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MAR End of Year Market Overview

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors (MAR) has published the latest housing market report for the towns and cities in our state. The report covers all our office towns (including Concord, Acton and Lexington) as well 54 other towns and cities where we have represented buyers and sellers. This report includes the summary of the data from 2021 and compares that to the previous year, giving a good indicator how the year shaped up for home buyers and sellers. You can look at days on market to see how fast homes were moving, check how many homes sold compared to the previous year to understand the demand, and see how the list prices compared to sale prices to comprehend how aggressive the market was in some towns. It's a fascinating read and gives a great overview  - but for a full market analysis, you should talk to an experienced realtor. They'll be able to give you a more detailed evaluation of your home, taking into account specific property and neighborhood details and including information about recent comparable sales, to give you the true picture.

 

So if this has made you think about taking advantage of the fast-paced market, get in touch today! In the meantime, click here to find out what your home is worth. You can also find out why you shouldn't wait until spring to list your home.

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    Housing Market Update - 2021 Year End Report

    Now the dust has settled on the 2021, it’s time to look back and analyze what happened in the housing market last year. Across the past 12 months we have heard about the shortage of homes for sale and the high demand from buyers leading to bidding wars and inflated prices. But towards the end of the year there were also reports of a cooling of the over-heated market, as the end of pandemic related aid and talk of interest rate rises led to some buyers taking themselves out of the market. The pandemic (unfortunately) is still with us, and so, it seems, is the strong housing market. Across the board we can see house prices were up compared to 2020 - and remember how strongly the market recovered in the second half of that year. Acton saw average house prices up by 20%, and in Concord they were up by 27%. Time was still of the essence when making offers – days to offer and days on market were down on the previous year. Homes were on the market for less than 30 days in Bedford, Acton and Westford. It won’t come as a surprise to see that in towns such as Lexington and Winchester fewer homes were sold than in 2020 - and yet all our towns reported an increase in market volume – the effect of those increased sale prices. Overall, 2021 was a very good year to be selling your home, and a tough year if you were a buyer.

     

    We don’t anticipate that to change much in the first few weeks of 2022 either. Inventory is still very low – in fact during the first week of January there were no single-family homes on the market in Acton. Buyers are still out in force and that supply / demand imbalance makes it a very good time to list your home. If you are thinking of making a move this year, read our blog on why winter can be a good time to list your home to make sure you know the advantages of not waiting until spring. Then talk to one of our experienced agents about how to make the most of the current market.  

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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      December Housing Market Update

      Inventory UpdateWhatever you might have heard about the winter months meaning a slow housing market, December 2021 actually saw many increases on the previous year. Prices continue to climb and were up by over 30% on 2020 in Concord and Carlisle. Even with list prices above 2020 levels, sales prices also increased - for example, homes in Lexington sold for an average of 7% over the original price. Despite the limited inventory, Winchester actually saw a 10% increase in the number of homes sold compared to December last year. Even during the busy holiday season, homes didn’t stay on the market for long – days on market were down by more than a third in Acton, Lincoln and Westford. Overall, market volume increased in all but two of our towns, a reflection no doubt of the increased prices rather than a greater inventory.

      Which brings us to the elephant in the room – the lack of homes for sale. Although you would not typically see a large number of new listings hit the market at the start of January, the situation this year is extreme. As of January 4th, Bedford had only 2 single family homes for sale, Lincoln and Winchester had just one, and Acton had zero single family listings. As a seller, there could not be a better indication that now is a good time to list, as the forces of supply and demand will ensure you can get the maximum value for your home. There are other reasons why now is a good time to list your home. Predicted interest rate rises later this spring could dampen buyers ability to keep offering these higher prices. As the weather improves, and hopefully the pandemic impact lessens, more people will decide to list their homes, increasing options for buyers. By listing your home now you can take advantage of the low inventory, sustained demand and better rates on borrowing. Get in touch to find out what your home is worth in today's market.

      If that all sounds good, but you’re worried about where you are going to move to, our exclusive programs such as Buy Before You Sell can help you secure the sale of your own home while you continue to look for your next property. Speak to one of our experienced agents to find out more about how this program can get you moving this winter.

       

      Acton Market Update Bedford Market Update

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Carlisle Market Update Concord Market Update

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Lexington Market Update Lincoln Market Update

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      Westford Market Update Winchester Market Update

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        5 Tips for Buying in the Winter Season

        Colonial Style Home in the WinterHave plans to buy a home in the Greater Boston area? Well, most people will tell you that the time of year is important when looking to purchase a home. Getting a house during spring is inherently easier because there are many houses up for sale in the market. However, buying a home during winter is a different case.

        Say you missed out on buying your dream home in the spring and are still looking for one in winter; all hope is not lost. The winter season might prove to be a promising time under the right circumstances. However there are some specific things to be on the look out for. The tips below will ensure you're well prepared to buy the perfect home during the cold season.

        1. Don't Start Too Low

        The prevailing thought for most buyers is that sellers want to get rid of their houses quickly during winter. In fact, not all of them are desperate. Many serious sellers aren't swayed by seasons and will likely hold onto their property until the right bid comes. They are more likely to take offense if your starting price is too low, and some might not even make you a counteroffer.

        Therefore, it is wise to remember that offering a reasonable starting price for the house is the best way to go.

        2. Envision the House in Spring

        Snow will have covered the driveway, walkways, and pavements in the winter. That's why it's a wise idea to envision the house in the spring. After all, it won't be winter forever. When you do that, you ensure you get a home that will still look beautiful even with the sun on top.

        It's also important to ensure the seller shows you the lawn, whether covered in snow or not. Another way to do this is to look up the house online, check the Google Maps pictures, or ask the owner for photos taken during spring. That will give you a clear picture of how the home looks in the warmer months.

        3. Don't Ignore Specific Faulty Features

        Look for features that might be damaged or blown out. Winter home buying is full of unwanted surprises. Taking the time to inspect the air conditioning, the pools, plumbing, or other features will protect you against any future issues.

        With the added difficulty of noticing these features, it's sometimes wise to have some money in savings before purchasing the house, in case you miss some faults because of the weather.

        4. Do Your Homework

        No one wants to be out in the cold while everyone is nestled inside their houses sipping some warm coffee. That's why you need to go out of your way and do some homework beforehand. What this means is researching the neighborhood online before going out to check it. Maybe you might learn one or two things about your prospective area, for instance, the community there, or even the outdoor amenities it has to offer. That will help you minimize going out in the cold.

        5. Get a Knowledgeable Real Estate Agent

        Whether you want a house on the beachfront or a unique luxury suburban home, there is only one place to begin, and that's with a professional real estate agent. A property expert understands the market and is best placed to help you get the ideal home for you within the shortest time.

        Final Thoughts

        There's a lot to consider when purchasing a home during winter, but you can still get the perfect home during this time of the year with help from a knowledgeable agent. Contact Barrett Sotheby's International Realty today to learn more about how we can help you find your dream home this winter.

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          Our Favorite Holiday Movies!

          Movie and PopcornWhat better way to get into the spirit of the season than to get comfy on the couch with some popcorn and a hot cocoa and indulge in your favorite holiday movie?? We asked our agents to share their festive favorites to enjoy this season - read on to see if you agree with the choices!

           

          A Christmas Story – A classic movie from the 80’s! Set in the 1940’s, young Ralphie tries to persuade his parents and Santa that the perfect Christmas gift is a BB gun.

           

          It’s A Wonderful Life – Often featured at the top of holiday movie lists, this Frank Capra movie sees an angel visiting a despairing businessman (James Stewart) to show him what life would have been like if he had never been born.  

           

          Elf – Will Ferrell stars as Buddy, the human raised as an elf who travels to New York City to find his biological father.

           

          Love Actually – Richard Curtis directs this ensemble piece following 8 different couples (including Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Laura Linney and Liam Neeson) in the frantic run-up to Christmas in London.

           

          Home Alone – Follow the adventures of unlucky 8 year old Kevin McAllister (Macauley Culkin) who is accidentally left behind when his family go on a Christmas vacation, and has to defend his home against two hapless burglers (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern).

           

          A Christmas Carol – opinion was divided amongst our realtors on which is the best version of this classic Dickens tale about miser Ebenezer Scrooge learning the error of his ways on Christmas Eve. The original 1938 version gets as much love as the more recent update with Jim Carrey in the lead role – and special mention must go to the The Muppet Christmas Carol with Michael Caine.

           

          White Christmas – this 1954 classic, starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney, sees the successful performers and producers team up with a sister act to save their former general’s failing Vermont inn.

           

          National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – Chevy Chase stars as Clark W. Griswold, attempting to create the perfect family Christmas with hilarious results.

           

          Miracle On 34th Street – the Oscar-winning 1947 version got the vote among our agents. It’s the story of Kris Kringle, a department store Santa who claims to be the real thing, and a little girl who helps him prove it.

           

          Die Hard – a controversial but nevertheless popular choice, the first movie in the franchise sees NYPD officer John McClane (Bruce Willis) saving his wife and other hostages from a group of terrorists, lead by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), who have hijacked her Christmas party to perform an elaborate heist.

           

          Wishing you all a very Happy Holidays from everyone at Barrett Sotheby's International Realty!

           

          (Thanks to IMDb.com for the movie info).

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            Don't Wait ‘Til Spring – Why Winter Can Be a Good Time to Sell Your Home

            Home in the WinterWith so many distractions at this time of year, it’s easy to see why many people shy away from putting their home on the market. Holiday plans, travel, house guests and endless searching for gifts all eat into the time you need to spend to prep your home for sale. The assumption is that buyers also have the same distractions, so often we see sellers actually withdraw their homes from the market for the holidays. Yet by dismissing the winter sales period you could be missing an opportunity to secure an early 2022 move. Here’s 3 reasons why the winter months can be a good time to list your home.

            1. Less Competition. 

            With spring comes a renewed interest in the housing market, and it is generally the time we see the most homes listed. But by bringing your home onto the market at a quieter time there will be fewer options for buyers to choose from, allowing your home to stand out from the crowd.

            2. Serious Buyers

            The people who are house-hunting in the depths of winter are the people who are focused on their goal. They know exactly what they are looking for, likely have their financing in place, and have a deadline for when they need to move. This can save you time versus dealing with those people who are “just looking at what’s out there” and endless back-and-forth negotiations with someone just after a deal.

            3. Holiday Cheer

            What home doesn’t look inviting all decorated for the holidays? Enhance your home’s appeal and don’t shy away from festive décor – a pretty wreath, decorative lighting and a roaring fire can all help the buyer to picture celebrating future holidays in your home.

             

            So, if a new home is on your New Year’s list, don’t wait until the spring to do something about it. Talk to one of our experienced agents today – they can tell you what your home is worth in today's market and put together a plan to help you realize its full potential. Contact us today!

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              Holiday Lights Tour 2021

              There’s something very special about the drive around your neighborhood at this time of year, seeing the beautiful lights and decorations our towns and cities put up to brighten the dark winter.  However, some homeowners have taken it to the next level, with elaborate light displays to rival Clark Griswold - sparking lights cover every surface and enormous inflatables fill the front lawn. There are even homes whose owners have gone all out, setting their displays to music for the ultimate festive experience!  We’ve asked our realtors for a list of homes in their neighborhood that are worthy of a visit.  For a fun, pandemic-friendly activity grab the hot chocolate, load the family into the car and take a drive around these locations to marvel at the effort some people make for the Holidays. 

              Map of Holiday Lights in the Greater Boston Area

              Belmont - Pleasant Street (Rt 60) from Arlington line to town center

              Billerica - Pratt Street (tune to 90.7FM for music!)

              Boston – Christopher Columbus Park

              Concord – Bayberry Road; 312 Virginia Road; Bedford Street / Nancy Road; Elm Street

              Lexington – Hancock Street

              Lincoln – 20 Trapelo Road

              Medford - South Border Road; 41 Mystic Street (light show every 30 mins from 5pm – 7:30pm – tune to 98.9FM to hear the music!)

              Saugus – 16 & 22 Lynn Fells Parkway; 401-405 Lynn Fells Parkway (near Target) and the side streets around here (Zito, Milano, Gilway)

              Somerville – Check out the Somerville Illuminations Tour, a self-guided tour using the map put together by the Arts Council.

              Stoneham -  83 Franklin Street (tune your car radio to 89.3FM!)

              Stow – Robert Road (tune to 90.1FM)

              Wakefield - Woodcrest Drive (tune your radio to the station advertised for the full effect!)

              Winchester - Hill Street; corner of Wildwood Street and Palmer Street.

              Woburn - Elijah Street; Shields Street; 219 Cambridge Road

              Did we miss your favorite? Message us and we'll update the list!

               

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                November Housing Market Update

                Sales Price as a Percentage of List PriceWith one holiday behind us and another fast approaching, there's just enough time to take a break from the festivities and look back at how the local housing market performed in November. Generally speaking, it’s still all positive news for our sellers. List prices have increased again year over year, by significant amounts in Concord and Lincoln, and sale prices have followed suit. Even though sellers are being more ambitious with asking prices, the market is supporting these increases – sale prices remain well over 100% of the list price and have even increased on last year. Days to offer continue to fall below last year’s levels – down by more than 75% in Bedford and Carlisle. Limited inventory is still impacting the number of listings sold - Acton, Lexington and Winchester all saw significant drops in the number of single family homes sold this November.  So once again, if you are looking to list your home in any one of our in-demand locations, you are in a great position to benefit from the boom in prices and secure a quick sale.

                If you want to take advantage of the current market but are struggling to find your next home, what can you do? There are a number of ways to list your current home without risk of leaving yourself homeless. The “Buy Before You Sell” program allows you to do just that – release the equity from your home so you can go forward with your home search and make offers that are not contingent on sale – all while still living in your current home. Speak to a Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty agent to find out more about this exclusive program. Your agent can also talk to you about incorporating a “Use and Occupancy" clause into offers, which enables you to remain in your home for a short period of time while you complete the purchase of your next home. Talk to one of our experienced agents today about these and other strategies to make your next move in this dynamic market.

                 

                Acton Market Update Bedford Market Update

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                Carlisle Market Update Concord Market Update

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                Lexington Market Update Lincoln Market Update

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                Westford Market Update Winchester Market Update

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                  Give Thanks and Give Back

                  Thank YouThis time of year is a good opportunity to pause, take a breath, and reflect on what we are thankful for. In our day-to-day work we are often reminded how fortunate we are to live and work in such a supportive community. We are grateful to each and every one of our clients for choosing to work with us, and to all the other local businesses, vendors and service providers who help us to help people buy and sell homes. As a local business owner, we strive to be a part of the social fabric of the towns we serve, live in and love.  Over the years we have supported our local communities by contributing time and financial support to many local organizations, schools and non-profits. It is a privilege to support these causes and deepen our relationship with the community.

                  During this holiday season we will be helping some local organizations with their holiday collections. We encourage you to contribute if you can - every donation will make a difference to someone over the holidays.

                   

                  Acton - collecting new, unwrapped gifts for kids for Toys for Tots. Drop off available at our office at 525 Mass Ave until December 10th.

                   

                  Bedford -  join our Bedford office realtors at 51 Great Road on December 4th for the Xmas Tree lighting celebrations, and bring a donation to the Bedford Community Table Food Pantry to have your photo taken with Santa!

                   

                  Concord - collecting new, unwrapped gifts for kids for Toys for Tots. Drop off available at our office at 33 Walden St until December 10th.

                   

                  Westford - bring donations of new and gently used coats for kids (and adults) to our Westford Valley Marketplace office by January 8th to support Coats for Kids. Also collecting new, unwrapped gifts for kids for Toys for Tots - drop off available at our office in Westford Valley Marketplace until December 10th.

                   

                  Winchester - collecting new socks and underwear for the En Ka Pantry benefiting Winchester residents. Drop off at our Mt Vernon St office anytime through December 31st.


                  We are beyond grateful for your support in our efforts to help the wider community this holiday season.

                   

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                    Tips for Buying a Home During the Holiday Season

                    Home Decorated for the HolidaysAlthough the holiday season is not considered a prime-time home buying period, it can actually be a great time to purchase a home. There’s usually less competition in the market, and with sellers also keen to wrap things up before the holiday season, chances are you will find a good deal on a home.

                    So, if you’re planning to buy a home during the holiday season, here are some tips that will help make the process run smoother.

                    Find Motivated Sellers

                    Whatever the time of year, there is always a reason for people to move, but you'll often find more motivated sellers during the holiday season. Most people wish to wrap up selling their homes before the holiday celebrations commence, so you’re more likely to find sellers who will consider offers. Few sellers want to continue paying taxes for a house they don’t wish to keep or couldn’t sell in the spring or summer.

                    Prepare for a Faster Closing

                    The holiday season comes at the tail end of the year, so there’s usually an urgency to finalize the home-buying deal as quickly as possible. For that reason, it’s prudent to be prepared for a faster than usual closing. Ensure you have pre-approval for any mortgage you will need, and ready access to funds for closing. Be prepared to respond quickly to any requests from attorneys, lenders and brokers. If you demonstrate to your sellers that you are able to move quickly your offer may be considered preferably.

                    Use a Well-Connected Realtor

                    Real estate agents talk to each other about potential listings coming soon to the market. If you want to get early access to as many great properties as possible, you need a well-connected realtor. A well-connected agent knows about houses that will be coming available in the near future, as well as off-market listings that are not publicly advertised. If you’re looking to buy a home in the Greater Boston area, Barrett Sotheby’s International Realty is the right place to find a well-connected realtor.

                    There are always a few hurdles to buying a home during the holiday season, but don’t let that deter you from purchasing your dream home. Contact one of our experienced agents today with any questions about the buying or selling process.

                     

                     

                     

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