Despite a decrease in home sales in Massachusetts, McGeough and Lamacchia are still finding solutions to help sell homes. Click on the link to check out Anthony Lamacchia’s interview with Peter Howe.
So is this a sign of things to come and what’s a homeowner really to do?
Business reporter Peter Howe joins us with a closer look. Peter, it’s hard not to be depressed by these latest comparisons.
No and I got to warn you Latoya I’m not going to make you a whole lot happier in the next two minutes. Of course you have to be a little careful comparing this market from a year ago because this time last year the first time home buyer tax credit was in full swing but back then it was widely hoped that the credit would be just a short term stimulus and by now the real estate market would have fully recovered but the reality is sales remain deeply depressed and really don’t show signs of improving this year.
Here in Watertown, Massachusetts, Anthony Lamacchia recently accomplished something that’s tougher for New England realtors these days:
“We sold this property in about a month,” says Lamacchia. The owners had bought the two family at the worst of the bubble back in 2005 for $645,000. Now facing foreclosure they agreed to a short sale at just $489,000.
“We put it on at the best price, that we thought was right,” Lamacchia said. “After about three or four weeks it didn’t sell, so we brought the price down.” By cutting the price by about $50,000 Lamacchia landed a buyer.
It’s a success to celebrate because new data from real estate experts the Warren Group show May 2011 home sales were down 25% in Massachusetts from last year, condos off 38%. Year to date, 19% fewer homes are selling.
“Unfortunately, I can’t give a positive prediction out through the rest of the year. I actually think we’re in shape right now to finish the rest of the year in terms of housing sales as probably one of the worst years we’ve had in the last decade.” said publisher Vincent Michael Valvo at The Warren Group.
Last spring of course sales were being juiced by the $8000 tax credit for first time buyers. In addition to the first time buyer tax credit another big factor chilling the market experts say are mortgages which are much harder to get these days. Banks used to throw money at borrowers five years ago—“ no doc liar loans”– have tightened up lending standards dramatically in the last year.
“You have to go through a lot more hoops to get the mortgage these days,” Valvo said, “so that has had a bit of an effect.”
What’s the lesson if you’re selling a home?
“Price it right. Don’t get caught up in trying to get the extra dollar or trying to outdo your neighbor,” Lamacchia said. “Price it right from the beginning. Try to sell it as soon as possible. Homes sell for the most money when they’re sold in the first month. “
Now after all that one small bright spot: sales prices in Massachusetts in May were up a little over 3% highest average prices that we’ve seen since August 2010, but Vincent Valvo and other experts think that May increase was just a one month fluke and for the long term as long as the number of homes selling stays so far downs prices are probably going to go with them.
It’s still very tough in Massachusetts in Brockton, Peabody, Lowell, some of the depressed older cities but there certainly are some upscale markets in communities with great schools like Brookline, Duxbury, Hingham, on the South Shore, those are doing really well in May compared to a year ago, both sales and prices up there is a reason you’ve heard the phrase a million times: location, location, location.