Archives for February 2011

MSN Ranks Jamaica Plain in Top 10 Revitalized Neighborhoods

Jamaica Plain, Boston

A 1960s proposal to build a highway through the “southwest corridor” of Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood accelerated white flight to the suburbs. The road was never built, but during the project’s planning stages, hundreds of businesses and families were uprooted, shaking the community.

Many of the former factory workers’ homes turned over to Cuban, Dominican and Puerto Rican immigrants, giving the neighborhood an eclectic mix. But abandoned factories left the neighborhood in a state of neglect.

The turnaround started in the late 1980s, when cheap rent attracted students, artists and a vibrant lesbian and gay community. In the past decade, conversion of commercial spaces into condos added to the neighborhood’s appeal for new residents. Now Jamaica Plain, a 4.5-square-mile community, has become one of the hottest neighborhoods in Boston, leaving some local boosters wondering if they can afford to stay.

And if this piqued your interest in JP, I have a beautiful condo coming on the market soon, just ask for details!

MICHELLE J. LANE, Realtor
Century 21 Commonwealth
CELL: 617 584-3904
michelle@michellelanerealtor.com
www.MichelleLaneRealtor.com

Home Sales Report for January 2011

According to the National Association of Realtors, the uptrend in existing-home sales continues, with January sales rising for the third consecutive month with a pace that is now above year-ago levels.

Existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased 2.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.36 million in January from a downwardly revised 5.22 million in December, and are 5.3 percent above the 5.09 million level in January 2010. This is the first time in seven months that sales activity was higher than a year earlier.

“The uptrend in home sales is consistent with improvements in the economy and jobs, which are helping boost consumer confidence, The extremely favorable housing affordability conditions are a big factor, but buyers have been constrained by unnecessarily tight credit. As a result, there are abnormally high levels of all-cash purchases, along with rising investor activity.”

A parallel NAR practitioner survey shows first-time buyers purchased 29 percent of homes in January, down from 33 percent in December and 40 percent in January 2010 when an extended tax credit was in place.

Investors accounted for 23 percent of purchases in January, up from 20 percent in December and 17 percent in January 2010; the balance of sales were to repeat buyers. All-cash sales rose to 32 percent in January from 29 percent in December and 26 percent in January 2010.

“Increases in all-cash transactions, the investor market share and distressed home sales all go hand-in-hand. With tight credit standards, it’s not surprising to see so much activity where cash is king and investors are taking advantage of conditions to purchase undervalued homes,” Yun said.

All-cash purchases are at the highest level since NAR started measuring these purchases monthly in October 2008, when they accounted for 15 percent of the market. The average of all-cash deals was 20 percent in 2009, rising to 28 percent last year.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $158,800 in January, down 3.7 percent from January 2010. Distressed homes edged up to a 37 percent market share in January from 36 percent in December; it was 38 percent in January 2010.

NAR President Ron Phipps said the median price is being dampened by unusual market factors. “Unprecedented levels of all-cash purchases, primarily of distressed homes sold at deep discounts, undoubtedly pulls the median price downward,” Phipps said. “Given the levels of inventory we see today, we believe that traditional homes in good condition have held their value.”

Total housing inventory at the end of January fell 5.1 percent to 3.38 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 7.6-month supply at the current sales pace, down from an 8.2-month supply in December. The inventory supply is at the lowest level since December 2009 when there was a 7.3-month supply.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage rose to 4.76 percent in January from 4.71 percent in December; the rate was 5.03 percent in January 2010.

Single-family home sales rose 2.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.69 million in January from 4.58 million in December, and are 4.9 percent higher than the 4.47 million level in January 2010. The median existing single-family home price was $159,400 in January, down 2.7 percent from a year ago.

Existing condominium and co-op sales increased 4.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 670,000 in January from 640,000 in December, and are 7.9 percent above the 621,000-unit pace one year ago. The median existing condo price5 was $154,900 in January, which is 10.2 percent below January 2010.

Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 4.6 percent to an annual pace of 830,000 in January from a spike in December and are 1.2 percent below January 2010. The median price in the Northeast was $236,500, which is 4.0 percent below a year ago.

MICHELLE J. LANE, Realtor
Century 21 Commonwealth
CELL: 617 584-3904
michelle@michellelanerealtor.com
www.MichelleLaneRealtor.com

Newton Workshop on Saving Original Wooden Windows


Saturday, March 12, 1-4 pm
SAVING YOUR ORIGINAL WOODEN WINDOWS
Do your old windows need some help? Come to this hands-on workshop and learn about restoring your old wooden windows instead of replacing them. Historic window expert Ryan Pirro will lead the workshop and answer questions about window repair using a full-sized model of a weight and pulley window showing several weather stripping and repair methods. Co-sponsored by Green Decade/Newton. $30 per person ($15 for Green Decade or Historic Newton members). To register, contact Green Decade at 617.965.1995 or visit www.greendecade.org.
I am planning on going…hope to see you there!

MICHELLE J. LANE, Realtor
Century 21 Commonwealth
CELL: 617 584-3904
michelle@michellelanerealtor.com
www.MichelleLaneRealtor.com

Newton FAR Rules Changing

For those of you living in Newton, the town is proposing changes to the FAR (Floor Area Ratio) regulations. It could restrict Newton residents from adding to their homes. While the idea of preventing McMansions is applaudable, Newton is a town of small lots and the average homeowner could be restricted from making minor additions to their homes. Basically the FAR ratios could increase, they will now include finished basements and attics. February 22nd is the day that the vote will happen. Write to your Alderman if you want your voice heard.

MICHELLE J. LANE, Realtor
Century 21 Commonwealth
CELL: 617 584-3904
michelle@michellelanerealtor.com
www.MichelleLaneRealtor.com

Upcoming Listing – 2 bed, 1.5 bath condo in Jamaica Plain

Lovely 2-level condo in JP - with 2-car garage!

Coming up in early March. Spacious two-level condo offers all the charm of a period home, yet is beautifully updated and maintained for modern living. This 1536sf 2-bed, 1.5 bath home offers a walk-in master closet, a formal dining room, eat-in kitchen with tile floor and radiant heat, living room with beautiful fireplace, sun-filled den/office, and laundry room. Hardwood floors throughout, 2-car garage and a gorgeous private patio! Fantastic location – beautiful dead-end street, right up the street from the T.

MICHELLE J. LANE, Realtor
Century 21 Commonwealth
CELL: 617 584-3904
michelle@michellelanerealtor.com
www.MichelleLaneRealtor.com

Welcome to Michelle’s Real Estate Blog!

I will be posting all news related to the real estate market in general and the Greater Boston market in particular.   Your questions and input are always welcome!