September 2008

There are 16 blog entries for September 2008.

Decent article in the Journal about whether people should buy or continue to sit on the sidelines. What it basically says is that if you have access to capital for a down payment and a secure job, now may be a good oppurtunity to buy. This is what I am also seeing in the Boston real estate market. If you can put down 20%, have good to excellent credit, and have a full time job, you will have many options for financing. If you only have 5-10% put down, it is possible to get financing, it's just more difficult.

Q: Given what's happening in the financial markets, is now a good time to buy a home?

A: For some people, yes. If you…

  • have access to credit
  • have fat cash reserves
  • aren't already over-exposed to real estate
  • have a secure job or
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The markets sharp decline was due to the House of Representative's rejection of the $700 Billion bailout plan. For the bill to pass, it needed 218 votes. It came up 13 votes short of that target. The final tally was 228 for and 205 against. Two-thirds of Democrats and one-third of Republicans voted for the measure. That's some unimpressive support for Republican President George Bush.

The price of crude oil fell 9.84%, or $10.52 a barrel to $96.37. This was the second largest drop in dollar terms.

The U.S. dollar rallied against other major currencies as market turmoil in Europe threatened the euro. It closed at 1 EUR = $1.4449.

In other related economic news, The Terrier Group did not sell any properties today! This may be the end of the World

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The Boston Globe has a brief snapshot of Downtown Crossing in today's paper. The neighborhood still has a ways to go before it becomes a vibrant location for young professionals and students. I was in the area the other day and there are still many closed and vacant stores. The luxury condos at 45 Province are scheduled to be completed in late 2009 and will be a nice addition. However, the completion of the old Filene's building renovation is several years out.

I was never a big fan of the Ritz-Carlton Residences or the location, but resales have been strong. Downtown Crossing is still a bit sketchy, but with the money the city and developers are investing there, it should have a lot of potential over the next several years.

Nine hundred condo units

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Some more positive news yesterday for drivers who utilize the Mass Pike. Turnpike officials are considering hiking the Allston-Brighton and Route 128 tolls from $1.25 to $2.25! Even worse, they are floating the idea of raising the tunnel tolls from $3.50 to $8.50! I don't know about you, but that's seems like an awful big increase to me! I agree with what this guy says below, but unfortunately I don't think the Turnpike Authority oversees 93, nor is it the cause of their budget deficit.

Bill Phillips of Milford, another one of the drivers steering their cars into the rest stop on this gloomy, rainy morning, said the people using Interstate 93 should be asked to shoulder some of the burden.

"The people going north and south -- those people aren't

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This is not a huge surprise. In May 2008, state legislators began requiring lenders to give homeowners 90 days to cure mortgage defaults. This essentially delayed the process, and by no means will solve the problem. My assumption is the majority of these homeowners who were given the additional 90 days will continue down the same path, which is foreclosure. I think it will just be 3 additional months of lenders not receiving mortgage payments.

I don't know how to cure this mess, but I don't think bailing all the dummies out makes sense. People need to take responsibility for their actions. What do you think?

After consistently climbing by double- and triple-digit percentages, the number of foreclosure deeds filed in Massachusetts dipped 2 percent in

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Hot NeighborWTF? If you want to find a hot neighbor, maybe try Craigslist, but you are definitely not going to do it by reading this blog. The actual story discusses how to find the next hot neighborhood.

If you want to do that, follow the artists! This is not a huge revelation. It's been happening throughout the country and in Boston. It is most recognized in the South End which over the past 10 years has seen a dramatic transformation. This transition includes trendy new boutiques, art galleries, coffee and pastry shops, and hip restaurants. Unfortunately this trend displaces many artists in the vibrant neighborhoods they essentially helped create.

The article states that the next area to flourish in Boston is Jamaica Plain. Below is the clip written about

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The Manhattan real estate market has been extremely resilient the past 1-2 years, but with all the Wall Street turmoil, the coming year could be a difficult one. Why is this going to happen? Read below.....

First up: Job losses on Wall Street. In 2006, the most recent full year of New York State Department of Labor data, finance and insurance companies employed 15.7% of Manhattan's workers. They earned an average of $269,000, more than 2.5 times the average private-sector wage. Property prices will suffer from slashed bonuses and submarine stock options, not to mention the pink slips.

Link to Wall Street Journal

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The median price of single-family homes in Massachusetts tumbled 9 percent in August, sinking to the lowest price for the month of August in six years, according to a new report from The Warren Group, parent company of Banker & Tradesman.

The median price for single-family homes sold in August was $323,000, down from $355,000 in August 2007. It was the lowest price for August since 2002, when the median selling price was $297,500.

Significant declines in home prices on Cape Cod and the islands and in Central Massachusetts helped drag down the statewide median price last month. The median home price in Barnstable County plunged 18.8 percent to $325,000 in August from $400,000 last year. In Worcester County, the median home price was down 15 percent to

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So I decided to do a little research and see what's available in Back Bay, and what you get for the money. According to MLS, there are 200 condos currently on the market in Back Bay. The least expensive condo is a 342 square foot unit at 464 Comm. Ave. priced at $209,000. The most expensive condo is a 5000 square foot resale unit at the Mandarin Oriental for $12.5 Million.

What does this mean to you? It means if you are looking for a place in Back Bay you better be willing to pay! Lets say you want a 1 bedroom with 600+ square feet........the least expensive unit is $399,000! I've been out with a few different clients and we've had a very difficult time finding a decent 2 bedroom for $600,000!

I can't comment on the national housing market, but it

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Fed Interest RatesOn Tuesday, the Federal Reserve left the key rate unchanged at 2%. Just a year ago, the Fed Funds rate stood at 5.25%, but with the economy weakening, the Fed cut rates. With all the negative news the past two days, the bond market was pricing in a 1/4 point reduction, and thus interest rates for mortgages came down this morning. The Fed did not cut, so those rates kicked up a bit in the afternoon.

Rates for a 30 year mortgage are still below 6% for A plus borrowers. If you have been considering a refinance over the past several months, and have sufficient equity in your home, now may be the time to refi. If you need a bank contact or mortgage broker, feel free to shoot me an email and I can give you some information.

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