Tag Archives: Housing Affordability

Better with Age

The atmosphere we might think of when we talk about wine cellars is underground, dark and damp. That’s because long ago the only way to keep wine cool enough was to store it underground away from heat or sunlight. Today wine storage has changed greatly.  Why spend money creating this beautiful space just to hide it in the basement.

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Are the Days of Bargain Buys Over?

Housing affordability dipped slightly during the second quarter according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI), released today.  Additionally, this past week, Freddie Mac released their U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for the month of August, 2012 which revealed that their Price Index increased 4.8% from March to June, 2012 which was the largest quarterly increase in eight years.

So is this the end of the bargains for buyers?

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August 16, 2012

Our Director of E-Commerce Talks About the Spring Market

So here it is mid-March and the real estate industry is supposed to be “starting” its Spring market.  Well I think the spring market started on January 1!  For those of you who are reading this and don’t know me or what my position is at William Raveis, I am in charge of running the call center.  I can tell you that our call center has been extremely Continue reading

March 15, 2012

The Case for Buying New Construction Now

Given the choice, most homebuyers would opt for new construction over existing housing.  New construction allows homebuyers to customize many features of their new home to suit their personal preferences, taste and lifestyle, such as flooring, kitchen cabinetry and counter finishes, energy-efficient appliances, decorative trim and moldings and much more.

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September 29, 2011

Realtors Are Essential…Here's Why

When serious about buying or selling a home, it is in your best interest to seek out a real estate agent.  An agent will be familiar with such particulars as the neighborhood, the safety of the area and the quality of schools.  As members of the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), agents can access homes as soon as they’re on the market, saving you from endless hours of searching.  And, not to be forgotten, agents are well versed in the often tricky price negotiations process.

Raveis agents are fluent in all of the above and more.  And, Continue reading

August 30, 2011

Mortgage Memo

Ever feel like you are drinking from a firehose when reading the news?  There’s no doubt that there’s a lot of information coming at today’s media consumer, particularly when it comes to the economy and the real estate industry.  For the past couple of years, we’ve heard about bubbles bursting, historic low interest rates, foreclosures, and the opportunities that they present to us.

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May 24, 2011

Chris Raveis does an analysis of housing affordability for the 2010 market


January 19, 2010

As New Home Sales See Renewed Activity,Buyer “Wish Lists” Shrink in Size, But Not Quality

Emerging from the economic slowdown that began in 2007, the new home construction sales market in the Northeast has turned a corner. Although signs of stabilization vary widely by region, and even by town, there are clear signals that the rate of decline has largely leveled out and is paralleling the turnaround in existing home sales. 

In Connecticut, for example, 2009 building permits should settle in the 3,000 range by year’s end. While still far short of the more than 11,000 permits issued in 2005 or the 7,746 permits issued in 2007, the slowdown may have reached its end.    

High Levels of Affordability Drive Home Sales

The good news for buyers is that housing affordability is currently at one of the highest levels that we’ve seen in nearly 20 years, driven by attractive mortgage rates and adjusted home values.  New levels of affordability are motivating buyers to re-enter the housing market so they can take advantage of unusually low pricing levels throughout much of the Northeast.  

Sales data in some areas confirms that buyers are indeed becoming more active. The number of existing home sales in Massachusetts that were pending (or put under agreement), for example, was up 27% in October 2009 for the fifth month in a row, compared to October 2008. And both single family home sales and condominium sales were up 17% in October from a year ago, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors reported. Massachusetts realtors attribute the spike in sales, which has been more apparent at the lower price ranges, to the $8,000 federal tax credit available to first-time homebuyers. 

A similar trend is apparent in neighboring Connecticut, where sales of single-family homes and condominiums rose by 11.5% and 10%, respectively, in October.  

The $8,000 federal tax credit has been extended through June 2010 and the income limits for eligible homebuyers has been raised, enabling a greater number of buyers to quality for the credit. We believe that the extension of the first time homebuyers’ tax credit will continue to help drive buying activity, as will the new $6,500 tax credit for step-up buyers who wish to trade up.  (“Step-up” buyers are those who have owned and occupied a residence for at least five of the past eight years.) 

New Construction Pricing is Determined Differently

Unlike sales of existing homes, however, pricing in the new construction marketplace is not only determined by supply and demand, but also by the cost of land, materials and labor.  

While some economists remain pessimistic, predicting that a full market recovery could take another three to five years, others sense that the worst is behind the industry and that a recovery is indeed underway.  In either case, certain markets show greater resilience and tend to recover more quickly, simply because they are great places to live; many offer perennial value and will always be perceived as desirable due to waterfront locations, proximity to a major university or commutability to a leading jobs center. 

Buyer Priorities Have Shifted Dramatically

Still, today’s buyers are exhibiting strikingly different buying behaviors than their predecessors did just a few years ago.  Today’s consumers are opting for smaller square footage with the same quality features of larger homes  and are shrewdly assessing the huge cost savings that come from heating and cooling a smaller home, not to mention reduced maintenance and furnishings expenses as well as lower property taxes. 

In the past, one often universal mindset among buyers was “Bigger is usually better.” Today’s buyers, in contrast,  have developed a new sensibility, one characterized by a pragmatic, frugal assessment of the “cost to operate” over the long term as well as a newfound appreciation for the financial benefits and enhanced quality of life that energy-efficient homes offer.

December 23, 2009