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Mike Hunter / Real Estate Market Predictions, Useful Stuff / 2014 Real Estate, 2014 Real Estate Predictions, Buyer's Market 2014", Market Changes, Market Reports, Metrowest Boston Real Estate Predictions, Mortgage, Seller's Market 2014?, Should I Sell Now, Sudbury Massachusetts, what buyers can expect next year, what sellers can expect next year, What will happen in real estate in 2014? /
Every December I take a stab at prognosticating (is that even a word?) and come up with my list of predictions for the Metrowest real estate market in 2014. Last year I was right ten for ten.
1. There’s no telling where the general housing market will go but I feel fundamentals are in a very good place in the towns west of Boston.
2. 2014 looks to be one of the first “normal” markets in Metrowest since 2007. Job stability in most sectors is looking good. Prices have stopped falling… in most towns they’ve actually risen slightly. Because of that inventory levels will be increasing in just about every price point. New construction starts are up and condominium projects are steadily coming on-line in a slow, predictable fashion. This balancing of supply and demand will be good for both sellers and buyers.
3. I predict that unit sales in most towns will increase by 15% over last year.
4. We will see more and more buyers do the ‘relative’ value trade – forgo buying in Boston (which is back at the heights of 2007) and buying out in the inner suburbs.
5. Only the really perfect condition properties will command great prices and people will continue to choose the convenience of living closer to Boston and charm of living in smaller homes with much less land over the temptation of living further out in a Trophy Home on big acres.
6. The Federal Reserve’s “tapering” of its securities purchases will happen and mortgage rates will increase slightly unless Wall Street tanks.
7. The drop in refinancing activity will cause nervous lenders to get more competitive for new purchase mortgages. Look for faster closing times and finally a loosening of the credit guidelines/scores (maybe even back to the 720/Fannie/Freddie and 650/FHA that ruled the previous decade). Lenders will have to comply with the new qualified mortgage (QM) rules but they won’t let that get in the way of profits.
8. Home Ownership affordability rates will drop, causing demand pressure on rental inventories. Because of this a supply correction in the multi-family rental property sector will occur. Evidence is already on the horizon. A growth industry will be flip-to-rent in 2014.
9. There’s a lot of talk about comprehensive tax reform (eliminating interest and property tax deductions in exchange for lower rates) and replacement of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac .. won’t happen in 2014, probably not even in 2015.
10. I plan on having another amazing year helping people buy and sell real estate. I’ll meet interesting people along the way and learn something new.
Mike Hunter / Helpful Buyer Info, Helpful Seller Info / 01775, 01776, 01776.com, 01778, closed sales, community, how much value does a pool add to a house, hunterthehousehunter, inground pools, is a pool worth it?, market-stats, mass, massachusetts, mike hunter, open houses, pool, pool cost, pool design, pools in metrowest, real estate, residential real estate, should you buy a house with apool?, sold properties, sudbury, sudbury community report, sudbury real estate market, sudbury real estate market update, wayside inn /
I’ve been asked “how much value does a swimming pool really add to your home?” many, many times, and my answer always is … it depends.
If you’re thinking of adding an in-ground pool or buying a home with an in-ground pool you’ve probably heard that tired old saw that a pool adds $10-15k value to a home and limits the buyer pool for your home when you go to sell it. While true as a sweeping generality, there’s more to this topic than meets the eye.
Nobody will argue that the swimming pool in the photo shown to the left will add considerable value to the home it accompanies. The reason is that it speaks to art and craftsmanship and quality … three important considerations for a pool or for that matter any addition or expensive home improvement. The design marries absolute unity with absolute variety and will be almost universally considered beautiful by most who encounter it. The scale also suggests that it is attached to a larger home on a larger piece of land … the other two key considerations when discussing similar improvements and their value.
Now most pools look like the one shown to the right. They are pretty ordinary, well-done, and cost somewhere in the under $50k range depending on it’s liner (plaster or vinyl). Included is a small hardscape area, cast concrete, pavers or exposed-aggregate concrete, and fenced enclosure around the pool area or the yard, depending on the local building codes. This is your classic in-ground pool and this one does add the $10-15k that any realtor will tell you. If you look at this picture you will see it is located in a fairly good sized yard, so it’s value would be in the upper end of the range. If it were on a small lot and took up most of the back yard it’s value would be in the lower end of the range.
The pool shown to the right is one that while costing in the $50-150k range will not add it’s full cost to the value of the home will add significantly more than the $10-15k typically bandied about. The natural stone hard-scape and the addition of an integrated hot-tub and gas-fired outdoor fireplace are desirable features that add value individually and add more combined value when integrated into a unified design. Again, as you can see, the pool is a small part of a larger yard and suggests it’s attached to a larger home with superior fit and finish.
Okay, so how can one determine what a pool adds in value.
For this exercise I took the price per square foot for homes sold in the last six months for million dollar properties in the inner suburbs of metrowest Boston. If you compare the price per square foot across the six selected towns you will see that there is a significant increase in the price per square foot in the selling price of homes sold with pools. You will also see that the overall increase for all the towns is pretty constant. So, as you can probably imagine, for these towns, pools that have a high degree of fit and finish and are in not outsized in proportion to their lot size add about 11% to the value.
Then if we take the number of homes sold with pools and compare them to the total market for their towns, we see a strong desire for them in some towns, in other towns not so much. For example, in Lincoln homes with pools represented almost half of the market, Weston homes with pools represented about a quarter of the market, while in Lexington they represented only about 10% of their market. So it could be figured that putting a pool in Lincoln or Weston is a much better investment than putting one in Lexington.
So as you can see, the real answer to the question is determined by two things: 1. how nice the pool is and 2. is it considered a valuable feature in the town where it is located.
Should you have questions about a specific application and location feel free to give me a call, I will be glad to help you out. Call or text 978-580-1069.
Fall is my favorite time of year in New England, the air is crisp and has the smell of falling leaves and harvest time is upon us.
If you like picking apples, there are lots of opportunities in Metrowest Boston, about 45 minutes from the city. You can pick your own or buy them in their country stores, and remember no pets allowed, so even though the idea of having Rover run through the fields sounds great, leave him/her at home (it’s for their own safety). Here are some of my current favorites:
- Honeypot Hill in Stow (http://www.honeypothill.com/) is open daily 10-5 and they have a petting zoo of farm animals, a hedge maze, hayrides and lots of easy apples to pick. Be sure to check out their apple cider donuts, yummy.
- Berlin Orchards in Berlin (http://www.berlinorchards.com/) is also open daily 10-5 and a little later on the weekends, they also have barnyard animals and hayrides.
- Shelburne Farm in Stow (http://www.shelburnefarm.com/) open daily 9-6. They have farm animals, pony rides, a moon bounce and on the weekends they have a hay mountain and toy tractor rallies.
- Tougas Family Farm & Kitchen in Northboro (http://www.tougasfarm.com/) open daily. They have wagon rides to the orchards on the weekends, be sure to check out their apple crisp.
- Belkin Family’s Lookout Farm in Natick (http://www.lookoutfarm.com/) open daily 10-5. Lots of weekend activities, including train rides and an expanded childrens play area with burlap maze, hay pyramid, and pony/caterpillar rides.
There is also a unique place in Bolton, called the Nashoba Valley Winery (http://www.nashobawinery.com/) open daily 10-5, where you can pick apples as well as enjoy tasting some of their micro-brews and locally produced wines. Their restaurant is both excellent and has a spectacular setting so you can get great food with a view.
Log homes are very rare in the Metrowest Boston area.
Contrary to what TV reenactments lead us to think, there was not enough time for the early settlers to build log homes before the harsh weather of winter settled in, so they lived in wigwams, crude huts and pits covered with boards.
The log homes of today, with what are called “saddle-notches” and layers of whole logs laid horizontally & chinked with “wattle”, were brought to the east coast by way of the Chesapeake bay settlements of Germans and Scandinavians in the mid 1600’s.
Because the first-growth forests in New England tended to be huge and irregular, unlike the young, identically sized, straight-as-an-arrow Lodge pole pines and Douglas firs of the south and west, our early builders tended toward board and batten construction for permanent dwellings and log homes were only built as temporary dwellings on the frontier, crumbling over time.
Modern log homes can be extremely well-built and create a wonderful, rustic sense of place within and around them.
When a log home in the Metrowest area goes up for sale, and this is not often, it has historically generated good return for the seller but taken a very long time to sell.