Archive for July, 2008

Multi-Family Price Drops Make it Possible to Renovate East Boston Homes

While the East Boston condominium market continues to remain strong, with 45 units either selling or going under agreement in the last two months alone, a significant trend in the local market is the plummeting prices for unrenovated multifamily properties in the neighborhood.

Many of East Boston’s two and three family homes are in dire need of repairs and improvements—new functional room layouts, updated plumbing and wiring, deleading, extensive exterior improvements, and general improvements to kitchens, bathrooms and flooring. But, there is a light at the end of the tunnel—no pun intended. As prices of these 2 and 3 family houses continue to drop, they will be cheap enough for homebuyers, developers and contractors to purchase them and make the necessary improvements to transform them into beautiful homes. Many units of housing will probably be converted into condominiums, greatly increasing the neighborhood’s owner occupancy rate.

When prices for unrenovated multi family properties were artificially inflated, it was not economically feasible for someone to buy the properties and make the necessary repairs and upgrades. Hopefully, with more realistic sale prices of East Boston’s more decrepit housing stock, our neighborhood we will see great physical improvements made to these buildings, along with an increased number of concerned residents living in them.

Please check back as we continue to update you on East Boston real estate happenings. To see all our listings, or to search MLS properties, head to the Tony’s Realty Website.

Email Tony with your questions or comments.

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Fraudulent Short Sales Hurt East Boston Property Values

One of many things happening in the East Boston real estate market is the “short sale.” A short sale can occur when a seller owes more on a property than a property is worth. If a homeowner can show financial hardship, a bank will sometimes allow a seller to sell that property at “market value,” which might be less than the amount owed on the property. The bank forgives the homeowner the difference in money owed.

Fraud can sadly sometimes come into play in a short sale transaction. In an ideal world, a seller will list a property at a “fair market price” and bring in as many buyers as possible to obtain the highest price on the property before asking a bank to accept a “short sale.” But agents and sellers sometimes discourage buyers from seeing their properties—a property is explicitly described with defects instead of assets. The seller then gets a friend or relative to purchase the property, not at market value, but at an artificially low value, perhaps a price much lower than a “regular buyer” would pay if encouraged to view the property or if given a chance to make an offer.

If a homeowner can convince a bank to allow him to sell his house below market value to a friend or relative, why should anyone care? Well, it hurts all of us. Offers are usually based upon recent sales; mortgages are based upon appraised value. When a “regular” seller sells his home, buyers and bankers look at recent sale prices. “Short sales” can create artificially low comps—comparable sales. Artificially low short sale comps not on the “open market” can hinder legitimate homeowners from selling at true market value. Neighborhoods like East Boston risk losing their true, and primarily stable, property values.

Please check back as we continue to update you on East Boston real estate happenings. To see all our listings, or to search MLS properties, head to the Tony’s Realty Website.

Email Tony with your questions or comments.

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East Boston Graffiti Easily Removable

When selling real estate, a property’s appearance is an important factor in attracting buyers. From the outside, we call this “curb appeal.” There is also such a thing known as “neighborhood appeal.” Brick sidewalks, lampposts, hedges, and trees can all make a neighborhood or block look more appealing.

While we look forward to East Boston improvements, such as new landscaping and decorative street lighting, one improvement we can advocate for and for which we can see immediate results is the removal of graffiti.

Graffiti is unwelcoming, menacing, and unpleasant to view. When buyers see graffiti present in a neighborhood, it raises questions: Do the landlords care about graffiti? Are there neighborhood organizations advocating for its removal? If graffiti is so accepted, what about other issues such as crime and litter?

Homeowners, landlords, and neighbors should do their part to have graffiti removed immediately. Thankfully, the City of Boston has a free graffiti removal service available to property owners. Simply call City Hall at 617-635-4000 and ask for “Graffiti Busters” or go online to the City of Boston Website. Fill out a graffiti removal form, and shortly afterwards, Graffiti Busters will arrive to remove the graffiti.

As homeowners and landlords we should all take advantage of the City’s Graffiti Busters program, and we should let our neighbors, who might not be aware of this great service, know how easy it is. Graffiti removal in East Boston is easily achievable and free, and it will greatly improve the appearance of our neighborhood.

Please check back as we continue to update you on East Boston real estate happenings. To see all our listings, or to search MLS properties, head to the Tony’s Realty Website.

Email Tony with your questions or comments.

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East Boston 2008 Six Month Sales Report

The following six-month report compares January thru June 2008 East Boston property sales to January thru June 2007 sales using data derived from MLS.

In 2008, 64 condos sold in East Boston: the average sale price was $248,335; the average time on market (DOM) was 142 days. In 2007, 78 condos sold: the average DOM was 131 days; the average sale price was $266,142. The average 2008 condo sale price declined 6.7% from 2007.

In 2008, 21 single-family homes sold in East Boston: the average sale price was $229,245; the average DOM was 212 days. In 2007 there were only 14 single-family sales: the average sale price was $270,493; the average DOM was 137 days. The average single-family sale price for 2008 declined 15.2% from 2007.

In 2008, 18 two-family homes sold in East Boston: the average sale price was $240,289; the average DOM was 184 days. In 2007, 13 two-family homes sold with an average sale price of $335,823; the average DOM was 101 days. The average two-family sale price for 2008 declined 28.4% from 2007.

In 2008, 32 three-family homes sold in East Boston: the average sale price was $265,921; the average DOM was 175 days. In 2007, there were 31 three-family sales in East Boston: the average sale price was $427,297; the average DOM was 130 days. The average three-family sale price for 2008 declined 37.8% from 2007.

Overall, condominium and single-family homes have declined in price less than two and three-family homes. The East Boston multi family market has been hit hardest in the past year with reduced selling prices and much longer time periods on the market.

Please check back as we continue to update you on East Boston real estate happenings. To see all our listings, or to search MLS properties, head to the Tony’s Realty Website.

Email Tony with your questions or comments.

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East Boston in the News

See this July 6, 2008 Boston Globe article that covers upcoming East Boston waterfront developments:  On the Road to Becoming a Hot Spot.

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