Is Newton Heading Towards A Buyer’s Market?

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

Buyer and seller sign

Is Newton Heading to A Buyer’s Market?

The real estate market in Newton is starting to feel a bit different.  New things are coming to market and homes are going under agreement but it all seems — different.’

We’ve listed 3 properties in the past month and happily had over asking offers, some substantially over asking.  4 of our buyers purchased properties this month. One purchased 100k under asking, one 6o under asking and one at asking.  All of these wold be considered hot properties and yet none had multiple offers.  I’ve decided to dig into the numbers and see what I can decipher.

This is the market as of today:

ON Market                                      Average Price                            Days on Market

130 single families                          $2,091,980                                          101

59 Condos                                           $948,146                                         64



61 single families                            $1,449,334                                            32

19 condos                                          $726,809                                             27



38 single families                                $1,249,858                                    29

16 condos                                             $650,000                                       34


These numbers tell a story.  The average list price at $2,091, 980 is 40% higher than the average sold price of $1,249,858. It took an average of 29 days to sell vs. the 100 days for the current unsold inventory.  This is a supply and demand business and when new inventory outpaces under agreements a declining market is usually forecasted.  I do not expect to see a significant drop in prices but there will be pushback on price which we are already seeing.  Mortgage rates are up about a 1/2 point and another rate increase is expected before year-end. These increases affect the below 1.2 million dollar buyer the most.

My advice is to seek a Realtor who understands the market trends and acts before everyone else.  You do not want to chase the market down.


Margaret Szerlip 617.921.6860





Survey Says Millennials Want To Live In New York, What Does Research Say?

Newton, MA. Top Realtor,  Compass Massachusetts Realtor, Newton, MA. Homes for Sale

Survey Says Millennials Want To Live In New York, Research Suggests They Should Live In Philadelphia…Hmm?

Philadelphia (Shutterstock)

In a recent survey one-in-five Millennials said New York is their ideal city. Less than 1% said the same of Philadelphia. Ironically, however, the city of Ben Franklin and cheesesteaks outranks its more popular brethren when it comes to qualities the young purport to value.

Millennial-run apartment search site Abodo set out to determine what their generational-peers look for in a city to call home by surveying 2,000 people born between 1982 and 1998. Respondents rated 20 qualities on a 1 to 10 scale, with 10 connoting the highest importance.

It turns out, the top three qualities Millennials want in a city are economic in nature: a thriving job market (average score: 8.19), affordable rent (7.94) and affordable home prices (7.55). Beyond those core three, the ratings for quality of life metrics were fairly evenly dispersed. Rounding out the top third of the list were parks or hiking trails (6.52), non-chain restaurants (6.49) and quality pizza (6.11). Meanwhile, items ranging from top-rate public schools (6.07) to an LGBTQ-friendly environment (5.47) to access to music venues (5.38) all have above average ratings. In fact, the only quality not achieving a score greater than five was the presence of a local college or university (4.99).

To Sam Radbil, communications manager at Abodo, the survey shows “Millennials are career driven.” He added, “Despite Millennials’ reputation for being lazy or entitled they care about the job market and their careers. They are looking for a place that is affordable.”

Interesting distinctions arise when the group is divided by age range, comparing 18-to-22 year-olds with 23-to-28 year-olds and 29-to-34 year-olds. Employment and housing are key concerns among all three groups, though affordable rent outranks job prospects only for the youngest cohort.

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For the oldest group home purchase price becomes more important than rental prices. While unsurprising, the differences among age groups do reflect recent trends. After years of hand-wringing over whether young people would participate in this traditional rite of passage, surveys suggest Millennials do want to buy and that as they get older they are taking the ownership plunge. According to the National Association of Realtors, Millennials now make up the largest share of home buyers at 35%. The median age of a first time buyer is currently 31.

(Courtesy Abodo)

When it comes to location, nearly 20% of people surveyed list New York as their perfect city. Next up is San Francisco at 10%, Seattle and Portland at 9% and Los Angeles at nearly 8%. All of these cities have 80% or more of the 20 qualities Abodo pegged as important and most have several of the traits Millennials value highest. By Adodo’s calculations, however, several cities that barely registered with the survey-group may have more of what the generation is looking for, including Philadelphia (which got top city rating from just 0.89% of people), Washington D.C. (1.36%) and Boston (2.3%).

The company judged Philadelphia as the best city for Millennials in part due to solid marks on job market (the Philadelphia region’s unemployment rate was 20 basis points below the national average when the data was pulled) and average home prices (sale and rental) of at or below 30% of average income.

(Courtesy Abodo)

Of course, some of the metrics are subjective–a New Yorker may not agree Philadelphia has quality pizza. (Disclosure: the author of this post lives in New York, went to college in Philadelphia and has strong feelings about pizza.) But the survey’s broader point–that places you’ve never thought of may have exactly what you’re looking for–remains indisputable.

For Sale 8 Ascenta Terrace, West Newton Hill $1,529,000

8 Ascenta Terrace, West Newton Hill,  October 7, 2014 Sotheby’s Newton Top Brokers


8 Ascenta Terrace

8 Ascenta Front IIA California Bungalow on West Newton Hill. This former ranch was transformed in 2004 with the addition of a family room and a most serene 2nd floor Master Bedroom Suite. An inviting home which feels sunny, warm and expansive. Extremely flexible floor plan allows for 1st or 2nd floor master. Timeless cherry kitchen features high-end appliances and granite counters which flows into a spacious family room. The private yard is large and level. The property also features a covered porch and deck which can be accessed from the dining room or family room. 2004 kitchen, baths, electric, plumbing, HVAC, roof, windows etc. 15,000+ level lot may be suitable for a builder.



8 Ascenta Kitchen 8 Ascenta Family Room II8 Ascenta Master Bedroom II


Seniors’ Housing Cost Burden on Rise

Seniors’ Housing Cost Burden on Rise

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

For a growing share of older Americans, housing expenses have become an increasingly large financial burden.

Chart: Housing burdenOne in three Americans over age 50 were carrying a severe or moderate housing cost burden in 2012, up from one in four in 2000, according to a new study by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies and AARP. The Center defined a severe burden as housing costs that consume more than half of household income; a moderate housing burden takes between 30 percent and 50 percent of income.

The Center’s report, Housing America’s Older Adults – Meeting the Needs of An Aging Population,” warns that the nation is unprepared for both the financial and non-financial housing challenges that will accompany the coming explosion in the elderly population. Aging baby boomers will require better access to public transit, handicap access, assisted living facilities and other special services and amenities, and many will need subsidized housing.

Housing is often an older person’s largest single expense. And because housing costs are largely fixed (think mortgage payment, taxes, insurance, upkeep and utilities), they can become a growing burden for people as they age and become more vulnerable to reductions in income. Incomes often decline toward the end of their working years and decline again when they enter retirement. Pensions and Social Security benefits fall again when one spouse dies.

The report finds that:

  • Nearly 17 percent of people over age 50 are moderately burdened, spending from 30 percent to 50 percent of their income on housing.
  • Another 16 percent spend more than half of their income on housing.
  • Some 3.9 million households over age 62 are eligible for rental assistance – but only 1.4 million receive it.
  • In 2010, about three out of four homeowners ages 50 to 64 were still paying off a mortgage, up from about two in three in 1992.
  • Housing costs are especially challenging for minority groups: 39 percent of older Asian households, 43 percent of older Hispanic households, and 46 percent of older black households have moderate or severe house cost burdens.  The figure for older white households is 29 percent.

Housing reliably consumes a large chunk of retirees’ monthly income. As baby boomers prepare for retirement, many should consider reducing their housing costs so they fit their new retirement budgets.

Buying a Home? You Don’t Need to Do It Alone

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


Buying a Home? You Don’t Need to Do It Alone

Posted: 30 Jul 2014 04:00 AM PDT Another great topic from my friends at  KCM CREW

Buying a Home? You Don’t Need to Do It Alone | Keeping Current Matters

Last week, Discover Home Loans released an interesting survey which revealed how prepared home buyers are for the actual mortgage process. The survey reported that 94 percent of prospective buyers believe they are making a good investment decision if they buy a home. The survey also explained that 66 percent of buyers reach out to real estate agents to help determine whether buying a certain home would be a good investment. However, there is less certainty regarding the mortgage process.

Most buyers overwhelmed

The majority of potential buyers are actually overwhelmed with the plethora of information available about the home financing process.  Here are some interesting highlights from the report:

  • Nearly 66% feel overwhelmed with the amount of information available
  • 76% of those under the age of 30 feel overwhelmed
  • 76% of first time buyers feel the same way
  • 54% of those buyers who have previously owned also were overwhelmed
  • 59% of buyers turn to mortgage bankers to help evaluate mortgage terms and comparing offers
  • 49% of buyers turn to real estate agents to help evaluate mortgage terms and comparing offers

There is help available…use it!

Cameron Findlay, chief economist at Discover Home Loans, gives great advice:

“The industry is becoming more transparent in an effort to help homebuyers become informed about changes that may affect their process. The sheer amount of information can lead to confusion and stress. Those looking to purchase should work closely with their lender and realtor to make sure they are comfortable with mortgage terms and understand the impact a loan will have on their finances.”

Bottom Line

The purchasing of a home can put great pressure on a family. Reach out to the qualified mortgage and real estate professionals in your market for assistance throughout the process.

Newton BI MONTHLY Real Estate Recap

Please forgive my summer doldrums, I mistakenly reported the last recap as Bi Weekly instead of Bi Monthly…I do apologize for my summer brain.

The market is moving along at a summer pace but moving nonetheless.   Well priced homes are still being scooped up quickly and that is important as we make the transition into the fall market.  I predict that this fall we will see a significant uptick in properties selling over 2 million dollars….Let’s see if I am right.  Currently there are 144 single family homes on the market, only 38 are under 1 million dollars, 106 over 1 million with 54 of the 106 over 2 million!  29 homes went under agreement in the last 2 weeks and 15 were over 1 million.  There was even one sale over 5 million.  During the last 2 week 27 homes closed and the strongest price range was 1 million to 1.5.

If you are considering a home sale or purchase in the next few months or next spring (spring market starts here in mid January to early February) now is the time to begin the process.  Allow me to show you how to get top dollar and make your move as seamless as possible.




On-Market Snapshot
Report Run: 7/21/2014 11:27:24 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Snapshot Date: 07/21/2014
Towns: Newton
 07/21/2014  7/21/2014
Price Range Number of
Avg. Days
on Market
vs. today Number of
Avg. Days
on Market
Under $50,000
$50,000 – $99,999
$100,000 – $149,999
$150,000 – $199,999
$200,000 – $249,999
$250,000 – $299,999
$300,000 – $349,999
$350,000 – $399,999 1 40 1 40
$400,000 – $449,999 1 5 1 5
$450,000 – $499,999 1 5 1 5
$500,000 – $599,999 4 25 4 25
$600,000 – $699,999 8 47 8 53
$700,000 – $799,999 11 45 11 51
$800,000 – $899,999 4 76 4 83
$900,000 – $999,999 8 57 8 57
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 24 58 24 58
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 28 102 28 102
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 19 106 19 106
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 18 65 18 65
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 12 151 12 151
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 2 100 2 100
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 3 89 3 89
Over $10,000,000
Total Properties 144 Avg. 80 144 Avg. 81
Lowest Price: $399,000
Median Price: $1,662,500
Highest Price: $6,950,000
Average Price: $1,905,156
Total Market Volume: $274,342,587
Lowest Price: $399,000
Median Price: $1,662,500
Highest Price: $6,950,000
Average Price: $1,905,156
Total Market Volume: $274,342,587



Pending Statistics
Report Run: 7/21/2014 11:31:31 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Start Date: 07/07/2014
End Date: 07/21/2014
Towns: Newton
Went Pending Current Status
Price Range # of
# UAG # CTG # Sold # Other
Under $50,000
$50,000 – $99,999
$100,000 – $149,999
$150,000 – $199,999
$200,000 – $249,999
$250,000 – $299,999
$300,000 – $349,999
$350,000 – $399,999 1 1
$400,000 – $449,999
$450,000 – $499,999 2 1 1
$500,000 – $599,999 2 1 1
$600,000 – $699,999 2 2
$700,000 – $799,999 1 1
$800,000 – $899,999 3 2 1
$900,000 – $999,999 3 3
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 8 6 2
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 4 1 3
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 1 1
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 1 1
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 1 1
Over $10,000,000
Total Properties 29 19 10 0 0
Lowest Price: $399,000 Median Price: $1,099,000
Highest Price: $7,500,000 Average Price: $1,370,700
Total Market Volume: $39,750,300



Total Sold Market Statistics
Report Run: 7/21/2014 11:33:17 AM
Property Type(s): SF
Status: SLD
Start Date: 07/07/2014
End Date: 07/21/2014
Towns: Newton
Price Range # of
Avg. Days
on Market
Sale Price
List Price
Orig Price
$0 – $49,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$50,000 – $99,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$100,000 – $149,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$150,000 – $199,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$200,000 – $249,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$250,000 – $299,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$300,000 – $349,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$350,000 – $399,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$400,000 – $449,999 1 43 $400,000 $409,000 98 $439,000 91
$450,000 – $499,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$500,000 – $599,999 1 6 $550,000 $499,000 110 $499,000 110
$600,000 – $699,999 1 41 $638,000 $655,000 97 $630,000 101
$700,000 – $799,999 6 19 $738,500 $717,133 104 $717,133 104
$800,000 – $899,999 3 45 $823,200 $839,300 98 $872,000 94
$900,000 – $999,999 4 18 $965,750 $942,975 103 $942,975 103
$1,000,000 – $1,499,999 8 23 $1,163,263 $1,156,688 101 $1,165,438 100
$1,500,000 – $1,999,999 1 6 $1,510,000 $1,375,000 110 $1,375,000 110
$2,000,000 – $2,499,999 2 50 $2,165,000 $2,234,500 97 $2,282,500 95
$2,500,000 – $2,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$3,000,000 – $3,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$4,000,000 – $4,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$5,000,000 – $9,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
$10,000,000 – $99,999,999 0 0 $0 $0 0 $0 0
Total Properties 27 Avg. 26 $1,018,433 $1,009,374 102 $1,019,341 101
Lowest Price: $400,000 Median Price: $960,000
Highest Price: $2,200,000 Average Price: $1,018,433
Total Market Volume: $27,497,700



There has been a lot written about how buying a home is less expensive than renting one in most parts of the country. Rents are skyrocketing and homes are still at great prices. These two situations are also causing some sellers to consider renting their home instead of selling it. After all, a homeowner can get great rental income now and perhaps wait until house values increase even further before selling.

This logic makes sense in some cases. There is a strong belief that residential real estate is a great investment right now. However, if you have no desire to actually become an educated investor in this sector, you may be headed for more trouble than you were looking for.

Before renting your home, you should answer the following questions to make sure this is the right course of action for you and your family. The most important question is your motivation for renting.
Do you wish to rent your house now because you think it will be worth more in a few years? Is that realistic? If you over paid for a house a few years ago but the house is in great condition and the floor plan works for today’s buyer, than rent it. You will probably make some money after you cover the monthly expenses. Do you want to rent for an emotional reason? Maybe you just want to try out a new lifestyle such as living in the city or maybe you’re not sure if the suburbs are what you want. If you can afford this option than by all means go for it. This option works best if you can afford to buy a new home without selling your current home. Why? If you are considering renting because you NEED a certain amount of money and are hoping a rising market will add value, you must be honest with yourself. Is this home going to rise in value ENOUGH to fulfill and fund the next dream? Why isn’t your current house selling? Other than the price the most obvious reason homes are selling for less money is an obsolete floor plan. A functionally obsolete home is described as:

An original house in an older part of town that has two bedrooms and one bathroom could be considered functionally obsolete if all the other original homes in the area are torn down over the years and replaced with five bedroom, three bathroom houses. Because the old house does not have the features that most modern buyers want, it is said to be functionally obsolete, even if it is still in good condition and is perfectly livable.

As another example, many home entertainment centers became functionally obsolete as flat-panel televisions replaced bulky analog televisions. The old entertainment centers were too deep to accommodate the new, thin televisions.

If your floor plan is obsolete today it will be obsolete next year also! If you wait 20 years and we have a new generation of buyers who will ask why did those people take down all those walls, maybe they will want your house. Every house is salable …. The question is always at what price. A wise person once said to me that price melts away objections and that is the truth. When a house is not up to a buyer’s standards they mentally deduct from the price of the house so they can make those changes, if they are up to making changes. Buyers’s pay a premium for a renovated house while a house that seems antiquated will sell at a discount. As brokers, we often ask ourselves why sellers spent so much money renovating and they didn’t fix the floor plan. Sellers when you are looking for a new home, honestly evaluate what you are looking for. Do you want to do work? Do you desire the open floor plan? Do you want a dedicated home office? Do you want a living room and a dining room and a family room? So if you decide to rent ask yourself these questions.

What happens when the tenant says they can’t afford to pay the rent this month because of more pressing obligations? (This happens most often during holiday season and back-to-school time when families with children have extra expenses).

Because of the economy, many homeowners cannot make their mortgage payment. What percentage of tenants do you think cannot afford to pay their rent?

Have you interviewed experienced eviction attorneys in case a challenge does arise?

Have you talked to your insurance company about a possible increase in premiums as liability is greater in a non-owner occupied home?

Will you allow pets? Cats? Dogs? How big a dog?

How will you actually collect the rent? By mail? In person?

Repairs are part of being a landlord. Who will take tenant calls when necessary repairs come up?

Do you have a list of craftspeople readily available to handle these repairs?

How often will you do a physical inspection of the property?

Will you alert your current neighbors that you are renting the house?

Bottom Line

Again, renting out residential real estate is historically a great investment. However, it is not without its challenges. Make sure you have decided to rent the house because you want to be an investor, not because you are hoping to get a few extra dollars by postponing a sale.


MA. Pending Sales Increase Hits 15 Straight Months in July!

Newton, MA.  Realtor,, best Newton, MA. Realtor

Mass. Pending sales increases hits 15 straight months in July

Today we released our July pending home sales numbers and for the 15th straight month, single-family and condominium pending sales have gone up.  On a month-to-month basis pending sales have ticked down from June . This is the 2nd straight month-to-month decrease.

Link to release: July 2012 Pending Home Sales

Here are the highlights:

  • Single-family pending home sales were up 33.58% compared to July 2011
  • Single-family month-to-month pending home sales were down 8.52% from June 2012
  • Condo pending home sales were up 29.87% compared to July 2011
  • Condo pending month-to-month home sales were down 11.78% from June 2012

Home Sales Reach Two-Year High as U.S. Rates Fall

Newton, MA.  Realtor  Newton, MA.  Homes fro Sale

Reported by BLOOMBERG TODAY JUNE,25, 2010

Demand for new U.S. homes rose more than forecast in May as mortgage rates dropped, bolstering the residential real-estate market while other parts of the world’s largest economy cool.

June 25 (Bloomberg) — Demand for new U.S. homes rose more than forecast in May as mortgage rates dropped, bolstering the residential real-estate market while other parts of the world’s largest economy cool. Erik Schatzker reports on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers.” (Source: Bloomberg)

The deck of a Toll Brothers Inc. model home stands in Randolph, New Jersey. Falling borrowing costs and more affordable properties may keep luring buyers, even as a cooling job market and limited access to credit restrain the recovery. Photographer: Emile Wamsteker/Bloomberg

Sponsored Links

Purchases climbed to a 369,000 annual rate, the most since April 2010 and up 7.6 percent from the prior month, the Commerce Department reported today in Washington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of 67 economists was 347,000. The number of houses on the market held near a record low.

Falling borrowing costs may keep luring buyers to builders like Toll Brothers Inc. (TOL), even as a cooling job market and limited access to credit restrain the recovery. The Federal Reserve last week extended a program to keep long-term interest rates low in a bid to reduce unemployment, sustain housing and prevent a global slowdown from stalling the expansion.

“It’s another sign of life in the housing sector,” said Brian Jones, a senior U.S. economist for Societe Generale SA in New York, who forecast a gain to 362,000. “It’s consistent with a gradual improvement in activity, but we’ve got miles to go before we get back to normal.”

Stocks dropped amid concern that a meeting of European leaders later this week will fail to help contain the region’s debt crisis. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 1.6 percent to 1,313.72 at the 4 p.m. close in New York. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.60 percent from 1.68 percent late on June 22.

BIS Report

Elsewhere, the Basel, Switzerland-based Bank for International Settlements said in its annual report published yesterday that central banks in developed nations are confronting the limits of their ability to aid economic recovery as government efforts to strengthen finances fall short.

Bloomberg survey estimates for U.S. new-home sales, which are counted when contracts are signed, ranged from 327,000 to 375,000. The April reading was unrevised at the previously estimated 343,000, while March and February were revised up.

The median sales price increased 5.6 percent from the same month last year, to $234,500, today’s report showed. Prices have climbed on a 12-month basis since February, the best performance in five years.

Purchases rose in two of four U.S. regions last month, led by a 37 percent jump in the Northeast, while the South climbed 13 percent. Demand dropped 11 percent in the Midwest and 3.5 percent in the West.

Lean Supply

The number of newly constructed houses on the market was at 145,000 compared with the record low of 144,000 reached in April and March. The record high of 572,000 was reached in July 2006. The supply of new houses on the market at the current sales pace dropped to 4.7 months, the lowest since October 2005, from 5 months in April.

In response to improving demand, builders broke ground on 516,000 single-family houses last month at an annual pace, up 3.2 percent from April and the most this year, the Commerce Department reported last week.

The Washington-based National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo sentiment index rose by 1 point this month to 29, the highest since May 2007, another report last week showed.

Horsham, Pennsylvania-based Toll Brothers, the largest U.S. luxury-home builder, on May 23 reported second-quarter profit that beat estimates as orders jumped.

Suppliers Benefit

United Technologies Corp. (UTX) and Lennox International Inc. (LII), makers of heating and air conditioning units, are among companies benefitting from developers’ positive outlook. Lennox, based in Richardson, Texas, had a 40 percent increase in sales to new-home builders in the first quarter. United Technologies, in Hartford, Connecticut, forecasts about 700,000 housing starts this year, Chief Financial Officer Gregory Hayes said.

“The expectation is we’re not going to see a huge recovery in the U.S. residential marketplace, but we should see a steady recovery,” Hayes said at a June 14 conference. “Residential is coming back, but it’s very, very slow.”

The stabilization in housing has boosted builder shares this year. The Standard & Poor’s Supercomposite Homebuilder Index has climbed 33 percent this year through June 22, compared with a 6.2 percent gain for the broader S&P 500.

Residential construction hasn’t contributed to economic growth over the course of an entire year since 2005, when it accounted for 0.4 percentage point of the 3.1 percent increase in gross domestic product. From 2006 through 2009, the homebuilding slump subtracted 0.8 percent point from growth on average. The declines diminished over the past two years.

Shrinking Share

Newly constructed houses made up 6.7 percent of the residential market last year, down from a high of 15 percent during the boom of the past decade.

Sales of existing homes declined in May as fewer distressed properties reached the market, the National Association of Realtors reported last week. The decline in transactions involving foreclosures and short sales, where a lender agrees to accept less than the balance of the mortgage, helped push the median price of a previously owned house up 7.9 percent from the same time last year, the biggest 12-month gain since February 2006.

Less competition from existing houses and even lower mortgage rates may keep spurring the market. The average rate on a 30-year fixed loan dropped to 3.66 percent last week, the lowest in data going back to 1972, according to Freddie Mac.

The central bank last week aimed to keep borrowing costs low. Policy makers announced they will expand the Operation Twist program to extend the maturities of assets on its balance sheet. They said they stood ready to take further action to put unemployed Americans back to work. Fed officials also lowered their outlook for growth and employment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lorraine Woellert in Washington at

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