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      Blog :: 2014

      A Bolder, Bigger, and Better Boston In 2015

      First, A Look Back If you're anything like us, then you're probably pondering the same thing: what does 2015 have in store for Boston's housing market? Well, nine years after housing bubble peaked, and three years after home prices bottomed, the boom has come strikingly back to town - though of course, in an all too humble way.

      When Boston first saw significant home price improvements at the tail-end of 2012, many feared that 2014 was going to be 'the year the rebound effect will fade' since property prices were no longer significantly undervalued and investor demand was flailing. This may be true for some markets, but not for Metro Boston; in fact, nowhere close. Even though properties were continuing their ascend into the unaffordable, buyers kept descending onto Boston to snap up single-detach homes, brownstones, and of course, condominiums.

      To date, there has been 879 single-family homes sold and 3,976 condo units that have seen changed hands in the City of Boston alone. And though this reflects a 7% decrease from 2013 YTD totals, this is offset by the fact that home prices surged 7.5% within the same periods examined, and in essence weeded out the number of buyers lost by the dollars gained in terms of property values. Most important in all of this is that listings are still selling, and in fact most of them go over asking. Doesn't that tell you something about how robust our town's real estate market currently stands?

      There are many, many more reasons why our housing market is far better than other comparably dynamic cities. Housing inventory - which has continued to dwindle over the past couple of quarters - is a great one to include to this argument.  Despite the number of available units dropping, the home price index remains stable, albeit a bit on the high end of "affordable" in terms of Boston property value ranges. One can argue (as other real estate blogs have) that homebuyers earning less than $100K annually may not be able to afford brand new in this town, but we say they can certainly afford a property that is well worth their every penny.

      What's There In 2015? Given all of this, and against many economists and pessimists trying to spell gloom and doom for the future of Boston area housing, our firm still sees housing soaring in 2015. While it is true that there are signs of demand easing, we are significantly more upbeat than many of the recent headlines seem to highlight since there are credible and factual forecasts also out there that strongly suggest another year of home price appreciation, with a 7% home price increase for the coming year.

      This is clearly a remarkable prediction, especially if you take into account majority of experts out there are calling for Boston Area housing prices to depreciate instead of again appreciating. What makes us think so? Well, inventory is surely going to increase in 2015. As of this writing, there are currently 14 projects that are on going with an expected completion date falling within 2015. And as inventory and transactions rise along with pricing, participants in the Boston area housing market stand to benefit broadly. In addition, the number of days on market remains low compared to before the housing bust, indicating a seller's market.

      In a seller's market, sellers can list homes at a higher value, hoping a buyer takes the bait. If not, they can also bring down the price closer to market value, while appearing to offer a sales compromise to the buyer. We estimate that of the available inventory next year, approximately 35% of properties will take such a price cut, after all 33% of this year's sale crop already did that trick this year. We see this "price cutting game" as an indicator of strong competition, despite weaker demand overall.

      The Boston area housing market continues to require a more nuanced view of its future. Home prices across the U.S. are poised for a fifth consecutive year of recovery. The market is still faced with low inventory and demand, buoyed by an expanding economy, which, among other factors, remains healthy. Both supply and demand conditions are moving from extreme bullish conditions to more steady sustainable and healthy conditions.

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      Monday Morning Market Update: Greater Boston Properties In November

      Dec19-2Still on 'holidaze' from an ultimately enjoyable holiday season? Wondering why you're in your cube and not in your PJ's lounging or sipping coffee and catching up with a friend? Well, we understand - some of us do need to go back to the salt mines - even if it's just for a day and a half, or two. And to make things a bit easier for you, we've prepared the perfect picker-upper: our Monday Morning Market Update. Why? Well because there's no better way to bring you back from your four-day Christmas coma than rehashing how Boston real estate properties did in November:

      Greater Boston Single Family Homes The Single Family Market dipped slightly by 4.3 percent in November with 758 homes sold, selling 34 units fewer compared to last year's 792. A simple look at the inventory would give credence to why such is the case, with the number of homes up for sale dwindling by 8.8 percent last month with 2,265 available units on the market, compared to last year's 2,483. Given the difference in digits, Greater Boston Region is lucky enough to still have such "strong" decreasing numbers.

      This however, doesn't mean that there is respite in the market price. Average Media Sales Price in the Greater Boston Region increase by 9.4 percent to $525,000 - a figure that, only a year ago was well below the $500K mark at $480,000. If you look closely at the Median Sales Price for this year, it has gone nowhere but up, literally. In 2014 alone, we've seen the YTD Median Sales Price go up by 5.2 percent - from $499,900 in the 11 months of 2013 to $526,000 during the same period this year.

      Perhaps the most impressive aspect of November 2014's performance is that the average number of days it takes to unload your investment is better than last year, improving by an average of 5 days. Last year, properties in the Greater Boston Area took 68 days before being taken off the market, but last month's figure held steady at 63 - just like previous months'. This is certainly welcome news to sellers (as well as buyers out there on a binge!).

      Greater Boston Condominiums Just like inventory affected the sales of Single Family Homes, the same could be said for the Condominium Market in the Greater Boston Region, as it dipped more than 15 percent compared from last years' figure, selling less than a hundred units off November 2013's total of 711 (total of 602 for November 2014). It seems the condo market is not as resilient as the Single Family Home market when it comes to retaining inventory; this year, November only saw 1,215 units available on the market - a steep 25 percent decline from November 2013's total of 1,628 available units.

      It seems condo hunters in the Greater Boston Market are pickier too, taking more time to get unloaded. Previous years' Average Days on Market sat at a total of only 51 days, while this years' have to wait an added 4 days on the market, for a total of 55 Days on Market before being sold.

      As if it were a light at the end of the tunnel, the Median Sales price of Condominium Properties in the Greater Boston Market increased by 6.1 percent compared to the same period last year. On average, it will take $435,500 for you to own a condo right now in the Boston region, compared to only having to shell out $410,500 last year. For this year alone, Greater Boston condo properties have appreciate by 6.2 percent compared to last year. Interestingly, the "high-end" of the median price spectrum last year was $405,000, while this year is set to hit $430,000.

      Metro Boston Single Family Homes Sadly, things in the heart of the hub seem a bit worse off than its nearby brothers. Sales of Single Family Homes in Boston dipped 18.1 percent for the month, totaling to 68 units compared to last year's 83. That brings the YTD totals to 879 Single Family Homes sold, 7.4 percent (or 70 units) less than last years'. The Median Sales Price, on the other hand, has continued its climb and appreciate 4.5 percent, standing at $438,750.

      There were also far fewer homes to be sold this year, in fact more than 20 percent fewer than in November 2013. Only 172 homes went on the market, compared to 217 for the same month in the previous year. There has virtually been no increase in New Listings for this month - flat if you're comparing November 2013 and 2014, with a steady inflow of new listings hovering the 67-69 units range.

      One thing that November Single Family Homes share with its border brothers in Greater Boston is the length of time it takes to dispose of investments. It took an average of 66 days to sell a Single Family Home in Metro Boston, comparable to the whole region's rate.

      Metro Boston Single Condominiums Although similar picture, the strokes differs here quite a bit. Condominiums in Metro Boston have a slightly better Sales pace, dropping only 12.9 percent from November 2013's figures. In total, 263 condominiums saw their deeds exchanged, compared to 302 units in 2013.

      The Median Sales Price of Condominiums in and around town increased by 4.3 percent last month to $480,000. This reflects a $20,000 increase over figures from November 2013, when condominium sales were spiking month after month and virtually halted to a slow in the earlier months of this year.

      And due to the sheer number of projects being turned over almost every quarter this year (and the coming year), inventory is only 16.4 percent down, in spite of decent sales figures for November 2014. Last year there were 646 units available, whereas this year we're faced with 600 units on the market in November - quite a steady number given the pace! This will help temper off any extraordinarily high price hike ups that could stem from dwindling condominum inventory.

      Though the average number of days condominium units remain in the market have increased by 3 days (10.4 percent) from last year, this primarily reflects the unusual number of choices available out there for prospective buyers during this time of year. The seller's market is indeed in full bloom even as we inch on to winter! In fact, New Listings for Condo Properties in the Metro Boston enjoyed a robust and healthy 14.2 percent increase, adding 258 new units for sale in November 2014, compared to only 225 in 2013.

      Hungry for more digs and development data? Stay tuned as we publish our Real Estate Forecast In 2015 later this week.

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      Holiday Lights Around Town and How Not To Screw Up Your Home Sale This Season

      With Christmas just a week away, you've probably decked the halls of your home with boughs of holly, prepping once again for that time of the year when your home becomes a gathering place for family and friends to celebrate the season. Boston, in particular, is one of those cities where, during the holidays, homes look so picturesque as if they were on postcards. Just check out the gallery of Instagrams we've collected showing how creative Bostonians can get during Christmas:

      This house has some serious Christmas Lights Game

      A photo posted by Mike (@mikest1) on Dec 12, 2014 at 7:41pm PST

      However, the holiday season is also a good time to start selling your home. And if you're on the verge of selling your property this season, you may be wondering if it is OK to decorate for the holidays. Well the good news is yes, you can! Here are some tips to help you along the way without turning off buyers:

      Keep it classic

      It may be family tradition to "deck the halls" across every square inch of your house, but, if you are trying to sell your home, it may be better to scale back. When selling a home, it's important to present it in a way that others can see themselves living in. For this reason, you should focus on seasonal décor rather than, say, religious decorations.

      Use the holidays to create warmth in your home. The lights and color can warm anyone's heart. With the right touch, holiday decorations can create an emotional attraction for a buyer to your home. A cold, undecorated home can't compete with one that has the fireplace roaring, the smell of fresh baked cookies, and elegant, yet festive décor.

      Keep it tidy

      Of course, there's always the risk of things looking untidy. Most people love holiday decorations, but only to certain extent. Remember that however you decorate, don't distract prospective buyers from the space, since holiday decorations can cause clutter, which could potentially make a room or space look smaller. Some tips to help you stay tidy:

      • Hide unsightly wires.
      • Stay away from decorations covered in glitter.
      • Decorate with intention; try to create a mood.

      Keep it in season

      One area where you likely won't want to display holiday decorations: your listing photos. Holiday decorations can unintentionally date a photo, especially if the house is still on the market after New Year's passes. This trick makes sure that the listings doesn't become unintentionally tacky post the holiday season.

      Keep it safe

      Holiday candles may leave a home smelling and looking beautiful, but, don't forget, they can also be extremely dangerous. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 42 home candle fires are reported every day, and December is the peak time of the year for such fires. So, instead of using candles to add holiday cheer, consider getting flameless alternatives and using lightly scented sprays as safer alternatives. Hopefully these tricks and tips will make your home sale faster this festive season!

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      Boston Properties Now Worth Over A Hundred Billion

      Dec17-1Boston is now officially a $100 billion city - that's right, one hundred billion. And if you want to be more precise about it, it's actually $110 Billion. The price tag comes after the city's assessment of all residential and commercial properties within the bounds of Boston's city line. To give you an idea of how impactful and historic this valuation is, this is the first time that the aggregated value of properties in the city have been assessed over the hundred billion-dollar mark. This is perhaps the most startling evidence of the recent real estate market surge that has come upon Boston in recent quarters.

      Overall and across types of properties, the value of the city's real estate has risen 10 percent from last year - it is the largest percentage increase the city has seen since 2007, when values jumped 15 percent before the recession hit. The most obvious reason for this increase in property values is the overwhelming overhaul of the different pockets of unused parcels of land that have been transformed into busting neighborhoods and districts, with the Seaport, the Greenway, South End, and Fenway being the most notable ones.

      Viewed on a decades perspective, Boston properties have more than doubled in the past 12 years. And although Boston has some of the highest-priced property in the country, its total value remains much lower than larger cities such as New York, where assessors tabulated more than $900 billion in property last year. And in spite of that close-to-trillion dollar mark being miles ahead of Boston's, there is a big possibility the city's total assessment of all properties in the next five years could balloon given all the movement in the marketplace.

      Dec17-5In the first nine months alone, the city has seen over $10 billion in commercial building transactions - a figure that's double of the same period in 2013, which stood at $4.7 billion. A similar pattern has occurred in the residential market, with prices rising sharply in many neighborhoods. The average selling price of condominiums in the downtown Boston area rose to $830,000 this fall, a 16 percent increase from a year earlier.  And with over $4 billion worth and 7.5 million square feet of residential projects going up this year alone, prices aren't going down anytime soon.

      Though this is all good news to property owners and investors who have been able to ride the real estate wave and have seen their property prices surge up from a 10-15% since 2007, small businesses are forecasting tighter times ahead given the possible impact this valuation will have on their bottomline. More specifically,  property prices skyrocketing will of course, jack up tax rates. However, the city has reminded property owners that there are measures in place to prevent that from happening. They citied a state property  law that prevents total municipal levies from increasing by more than 2.5 percent in a single year. In other words, the state law forces cities and towns to adjust tax rates if and when necessary - this year possibly being one of them.

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      Should You Put Off Listing Your Home Til Spring?

      Boston SpringAs the holiday seasons gets well on the way, there are numerous reasons why you, as a property owner, might not be thinking of cashing in on your investment right now - winter weather, timing in general, and time as a whole being the top-most reasons. If you are on that boat, then rest well that you're not alone. In fact, Thanksgiving Day usually marks the end of the U.S. fall house-hunting season, leaving sellers whose homes didn't attract buyers unsure whether to keep their properties on the market over the winter or pull the plug and start again next spring. But no longer the case, with buyers sprouting out left and right, braving the wintriest of conditions and carving out time away from their Christmas schedules just to visit open houses.

      The old thinking was that if you wait until spring, you'll probably have higher demand and could get a little bit more for your house. But the question nowadays is whether that justifies the time you'll save if you get an offer over the winter.

      Winter is the slowest time of year in most U.S. housing markets, meaning sellers face pros and cons if they leave properties up for sale during the cold months. However, the recent uproar in the real estate business has caused many savvy buyers to look for creative means to get properties that are otherwise difficult to snag during the spring and summer.

      Since the start of the winter months, we've recommend that our clients keep properties listed for sale all winter long, since we have strong indications that the market is currently built to ride out the usual bumps that the winter market brings. We do however, admit there are also some advantages to waiting until spring, which is typically the busiest house-hunting season. So, here to enlighten you are the two sides of the coin:

      winter-south-end-1024x768Potentials downsides include:

      • Inconvenience. Who wants to keep a place spotless while cooking for the holidays or cleaning up after family members who've tracked in salt and snow? Having your home off of the market in the winter means you can take a break from having your place ready for viewings at a moment's notice.
      • Reduced curb appeal. Your manicured lawn might enhance your property's value in May, but it won't do much good if it's under a foot of snow in January. Short winter days also mean many homes' interiors look darker than usual.
      • Low-ball bids. Many house-hunters assume anyone who's kept a property on the market over the winter is desperate, so they'll price any offers accordingly.

      home-sale-winter-163x142Of course, there are also advantages, which include:

      • A holiday feel. There's nothing like a warm, friendly residence at holiday time to attract buyers. Psychology tells us that people buy on emotion, and if they go to a house that's decorated for Christmas or another plain old any holiday, it can become very emotional for some people. Buyers think about living in the home the next Christmas, and we think that makes for an easier albeit smoother sale.
      • Out-of-town house-hunters. People who grew up in your community but moved away in adulthood often come back for the holidays -- and sometimes decide to check out local real estate as long as they're around. Think about it this way: if someone has come from out of town to visit mom and dad and are thinking about moving back, you don't want to lose them as potential buyers.
      • Motivated buyers. It's true that some sellers who leave places on the market this time of year are frantic, but Nelson says winter house-hunters are often just as anxious to buy due to job transfers or similar reasons.
      • Potential cost savings. Some people who keep properties listed for sale during the winter have already relocated to new homes, so finding buyers before the spring can save them from having to make mortgage payments on two residences

      Weighing all the factors, we generally recommend that people with unsold homes leave them on the market throughout the winter - it does, after all, only take one buyer to take a property it off the table, and in a seller's market, the season really isn't much of reason.

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      Rounding Up 2014: Boston's Development Digits

      Millennium Tower Rendering 12-3-14As the year is fast approaching its end, we're counting down the numbers that has made up the year that was for Boston's real estate scene. And though there might still be some days left in twenty fourteen, it's safe to assume that the year will close on a better note than it did in twenty thirteen. For instance, 2014 saw another burst in the already-booming business of new residential developments. We're also ending this year with December as a dark horse that's once again defying the usually-ice cold case of winter sales.

      YEAR-END TOTALS

      o $4 billion worth of new construction will have broken ground by Dec. 31, up 16.4 percent from the year before. o 7.5 million square feet of total space will have been added. o 12,000 construction jobs were supported this year. o 3,859 housing units are under construction, on track to meet a target of 53,000 units by 2030.

      MASSACHUSETTS HOMES MATCHED WITH BUYERS (as of December 12 2014, per MLS)

      Single Family - 34
      Condominiums -  104
      Multifamily - 15
      In the same period in 2013, here's what the market looked like:
      Single Family - 34
      Condominiums -  143
      Multifamily - 26
      So, see - even this late in the year there's a lot of buyers looking to snap up something before the year is done!

      Luxury Rentals PSF AveWHERE LUXURY RENTALS STAND RIGHT NOW

      It seems that nothing has stopped luxury rentals from climbing up past the primetime fall rental months. The average price for renting across 36 of Boston's luxury rental buildings stands at a flat $4 per square foot. That list includes heavy-weight luxury buildings that span a range of ultra-posh to such as The Victor, The Kensington, 100 Arlington, One Back Bay, to the upper mid-luxurious residences of Radian, Third Square, Devonshire, 315 on A and more.

      And as per Real Estate consultant TCC's price heat map, Financial District's The Kensington rents the highest per square foot at $5.24, and Government Center's Emmerson Place places second to the last before Vox on Two (Alewife), renting at $3.07 per square foot. View a complete rundown of the Boston's 36 Most Luxurious Buildings here.

      DEVELOPMENT PRICE PSF
      The Kensington $5.24
      Avalon Exeter $5.21
      The Arlington $5.17
      One Back Bay $4.97
      315 on A $4.93
      Avalon NorthPoint Lofts $4.82
      Radian $4.80
      Ink Block $4.65
      Watermark Kendall East $4.61
      The Colonnade $4.59
      Watermark Kendall West $4.40
      The Troy $4.33
      Avalon Prudential $4.11
      The Wyeth $4.04
      Avalon NorthPoint $4.01
      AVA Prudential $3.98
      1330 Boylston $3.96
      Avalon Assembly Row $3.91
      The Victor $3.83
      Eco $3.82
      The Devonshire $3.80
      Waterside Place $3.79
      Third Square $3.68
      Asteria Villas and Vista $3.66
      Edge $3.62
      Trilogy Fenway $3.62
      Gatehouse 75 $3.58
      Element $3.55
      AVA Sommerville $3.42
      Archstone Avenir $3.41
      11 West Broadway $3.27
      Portside East Pier $3.20
      Atmark $3.16
      Maxwell's Green $3.07
      Emmerson Place $3.07
      Vox on Two $3.04
      AVERAGE PPSFT (36 PROPERTIES) $4.01

       

      smallaptsCITY IS SECOND TO HAVE MOST MICRO APARTMENTS IN THE COUNTRY

      From luxurious dwellings to cozy-sized condos, Boston has been ranked 2nd to have the most number of micro apartments in the country - something that we may or may not be proud of. HotPads counted the number of condos in each of the 12 Key Property Markets in the country that were not greater than 400 square feet (the technical size definition of a micro-unit). As expected, never-spacey New York City topped the list and then followed by Boston.

      NYC - 5,396 units Boston - 5,224 units Los Angeles - 2,103 units Washington DC - 1,672 units Seattle - 1,462 units

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      Advantages of Off-Season House Hunting

      snowy-back-bay-2So you've saved up your down payment, and mortgage rates are about as low as you think they'll go, and you're ready to start home shopping, but it's December - and everyone's telling you that you've missed the homebuying window for the year. Is that really true? Perhaps, and perhaps not. What are the pros and cons of buying a home while most of the country is focused on buying and wrapping gifts? Consider this article as an early Christmas gift from us to you, as we offer tips, tricks, and advice on what you can expect from the housing market nearing the end of the year, and what advantages could be in store for you.

      Holiday house hunting Shopping for a home in December and during the dead of winter might be somewhat less than ideal, as there are fewer homes to choose from and not as many open houses to peruse in the season's cold, wet weather. But a couple of things are working to your advantage: there will be less competition for any house you do find and fall in love with, and less competition often times work in your favor.

      Boston skyline, winter house hunting, Boston real estate, Bargain buys, discounts, winter advantageAccording to Realtor.com's historical figures, real estate prices are typically at a 12-month low in December through early February. This means that you don't have to be as aggressive with your initial first offer, compared to buying during peak to high season. Sellers who are more willing to keep their house on the market in winter may be more flexible in negotiating the terms of an offer; extending the time to close or agreeing to other concessions.

      Another important factor to consider is that you'll have more help in your homebuying during the cold winter months as you're likely to get more of your agent's time as the year winds down. Agents typically go on standby mode during the winter months, so they will be at your disposal.

      Of course, the downside to this end-of-the-year shopping is diminished selection. According to housing aggregator Trulia, the number of listings that come to market in the spring is 65% higher than what we see in November, December, and January. Many people just don't want to focus on showings during the holidays.

      However, if you do see something you like, it's a good time to pull the trigger and submit your bid. With rates near record lows, you might be able to afford more house now than you would be able to in the spring when rates are expected to edge up - even though it's only half a percent, this will eventually save you a couple of hundred dollars in the long run. There's also a chance lenders may be more willing to shave down fees at this off-peak time to gain your business in an otherwise slow season for them.

      Finding blemished bargains

      Boston skyline, winter house hunting, Boston real estate, Bargain buys, discounts, winter advantageLooking for the best bargain in a neighborhood? Zillow advises looking for listings where sellers clearly ignored their agent's advice. The site noted factors such as crowded rooms, knick-knacks and bad lighting, which can affect a selling price, but not long-term value. In other words, properties that have been left untouched and unimproved by their owners since the time of their listing.

      In our fair city, check neighborhoods such as the North- and South End, as well as Cambridge for walk-ups that usually turn people off during the peak of house hunting. There are great bargains out there overlooked and sidetracked by many because of the abundance of properties during the high season. Multifamily homes are also a good bet, as many (but not most) are vacated by tenants who have leases that turnover in January. Some landlords would want to dispose of those properties and cash in, rather than finding tenants. The same applies to apartments or investment properties in the commercial districts, as most businesses tend to have licenses on a yearly basis that ends in December. And if it so happens that lady luck isn't on their side and they'll need to fold up, you might be the lucky fellow to capitalize on their space.

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      A Seller's Guide To Hosting Holiday Open Houses

      South End ChristmasThe holidays already come with plenty of hospitality hassles, between hosting out-of-town relatives, figuring out how much to tip the building staff and mail men, and picking appropriate gifts for your office Secret Santa. If you're selling your apartment, is it really worth enduring a gauntlet of open houses in a season where sales tend to be slower, anyway?  And will you have to move your decorations every time people come through?

      While some brokers recommend postponing open houses until the new year--why bother, the thinking goes--the sales market in Boston is hot enough these days that you could ink a deal, even in the depths of December. We're even confident enough to proclaim that if there were ever a year when the holidays won't affect sales as much as usual, this year would be it. And if you are thinking about holding open houses through the season, then you're in luck - we've got tips on days to avoid, how to handle decorations, and more that's sure to make your home sale this holiday season a breeze:

      Modern christmas interiorDates and Times To Skip

      While the whole holiday season isn't all a "no-go" to sell your home, there are some dates--namely, the weekends around Thanksgiving and Christmas--that won't be worth the hassle. That's because most people are out of town, and often, the people who do come to look aren't serious, but people who would like to take tours with their guests, namely their parents. The weeks before are fine, but you do decide (in spite of our warning) to have an open house during the weekends surrounding major holidays like Christmas or New Year, then expect low turnout.

      Since open houses are typically held on Sundays, December 7th and 14th of this year should be fine, given Christmas and New Year are both in the latter end of the week, and is mostly attached to the weekend. Try to stay away from being to close to the 21st since people will be heading out of town by that time, and you'll get less foot traffic.

      Another thing to keep in mind, and this applies throughout the winter: schedule showings between 11am and 2pm, when scarce winter lighting is at its best to highlight your home. We suggest never hosting an open house after 4pm in the winter since that's when the sun goes down and it's too dark to see anything without lighting.

      Don't Fret About Fewer Buyers

      Not surprisingly, window shoppers tend to stay home during the chilly, busy weeks of December. But in a competitive seller's market like what have currently, hardcore hunters have to be prepared to scope out properties regardless of the season. Just always keep in mind that the ones who are actually serious will still be out there looking. These are prospective buyers that are qualified and are ready to go - sometimes even with cash offers - and if something comes on the market December 7th, they're going to be ready to see it.

      Watch out for Closing Delays

      Once you do secure a sure buyer, it might be a good idea to tame their expectations of when the closing could happen. Wrapping up before the ball drops on New Year's Eve might not be a possibility - especially if contingencies are involved. However, don't let that deter you from a quick closing if you have a cash buyer. Ask your broker to expedite the process with the closing lawyers and parties involved so that everything could be signed, sealed, and delivered within a week. Take for example our firm's closing record, which stands at 4 business days with both parties ecstatic and overjoyed.

      across-the-charles-new-yearsKeep decorations up, within reason

      Unless you've turned your apartment into a full-on North Pole replica, you won't have to worry about moving your decorations out of the way every time prospective buyers come through.  With simple and elegant decorations, you can give a space a home feel. However, if you go too far overboard and it can come off as distasteful and actually be distracting from the features of the home you're selling. If you've got a particularly strong feeling for festivities and decorations, use that to your advantage by keeping fireplaces lit or serving holiday-themed drinks and snacks. It can help the potential buyers' experience be a memorable one, and that will strongly count towards considering

      Bottom line is that we'll never going to tell a client, 'don't do a Christmas tree', because that's really not going to affect the value of your property. Smart and serious buyers know that it's the holidays and know how to look beyond that.

      Thinking of Selling During the Holiday Season? Contact us now to list and get more marketing and expert tips!

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      Your "Everything Holiday" Event Guide In The City

      PIC3Believe it or not, folks, it's that time of year. Before you know it, bells will be ringing, people will be singing, and you will be behind on holiday shopping.

      One important thing to know as the holiday season approaches is that paying full price is for chumps. Each year, the Mayor's Office and ArtsBoston team up for the Mayor's Holiday Spectacular, so before dishing out the dough, check MayorsHoliday.com first to get half-price tickets to shows, dining discounts, and more.

      As we've always done in the past, here's your "everything holiday" event guide in the city this jolly season! We'll keep updating as more events are scheduled; feel free to add your recommendations in the comments below.

      TREE LIGHTING & HOLIDAY LIGHTS

      Commonwealth Avenue Mall Lights Sure, the trees at the Common, Faneuil Hall, and Copley will be completely decked out, but for a quieter, more elegant display of holiday lights, take a stroll through the Comm. Ave. Mall, which is illuminated each year with thousands of sparkling white lights.

      Free, December 1-31, Commonwealth Avenue Mall, Boston.

      Copley Square Tree Lighting Santa and Rudolph will be among the special guests at the Copley Square tree lighting, which also typically features other highlights like music and kids' activities.

      Free, December 2, 5-6 p.m., Copley Square, Boston.

      31 Nights of Light at Prudential Center Each year, the Pru dedicates each day of December to a different organization, lighting up the tower in colors representing that local group. Each night is accompanied with special event with music and speakers, but for casual passersby, just know that the changing beacon represents a different cause each night.

      Free, December 1-31, Prudential Center, Boston.

      Boston Common Tree Lighting This is understandably one of the biggest tree lighting events in town. The mayor, Santa, and other notables will be in attendance. Last year boasted live performances by Joey McIntyre, Blue Man Group, and Boston Ballet's The Nutcracker. Plus, don't miss the annual Frog Pond Skating Spectacular, when pros and students from the Skating Club of Boston put on one of their two free shows of the season.

      Free, December 4, 4-8 p.m., Boston Common.

      Old South Church Christmas Craft Fair and Music Day Right in the heart of Boylston, the fair at Old South Church will bring 30 artists from all over New England to display their offerings in all kinds of photography, fine art, jewelry, pottery, and more. The Boston Conservatory's Boylston Brass Concert will take place at 10 a.m., the Christmas Organ concert at noon, then a final tree lighting and caroling will take place at 2 p.m.

      Free, December 6, 9:30 a.m.-3:30p.m., Old South Church, Boston.

      FUN

      15th Annual Santa Speedo Run No explanation necessary. See photos from last year.

      Free to be there, register online, December 6, 1-1:30 p.m. on Newbury and Boylston Streets between Berkeley and Gloucester.

      SOUNDS & SHOWS

      While Boston Ballet's production remains the glitziest show of them all, you can experience the classic tale just about anywhere during the holidays.

      $35+, The Nutcracker by Boston BalletNovember 28-December 31, Boston Opera House. $25+, The Nutcracker by Boston Dance CompanyDecember 6 in Andover and December 11 and 12 at the Strand in Dorchester. $15+, The Nutcracker by José Mateo Ballet TheatreNovember 28-December 21, shows in Duxbury, Cambridge, and Dorchester. $25, The Urban Nutcracker by Tony Williams Dance CenterDecember 12-28, Back Bay Events Center, Boston. $27+, The SlutcrackerDecember 5-31, Somerville Theatre.

      Holiday Pops A long-running tradition continues in December when Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops take the Symphony Hall stage to perform all your favorite holiday classics. This year, in additional to the regular show, the Pops will also perform three shows of Home Alone. Or you can ring in the New Year on December 31 with Bo Winiker and the Boston Pops Swing Orchestra.

      $37+, December 3-31, Symphony Hall, Boston.

      Holiday Sing H+H's chorus and children's ensembles--along with a brass quintet--will lead a cheerful sing-a-long featuring all the classics. Yes, you will know all the words.

      $20+, December 13, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., Great Hall at Faneuil Hall, Boston.

      Back Bay Ringers' Christmas Memories If the aforementioned tuba concert doesn't sound like your thing, then consider experiencing your favorite Christmas classics performed by on hand bells by the talented Back Bay Ringers.

      $15, five shows December 5-13 in Boston, Danvers, Worcester, Framingham, and Waltham.

      A Christmas Celtic Sojourn at Hanover Theatre Brian O'Donovan will host this evening of world-class Celtic music and dancing presented by WGBH.

      $46+, December 17, 7:30 p.m., Hanover Theatre, Worcester.

      A Bach Christmas at Jordan Hall, December 18-21 Corelli's Christmas Concerto and Bach's Cantata IV from Christmas Oratorio as among the pieces classical music lovers can expect from the Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by Back Bay Chorale Music Director Scott Allen Jarrett.

      $22+, December 18 at 7:30 p.m. and December 21 at 3 p.m., Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory, Boston.

      Aimee Mann's Christmas Show Mann's holiday variety show returns after going on hiatus for a few years. This year she's back with her partner from The Both Ted Leo, Susanna Hoffs, Jonathan Coulton, and more.

      $35+, December 9, 8 p.m., Wilbur Theatre, Boston.

      Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical Even if you aren't singing out loud, we dare you to resist not mouthing the lyrics by the end. Even as you read this, the words are coming to you. Then one foggy Christmas Eve... Stuck in your head now? Yeah, you're welcome.

      $28+, December 9-14, Citi Shubert Theatre, Boston.

      Irving Berlin's White Christmas: The Musical Based on the 1954 film, White Christmas has all the trimmings--red ball gowns with white fur trim, cheesy Christmas sweaters, and dancing on a tiny piano.

      $35+, December 16-28, Citi Wang Theatre, Boston.

      SHOPPING

      Cultural Survival Bazaar This one-of-a-kind shopping experience helps guarantee that your gifts won't be the same as everyone's else's. Plus, you'll feel better knowing that you're buying quality accessories, decor, and other items directly from artisans and free-trade vendors. The Bazaar will set up shop in five different venues throughout this season in Cambridge, Watertown, and Boston.

      Free to attend, November 21-December 21, various locations.

      CraftBoston Holiday Expedite your holiday shopping with a trip to CraftBoston Holiday, where some 175 exhibitors will be more than happy to show you their fashion-forward, gift-worthy goods.

      $15, December 5-7, Hynes Convention Center, Boston.

      MassArt Made Holiday This annual holiday sale features unique, handmade artwork made by the talented MassArt students and alumni. You'll find everything from paintings, ceramics, jewelry, hand-blown glass, photography, and more. Proceeds from the sale will go toward MassArt artists and scholarships.

      Free to attend, December 7-13, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Lobby of the Tower Building, Boston.

      Beacon Hill Holiday Stroll Beacon Hill's annual Holiday Stroll is the epitome of charm. The area is decked out in all the bells and whistles to get visitors in the holiday spirit. And of course, the boutiques and galleries will be open for your shopping needs.

      Free to attend, December 11, 6-9 p.m., Beacon Hill, Boston.

      SoWa Holiday Market, December 13 and 14 As soon as their Halloween market ends--their last outdoor market of the season--people start looking forward to SoWa's annual Holiday Market in mid-December. The vendors here are the cream of the crop, and the lines to get in wrap around the building. Once inside though, the challenge is not to find something; rather, it's to resist the temptation to not buy everything...for yourself. This year's market is two days, and you can also take advantage of free gift wrapping at the Yelp table.

      $5, December 13 and 14, Benjamin Franklin Institute, 41 Berkeley St., Boston.

      HANUKKAH

      Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights at the MFA The MFA's Hanukkah celebration includes a menorah lighting, olive oil tasting, and art-making activities--including dreidels, of course--as well as music and a film screening. The coolest part of the celebration, however, is the 8 Nights, 8 Windows installation, where visitors don Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets to preview a forthcoming art project by local digital artists Jeff Hesser, Mike Mandel, and musician Guy Mendilow.

      Free, December 17, 6-9:45 p.m., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

      Moo Shu Jew Show at Hei La Moon This fourth annual event was designed to be a place for Jews to go on Christmas Eve. A five-course dinner--with no shellfish or pork--comes with four standup comedy acts. Dim sum, win some, amiright?

      $45+, December 24, 6 p.m., Hei La Moon, Chinatown.

      NEW YEAR'S (to be updated with more)

      First Night The annual city-wide arts fest that almost wasn't last year will return with all sorts of free and discounted programming, ice sculptures, ice skating, and other fun activities as we herald in a new year.

      Plus, here are some other shows happening around New Year's:

      Lake Street Dive$35+, The Sinclair, December 29, 30, and 31. Bad Rabbits$38+, Paradise Rock Club, December 31. John Oliver$52+, Wilbur Theatre, December 30 and 31.

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      October Market Data Shows Positive Signs Amid Slow Month Nationally

      Boston AutumnThe latest numbers are in for the City of Boston's October Market Performance, and it seems they're agreeing with the week's theme, as there are a lot of things to be thankful for! Median Sales Price of homes across all properties are up 7.1 percent, and closed sales of single-family properties gathered steam compared from the same period last year, increasing by 4.1 percent despite the drop in available homes with the inventory dropping 19.2 percent.

      Condominium Sales, on the other hand saw a better-than-expected decline in total closed sales, down by 2.7 percent. That figure is better than the -4 percent market watchers were anticipating, given the continuous drop in inventory, which was 20.4 percent lower compared to a year ago.

      Here's a closer look at how Boston is faring compared to the nation's numbers:

      ALL CONDOS SINGLE FAM

      Looking at the region, Boston is also looking sharp compared to the Northeast as a whole:

      REGIONAL

      Overall, though the nation has some strides in terms of total closed sales, keep in mind that you will need to scale Boston's real estate market to terms. Nationally, and throughout the Top 20 Property Markets, Boston still places No 2 in terms of October's figures. Regionally, New York - of course - trumps Boston in terms of available properties, and such has an increased probability for closed sales. Looking at the Median Sales Price however, you can see that Boston places ahead of the rest in the whole region.

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