the mortgage. There are fewer transactions this time of year. That means that timetables on each component of the home buying process will be friendlier for those involved in transactions over the next 90 days.

These are five good reasons why you should consider buying a home today instead of waiting.


Top Brokers, Newton, MA.  Newton, MA. real estate, Buyer and Listing Broker, Sotheby’s, Newton, MA


I know I sound like a broken record….. wouldn’t you rather sell your house with little competition?

  • Existing Home SupplyHome sales dropped last month, but not because demand was lacking. There are fewer homes for sale than at any time in the last 11 years.

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, Existing Home Sales for December 2012 fell to a seasonally-adjusted, annualized rate of 4.94 million homes from November’s tally of 4.99 million existing homes.

The Existing Home Sales report is based on the number of closings for previously-owned, single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops. It’s estimated that existing homes account for 85 to 90 percent of all home sales nationwide.

2012 was a good year for housing. Sales of existing homes climbed 12.8 percent as compared to the December 2011 tally, which may be a strong indicator of future mortgage originations and short-term demand for home-related goods.

Based on preliminary sales figures, the number of home resales in 2012 grew 9.2 percent to 4.65 million homes as compared to 4.26 million homes sold during 2011. This marks the highest number of home resales sold in 5 years — a time which predates the recession of last decade.

In addition, the median price of a homes resale read $180,800 in December, which is a 11.5 percent increase as compared to December 2011, and the tenth consecutive month of year-over-year median price growth.

Not since November 2005 has the median home resale price climbed this quickly

Furthermore, the supply of existing homes fell to 4.4 months in December, down 0.4 months from November. At the current pace of sales, the national home resale inventory will be sold by June. This is an important statistic because home supply of less than 6.0-months is thought to represent a “seller’s market”.

There are also just 1.82 million existing homes for sale nationwide — the fewest since January 2001, and a 22 percent reduction from one year ago. With buyer demand high and home inventory down, home prices are likely to rise in Boston are and nationwide throughout 2013.  


Six Reasons Housing Inventory Keeps Declining

Sotheby’s Newton, MA.  Top Realtors, Newton, MA.  Newton, MA. real estate


A post I want to share with you….

By Nick Timiraos

The number of homes for sale fell to 1.82 million at the end of 2012, an 8.5% drop from November.

Home sales in December dropped by 1% from November, the National Association of Realtors reported on Tuesday, but still stood nearly 13% above the levels of one year ago. That means home sales have risen from the year-ago month for 18 straight months.

For 2012 as a whole, sales were up 9% to 4.65 million units, the highest annual total since 2007.

Prices, meanwhile, are picking up because the number of homes for sale continues to drop despite the sales volume gains. The number of homes for sale fell to 1.82 million at the end of 2012, an 8.5% drop from November and a 21.6% decline from one year earlier, the Realtors’ group said on Tuesday.

Here’s a breakdown of why inventory has continued to drop this year:

Many homeowners are underwater: More than 10 million homeowners owe more on their mortgage than their homes are worth, according to CoreLogic Inc. CLGX -1.45% That pencils out to around 22% of homeowners with a mortgage, or 15% of all homeowners (since not every homeowner has a mortgage). Underwater owners aren’t likely to sell unless they need to move due to changing life (marriage, divorce) or financial circumstances, and they’ll take a hit on their credit for pursuing a short sale, where the bank allows the home to sell for less than the amount owed.Data from CoreLogic show that inventory has been the most constrained in housing markets where there’s the largest concentration of underwater borrowers.

Others don’t have enough equity to “trade up”: Another 10 million homeowners have less than 20% equity in their current residence, meaning they can’t easily “trade up” to their next house. Traditionally, homeowners have relied on home equity to make the down payment on their next home, and to pay their real-estate agent to sell their current home and buy their next one. These “under-equitied” homeowners—meaning they don’t have enough equity to make a move to a more expensive home—have added to the drag on inventory.

Everyone wants to buy at the bottom, but few want to sell: Even those people who do have plenty of home equity are likely reluctant to sell if they think prices will be higher tomorrow. Would you sell your largest asset today if you thought it might be worth 5% more next year? This helps explain why markets such as Denver and Dallas, which didn’t have huge housing bubbles and thus had smaller shares of underwater borrowers, have also seen double-digit inventory declines.

More purchases from investors of all stripes: From the big institutional investors that have been grabbing all the headlines, to the mom-and-pop landlords that have traditionally played a much larger role renting out homes, investors have increasingly bought homes that can be rented out rather than flipped and resold for quick profits. This is further keeping inventory off the market in two ways: homes that are bought at courthouse foreclosure auctions never show up on multiple-listing services when they’re initially sold. They’re also held out of the for-sale pool because they’re being rented out.

Banks have been slower at foreclosing: Banks and other companies that process delinquent mortgages have had trouble proving that they’ve followed state law in taking title to homes ever since the “robo-signing” scandal surfaced in late 2010, and they’ve also had to meet a host of new state and federal rules governing loan modificationsand foreclosures from settlements spawned by the robo-scandal. Banks have also become better about approving short sales and loan modifications, which has curbed the flow of foreclosed properties onto the market.

Builders have been putting up fewer homes: Housing starts were severely depressed from 2009 through 2011 and have only recently rebounded off of those low levels. Consequently, there’s been much less new home inventory being added to the market at a time when demand (boosted by increases in household formation) is picking up. If more homes are held off the market—for any of the five reasons above—you can bet that builders will move in to fill the void.

Many of these factors that have been dragging down inventory aren’t signs of “normal” or “healthy” housing markets—but then, we probably haven’t had a normal market for around a decade now. If anything, declining inventory shows that normal supply-and-demand dynamics are returning, which is an important step towards putting a floor under home prices and giving markets time to get back to health.


Where Have All the Home Sellers Gone?

Sotheby’s, Newton, MA.  Top Realtor Newton, MA.  Newton, MA.  real estate

January 10, 2013

There is a problem in the real estate market in the western suburbs of Boston and an easy problem to fix!  There is a supreme shortage of inventory.  As of today there are only 80 single family homes for sale and 15 of those have an accepted offer, leaving 65 active listings.  A normal market in Newton would consist of approximately 200 homes.  There are many buyers out there scrambling for houses.

Seller’s, if you are waiting for the Spring market, wait no longer– the Spring market starts in mid January in Newton and Brookline and a bit later in Wellesley.  Don’t wait until everyone else puts their house on the market, this is a supply and demand business. The timing to sell doesn’t get any better, extremely low inventory, banks are lending, buyers are desperate.  This is a supply and demand business, don’t waste this opportunity.

Call me at 617-921-6860 or e-mail

West Newton Hill 2012 Real Estate Recap

Sothebys, Newton, MA.  Top Realtor Newton, MA.  Newton, MA, Real Estate  West Newton Hill

January 2013

My best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.    I believe this is going to be a breakout year for the Newton housing market, if inventory increases.    As of today, January 9th  there are only 82 single-family homes for sale in all of Newton across all price ranges.  I know many of you have been waiting on the sidelines for the right time to sell and the time is now.  Sellers, the Spring market begins in late January not April.  Inventory is the lowest I have ever seen, mortgage rates are at historic lows AND banks are willing to lend.  I expect to see 2-3% gains, (possibly 5% for very special homes) by the end of 2013.  I do not expect to see 7-10% gains in value per year in the near future.

The first half of 2012 was very busy; houses were selling in record time at very good list to sale price ratios.  The momentum did not carry into the fall market as expected mainly because inventory levels were so low that there just was not anything to buy.  We have averted the fiscal cliff and survived the presidential election.

West Newton Hill had 42 homes sell in 2012 versus 25 in 2011, a considerable increase! Prices also rose along with the sales to an average sale price of $1,657,000 from $1,458,000 in 2011.  While this is good news, these numbers need further dissecting.  The market was undeniably better, but not 12% better.  What was different in 2012?  12 homes sold for 2 million or more in 2012 versus 3 in 2011.  The 2 million+ homes had been the most difficult to sell in the past 5 years and we finally broke through that barrier in 2012.  If you look at home prices on a square footage basis, it tells a different story, the price per square foot was $405.00 in 2011 opposed to $388.00 in 2012.  New construction is the most sought after home in the 2 million dollar and above range.  To break through the 3.5 million range the house needs to be new or like new on a large level lot with outstanding craftsmanship and many amenities.

Please call me with any real estate needs you have.   My formula for pricing houses is spot on.  I can be reached via phone, e-mail or text at 617-921-6860 or

Address                      Sale Price             SQ.FTs

64 Perkins St                  $785,700             388.00

386 Chestnut                  $800,000              442.00

24 Mt. Vernon Te              $808,425             328.00

12 Westfield Rd               $936,582              364.00

159 Mt. Vernon St             $950,000             404.00

17 Wauwinet Rd               $1,030,000          385.00

9 Wauwinet Rd                  $1,054,000          449.00

1663 Commonwealth         $1,060,000          364.00

120 Forest Ave                   $1,097,000          348.00

29 Westfield Rd.                $1,099,000           335.00

32 Leonard                         $1,111,500           320.00

1159 Commonwealth          $1,122,500          317.00

39 Valentine Park                $1,146,400          325.00

54 Ellis Road                        $1,192,500          312.91

128 Highland St                     $1,200,000         355.66

386 Highland Street               $1,220,000         404.00

58 Valentine Park                   $1,250,000         384.00

219 Fuller Street                     $1,260,000         337.00

381 Highland Street                $1,268,000         335.00

64 Myrtle St                             $1,325.000          310.00

36 Howland Rd.                       $1,360,000         485.00

50 Putnam St                          $1,366,840         312.71

318 Prince St.                         $1,420,000         282.00

33 Berkeley St                         $1,458,000         389.00

70 Crestwood Rd                    $1,510,000         400.53

9 Somerset Rd                       $1,549,000          371.00

80 Dartmouth St                      $1,550,000         646.00

146 Forest St                           $1,610,000         365.00

212 Chestnut St                       $1,790,000         380.00

224 Chestnut St                        $1,950,000         433.00

40 Wykeham Rd                        $2,000,000       400.00

212 Temple St    *                     $2,172,500        305.00

79  Hillside Ave                         $2,175,000          395.00

212 Temple St    *                     $2,300,000         323.00

315 Highland Ave                      $2,550,000         418.00

5 Crocker Circle                        $2,550,000         495.00

49 Shaw St                                $2,680,000         388.00

170 Otis St                                 $2,990,000         471.00

165 Highland  Street                   $3,585,000         618.00

18 Temple St                              $3,999,000         629.00

26 Dartmouth St                          $4,200,000         671.79

42: Sold      Average List:  $1,742,000        Average Sale:  $1,657,000   Average Living Area SQ FT: 4,177

Average Days on Market:  98   Average Sale Price per SQ FT: $388.00

*home sold twice: first for 2,300,000 and then 2,172,500

MASS Association of Realtors Report

Sotheby’s Newton, MA.  Top Newton Realtor, Newton, MA.  Real Estate

Mass. pending sales up again in December and for 2012

We hope you had a nice holiday season and a Happy New Year! Today we released the December and year-end 2012 pending home sales report for single-family homes and condominiums in Massachusetts. For the 20th straight month, homes put under agreement were up over the same month last year. For the complete year, the total number of homes put under agreement in 2012 significantly topped the number of homes put under agreement in 2011.

On a month-to-month basis, pending sales were down from November.

Link to release: December/year-end 2012 Pending Sales

Here are the highlights:

  • Single-family pending home sales were up 15.6% compared to December 2011
  • Single-family month-to-month pending home sales were down 21% from November 2012
  • Condo pending home sales were up 5.6% compared to December 2011
  • Condo pending month-to-month home sales were down 14% from October 2012

2012 highlights:

  • 2012 Single-family pending home sales were up 25% compared to 2011 (38,502 homes in 2011 vs. 48,064 homes in 2012)
  • 2012 Condomimium pending home sales were up 26% compared to 2011 (14,893 homes in 2011 vs. 18,706 homes in 2012)
Post Published: 08 January 2013

Housing: Year End Reports Reveal Market Coming Back

Sotheby’s Newton, MA. Margaret Szerlip..Top Realtor, Newton, MA.  Newton MA.  real estate

Housing: Year End Reports Reveal Market Coming Back


Housing MarketEvery year-end housing report revealed that the real estate market is recovering quite nicely. Here is a quick synopsis of each:

Existing Home Sales Report

  • Total existing-home sales rose 5.9 percent in November over last month
  • Sales are 14.5 percent higher than November 2011
  • Sales are at the highest level since November 2009
  • The national median existing-home price was $180,600 in November, up 10.1 percent from November 2011
  • Total housing inventory at the end of November fell to a 4.8-month supply; it was 5.3 months in October, and is the lowest housing supply since September of 2005 when it was 4.6 months

Pending Sales Report

  • Pending home sales increased in November for the third straight month and reached the highest level in two-and-a-half years
  • The index is at the highest level since April 2010 when buyers were rushing to beat the deadline for the home buyer tax credit
  • With the exception of several months affected by tax stimulus, the last time there was a higher reading was in February 2007
  • On a year-over-year basis, pending home sales have risen for 19 consecutive months

New Home Sales Report

  • Sales of new homes rose 4.4% in November to a two-and-a-half-year high
  • This is the highest level since April 2010, when a temporary tax credit boosted demand.
  • Sales are now 15.3% higher compared to one year ago

Case Shiller Home Price Index

  • Home prices rose 4.3% in the 12 months ending in October
  • In nineteen of the 20 cities covered, annual returns in October were higher than September