Tuesday March 31st 2015

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Mass. REALTORS® Named REALTOR® Magazine’s “30 Under 30″ Class of 2015

Congratulations to Jeffrey Borstell of J. Borstell Real Estate Inc. in Tewksbury, and Eric Rollo of William Raveis Real Estate in Boston. The two Massachusetts REALTORS® will be recognized by REALTOR® Magazine in their annual “30 Under 30″ contest, which honors young real estate professionals across the country.

The announcement comes after a week of public voting on a group of 50 candidates, four of which were from Massachusetts. The 30 winners, including Borstell and Rollo, will be profiled in the May/June issue of REALTOR® Magazine.

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Social Media Monday: You Can Now Subscribe to Pages’ Events

Starting today, you’ll never have to miss an event from your favorite Facebook pages.

Responding to complaints about Facebook’s new algorithm, which makes it difficult for business pages to reach large audiences without paying, the company will now allow users to subscribe to pages’ events. That way, users will receive a notification whenever that page has created a new event. Previously, you either had to remember to check for local events, or be invited by a friend.

Read more about the changes here on Mashable.

You can subscribe to MAR’s events on our Facebook event page. Simply click the “Subscribe” button to the right (see image below), and you’ll never miss out on great events like REALTOR® Day on Beacon Hill or the MAR Conference & Tradeshow.

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Massachusetts Monthly Housing Top Ten: February 2015

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Introducing a new, monthly list of top year-over-year increases in closed sales and median sales in towns statewide. Check out February’s numbers below:

 Closed Sales Percent Increase
Median Sales Price Growth Median Price Percent Increase
 1. Wayland +400% 1. Needham $1,300,000 + 61.5%
 2. Westport +267% 2. Seekonk $348,500 + 47.7%
 3. Weston +250% 3. Northampton $341,250 + 46.5%
 4. Bourne +233% 4. Newton $1,300,000 + 42.9%
 5. Peabody +133% 5. Agawam $224,000 + 40.1%
 6. Easthampton +120% 6. Attleboro $285,000 + 28.8%
 7. Melrose (tie) +100% 7. East Longmeadow $266,250 + 28.3%
 7. Randolph (tie) +100% 8. Revere $300,000 + 27.7%
 8. Belchertown 83% 9. Lowell $245,044 + 26.6%
 9. Reading +75% 10. New Bedford $187,500 +26.1%

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

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The Wednesday Word: Preparing for the RESPA/TILA Changes

As you know, changes to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act will go into effect on August 1st, 2015. Although this seems like a long time away, REALTORS® should be taking action now to familiarize themselves with the changes that will go into effect.

Some of the major changes that you should know about include the following:

  • Good Faith Estimates (GFEs) and Truth in Lending Disclosures will no longer exist. Those forms have been combined into what is called the “Loan Estimate” also known as the “LE”
    • This will primarily affect lenders, and will require the lenders to be held accountable to the exact charges listed in this form.
    • It also requires that the form be provided to the consumer within three days after receiving the following items: the consumers name; the consumer’s income; the consumer’s Social Security Number; the address of the property, the estimated value of the property; and the loan amount.
  • The HUD-1 Settlement Statement will no longer exist. This form is being replaced by the “Closing Disclosure” also known as the “CD”
    • This form will contain similar information to the LE, and will allow the consumer to compare the two documents
    • This form will have to be delivered to the consumer THREE full days prior to closing. If changes to the document are necessary within this three-day period, closings could be delayed.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has provided information on the upcoming changes, including the new forms.

The National Association of REALTORS® has a RESPA/TILA information page  and NAR’s Associate Policy Representative, Kenneth Trepeta, hosted a  March 19 Webinar on the topic, which we advise members to watch to learn more.

If you plan on attending the 2015 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo, there will also be two sessions on the RESPA/TILA changes:

The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® will be hosting a webinar in June on the topic, so please stay tuned for more information on that.

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

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Massachusetts Home Sales Down and Prices Up in February

The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® (MAR) reported today that single-family home sales in February were down less than one percent compared to the same time last year. A shortage of homes for sale pushed prices up again in February. Condominium sales were down while prices up less than one and a half percent.

February 2015 Closed Sales Release

Video Podcast with MAR President Corinne Fitzgerald

Highlights from the release:

  • February single-family home sales down -0.8% over last year. (2,112 sales in 2015 from 2,128 sales in February 2014)
  • February single-family median prices went UP year-over-year (to $317,000 in 2015 from $295,000 in February 2014)
  • February condo sales down -7.9% and median prices UP 1.4% ($289,000)
  • Inventory in February down -23.9% to 14,068 and condominiums available down -28.8% to 3,780
  • SF listings added to the market in February down -33.5% over last year. (3,0984 from 4,656 in 2014)
  • Condo listings added to the market down -28.6% over last year. (1,338 from 1,875 in 2014)

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The Wednesday Word: REALTORS® Attend Commonwealth Conversations Senate Listening Tour

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Government Affairs Chair Paul Yorkis speaking to the Senators at the Commonwealth Conversation in the South Coast region.

Newly appointed Senate President Stanley Rosenberg began his time as leader of the Senate with the Massachusetts Commonwealth Conversations. This Senate Listening Tour provided a forum for members of the public to meet their representatives in the Senate and voice their opinion about issues important to their region. The tour had eight installments covering all regions across the state from Western Mass to the Cape.

The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS(R) is happy to report that REALTORS® attended forums in all regions, voicing the issues important in the state. Attendees included 2015 MAR President Corinne Fitzgerald and MAR Government Affairs Chair Paul Yorkis, as well as Local Association Executives, Local Government Affairs Committee Chairs, and members from each Local Association. REALTOR® -constituents were able to speak to the forum on local and state issues, usually among an audience of over 200 people. Additionally, attendees provided the Senators with a one-pager of the State Issues on the horizon for 2015.

The tour wraps up today in the Southeast at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. REALTORS® will be in attendance for the tour’s final stop. We are grateful for the opportunity to have been in attendance for these forums, and thank Senate President Stanley Rosenberg for hosting them. Overall, Commonwealth Conversations served as a grassroots approach to voicing REALTOR® issues to State Senate members and showed how important mobilizing members from Local Associations across the state can be.

Visit the Commonwealth Conversations website to learn more about the listening tour or watch the regional forums.

Learn more about the talking points REALTORS® presented at the open forums.

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

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