Wednesday February 10th 2016

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Don’t Delay, Register to Vote Today! | The Wednesday Word

pollbooth_FBThe deadline to register to vote in the March 1st Presidential Primary is today at 5:00 PM. Massachusetts residents can  visit the Secretary of State’s website to register to vote or to update existing voter registrations.  It is also a good idea to check your party affiliation as thousands of voters may have inadvertently registered for the United Independent Party instead of registering as unenrolled. Below is a table explaining who can vote in the different primaries.

Commonly referred to as Super Tuesday, March 1st is the date of presidential primaries in 14 states across the nation. For the first time in two election cycles Mitt Romney will not be a factor on the Republican ticket, leaving Massachusetts up for grabs. On the Democratic side, voters will decide between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. This Boston Magazine article explains why the Massachusetts primary matters this year.

It is an exciting year for elections both at the state and national level, so be sure to register today.

Click here to register today!

As always, check the MAR Report and Government Affairs site for updates on all issues relative to real estate and private property rights.

(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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More Warm Weather Allows for a Strong Start to the Year in Pending Sales


Buyers benefited from a mild-weather month in January to push pending home sales up almost 40 percent from last year. Realtors® confidence in the market was positive again in January. This month’s “Hot Topic” question finds that the majority of listings Realtors® saw in the past six months did not have any “smart home” features, like a thermostat or security system controlled via internet-connected devices.

January Pending Sales:

Single-Family January 2016 January 2015 %Change
Sales 3,914 2,802 39.7%
Median Price $330,000 $329,700 0.1%
  • Pending sales have been up 34 of the last 35 months
Condominium January 2016 January 2015 %Change
Sales 1,480 1,103 34.2%
Median Price $309,438 $311,860 -0.8%
  • Pending sales have been up 34 of the last 35 months


Confidence Index January 2016 January 2015 %Change
Market 66.98 63.34 6%
Price 73.58 73.32 0%
  • The RMCI was up for the tenth straight month
  • The RPCI was up or flat for the fourth fifth month
  • 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 January 2016 Future Indicators Report release.

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Facebook is Coming for Periscope | Social Media Monday

what's being said in the media 2016

Still haven’t gotten around to downloading Periscope? That might be okay, since Facebook opened it’s live video streaming functionality to all iPhone users in the U.S.

Access live streaming by clicking status at the top of your homepage, and select the video option.

Previously, Facebook live streaming was only available to celebrities and verified accounts.

One major advantage of this feature is that it’s built right into Facebook. Unlike Periscope, where the videos only last for 24 hours, you have the option to save your video to your video stream where it will live forever. Good news for content managers at your real estate business.

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MAR Leadership and Government Affairs Staff Busy on Beacon Hill | Wednesday Word

[From left to right] MAR Govt Affairs VP Sarah Gustafson, President-Elect Paul Yorkis, Attorney General Maura Healey, MAR President Annie Blatz, CEO Rob Authier, Govt Affairs Director Mike McDonagh

The MAR Government Affairs Team and MAR Leadership has had a busy week on Beacon Hill, attending meetings and testifying at hearings.

The Legislative Session is fully underway now in 2016 with activity on bills and the release of the Governor’s budget. We highlight some of the activity below, but be sure to check the MAR Facebook, the Government Affairs page, and the Wednesday Word blogs to stay up to date on all of the activity.

The week began with a meeting between MAR leadership and Attorney General, Maura Healey. The group discussed a number of legislative and legal issues related to housing. The leadership team had a great opportunity to discuss issues that our members are facing as well as to offer support for some of the AG’s initiatives:

1. The Attorney General expressed support for MAR’s sponsored legislation that would bring mortgage cancellation debt relief to Massachusetts residents under their state income tax filings.

2. The discussion also included ways in which MAR can collaborate with the AG to help prevent real estate scams that have been occurring with more frequency. The AG encourages any Realtor®, buyer, or seller who has been targeted by such scams to file a complaint with the AG’s office.

On Tuesday, the Joint Committee on Housing held a hearing focusing on legislation relative to Chapter 40B, the Affordable Housing Law. The legislature originally enacted the Affordable Housing Law to address the restrictions that make it impossible or economically infeasible to build affordable housing in Massachusetts.

Despite the law, local barriers to affordable housing still exist in many communities. MAR testified in support of maintaining the existing law and opposed any changes that would weaken Chapter 40B. MAR General Counsel, Mike McDonagh also had the opportunity to address concerns and answer several questions from members of the committee.

Also on Tuesday, the Joint Committee on Ways & Means held its first hearing on Governor Charlie Baker’s fiscal year 2017 budget. The Governor’s budget totals $39.5 billion in spending and marks the beginning of the state budget process. The House and Senate will release their budgets later in the spring before reconciling them for the start of the fiscal year on July 1, 2016.

The second half of the 2015-2016 Legislative cycle has started off strong and MAR Government Affairs Staff and Leadership will continue to attend hearings, testify on bills, and pursue issues over the next several months. Stay tuned for more updates on our issues advocacy.

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

Worcester County experience a lot of activity in December, with three towns breaking into the top five in both the closed sales and median sales price increases categories. Three Cape Cod towns experienced the highest year-over-year increases in median sales price.

Closed Sales Percent Increase
Median Sales Price Growth Median Price Percent Increase
1. Avon, Mendon +900.0% 1. Athol $132,500 + 258.1%
2. Upton +400.0% 2. Weston $1,638,500 + 47.0%
3. Spencer +266.7% 3. Charlton $328,000 + 44.5%
4. Abington +185.7% 4. Chatham $738,500 + 40.7%
5. Beverly +138.9% 5. Blackstone $287,000 + 40.0%
6. Everett +133.3% 6. Longmeadow $365,000 + 38.8%
7. West Springfield +127.3% 7. Fitchburg $163,000 + 35.8%
8. Groton +114.3% 8. Ipswich $615,000 + 34.4%
9. Marblehead +109.1% 9. Yarmouth $325,000 + 32.7%
10. Northampton +100.0% 10. Holden $335,000 + 31.4%

*A minimum of ten homes must have been sold in each town during December 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: December 2015 Closed Sales Report

what's being said in the media 2016

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

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Strong month ends strong year for Mass. home sales
Worcester Telegram

Strong Month Ends Strong Year For Mass. Home Sales
90.9 WBUR

Strong month ends strong year for Massachusetts home sales
Boston Herald

Strong year for Mass. home sales, up 14 percent over 2014
Sentinel & Enterprise

Worcester County home sales rise in 2015
Worcester Telegram

December data proves Massachusetts home market is strongest in years

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