Is the Boston Market Slowing Down?

Yes, it would seem so.   As a Realtor, I can tell you subjectively, that it feels as if it is.  Buyers are looking, but not buying or are lowballing homes that don’t sell right away (usually those that need work or are on busy roads).  One might think that is just the normal slow down as we approach winter.  So I ran the numbers to check. I chose two neighborhoods in Boston, a town north of, west of, and south of Boston.  I have run these numbers only for single family sales.  Otherwise, it becomes like comparing apples and oranges.   It can be tough to tell what is going on just by median price.  Any town can have a fluke in one month where a pricey home or two sold or a couple of particularly rundown homes sold.  So I have included numbers for Days on Market (DOM), # of Listings Sold and a snapshot number of houses on the market today vs a year ago.  You can see that overall, the number of listings sold is going down while days on market is going up.  These are indications of a slow down, seasonally adjusted.

At the end of the year, we will update our spreadsheet that shows the numbers for most Eastern MA towns for the year, and shows the trending over the past couple of decades.  That can be found here – 

Boston Area Home Values

Town Sept 2017 Sept 2018 Oct 2017 Oct 2018
Median Price $1,107,500 $1,002,500 $960,000 $1,220,000
Days on Market 41 45 25 61
# of Listings Sold 48 37 37 31
# on Market     118 127
Median Price $462,500 $473,200 $450,000 $528,888
Days on Market 22 25 32 18
# of Listings Sold 24 17 16 9
# on Market     14 34
Median Price $484,500 $465,000 $486,000 $522,500
Days on Market 38 42 39 27
# of Listings Sold 12 15 21 22
# on Market     44 51
Jamaica Plain        
Median Price 871,000 $897,500 $705,000 $1,067,500
Day on Market 23 89 70 21
# of Listings Sold 5 4 5 6
# on Market     8 7
West Roxbury        
Median Price $575,000 $677,000 $605,000 $600,000
Days on Market 51 33 42 29
# of Listings Sold 18 10 22 23
# on Market     20 30


So what does this mean for Boston area home owners? No need to panic, this is part of the normal cycle of real estate values. If you are not looking to sell, you’ll be fine over time – check our spreadsheet for proof of that!  If you want to sell next year it may mean that you will have to put money and work into presenting your home in the best possible light.  And you will have to be realistic about price.  Every town and every house are different, so if you want to know what you need to do to get your home sold either this winter or in the spring, just reach out to me so we can discuss.

What does it mean for Buyers?  You may not be fighting so many people in bidding wars moving forward.  There will still be bidding wars.  Because this is an area with affluent buyers who all want a move-in ready home with great spaces and details.  If they have to fight someone for that, they will.  It’s the homes that need work or are in less desirable locations where good deals will be found.  

Buyers do need to keep an eye on interest rates.  If they continue to rise, which I expect they will, that may further supress home prices.  But you’ll be making up those savings with what you pay in added interest.  

If you want the analysis for your particular town, just ask.  And if you need help buying or selling, I am here to help.

Michelle J. Lane
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Commonwealth
CELL: 617 584-3904

Fighting Homelessness – What can YOU do?

HomelessnessThis week, I have seen so many posts about how we should take care of all our own homeless before taking in any Syrian refugees. I can’t help but think that if we, as a nation, are so deeply concerned about our own homeless, why is the problem so pervasive?  Estimates are that on any given night 600,000 people in America experience homelessness.  It is not always a permanent condition.  There a So many people are living on the edge that they become homeless when they cannot pay the rent – until they find other accommodations with family or friends.  Others are victims of domestic violence that need to leave their homes and are temporarily homeless until they can get connected with services to help them find a new, safe home.  Approximately 85,000 of the homeless are experiencing chronic long-term homelessness.

So if we truly wanted to help these people, what would it take?  Let’s say that out of the 350 million people in this country, 200 million are deeply concerned.  If those 200 million were to give $10 / month to organizations that help people out of homelessness, that would be $40,000/year for every single person experiencing even temporary homelessness. I’d say that would address the problem.

But let’s assume that the people saying we should take care of the homeless believe the government, not private citizens, should be eradicating homelessness.  That would mean that the government would need to provide sufficient services for all the the Americans who do not earn a wage that can sustain a basic life.  Which is pretty much anyone earning minimum wage (or less) who does not live with their parents.  That’s about 3 million people.  Estimates are that 1 in 6 people live on incomes that put them at risk for homelessness.

There are many more who wind up homeless because they suffer from mental illness and cannot maintain a stable life, including veterans suffering from PTSD. This is approximately 18% of the homeless.

In addition, estimates are that 20-40% of homeless youth are LGTB, having run away from or gotten kicked out of their homes because of their orientation.

So it means we would need to support our Federal and Local Government in providing the following to all citizens who need it:

  1. Free or affordable health care. Many people wind up homeless after a serious medical issue that hits them with huge bills and loss of their job.
  2. Subsidized or low-cost housing in all communities.
  3. Rental Assistance Funds – for those who are at risk of becoming homeless as they get behind on rent after a job loss.
  4. Food – Food Banks, Food Stamps, Free Lunches for children.
  5. Disability subsidies for those who will suffer from short term or permanent disability that prevents them from working.
  6. Assistance for those who just need a hand to get back on their feet. Whether that is job retraining, unemployment compensation, subsidies until they can get a job, etc.
  7. Raise the minimum wage
  8. More funding for mental health facilities and services.

How many people who say we should eradicate homelessness would support all the programs necessary to eradicate homelessness, even if it means raising our taxes and having subsidized housing in every community?

For those who are thinking, yes, I want us to take care of our own, I just don’t know what I can do – here are some options.

  • Advocate – write to your government Representatives and ask for the changes you want to see.  Posting it on Facebook does not get it to anyone who will enact change.

On Monday, Nov. 2, President Obama signed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 into law, making $33 billion available for non-defense discretionary programs in fiscal year (FY) 2016. This funding has already been divided among the appropriations subcommittees, but the allocations have yet to be made public. Right now, committee staff are hard at work negotiating competing demands to produce a final bill to set spending levels for federal programs.

So why is your voice important? In light of the recent budget deal, this is the biggest opportunity for Congress to fight homelessness since the HEARTH Act passed six years ago. A $345 million increase for Homeless Assistance Grants represents only 1 percent of the $33 billion newly available in FY 2016. This 1 percent would provide enough funding to end chronic homelessness by the end of 2017.Congress has until Dec. 11 to finish the spending bill, but many decisions on the details will be made much earlier.

What can you do? Call your members of Congress ASAP by dialing the Congressional switchboard at 877-210-5351 and follow up in the weeks to come! You can also write a letter. We’ve made that easy for you with these letter templates. It’s crucial that homeless advocates unify on this message and beat the drum as loud and for as long as it takes for Congress to pass a final omnibus bill.What should you tell Congress? Here are three key messages:

Do not raid the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) to fund other programs.

Provide $18.05 billion to renew all Housing Choice Vouchers in use at the end of 2015 and $470 million to restore the remaining 60,000 vouchers lost due to sequestration.

Provide $2.480 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program, including $40 million for homeless youth initiatives.

This cause is dear to my heart so I do help my client re purpose their furniture and household goods when the time comes.  If you need help, just ask me!

There is so much each of us can do to end homelessness.  If each of us did even one thing to help, together we could end homelessness and still have room in our country and hearts for the  “tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the homeless and the tempest-tossed”



Open House West Roxbury Chestnut Hill 2-Bedroom Condo 1:30 – 3:00

36 Westgate

OPEN HOUSE TODAY – 1:30 – 3:00

36 Westgate Rd, Unit 2 – $216,000

LaGrange to Westgate.  Follow Open House signs to the front door.  Ring the buzzer if door is not open.

Great garden level unit that gets great sunlight through large windows.  Hardwood in main living area.  New carpeting in the bedrooms.  Comes with 2 parking spots.  Condo Fee of $344 includes heat, hot water, swimming pool, tennis courts, landscaping, snow removal.  Great complex. Great area to live!

Michelle J. Lane

Century 21 Commonwealth
CELL: 617 584-3904