Spring Market Blooming Despite Ongoing Inventory Shortage and High Prices

Front Porch Of Resedential Home With Autumn Decorations

The number of closed single-family home sales were up more than two percent over March 2016, with median price also seeing a hike. This is despite the month seeing the lowest number of homes for sale since MAR began recording the data in 2004. Condominium sales and price also rose over last year. 

Read more in the full March 2017 Closed Sales Release.

  • March single-family home sales went down 2.1% over last year (3,615 sales in 2017 from 3,540 sales in March 2016)
  • March single-family median prices went up 6.6% year-over-year (to $350,000 in 2017 from $328,375 in March 2016)
  • March condo sales went up 11.3% and median prices went up 8.2% (to $334,950)
  • Inventory in March went down -34.4% to 11,892 and condominiums available down -30.8% to 3,478
  • SF listings added to the market in March went down -13.5% over last year. (7,180 from 8,300 in 2016)
  • Condo listings added to the market went down -7.0% over last year. (2,785 from 2,995 in 2016)


Pending Sales Increases Continue from Busy Winter into the Spring Market

The spring market is off to a good start with pending sales up over six percent from this time last year. Pending sales have been up 48 of the last 49 months. Condominiums put under agreement also saw a hike over last year, with an increase of over 14 percent from 2016. The median price for both single-family homes and condos also saw a boost. Realtors® confidence both in the market and in home prices was positive in March.

March Pending Sales:

Single Family March2017 March2016 % Change
Sales 5,848 5,491 6.5%
Median Price $350,000 $328,375 6.6%
  • Pending sales have been up 48 of the last 49 months
Condominium March2017 March2016 % Change
Sales 2,414 2,107 14.6%
Median Price $335,000 $309,700 8.2%
  • Pending sales have been up or flat 18 of the last 19 months

Realtor® Market and Price Confidence Indexes:

Confidence Index March2017 March2016 %Change
Market 78.26 72.79 8%
Price 81.09 74.45 9%
  • The Realtor® Market Confidence Index has been up or flat for 24 straight months
  • The Realtor® Price Confidence Index is up over the 80 mark for the first time since 2015
  • Measured on a 100-point scale, a score of 50 is the midpoint between a “strong” (100 points) and a “weak” (0 points) market condition

Read the full March 2017 Future Indicators Report.

Keeping Busy Keeps You Successful

Social network - multicolored vector illustration

The real estate market is booming and you are going a mile a minute with customers and clients.  Then why am I seeing so many members at the abounding real estate events across the state?

We, as staff working for Realtors®, attend many local and statewide events to promote Realtor® value and benefits. Just in the past two weeks, we have participated in an event at a local Realtor® association, a company’s continuing education event and a business rally presented by the local chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. Earlier in the year we participated in a large company conference and another local association event and have scheduled to join at least three more local association events.

And we saw and will see so many of you there!  You are busy as can be but still want to attend the variety of real estate related events going on around you.  But I can answer the question why – because you see the value in networking and learning from experts and each other.

Building Relationships
Real estate is a profession of relationships, we all know the importance of relationships with your clients and customers, your community and your fellow Realtors®.  Without success in relationships there is little success in business.  So the best way to foster the relationships with each other, form your referral base and learn about the benefits of being a Realtor® is to attend Realtor® events.

Education is Key
Last week at the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professional’s Business Rally, a Q & A took place with a local top producer. When asked what advice she had for fellow agents regarding success, she replayed with a simple, confident answer: Education.

Luckily you have many  networking and education events to choose from and I encourage you to check with your local association and MAR for upcoming events.  Many local associations host one day conferences, networking events and more.  And when applicable, MAR attends local events as I’ve described above so that you can firsthand see the value and benefits the local, state and national Realtor® associations have to help you in your profession.  MAR also hosts an annual conference and our Young Professionals Network hosts at least one or two regional networking events a year.

The MAR events calendar has many event listings and so does your local association’s website.  I know many of you are finding the local and state events because we see you there, so keep looking and keep busy so you can keep growing your business.

2017 First Quarter Government Affairs Update

Massachusetts State House - Freedom Trail Site - Boston, Massachusetts, USA

MAR government affairs has been hard at work this year, introducing new legislation, pushing for housing development, and considering the impact of news laws on the real estate industry. Suffice it to say, 2017 will be an interesting one. Learn more below.

190TH General Court

January marked the start of the 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The start of a new session provides us with an opportunity to once again propose legislation that we have supported in the past, as well as introduce new issues. To start, we filed our H.O.M.E. Bill and its components in both the House and the Senate. The H.O.M.E. Bill is our effort to increase housing production through targeted zoning changes and improve specific items to help the economy. The bill’s 12 components have been filed as one omnibus bill and additional bills containing provisions related to each other. Additionally, we refiled our Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief legislation this year.

For the first time, we are introducing a new First Time Home Buyers Savings Account bill. This bill provides a tax advantaged way for future home buyers to begin saving for the purchase of their home. Specifically, it allows for future first time homebuyers to deduct contributions to a first-time home buyer savings account from their income for tax purposes. Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro) has introduced the bill in the Senate.

View MAR’s 2017-2018 Legislative Priorities.

Sales Tax on Services

On April 5th, at a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce event, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg commented that the state should begin to discuss the possibility of imposing a new tax on services. Rosenberg noted that the economy has shifted from goods to services and that the state’s tax structure needs to adjust for such a shift. Realtors® worked to defeat a similar tax proposal in 2009.  If a formal proposal of this tax is put forth, Realtors will once again be prepared to oppose it.

Commonwealth Conversations

The Massachusetts Senate is currently holding nine listening sessions as part of the 2017 “Commonwealth Conversations.” Senators from around the Commonwealth are conducting a series of regional public forums to hear the concerns and priorities of the people of the Commonwealth, from western Massachusetts to Cape Cod. The “Commonwealth Conversations” are based on a simple premise–engage the people in the process and the process will ignite. Over the course of the past month, Senators have have heard from Realtors® attending these forums, and have the opportunity to carry our important messages back to Beacon Hill. The main topics included the First-Time Homebuyers Savings Account, the H.O.M.E Bill, Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief, and access to high-speed broadband.

Building Code

On March 7th, MAR government affairs staff attended the Board of Building Regulations & Standards’ (BBRS) first public hearing on the 9th edition of the Massachusetts building code. MAR submitted testimony opposing a proposal that would add a requirement to the code that all new homes be built ready to accommodate an electric vehicle charger station. This would include all necessary conduits as well as blocking off circuits in the home’s electric panel. The provision is being offered as an additional amendment to the code and was not included in the version originally put forth for public comment. The decision of whether to include the necessary equipment to install an electric vehicle charging station should be left to the builder and homeowner and should not be required by the code.

Marijuana

The Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy held its first public hearing on March 20th. The committee is tasked with recommending any necessary changes to the recently enacted marijuana law. MAR government affairs staff attended the hearing with a specific interest in landlord/tenant issues and general private property rights concerns. The law currently allows for adults to cultivate up to six marijuana plants. However, landlords are permitted to prohibit the smoking and cultivation of marijuana in their units.

Agency Disclosure

The Board of Registration for Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons released an updated version of the Agency Disclosure Form. The form attempts to provide information to buyers and sellers more clearly and more succinctly than the previous form. However, nothing in the agency law itself has changed. The form is currently active in all of the MAR electronic forms platforms.

Title 5 Workgroup

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has invited MAR to participate in a series of stakeholder meetings to consider various aspects of Title 5 and Groundwater Discharge regulations. The purpose of the meetings is to have outside experts and interested parties that represent a variety of interests provide advice to MassDEP on what modifications should be considered. Some of the topics include: appropriate design flows for various property types, use of innovative and alternative technologies, approaches to managing peak flows, coordination between state and local requirements and requirements for nitrogen sensitive areas. MAR is happy to have President Paul Yorkis participating on our behalf.

Realtor® Political Action Committee

As an Association, we are on track to reach our NAR goal with a grand fundraising total of over $215,000 invested in RPAC. This is a $100,000 increase from this time last year. This early progress is indicative of the increased awareness of the importance of investing in RPAC among members. As for participation, NAR has set our participation goal at 36%. Currently, we are at 31% total membership participation with a total of 6,667 RPAC investors.

10 Ways Realtors® Are Like Life Coaches

You have life goals and you see yourself achieving those goals, but you don’t quite know how to get there. Sometimes all it takes is a gentle push by your real estate life coach (Coach Realtor® to you) to make it happen. The home buying life game starts now!

1. Your four-hour daily commute is soul-sucking

2. You’re running out of room in your current crib

3. The roommates are cramping your style and making you feel like a third wheel

4. You know you need to make a change

5. Coach Realtor® will help you set a goal

6. Stay focused on what’s possible

7. Explain the process so you can understand it

8. Build your confidence

9. Help you take the leap

10. Hand you the keys to a new life

Achieving home buying Zen is possible if you find the right coach. Focus on your breathing and go to www.marealtor.com/findARealtor

What’s in a Designation?

GRI 102 was full of fresh faces this March 2017.

There is a plethora of designations that Realtors® can earn throughout their career. The Graduate Realtor® Institute (GRI), Accredited Buyer’s Representative® (ABR), Seniors Real Estate Specialist® , and NAR’s Green Designation (GREEN) just to name a few. These programs can seem overwhelming—and let’s be honest, time-consuming—when your time is valuable.

But, if you look over the course outlines, you may see the value is well worth the time. For example, MAR launched the 2017 GRI courses in January and we had both new and seasoned agents signing up for the first course, eager to know the rest of the schedule because this designation covers so many different aspects of the real estate business. GRI covers essentials like risk management, negotiation, financing the sale, technology and much more.

Then, there are the designations than hone in on specific topics and specialties. The ABR designation is one of them. This program is designed for real estate buyer agents who work directly with buyer-clients at every stage of the home-buying process. The SRES helps Realtors® meet the special needs of maturing adults when selling, buying, relocating, or refinancing residential or investment properties. Lastly, NAR’s Green Designation is designed for agents looking to learn about energy efficiency and sustainability in real estate.

However, there are even more to choose from! Check out the full list of designations at the NAR website.

One of the best things that come with designation courses, besides the continuing education credits, are the great networking opportunities. You get to meet top-notch instructors and fellow agents.

So, in the future before passing on taking a designation class, take a minute to look over the material and keep these perks in mind. You may be missing out on your own personal growth and at the end of the day, isn’t it all about the education?