North Reading

2018 Real Estate Year in Review

Happy New Year! Here’s to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2019.

Many thanks to each of the community organizations and businesses that contribute to the town on various levels. These organizations contribute to making the Town of North Reading a very welcoming community.  As a life-long resident of North Reading, I have seen our small town grow substantially over the years.  I was fearful at times that it may lose its small town feel and most importantly, its sense of community.  I am happy to report that this has not occurred at all.  The most important aspects of community and caring for all residents, has continued to grow as the town has grown.

Where does North Reading stand regarding the Real Estate market? Well, this past year was a very complex year for Realtors, buyers and sellers. When you compare the Inventory from 2017 to 2018, it has shown a significant decrease in properties that were for sale across town and across all categories.

Here is a look at the North Reading 2018 housing market:

Single Family Homes:

In 2018 there were only 103 total sales in North Reading as compared to 177 in 2017.  The average number of days on the market was 39.62 and the average sale price was $621,800.  This represented a year over year increase of $26,682.  The decrease in available inventory increased the demand among willing and able buyers.  This resulted in an increase of final sale prices.  During the months of March through August we experienced multiple bidding wars on available properties. There was a dip in buyer activity during the weeks of September and early October, but we saw a significant up-tick by mid-October.  This continued right up until the week before Christmas.  We had 15 home closings during the month of December and saw 14 properties receive accepted offers and go under agreement during the final month of the year. There is a definite change occurring in our housing market.  The months during the spring and summer have traditionally been perceived as the prime “Selling Season”.  However, at one point this fall, we had more homes on the market than we did during the spring and summer months. What is the reason for this change? There are multiple reasons for this occurrence.  The primary reason this past year was that the federal government had announced rate hikes.  Several sellers saw what was happening in the earlier market and wanted to sell quickly in order to capitalize on the increased sale prices.

Condominiums:

In 2018 there were 37 total sales in North reading as compared to 53 in 2017.  The average number of days on the market in 2018 was 34.03 as compared to 44.31 in 2017. The average sale price in 2018 was $333,683, which represent an increase of $2,312. The price increase was not that significant given the decrease in inventory. I believe this is partially due to the new “55 Plus” development being built by Pulte Homebuilders on Lowell Street.  These garden style condominiums are being priced at levels which will allow North Reading residents, both past and present, to remain in town or to return to town in order to be closer to family.  I applaud Pulte for having this vision.  This has helped many seniors who otherwise may not be able to afford to stay in town.  

What Type of Market are we in?

 This is also a difficult question to answer due to many contributing factors.  Some properties received multiple offers in short order, which in turn created a bidding war.  However, other properties languished on the market and needed price adjustments before receiving offers.  Pricing your home correctly from the outset is a key factor in a successful and timely transaction.

Buyers today are extremely savvy and take full advantage of the many online resources available to them.  The old saying of “location, location, location” still holds true to this day.  However, a clear education and understanding of the Real Estate market is truly what is needed.  Real Estate is local, and it is not just local to a town, but to its specific neighborhoods.  I forecast that the housing market will continue to be strong and robust in 2019.  I do not foresee the frenzied market and crazy price increases we saw this past year.  I see more of a steady increase as supply continues to be lean and demand continues to be strong. The federal government stated that it will be some time before we see another hike in mortgage rates, which is great news for both buyers and sellers.

As you can see from the numbers, Real Estate continues to be a very wise investment and North Reading continues to be a very desirable community. I attribute this to our award-winning school system and the zoning bylaws that are in place, there continues to be a distinct line between residential and commercial bylaws.   The town’s close proximity to Boston and overall sense of community will always continue to appeal to buyers.

If you are considering a Real Estate transaction or if you have any Real Estate questions, please feel free to give us a call 978-664-3700. I have been a full time Realtor for the past 15 years and have been the most successful Realtor in North Reading for the past 7 years. The Realtors in my office are all North Reading residents and are involved in our community on a number of different levels.   We study the North Reading and surrounding markets daily and keep ourselves up to date with the changes occurring in the market on an ongoing basis. This has allowed us to sell our listings at 98% of original list price and receive multiple offers on 90% of our listings.

Once again, best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2019.

Top 12 Tips for a Safer Holiday Home

Our world is full of risk at every turn—from perilous jobs to dangerous driving conditions. That’s why we all love to get back to our homes and not worry about everyday safety hazards. It’s great to feel comfortable and safe at home, but is it as safe as it can be?

 

Your home should be your haven: the place where you will be protected from harm. It should be a top priority, and yet every year 1200 people or more visit the emergency room during the holiday months due to accidents and unintended injuries sustained from hidden dangers around the home.

 

With a sharp eye and preventive action you can reduce the chances of lurking safety dangers for everyone who visits your home.

 

The Top 12 Home Safety Tips

 

1. GOOD LIGHTING— Adequate lighting reduces the risk of tripping and falling both inside and outside your home. This is especially important in winters when days are shorter. Critical areas that need to be illuminated are the stairs, outdoors, and foyers. Make sure your street number is well lit and visible from the street to aid first responders find your home. The fix: Make sure adequate wattage is utilized and long-life bulbs and motion detectors are in place.

 

2. ELECTRICAL PROBLEMS?— Electrical issues, like a flickering light or a dead outlet, can be mild annoyances that actually signal serious dangers. If not addressed promptly, a faulty electrical system can result in house fires and shocks. The fix: If you’re experiencing any problems with your electricity, contact a professional right away. In your daily life, make sure electrical cords are not frayed or pierced and extension cords are securely connected. Do not run too many cords to a single outlet. Unplug small appliances, space heaters, and power tools when not in use.

 

3. DO ROUTINE CLEANING— Not maintaining your appliances leads to a greater chance of accidental home fires. The fix: Do simple tasks regularly like cleaning grease off your stovetop, emptying the lint trap on your dryer, and keeping your chimney clean and clear.

 

4. SMOKE AND GAS DETECTORS— Every home needs functional warning devices that detect smoke and gases. The fix: When purchasing smoke alarms, make sure they also detect carbon monoxide, a deadly gas that is especially dangerous because it is colorless and odorless. Replace the batteries every six months—or whenever you change your clocks. Create an emergency evacuation plan, build a preparedness kit, and practice regular safety drills with your family to ensure awareness of procedures.

 

5. SECURE YOUR HOME— Many homes now have the latest technological advancements but still rely on locks and hardware from decades ago to keep you safe from intruders. The fix: Do an audit of all entry points to your home—doors and windows and screens. If any do not have secure screens, locks, and deadbolts, have them installed. For those entry points that do already have door knobs, handles, and locks, make sure that they are in good working condition.

 

6. WHEN YOU ARE AWAY— We all enjoy long weekends and out-of-town vacations, but unfortunately that leaves your home vulnerable to intruders. The fix: Create the illusion that someone may still be there. Leave a TV or stereo on in the room where a burglar would most likely break in. Have neighbor pick up mail and the daily paper. Turn down phone ringers, keep blinds drawn, and don’t leave unsecured valuables in the home even if you think they are well-hidden. Never hide keys around the home or garden, and don’t leave notes on the door that suggest you are out of town.

 

7. HOUSEHOLD REPAIRS— Even if you are an expert and know your way around electrical, plumbing, car or other household repairs, proceed with caution. A poor repair could be a recipe for disaster. The fix: Call a professional or ask me for a referral from our trusted sources.

 

8. VEHICLE CAUTION— Remember that there is danger even before you drive on the street. If you are backing your car up, watch out for children and pets on the sidewalk and road. The fix: Be cautious and proceed slowly when driving vehicles in or out of your driveway. If your driveway does not have good visibility in both directions, walk down and look in both directions before you get in your car.

 

9. MAKE IT SAFE FOR VISITORS— If you are hosting friends and family, consider what additional safety challenges they may face. The fix: Put yourself in the shoes of a small child and look for low, hard edges, sharp objects, easy-to-open cabinets with chemicals and cleaning agents. Look for falling and tripping hazards that may fell seniors.

 

10. BRACE YOURSELF— Heavy objects are rarely braced in the home. Appliances, artwork, televisions, and aquariums present real hazards if they are knocked down by a person or a natural disaster. The fix: Strap and brace heavy objects and use security hardware for large artwork.

 

11. UNCOVER HIDDEN DANGERS— If your home was built before the late seventies, there’s likely lead in the paint under the top coats on your walls and windows, and there might be traces in the varnish used on many hardwood floors. In addition, asbestos often can be found in insulation and “popcorn” ceiling textures. The fix: Hire a licensed contractor to test for possible contaminants and remove them safely, especially prior to a remodel.

 

12. MOTHER NATURE— Your homeowners insurance will cover you in many instances, but did you know that you may not be insured against natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, and hurricanes? They typically require an additional policy. The fix: Contact your insurance agent to make sure you have adequate replacement coverage as home values escalate and coverage amounts can stay static. Discuss costs for adding disaster policies for the natural disaster most likely to hit your area. Finally, having a disaster and communication plan can minimize the risks.

 

Safety Dangers to Kids You May Not Think About

 

Do you have small children who live with you? Even if you don’t, with the holiday season rapidly approaching, your home may welcome friends with young children and older family members. This makes now the ideal time to survey home your home for potential safety problems.

 

OPEN WATER

Did you know that as little as an inch of water can be a major hazard? A pail of water in the yard, large puddles from a storm, even a washing machine can induce a small child to trip or fall into and become at risk. The fix: Watch for open ice chests and other standing water, and don’t leave toilet seats open.

 

SMALL BATTERIES

Button-sized lithium batteries power small electronic devices, including remote controls, watches, musical greeting cards, and ornaments. When accidently swallowed, they can get stuck in the esophagus and generate an electrical current that can cause severe chemical burns and tissue damage. The fix: Only let small children play with mechanical devices and toys under supervision, and make sure to put these items away when not in use.

 

WINDOWS AND STAIRS

Every year, more than 5,000 kids end up in the emergency room after tumbling out of a window. Combat that by installing window guards or window stops so kids can’t fall out. Stairs are another potential hazard for youngsters with less-than-perfect balance. The fix: Baby gates can prevent young kids from venturing up or down. Steps should always have firm footing and be clear of objects as even older people can slip and fall or trip on items left on the stairs.

 

FAMILY PETS

Cats can scratch a child not used to playing with finicky felines. The family dog may be big and loving but can outweigh a child by five times. Children can be easily knocked down, nipped, or even bitten by a dog not used to the activity of small children. The fix: Monitor play activity and make sure your pet is not getting anxious or annoyed.

 

CORDS

Babies can be strangled by cords on blinds and shades. The fix: Excessive cords of all types should be removed or secured down. Always keep cribs away from windows with loose cords.

 

Now’s the Time

With the upcoming holidays at hand, now is the perfect time to survey your home and address potential safety hazards to yourselves, your family, and your friends. It doesn’t take long, most fixes are very inexpensive and simple to do, and your efforts will pay dividends in peace of mind for years to come.

 

If you would like our advice on how to make your home safer or need a list of trusted sources for home repairs, please contact us today or visit our preferred vendor list at http://bit.ly/FRGPreferredVendors .  It’s our business to ensure that your home is safe and secure for your family. Happy Holiday’s from our family to yours!!

“How's the Market North of Boston?”

While no one can predict the future with certainty, most experts expect to see modest growth in the U.S. housing market for the remainder of this year and next. And Middlesex county North of Boston expects to mirror that national growth.   Inventory will remain tight, mortgage rates will continue to creep up, and affordability will remain a major issue as is the same in many parts of the country.

So what does that mean for home buyers and sellers? To answer that question, we take a closer look at some of the top indicators.

 

 

CONTINUED GROWTH IN HOUSING MARKET

 

There’s good news for homebuyers! Prices have begun to stabilize after the period of rapid appreciation we saw this summer. Nationwide, home sales experienced a slight decline of 1.6 percent in the second quarter, primarily due to higher mortgage rates and housing prices combined with limited inventory. And here in the North of Boston market, there were 3% percent fewer homes on the market and slightly fewer homes sold in June than a year earlier, according to our MLS information. This continues a trend in which home sales were flat or down in 11 of the last 12 months.

 

However, buyers who have been waiting on the sidelines in anticipation of a big price drop may be disappointed. Demand remains strong across the sector and prices continue to rise. The Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index reported a 6.2 percent annual gain in June, a healthy but sustainable rate of appreciation.1

 

In its latest Outlook Report, Freddie Mac forecasts continued growth in the housing market due to a strong economy and low unemployment rate, which dropped to 3.9 percent in July.

 

“The housing market hit some speed bumps this summer, with many prospective homebuyers slowed by not enough moderately-priced homes for sale and higher home prices and mortgage rates,” according to Sam Khater, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac. “The good news is, the economy and labor market are very healthy right now, and mortgage rates, after surging earlier this year, have stabilized in recent months. These factors should continue to create solid buyer demand, and ultimately an uptick in sales, in most parts of the country in the months ahead.”3

 

 

INVENTORY TO REMAIN TIGHT, NEW CONSTRUCTION MAY HELP

 

Experts predict that demand for housing will continue to outpace available supply, especially in the entry-level price range.

 

“Today, even as mortgage rates begin to increase and home sales decline in some markets, the most significant challenges facing the housing market stem from insufficient inventory accompanying unsustainable home-price increase,” said National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a recent release.

 

"The answer is to encourage builders to increase supply, and there is a good probability for solid home sales growth once the supply issue is addressed,” said Yun. Additional inventory will also help contain rapid home price growth and open up the market to prospective homebuyers who are consequently—and increasingly—being priced out. In the end, slower price growth is healthier price growth."4

 

With so much demand, why aren’t more builders bringing inventory to the market? According to the National Association of Home Builders, a crackdown on immigration and tariffs on imported lumber have made home construction more difficult and expensive. Those factors—combined with the rising cost of land and increased zoning requirements—have put a damper on the industry overall.5

 

Still, there’s evidence that a modest rise in the rate of new building projects may be on the way. Freddie Mac predicts new housing construction will increase slightly after a stall last quarter.2 And a recent report by Freedonia Focus Reports forecasts an annual increase in housing starts of 2.4 percent through 2022, led by an uptick in single-family homes.6 The boost in inventory should help drive sales growth and relieve some of the pent-up demand in tight markets.

 

While the current lack of inventory is generally preferred by sellers because it means less competition, a combination of high prices and rising interest rates has narrowed the pool of potential buyers who can afford to enter the market. Sellers should seek out real estate agents who utilize technologically-advanced marketing tactics to reach qualified buyers in their area. 

 

 

AFFORDABILITY REACHES LOWEST LEVEL IN A DECADE

 

According to a recent report by Morgan Stanley, Americans are paying the most in monthly mortgage payments relative to their incomes since 2008.7 And prices aren’t expected to come down any time soon.

 

"We believe that the current supply and demand environment will continue to push home prices higher, just at a decelerating pace," said John Egan, Morgan Stanley’s Co-Head of U.S. Housing Strategy.

 

Fortunately, economists aren’t concerned about affordability levels triggering another housing crisis, as lending standards are much higher today than they were during the run-up before the recession. According to credit reporting agency TransUnion, the share of homeowners who made mortgage payments more than 60-days past due fell in the second quarter to 1.7 percent, the lowest level since the market crash.7

 

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun agreed with this assessment in a recent statement. “Over the past 10 years, prudent policy reforms and consumer protections have strengthened lending standards and eliminated loose credit, as evidenced by the higher than normal credit scores of those who are able to obtain a mortgage and near record-low defaults and foreclosures, which contributed to the last recession.”4

 

 

MORTGAGE RATES EXPECTED TO CONTINUE RISING

 

The Federal Reserve has taken measures to help keep the housing market—and the overall economy—from overheating. It has raised interest rates twice this year so far, causing mortgage rates to surge in the first half of the year.

 

Economists predict that the rise in mortgage rates will continue at a more gradual rate through this year and next. The U.S. weekly average mortgage rate rose from 3.99 percent in the first week of January to as high as 4.66 percent in May. Freddy Mac forecasts an average rate of 4.6 percent for 2018 and 5.1 percent in 2019.2

 

The good news is, mortgage rates still remain near historic lows and a whopping 14 points below the recorded high of 18.63 percent in the early 1980s.8 Buyers who have been on the fence may want to act soon to lock in an affordable interest rate ... before rates climb higher.

 

"Some consumers may be thinking that because mortgage rates are higher than they were a year ago, maybe I should just wait until rates fall down again," said NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun in a recent speech. "Well, they will be waiting forever."9

 

 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN FOR ME?

 

If you’ve been waiting to buy a home, you may want to act now. A shortage of available homes on the market means prices are likely to keep going up. And a lack of affordable rental inventory means rents are expected to rise, as well.

 

If you buy now, you will benefit from appreciating property values while locking in an historically-low interest rate on your mortgage. Waiting to buy could mean paying more for your home as prices increase and paying higher interest on your mortgage as rates continue to rise.

 

And if you’re in the market to sell your home, there’s no need to wait any longer. Prices have begun to stabilize, and rising interest rates could decrease the number of available buyers for your home. Act now to take advantage of this strong seller’s market.

 

 

LET’S GET MOVING

 

While national real estate numbers and predictions can provide a “big picture” outlook, real estate is local. As your North of Boston local market experts, Farrelly Realty Group can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the issues most likely to impact sales and home values in your particular neighborhood.

 

 

If you have specific questions or would like more information about where we see real estate headed in our area, let us know! We’re here to help you navigate this changing real estate landscape. Call us at (978)664-3700. We would love to hear from you!
 

 

 

Sources:

  1. S&P Dow Jones Indices Press Release -
    https://www.spice-indices.com/idpfiles/spice-assets/resources/public/documents/766551_cshomeprice-release-0828.pdf?force_download=true
  2. Freddie Mac Outlook Report -
    http://www.freddiemac.com/research/forecast/20180827_strong_economic_growth.html
  3. DSNews -
    https://dsnews.com/daily-dose/08-28-2018/freddie-weighs-in-on-housing-market
  4. PR Newswire -
    https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/realtors-chief-economist-reflects-on-past-recession-whats-ahead-for-housing-300702632.html
  5. CNN Money -
    https://www.keyt.com/lifestyle/where-is-the-us-housing-market-headed-4-things-you-need-to-know/787471572
  6. PR Newswire -
    https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-housing-starts-to-rise-2-4-yearly-to-2022--300711989.html
  7. Business Insider -
    https://www.businessinsider.com/housing-affordability-slowing-market-sales-2018-8
  8. Value Penguin -
    https://www.valuepenguin.com/mortgages/historical-mortgage-rates
  9. Times Free Press -
    https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/business/aroundregion/story/2018/aug/14/despite-prospects-higher-mortgage-rateshousin/476979/

North Reading Town Day - A Fun Community Event Not To Be Missed

North Reading Town Day LogoBeing a homeowner has so many wonderful benefits. From financial -- building equity and capitalizing on tax deductions -- to creating a space that you're proud to call your own. Perhaps the most important benefit (that can often be overlooked) is the sense of community that comes along with homeownership. When you purchase a home, you have an opportunity to develop friendships in a new neighborhood, get involved in town or community causes, shop at local businesses and take part in all of the fun community events that take place throughout the year.

As representatives for the area, we make it our business to know the ins and outs of what's going on in and around North Reading and the surrounding towns. One of our favorite events is the Annual North Reading Town Day hosted by the Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce.  

This annual event brings the community together just before summer vacation season, and features local businesses and organizations, free entertainment, kids’ activities and great food. Last year's event included pony rides, bounce houses, a climbing rock wall and a bike parade. The event is a true community gathering and celebration of everything that North Reading has to offer.

Bike Parade Pony Rides North Reading Town DayBounce House

 

prize wheel

 

 

 

 

Kids Workshop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come join us this year at the Second Annual North Reading Town Day at Ipswich River Park on Sunday, June 3rd from 11 am to 3 pm.

More information about Town Day can be found on the Chamber website or by calling 781-664-9207 or via email at: townday@rnrchamber.com.  

Let the countdown to summer begin!

 

Six Community Events To Get You Out And About This Spring

Spring Save The DateAfter another long New England winter, it’s finally starting to feel like spring. The kids are outside riding their bikes and you can take the dog for a walk without getting bundled up. Flowers are blooming in gardens around North Reading and lawns are greening up even in suburbs north of Boston. The warmer weather is always a welcome change and it’s a great time to get outside and enjoy some fun community events.

One of the wonderful things about being a homeowner in North Reading and the surrounding area is being part of a tight knit community. Whether you are new to the area or a long-time resident, there is never a shortage of fun local happenings. Check out some of our favorite events taking place this spring.

1. Mother’s Day Brunch Picnic and Lilac Festival - Sunday, May 13th, 10am to 1pm

Get outside with your family and celebrate Mom. Enjoy brunch, live music and lawn games. This event is held at Stevens-Coolidge Place (137 Andover St.) in North Andover.

2. Hornet Hustle - Sunday, May 20th, 8am Kids Fun Run, 9am 5K Race

Calling all runners and walkers. The Hornet Hustle 5K is a great way to get active with the entire family. Proceeds from the event support the North Reading school’s physical education programs. The race starts at the third meeting house on the common (134 Haverhill St.) in North Reading.

3. 14th Annual Small Business Golf Tournament - Monday, May 21st, 7am to 1pm

Hosted by the Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce, this fun golf tournament is a great way to kick off golf season and do a little networking. The event is held at the spectacular Thompson Country Club in North Reading and a portion of the proceeds are donated to support the business curriculum at both the Reading and North Reading High Schools.

4. Giant Yard Sale In The Park - Saturday, June 2nd 8am to 2pm

Time for some spring cleaning? Clean out your garage or basement and shop for some great deals. The yard sale is held in Andover at the Park on the corner of Chestnut and Bartlett Street.

5. North Reading Town Day - Sunday, June 3rd, 11am to 3pm

2017 was the inaugural year for this fun, free family event held at Ipswich River Park. This year's Town Day is going to be even bigger and features entertainment, food, games, giveaways and local vendors.

6. Reading Friends and Family Day - Saturday, June 16th,10:30am to 3pm

This annual community event is hosted by the Reading Lions Club. The event is a free and a fun way to kick off the summer. The event features food, games, local vendors, giveaways, entertainment and fireworks in the evening.

There are so many fun and exciting activities happening right in your backyard. Get out and explore, have some fun, support some local causes, meet like-minded people and take advantage of all that the Reading-North Reading and surrounding communities have to offer. Happy spring!