Your Real Estate Professional:
Bob Filene
April 2020

Don’t Try to Outsmart the Markets
Getting ready to refinance your mortgage but waiting for rates to fall just one more time? Is that extra 1/8th percent ready to drop? Some consumers begin to follow economic news and perform no shortage of due diligence trying to pick the perfect time to lock in an interest rate. Loan officers are asked on a daily basis, “What are rates going to do?” The fact is nobody knows and for those who say they know, well, they don’t. Even the most learned of financial analysts get it wrong. There are just too many ingredients that affect mortgage rates, some expected but many unexpected, for any solid projection to come to fruition. Yes, there are certainly general trends that can be pointed to but trying to outsmart
Mortgage Rates
U.S. averages as of April 2020:

30 yr. fixed: 3.5%
15 yr. fixed: 2.92%
5/1 yr. adj: 3.34%

interest rate markets can go wrong rather quickly.
      Conventional mortgages, both fixed and adjustable, are tied to specific indices. A traditional 30 year
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New York Might Pass an Anti-Flipping Bill. Are Other States Far Behind?
     That dream of buying a house in a state of disrepair and fixing it up to sell for a big profit is one many of us share. And the people you see on TV aren’t the only ones who are doing more than dreaming. According to ATTOM Data Solutions’ most recent stats, more than 200,000 U.S. homes were bought and resold within a 12-month period in the year 2017. 
      “That’s just under 6% of all the single-family homes and condominiums sold that year,” said Investopedia.
      But, if the state of New York has its way, it might soon be harder to pocket that cash. There are actually two bills making their way through the system: Assembly Bill A5375A and Senate Bill S3060E. Each of them “Imposes a tax on the

What Is a Home Renovation Loan and Should You Think About One?
     For many homebuyers, a picture-perfect, move-in ready home is the dream. For others, a project house they can get for a discount and then put their personal stamp on is too good to pass up. The problem with many of these “project houses,” though: coming up with the money to complete the projects. 
      Once you’ve depleted your savings to gather the funds for your down payment and closing costs, there may not be much left over to knock down that wall between the kitchen and living room, redo the counters and cabinets, and put in new hardwood flooring. Add in the costs of new furniture and hiring movers, and it could be years before you’re finally ready to make those improvements. 
      This is where a home renovation loan can help. 
      What is a home renovation loan?
      Although they are growing in popularity, home renovation loans are

COVID-19 And The Cambridge/Somerville Market

    In January, February, and early March 2020 the local market was a continuation of last year’s seller’s market. Compared to this time in 2019, prices and price per square foot were up and days to offer were down. The low number of properties for sale continued. This activity over the 2019 first quarter was partly because of the mild winter we were having this year vs last year. In mid-March life changed because of COVID-19. Governor Baker declared that residential and commercial real estate services were not essential services. Then on April 1 that was reversed and we were designated as essential services.

    The Coldwell Banker response is the following. There are sellers and buyers who want to proceed with their plans and we will assist and represent them with all available resources. To protect buyers, sellers, and real estate agents, for now, we are not doing traditional open houses and are avoiding traditional in person showings whenever we can avoid it. We are taking advantage of some fabulous virtual technology such as Matterport 3D virtual tours, Facetime, Zoom, social media and other services. I have over 70 agents in my Cambridge office staying connected actively virtually. We are sharing information about new listings, market activity, buyer’s needs, etc. Mortgages are getting approved, bank appraisals of properties are happening (although in new ways), and closings are occurring (also in new ways).

In the two weeks ending April 4, 2020, 28 properties in Cambridge received accepted offers. Some of these properties received multiple offers and have accepted offers over the asking price. In the same period 35 properties in Cambridge closed (sold).

If the recession is sharp but short, as many economists are predicting, then a similar bounce back of the real estate market would be consistent. Mortgage rates are at record lows with a 30 year fixed rate in the middle 3’s percent range. If the massive federal and state stimulus measures work, we expect the traditional Spring real estate market to be pushed back to later in the year. Cambridge and Somerville housing has been very resilient in past declines compared with other cities and towns in Massachusetts.

Cambridge/Somerville 2019 vs 2018 Market Recap

    In both cities, median sale prices were up 10% for single families and up 1% for condominiums. Multi-families in Cambridge were unchanged and up 3% in Somerville. This continues the ten year trend although several of the categories are showing a plateau.

    The tight seller’s market conditions we experienced last year continued with sellers often receiving offers within a week of going on the market, multiple offers pushing prices over the asking price, and offers with few or no contingencies such as subject a home inspection or financing. The median Days to Receiving an Accepted Offer for Cambridge condominiums was only 7 days, about the same as last year. In Somerville it increased to 14 days from 8. Lack of supply continued with the number of sales and new listings not changed significantly.

Local Market Conditions

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Bob Filene CBR e-PRO
Contact Number: (617) 877-7816

(617) 877-7816
1730 Mass. Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02138

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