Sunday November 29th 2015

Stalk Us!

These 10 MA towns experienced the highest increases in sales and price in October

Did your town make it?

Closed Sales Percent Increase
Median Sales Price Growth Median Price Percent Increase
1. Raynham +333.3% 1. Chatham $1,237,250 + 78.6%
2. Foxborough +166.7% 2. Norwell $710,000 + 71.8%
3. Rutland, Dalton +160.0% 3. Grafton $430,000 + 54.7%
4. Pepperill, Wayland, Marion +150.0% 4. Dalton $205,900 + 52.6%
5. Winchester +137.5% 5. Orleans $758,000 + 50.8%
6. Middleborough, Orleans +116.7% 6. Bedford $932,500 + 43.6%
7. Newburyport +109.1% 7. Kingston $381,500 + 42.0%
8. Becket, Everett +100.0% 8. Amesbury $415,000 + 38.6%
9. Upton, Templeton +83.3% 9. Swansea $330,000 + 38.1%
10. Fitchburg +81.8% 10. North Reading $605,000 + 32.7%

*A minimum of ten homes must have been sold in each town during October 2015 to make this list.

All data used in the rankings is compiled from the Berkshire County Multiple Listing Service, Cape Cod & Islands Association of REALTORS®, Inc. and MLS Property Information Network, Inc.

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What’s Being Said in the Media: October 2015 Closed Sales

These articles and posts resulted in the release of our October 2015 Closed Sales Release. We’ll continue to update this post as more articles come in.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Mass. home sales surge for fifth straight month
Boston Globe

Massachusetts single-family home sales up in October
Lowell Sun

Worcester County single-family home sales on rise
Worcester Telegram

Mass. single-family home sales up in October
Milford Daily News

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


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October Home Sales Up as Massachusetts Buyer Activity Remains Strong

Nov Closed Sales_blogtitleHome buyers stayed active this fall as closed home sales went up in October close to eight percent compared to October 2014. This is the fifth straight month of year-over-year increases in single-family home sales. Prices for both single-family homes and condominiums closed up, while condominium closed sales dipped in October for the first time in four months.

Learn more in the full October 2015 Closed Sales Release.

Highlights from the release:

    • October single-family home sales up 7.8% over last year. (4,777 sales in 2015 from 4,431 sales in October 2014)
    • October single-family median prices went up 3.1% year-over-year (to $335,000 in 2015 from $325,000 in October 2014)
    • October condo sales went down -2.3% and median prices went up 5.3% (to $316,000)
    • Inventory in October went down -16.7% to 21,259 and condominiums available down -17.1% to 5,200
    • SF listings added to the market in September went up 6.5% over last year. (6,489 from 6,091 in 2014)
    • Condo listings added to the market went up 1.2% over last year. (2,272 from 2,245 in 2014)



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Social ads are now as effective at traditional media, study finds | Social Media Monday

According to a recent study conducted by IZEA revealed that of the companies surveyed, 52% said they had budget set aside for social advertising. Perhaps even more interestingly, all of these placed social media advertising among their top three most effective marketing strategies.

Consumers also weighed in, rating sponsored social messages to be at least as effective–if not more so–as TV commercials.

Read the rest of the study and tell us how you’re incorporating social advertising into your real estate business.

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The Wednesday Word – 2015-2016 Legislative Session Update

leg update

Today marks the last day of formal sessions in 2015 for the Massachusetts General Court. As we prepare for the session to reconvene in 2016 here are some updates on the issues the MAR Government Affairs team has been working on. 

Land Use and Zoning

The Issue:

Due to the short supply of housing in Massachusetts, potential homeowners continue to face increasing housing costs. One of the many issues driving the reduced housing stock is the presence of barriers to production resulting from current zoning laws. The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® in conjunction with the Greater Boston Real Estate Board has filed legislation addressing these barriers. Several of the provisions include easing the production of cluster development housing; allowing in-law apartments by right; allowing multifamily housing construction by right; simplifying the dimensional variance burden and; approving special permits by a majority vote.

The Update:

On October 19th MAR Government Affairs Staff and REALTOR® members testified before the Joint Committee on Small Business and Community Development on S119 An Act improving housing opportunities and the Massachusetts economy (The H.O.M.E. Bill). Our membership provided examples of how zoning laws impact the development of real estate in Massachusetts.

Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief

The Issue:

The general tax rule that applies to debt forgiven treats the amount forgiven, sometimes referred to as phantom income, as taxable income to the borrower. Proposed legislation would allow homeowners to complete loan modifications, short sales and foreclosures for which they have debt forgiven without making them liable to pay state taxes on that debt. This would mirror the federal law, the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007, to allow taxpayers to apply for this exclusion on their state tax return.

The Update:

This fall, the Joint Committee on Revenue gave the bill a favorable report and it advanced to the House Committee on Ways & Means. MAR testified before the committee on the importance of this tax provision and is continuing to work with the committee on the details of the proposal.

Scrap Metal Theft

The Issue:

The problem of copper pipe and wiring theft is widespread in cities and towns across the Commonwealth. Homes in every corner of the state have become targets for metal thieves who strip the metal from the home and sell it to scrap metal dealers. Homes that have been robbed of plumbing and wiring are a community problem, hurting home values in neighborhoods in which thefts occur. Further, the stripping of metal piping and other fixtures from the structure likely makes the home ineligible for conventional mortgage financing. MAR supports the regulation of the secondary metals dealing to dissuade thieves from stealing plumbing and wiring from homes.

The Update:

On October 14th the House of Representatives unanimously passed An Act regulating secondary metals dealings.  MAR Staff was joined by REALTOR® members to testify before the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure and requested that the committee advance the bill quickly. Shortly thereafter the committee reported the legislation favorably. The bill now awaits action by the Senate.

Energy Efficiency

The Issue:

MAR continues to work with interested parties on increasing energy efficiency in Massachusetts and therefore reducing utility costs to homeowners. Some proposals, however, attempt to reach this goal without concern for property rights or impacts on the Massachusetts housing economy. One bill would require sellers or their agents to perform a Mass Save energy audit prior to listing a home for sale and disclose to any prospective buyer the information in the energy audit at the time of the listing. Additionally, the bill commissions the design and implementation of an energy scoring and labeling system. Over and above having an enormous impact on an individual’s right to freely transfer land, such requirements would negatively affect the real estate industry in the Commonwealth. Massachusetts is home to some of the oldest housing stocks in the country and mandatory energy scoring of such older homes would significantly stigmatize and potentially devalue an individual’s largest investment.

The Update:

MAR testified in opposition to the bill in June. MAR has met with the Chairs of the Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee and continues to work with them on this issue. The bill remains in committee at this time.

Be sure to check The MAR Report and the MAR Government Affairs page for more information on the issues.

(Please note: This blog post was prepared by MAR Legal Staff: Michael McDonagh, General Counsel; Ashley Stolba, Associate Counsel; Justin Davidson, Legislative & Regulatory Counsel; and Christine Howe, Public Policy and Finance Coordinator)


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3 Reasons REALTORS® Should Try Live-Streaming Apps like Periscope

1. The audience is there

Periscope, the leading live-video brand, now boasts 10 millions registered users as of last August and is  marketers’ top choice given its parents company, Twitter. Its rival, Meerkat, has 2 million users.

2. Leading brands are getting creative with it

Brands like Netflix and General Electric are hopping on the live-streaming train to great success, with differing budgets. Netflix live-streamed a guinea pig recently to an audience of thousands, while GE used drone technology to capture a view of a jet engine production facility.

While these big brands are demonstrating what can be achieved with Periscope, perhaps the best feature of live-streaming apps is that small businesses can create similar content–instantly and with little to no cost.

3. Functionality and cool new features

Periscope just launched its biggest update yet, which includes shortcuts for For iPhone 6s and 6s+ owners that utilize the phones’ new 3d touch functionalities. Additionally, users can now view replays of live-streams from the last 24 hours, and skip ahead in video replays.

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