Wellesley, Newton, Needham, Weston, Brookline Condominium Sales Update 2nd Quarter 2011

This is the condominium update for Q2 in Massachusetts

Brookline Real Estate Update ~ July 18, 2011

Brookline Market update:

Number of properties currently on the market:
Houses: 65 Properties
Condo: 116 Properties
Multi Family: 6 Properties
Land: 2 Properties

Number of new listings in the last month:
Houses: 6 Properties
Condo: 23 Properties
Multi Family: 0 Properties
Land: 1 Property

Average list price over the last 6 months:
Houses: $2,396,667
Condo: $547,040
Multi Family: $998,750
Land: $599,500

Selling a house or condo? Here is what you can learn from the second home market!

Perhaps there is no more challenging market for selling a property, than a market that is primarily second homes. Of course, one of the biggest factors in selling a home depends on the other inventory available for buyers to consider.

While away for a weekend, I met a couple that has a house for sale in a part of Maine, made up of mostly second homes – I will refer to them as the Smiths. The house is now listed for the third time, and they are now using a second real estate company. Not surprisingly, there is serious glut of properties for sale, very similar to the Smith’s house.

After speaking with them, and finding them to be quite frustrated with the slow moving sales in the area, I asked whether they had revisited pricing their house. As often is the case with my own clients, pricing is a touchy subject. And they were all too eager to explain to me why their house is so much nicer than many of the others for sale.

For the sake of this article, lets assume that the Smith’s house was in the better half of the similarly priced inventory. This, in my opinion, gives them a great opportunity! With the large inventory that has been sitting for years in this particular market, if priced lower than comparable houses (even if just marginally), they could really stand out as sellers. With buyers having so many options to choose from (as is the case around the country, not just in the second home market), a seller can really take advantage of the stale, over priced inventory that is their “competition” as sellers.

Whether selling a property in Wellesley , Newton , Brookline – Maine or Vermont, pricing to attract buyers is EVERYTHING. Buyers see a sale happening, with no pressure to buy because if a house they are interested in happens to sell – they know there will be others… many others. However, if a seller is realistic, takes the buyer’s perspective and beats the competition with an attractive price, an educated buyer will not wait to pursue it.

Sellers like the Smiths are often too eager to simply blame the market for their house not selling for the price they “want”. A slow market, with buyers taking their time, can work to a seller’s advantage if they realize what an opportunity they have when pricing their property.

So, how is the real estate market????

I’m frequently asked, “How’s the market?”

Obviously there are several ways to answer the, “how’s the market?” question. This month I have done some research to provide a glimpse into the available single family inventory for sale in different towns. Simply put, this is the amount of supply (in months) for sale in each town.

Using the total sales during that last 6 months, compared to the number of single family listings currently for sale, I have shown the supply for each town. A town with 5 months of supply or less is considered to be a seller’s market. And a town with 6 months or more, is considered to be a buyers market.

Wellesley: 8 months supply
Weston: 20 months supply
Wayland: 15 months supply
Needham: 9 months supply
Westwood: 15 months supply
Natick: 6 months supply
Brookline: 11 months supply

What does this mean??? All of these towns have a
buyer’s market… HOWEVER… while this is a GREAT time to be a BUYER… It is also a great time to be a SELLER with an accurately priced property.

Search All MA Listings

Please call me with any related questions, or for more details about your town, property – or a town of interest. Or if you know someone who might be interested in getting some real estate advice.



Single-Family House Sales: Greater Boston

The closings that occur in January and February of each year generally reflect under agreements from the fourth quarter of the previous year. 2011 seems to have come out of the gate strong in terms of single-family home sales over $1 million, but the impact of the severe weather in January and February is not yet reflected in the data. Last month 45 single-family homes conveyed in Eastern Massachusetts (excluding the Cape and Islands and towns west of Worcester County) priced over $1 million and this was 3 fewer than the same month last year — a 6% decline. The market for million dollar homes is still in recovery, but we remains unclear if we will achieve the peak levels of a few years ago.

On a year-to-date basis for the year 2011, 16 more single-family homes have sold over $1 million than the same two months of 2010, for an increase of 14.2%. Last year, the market absorbed 113 million dollar homes between January and February; the comparable number in 2011 is 129 (and only 77 in 2009).

As sellers contemplate putting their luxury homes on the market this spring, they need to be aware of the imbalance between supply and demand (much more supply than demand) and the skittishness of potential buyers at the high end of the market.

The $2,000,000 to $2,999,999 price segment is also recovering, but it is a much more thinly-traded market than many sellers realize. Sales in this price band account for only 19 of 129 million dollar plus properties conveyed. This is under 15% of the entire million dollar market!

On a year-to-date basis, 6 more single-family homes have sold between $2,000,000 and $2,999,999 than the same two months of 2010, for an increase of almost 36%.

Single-Family House Sales: Statewide

While 46 towns are represented in the 142 closed sales over $1 million statewide for the first two months of 2011, the data are skewed towards the more popular communities. The top 5 towns (Newton, Wellesley, Boston, Brookline, and Barnstable) account for 42% of the closed million dollar sales. As was true last year — with the exception of Barnstable on the Cape — there is a heavy concentration of sales in this price range in the towns with the closest proximity to the City of Boston.

Some other statistics for this market segment:

— The average price for a single-family sold over $1 million so far in 2011 is $1,700,139

— The average house in this price range had 10 rooms and approximately 5 bedrooms

— On average, these houses sold at 91.68% of their original listing price — underscoring yet again the importance of accurate pricing in today’s market. Listings priced too far over market value are not selling.

For the state as a whole, million dollar single-family sales in the first two months of 2011 exceeded the same period of last year by 17.4%. Interestingly, the top 10 towns for million dollar sales were up 42% during the same period. With the exception of Cambridge and Cohasset, 8 of the top 10 towns were either flat or up.

Condominium Sales: Statewide

8 cities and towns are represented in the 51 condo sales for the first two months of 2011, but Boston alone accounts for 76.4% of the closed million dollar condo sales.

Some other statistics for this market segment:

— The average price for a condo sold over $1 million in calendar 2010 was $1,821,652. (Interestingly, this is higher than the average sales price for a single-family home in the same time period: $1,700,139.)

— The average condo in this price range had 6 rooms and approximately 3 bedrooms

— On average, these condos sold at 95.58% of their original listing price — underscoring yet again the importance of accurate pricing in today’s market. Condos priced over the market simply aren’t selling.

Comparative data for the first 2 months of 2011 versus 2010 are somewhat deceptive because of sales at 400 Stuart Street (The Clarendon), Boston. In the first 2 months of 2010, in the first wave of occupancy, 11 units closed at the building versus 2 in the same period of 2011.