Monday May 30th 2016

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

Top-ten_blog_purpleThree towns in Plymouth County experienced high median price increases over last year.

Closed Sales Percent Increase
Median Sales Price Growth Median Price Percent Increase
1. Dalton +550.0% 1. Norwell $788,500 + 73.3%
2. Dover +500.0% 2. Kingston $490,000 + 54.0%
3. Hull +333.3% 3. Franklin $499,500 + 50.2%
4. Swansea +271.4% 4. Wrentham $525,000 + 50.0%
5. Melrose +242.9% 5. Duxbury $591,250 + 49.7%
6. Ware +233.3% 6. Uxbridge $360,000 + 48.5%
7. Uxbridge +225.0% 7. Falmouth $480,000 + 44.6%
8. Dennis +216.7% 8. Holden $339,500 + 37.7%
9. Franklin +180.0% 9. Wayland $884,000 + 37.3%
10. Maynard +166.7% 10. Dalton $175,000 + 36.7%

*A minimum of ten homes must have been sold in each town during April 2016 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: April 2016 Closed Sales Report

what's being said in the media 2016

These articles and posts resulted in the release of our April 2016 Closed Sales Release. We’ll continue to update this post as more articles come in.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Mass. home sales soar; median prices also rise
Worcester Telegram

Prices, Sales, Up in April As Inventory Continues To Fall
Banker & Tradesman

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Home sales surge in Massachusetts
Boston Globe

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REALTOR® Day on Beacon Hill Briefing: Tax Issues | The Wednesday Word

12802814_10154557034337506_7894024781621756710_nThe 21st Annual REALTOR Day on Beacon Hill is just four weeks away. To help you prepare to attend REALTOR® Day on Beacon Hill at the Massachusetts State House on Tuesday, June 21, the Wednesday Word blog posts will discuss the 2015-2016 Legislative Issues.

This is the first post in the series and reviews our positions on the following tax issues: local imposition of room occupancy taxes; opposition to real estate transfer taxes; and support of Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief and Debt Cancellation.

Oppose Local Imposition of Room Occupancy Tax

H.2618/H.2621/ H.2700 (Brewster)/H.3299 (Provincetown) 

Status: Reported favorably by the Joint Committee on Revenue as H2645. Now before House Ways & Means

Why MAR Opposes H.2645: REALTORS® oppose bills imposing a room occupancy tax on short term vacation rentals. These proposals promote the creation of a new tax on all homeowners who choose to rent their homes for a short term, typically under 90 days.  In addition to established businesses like hotels, motels and bed and breakfast establishments, these proposals would allow a city or town  to levy a room occupancy tax on any apartment, single or multiple family housing, cottage, condominium or timeshare unit. Private homeowners would then be responsible for the collection, handling, and remittance of these taxes to the Department of Revenue.

Oppose Real Estate Transfer Taxes

H.3300 An Act authorizing the town of Provincetown to impose a 0.5% real estate transfer fee

Status: Referred to the Joint Committee on Revenue and accompanied study order.

Why MAR Opposes H.3300: REALTORS® strongly oppose real estate transfer taxes, which would authorize the creation of a new transfer tax on the sale of property in a municipality. The imposition of this type of new sales tax on homes could have serious implications for the Massachusetts economy and set the wrong precedent for the Commonwealth’s tax policies. If allowed, Massachusetts communities facing budgetary deficiencies may seek transfer tax authority to solve local revenue problems. However, creating an “entrance or exit fee” to homeownership is the wrong way to solve this problem. Transfer taxes would increase the bottom-line price of many homes by thousands of dollars. These bills single out home buyers and sellers and subjecting them to this new tax only further exemplifies the inequitable nature of this taxing scheme.

Support Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief And Debt Cancellation

H.3770 An Act relative to discharge of indebtedness of principal residence from gross income

Sponsor: Senator Mark Montigny

Status: Reported favorably by the Joint Committee on Revenue to House Ways & Means (Previously S.1521)

Why MAR Supports H.3770: The general tax rule that applies to debt forgiven is that the amount forgiven, sometimes referred to as phantom income, is treated as taxable income to the borrower. This bill 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 the that debt. This bill 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 as well.

Please be sure to visit the MAR Government Affairs page and Day on the Hill Facebook event for additional information.

2016 MAR President Annie Blatz invites you to REALTOR® Day on Beacon Hill, where REALTORS® will have a chance to network and learn about the key legislative issues that will affect the real estate industry and private property in 2016. Attend the REALTOR® Day on the Hill and make an impact on the legislative process.

REALTOR® Day on Beacon Hill is scheduled for:
Tuesday, June 21st, 2016
10:00 to 11:00AM
Massachusetts State House, Great Hall

We look forward to seeing you there!

(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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Does Snapchat make sense for a real estate business?

Modern TownhousesIn recent years, Snapchat has become the primary answer to the eternal question, “What are the kids up to these days?” Indeed, on its website, Snapchat boasts the fact that more than 60% of smartphone users ages 13 to 34 use the app.

Those are impressive numbers, but it’s important to take a closer look at the demographics. Of Snapchat users, 37% are 18-24 year olds,  26% are 25-34 and 23% are 13-17. This means that 60% of users are under 25 and likely not in the homebuying market quite yet, although that is changing rapidly. When considering whether to make Snapchat part of your social repertoire, you must take into account these young millennials and Gen Z kids that will inevitably dominate the market. Millennials have already comprised the largest section of home buyers across the U.S. for the past three years.

Here are some other things to consider:

  1. There are some Snapchat features that naturally lend themselves to real estate marketing. Big, bold images, geotagging and fun videos are easy additions to any marketing plan. Take a few snap at an open house, for example.
  2. Snapchat requires live footage, and any snaps will disappear within 24 hours. Meetings and long days at the office are not necessarily great fodder for a compelling “snap story.” Consider what you think the public would actually be interested in seeing you do on a daily basis.
  3. Finally, there are not many advertising avenues available to the small business on Snapchat just yet. Big brands can pay for their own channels in the exclusive “Discover” section of the app. Small businesses are on their own to attract followers, so be prepared to do some marketing to get people’s attention and get your account off the ground.
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Early Spring Buying Season Pushed April Home Sales to a New High for the Month

Front Porch Of Resedential Home With Autumn Decorations

Heavy ongoing buyer activity earlier in the year once again pushed closed home sales to a new high for the month. Median prices had their biggest year-over-year increases in the past 26 months. Condominium sales also closed higher with median prices up close to eight percent from 2015.

Read more in the full April 2016 Closed Sales Release.

Highlights from the release:

      • April single-family home sales went up 26% over last year. (4,002 sales in 2016 from 3,177 sales in April 2015)
      • April single-family median prices went up 7.7% year-over-year (to $350,000 in 2016 from $325,000 in April 2015)
      • April condo sales went up 12.2% and median prices went up 7.9% (to $329,000)
      • Inventory in April went down -21.5% to 16,382 and condominiums available down -22.4% to 4,336
      • SF listings added to the market in April went down -14.3% over last year. (8,526 from 9,949 in 2015)
      • Condo listings added to the market went down -15.7% over last year. (2,950 from 3,500 in 2015)

SF_apr16 C_apr16

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The REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo is Underway | The Wednesday Word

Massachusetts REALTORS(R) and Government Affairs Staff meet with Congressman Joe Kennedy (D-MA) in D.C.

Massachusetts REALTORS® and Government Affairs Staff meet with Congressman Joe Kennedy (D-MA) in D.C.

The annual REALTORS® Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo is fully underway this week. REALTORS® from across the country are meeting in D.C. to attend sessions and visit their members of Congress to advocate for federal issues affecting the real estate industry and private property rights.

Over 150 REALTORS® from Massachusetts are on Capitol Hill this week. Constituent REALTORS® as well as MAR Leadership, MAR Government Affairs Staff, and REALTOR® Federal Political Coordinators (FPC) will meet with members of the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation and U.S. Senate.  This year’s federal talking points include:

  • G Fees: Prohibit guarantee fees (G-fees) from being extended for unrelated government spending.
  • HR. 3700: Open access to condominiums and make other needed housing reforms by supporting the “Housing Opportunities through Modernization Act” (HR 3700).
  • Flood Insurance: Provide private flood insurance options.
  • Housing Tax Incentives: Preserve the Mortgage Interest Deduction and Like-Kind Exchanges.

REALTOR® FPCs will meet with their Member of Congress or Senator to present these talking points as well as district data and other federal issues. Click here to read more on the issues in your Congressional District.

The annual meetings bring REALTORS® to the forefront on Capitol Hill showing the effectiveness of the REALTOR® Party and grassroots advocacy. To see the full Hill visit schedule, visit the MAR website. Click here to see a full schedule of events in D.C. and be sure to visit the Realtor Action Center site for National legislative info and updates.

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

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