The Charles Realty

The Best of Back Bay Condos - Seven New Construction Buildings on Our Radar

You won’t find a neighborhood in Boston that hasn’t been touched by the boom of residential development, and Back Bay is no exception.  Located in the heart of the city along the lovely and meandering Charles River, Back Bay is arguably the city’s most esteemed neighborhood.  The rows of victorian brownstone homes, the cultural institutions, renowned shopping and iconic city landmarks make this neighborhood illustrious and highly desirable.  So it’s no surprise that Back Bay real estate is more expensive than any other in the city, and that condos for sale in Back Bay are a hot commodity.  Luckily there’s some pretty significant residential development happening in this posh neighborhood, which will give aspiring Back Bay residents more options and satisfy some of the demand. Here are the seven new construction buildings we have our eye on right now:

1. One Dalton

(Image source: http://www.bldup.com/projects/one-dalton)

The first building on the list is a doozy.  Not only will One Dalton be the tallest residential tower in New England at 740 feet and 61 stories tall, but it will offer residents state of the art amenities and sweeping views of The Charles River and the Boston skyline.  Here are the details (source: http://www.bldup.com/projects/one-dalton):

  • 180 private luxury condominium residences on the upper floors
  • Amenities: lap pool, fitness center, salon with manicure, pedicure and hair styling services, private yoga and pilates studio, a golf simulator room with a wet bar and private theater room 
  • A Private Residents’ Club Lounge will feature a dining room, a lounge area, a fully appointed bar and catering kitchen and a terrace with views of The Charles River and Boston skyline  
  • 5,000 square foot park at ground level
  • A Four Seasons luxury hotel will comprise One Dalton’s lower floors
  • Expected completion June 2018

2. Four51 Marlborough

(image source: http://www.bldup.com/projects/four51-marlborough)

Located on one of the most desirable residential streets in Boston, Four51 Marlborough has the historic charm of other Back Bay condos, but was built with modern luxury in mind.  The boutique building is located just around the corner from some of the city’s best shopping, restaurants and attractions.  Only two of the 8 luxury condominiums remain, “Residence West” and “Three East.”  Specific building details include (source: http://www.bldup.com/projects/four51-marlborough):

  • Eight luxury condominium residences ranging from 2-5 bedrooms
  • Fine natural finishes as well as French balconies, direct elevator access and multiple sunlight exposures
  • Heated garage parking on site
  • Concierge service

3. 30 Dalton

(Image Source: http://www.bldup.com/projects/30-dalton)

30 Dalton is a luxury rental building, but it’s certainly worth mentioning for it’s state-of-the-art finishes and sweeping views of Boston.  With construction wrapping up in June of 2016, this building’s towering facade is relatively new to the Back Bay skyline. 30 Dalton is “uniquely positioned at the nexus of the Back Bay, the South End and Fenway Cultural District” (source: http://www.30dalton.com/neighborhood/) and features:

  • 218 luxury apartment residences
  • 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom residences with state of the art finishes
  • A common area on the top floor, known as The Skyline Suite, with a double-height common space featuring a caterer’s kitchen, a fitness center, private dining and an outdoor terrace
  • Flour bakery has opened in 30 Dalton’s ground-floor retail space

4. The Abbott

(Image source: http://abbottbackbay.com/#services)

Though this building has been around since 1872, it might as well be new construction with it’s luxurious and modern finishes.  Located on the sunny side of a prime Back Bay block, this boutique building has only two units still available - unit one, and unit eight.  Here’s more information (source: http://abbottbackbay.com/#about):

  • A complete restoration and modernization of the 1872 Peabody and Sterns brownstone
  • Located at the corner of Marlborough and Exeter Streets
  • Eight units in total, with two still available (2-bed and 4-bed)
  • Expected completion in late Summer 2017
  • Rental parking available

5. 474 Beacon

(Image source: www.zillow.com)

This new construction building in Back Bay is scheduled to be completed any day now, and features three units, two of which are still available.  These Back Bay condos are overlooking The Charles River and include:

  • 3 bed / 3 baths
  • Living rooms with southern exposure and gas fireplaces
  • Elevator access
  • Direct access to Tandem Garage parking
  • Expected completion May 2017

6. The Lydon 

(Image Source: www.lydon.com)

Optimally located at 401 Beacon, the Lydon offers residents “a new level of style and sophistication in one of the most iconic and culturally sophisticated neighborhoods.”  Only one available unit remains, a 4 bed / 4 bath home with top of the line finishes and over 5,570 square feet.  It also includes:

  • Two living levels
  • Direct elevator access
  • Two garage parking spaces
  • A daytime concierge

7. 237 Marlborough

We had to throw this new construction single family into the mix because it’s sure to be one of the most magnificent homes in the neighborhood. Located on the sunny side of Marlborough street, this home is one of the best that Back Bay real estate has to offer.  It’s features include:

  • 4-5 bedrooms
  • Elevator
  • 2-car garage
  • Library
  • Fitness room
  • Au pair suite
  • High ceilings, beautiful moldings and elegant finishes
  • An oversized back deck with piped in grill
  • A large head house opening to a walk-out room deck complete with 2nd kitchen and city views

Back Bay offers residents and visitors a unique blend of historic charm and urban culture.  But the same things that make it captivating also make it a somewhat difficult area for new construction.  In order to preserve both the antiquity and metropolitan conveniences of the neighborhood, city officials must be discriminating about new development, resulting in fewer new condos for sale in Back Bay than other Boston neighborhoods.  But these six new construction buildings have found their place in Back Bay, and they’re giving buyers some elegant and alluring new options.  

The Charles Realty has had its finger on the pulse of Boston real estate for 34 years.  Our agents have unparalleled knowledge of the city and it’s neighborhoods, and oftentimes have access to information not yet made public.  For any questions about listings in the aforementioned buildings, other new projects in Boston, the status of projects, availability of new construction homes, or anything pertaining to Boston real estate, please contact us.  

 

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    5 Essential Tips for First Time Home Buyers

    Buying a condo in Boston is a thrilling prospect, but not knowing what to expect from the process can be daunting, and most first time homebuyers don’t know what they don’t know. Many feel overwhelmed with what they’ve heard about the Boston real estate market - costs, inventory, competition and working with industry professionals, so they hold off on buying and continue to make monthly payments to a landlord, disqualifying them from the many benefits of ownership.

    But with rate increases expected over the next year, now is the time for prospective first time home buyers to go for it. To make it easier and more manageable, we put together the 5 best tips to demystify the process and help first time buyers get the most from their Boston real estate purchase.

    #1 – Your first step is pre-approval. Before you find the home of your dreams, before you contact an agent, before you even glance at Zillow’s website or start comparing condos in Back Bay to condos in The South End, you should get pre-approved for a loan. Many first time buyers fall into the trap of finding the perfect place before they know they can afford it. It’s a waste of time and emotional energy. You’re much better off knowing what you can afford, finding something in your price range, and being able to quickly make a competitive offer. Make sure your lender clearly outlines the process for obtaining a loan, and all of the documentation you’ll need to provide, as well as the timeline for when they’ll need it. Staying organized can expedite the loan process and make things go more smoothly.

    #2 – Take a homebuyer education course. Oftentimes first time homebuyers are dealing with one or more challenges that make home buying seem less attainable than it is. Credit issues, uncertainty about the lending or buying process, lack of savings for a down payment – all of these issues are easily surmountable with the information you’ll gather in a homebuyer education course. There are thousands of organizations throughout the country that provide these courses, and all of them must meet the standards set forth by the National Industry Standards for Homeownership Education and Counseling. This means that all courses are mandated to cover the following 5 critical aspects of home purchasing and ownership:

    • Assessing homeownership readiness
    • Budgeting and credit
    • Financing a condo
    • Shopping for a condo
    • Maintaining a condo and finances

    #3 – Explore neighborhoods during off times. Neighborhoods can look very different at 9pm then they do at 11am. You’ll want to know what your prospective neighborhood is like at both times. Are you a night owl? Then you probably don’t want to live in an area where restaurants advertise early bird specials and stop serving meals at 8pm. You’re better off in a neighborhood like The South End with it's abundance of restaurants, bars and stores that stay open late.  If you're attracted to historical charm and like the energy of a neighborhood that bustles with tourist activity on the weekends, check out Beacon Hill condos for sale.  If you like the idea of a neighborhood that's somewhat removed from the downtown area but still has easy city access and a lively atmosphere, take a look at condos for sale in South Boston.  Also, don’t forget how much traffic patterns can affect a neighborhood throughout the day. You’ll want to travel the roads around your new prospective home during the hours you’re most likely to use them, so you know what your commute will look like and can factor that into your decision making.

    #4 – Identify the type of home that fits your lifestyle and needs. There are numerous reasons a person might want to invest in Boston real estate - it's a healthy market with sustainable growth due to the city's abundance of jobs and influx of university-related residents.  Most Boston homes are condos or townhomes, so if you want to live in the city it's likely you'll be sharing at least one wall with your neighbors, however there's a huge variety of building types.  If you're looking for condos for sale in Back Bay for example, you'll likely notice that the buildings are historic and stately, though many of them are restored and the homes include modern renovations.  Many condos in The South End are in new buildings, like those at the Ink Block, with a number of upscale amenities and close proximity to retail and restaurant options (here's a recent list of 7 hot new construction projects in The South End).  Real Estate in the Seaport District and Downtown Boston is thriving, again due to an influx of new residential development, so you can expect to find a good selection of luxury condo options.  

    #5 – Talk with an accountant to understand tax benefits and residential exemptions. As a buyer, you probably already know that one of the main benefits of owning a home is the impact it has on your taxes. But did you know that in Massachusetts owners qualify for an additional tax exemption if the property they own is their primary residence? It’s as easy as filling out and submitting the proper form by the April 1st deadline.  Your accountant can provide you with more details about the exemption, as well as the many tax benefits of owning versus renting.

    If you’re a first time buyer, it’s likely that you have some anxiety about the unknowns, and that makes sense, because real estate in Boston can be tricky.  But if you follow these tips and work with one of our expert agents, you'll have the information and confidence you need to navigate the process like a pro.   

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      7 MUST SEE New Construction Projects In The South End

      It’s no secret that there’s a wave - no a tsunami - of new construction washing over Boston.  And it makes sense - new real estate inventory has slowed to a trickle and buyers are desperately competing for what little options they have, often times waving contingencies and paying tens of thousands of dollars over asking price.  Exacerbating the drought of Boston condos for sale is the influx of new residents from all over the world, attracted to the area for it’s consistent and high ranking as one of the country’s best cities for education, job opportunities and lifestyle.  

      The short supply of existing residences, steady stream of new Bostonians, growth of industry, and the stability created by an abundance of local universities have made it an optimal time for developers to pepper the city with new residential construction projects. But even with an abundance of new options, the market for new construction units is very competitive, and buyers must be prepared to purchase these units before they are completed or very soon after.  

      So we went through each of Boston’s neighborhoods and put together a snapshot of our favorite residential construction projects.  Some have recently been completed and others are scheduled to be completed between now and the Summer of 2018.  This week, we’ll start with one of Boston’s hottest neighborhoods and a hot bed for new residential construction: The South End.

      1. Union Park Condos

      (Image Source: www.bldup.com)

      Although part of this South End condo building is a restoration of an existing four-story historic brick building (the majority is a contemporary four-story addition), we’re putting it first on our list for two important reasons: it was recently completed and there’s only one unit left (Unit 2).  Here are the specifics (Source: unionparkcondos.com)

      • 3 luxurious units: two duplex units and one extra-large floor through unit
      • Located on coveted Union Park in The South End
      • Views of Union Park and Back Bay / downtown skylines
      • Steps from restaurants, cafes, shopping boutiques, farmers market, grocery stores, schools, parks, rec. facilities and public transportation
      • Luxury offerings include: high-end finishes, modern home features and amenities, high energy HVAC systems, custom wood cabinetry, stone counter tops, Wolf & Subzero appliances, spa bathrooms with radiant floor heating and recessed lighting.  

      2. The Factory at 46 Wareham 

      (Image Source: www.bldup.com)

      If you’re looking for a fashionable, creative and one-of-a-kind neighborhood, SOWA is a “world-renowned retail and arts community in The South End” (Source: sowaboston.com).  It’s also home to The Factory at 46 Wareham - 18 residential ownership condominiums atop 32,875 square feet of office space.  

      •  Large 2 and 3 bedroom units (1,200+ sq ft) and a penthouse
      •  66 parking spaces
      •  Expected completion late 2017 / early 2018

      3. Siena at Ink Block 

      (Image Source: www.bldup.com)

      Joining it's recently completed sister building Sepia, Siena is the next condominium project at Ink Block - a city block of upscale residential condominiums, high-end amenities and retail.  Ink Block Boston is being described as the “ultimate urban living experience.“ Details are as follows (Source: http://www.bldup.com/projects/siena-at-ink-block):

      • 76 luxury residential condominiums
      • Amenities include a rooftop Sky Lounge and roof deck, a fully equipped fitness center, 24/7 concierge service and on-site parking
      • Homes will feature hardwood flooring in common areas, wool carpeting in bedrooms, and state-of-the-art finishes
      • A number of Siena’s condominiums will be maisonette, featuring private entrances
      • Completion early 2018

      4. 370-380 Harrison Avenue

      (Image Source: www.bldup.com)

      This 14-story, 356,500 square foot mixed-use building is in the heart of The South End’s rapidly developing New York Streets neighborhood.  Expected completion isn’t until 2019, but this project is generating a lot of buzz and the 96 ownership condominiums are sure to sell out long before the building is completed.  Details include (http://www.bldup.com/projects/quinzani-s-bakery-development):

      • 96 ownership condominiums and 218 rental apartments
      • Approximately 8,500 square feet of ground-floor retail
      • Resident amenities include upper level roof decks with outdoor social space
      • 3 levels of parking with a total of 180 spaces

      5. Jordan Lofts

      (Image Source: www.bldup.com)

      These South End condos were completed last year, and though the building is almost sold out there are still a few units available.  Nestled in the SOWA neighborhood, this fully restored historic building features fifteen luxury loft condominiums which include

      • High ceilings, large windows, abundant natural light, open floorpans and recessed lighting and skyline views
      • One vehicle parking space per condo
      • Commercial / retail space totaling approximately 13,000 square feet located on the ground floor

      6. 7 East Springfield

      (Image Source: www.bldup.com)

      This nine-unit residential condo building in The South End is currently under construction.  It’s located steps to Boston University School of Medicine and Worcester Square.  The six-story building is bounded on one side by the oldest surviving house in the South End - the federal style Porter House, and it includes:

      • Eight 1,000 square foot two-bedroom units and a 1,800 square foot three-bedroom penthouse
      • A five car parking garage will be constructed on the ground floor

      7. The Girard

      (Image Source: www.bldup.com)

      This new mixed-use building offers only rentals, but it’s an artistic space with contemporary units inspired by local artists, and an atmosphere that’e definitely worth mentioning.  In a nutshell, the building offers:

      • 160 apartments and approximately 3,600 square feet of ground-floor retail
      • Amenities: Wi-Fi Workbar, meeting rooms, top-floor and rooftop common areas and a fitness center
      • A gallery exhibiting local artists’ work
      • 162 resident parking spaces in a two-level underground garage

      The South End is a culturally rich neighborhood, with exceptional food, a lively nightlife and a dynamic atmosphere.  As one of Boston’s most desirable neighborhoods it’s not a surprise that so many developers have chosen this coveted area as the site of new residential projects.  We expect there are many more to follow, so stay tuned as we continue to provide updates on new condos in The South End and around Boston.  

      The Charles Realty has had its finger on the pulse of Boston real estate for 34 years.  Our agents have unparalleled knowledge of the city and it’s neighborhoods, and oftentimes have access to information not yet made public.  For any questions about listings in the aforementioned buildings, other new projects in Boston, the status of projects, availability of new construction homes, or anything pertaining to Boston real estate, please contact us.  

       

       

       

      Moving to Boston - Here are Some Things You Should Know

      One of the earliest cities in modern America to be settled by European immigrants, Boston is a city steeped in history and patriotism. It was here that defiant colonists dumped British tea into The Harbor, Paul Revere took off on his famous ride, and the American Revolution was born. Looking around modern-day Boston it’s impossible to see it without glimpsing its storied past. The quaint historic buildings, meandering cobblestone streets, and distinct neighborhoods make it both charming and appealing for visitors and residents alike. 

      If you're contemplating a move to Beantown you’ve likely been charmed by it like the rest of us. But what is it really like to live and work here? Our friends at Great Guys Moving put together the following infographic that details some of the things you should know before moving here.

      650,000 people love calling Boston home, and once you've walked among them through Back Bay's lantern lined streets, or dined with them at one of The South End's hip new restaurants, you'll know why.  Where else serves up cannolis like the North End, boasts top-tier schools like MIT and Harvard, or has landmarks that rival those found on the Freedom Trail? These are just some of the reasons we love living in this city, and we know you will too. Whether it's a condo in Back Bay or another luxury property in Boston, we will find you find the perfect place to call home as you make the transition to Benton.  Contact one of our agents for more information about available listings.  

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        What Millennials Are Looking for in Boston Real Estate

        For years Boston has attracted Millennials with it's abundance of highly ranked colleges and universities, and it has retained them with a thriving job market and renowned cultural appeal.  Real Estate in Back Bay, The South End, Beacon Hill, Downtown, The Seaport, Dorchester and South Boston is particularly attractive to Millennials, because homes here offer a social and convenient lifestyle not found outside the city.  Therefore it's important for the sellers of homes in these neighborhoods, and also for builders looking for land to develop residential buildings, to understand the preferences this target demographic.  Our friends at Sky Five Properties put some research together that we thought would help give some insight into this growing population of home buyers.  To help us understand what Millennials are looking for in Boston Homes.  

        What Millennials are Looking for in Boston Homes

        Millennials are spreading their wings and finding their way in this big, big world and doing so in a way that truly affects the local real estate market. Part of that is moving out of their parents’ house and into a space of their own. And although they are known to spend their money on experiences, adventure, travel, good food, and fun, they all need a place to rest their heads at night. Boston is a popular city for millennials for obvious reasons; the culture, a thriving job market, the art, the food, the big city feel, the public transportation, the coffee shops and sidewalk boutiques and access to one of the most sought after universities in the country. When moving to Boston, millennials are looking for a few key things in a home or apartment that are non-negotiable. When it comes to real estate, there are a few things your home needs to have in order to attract these tech-savvy, environmentally conscious, global-minded, entrepreneurial, social media addicted go-getters. 

        The ability to connect- For most millennials, staying connected is a priority. They usually have a multitude of different devices plugged in at one time, and having them charged and ready to use at any moment is important. Built in office spaces, conveniently placed outlets, and other features that allow them to plug in quickly and easily are important for this generation of homebuyers. They’ll ask questions about Internet and cell service in the area, so make sure you have the answers for that. 

        The option for fitness-  Millennials tend to be a more health conscious generation than those before them. Health and fitness are important to them, so a place to work out is a definite plus when looking for a home. An exercise space in the home is usually a perk, but being close to a local gym, running path or hiking trail can also peak a millennials interest.

        A place to eat-  Millennials are brave and open-minded when it comes to trying new foods. They appreciate a diverse range of foods and are more likely to spend their money on a cool new local restaurant than a typical fast food chain. And because they love food, they need a place to cook it in. A modern kitchen is a must for this generation. Contemporary appliances, stylish décor and a place that feels comfortable and spacious is a must. The kitchen has become a popular place for hang-outs and get-togethers, so this room of the house needs to be updated, open, stylish and convenient to really wow them.

        An outdoor space- Whether it is a small patio that they’ll convert into a Zen place to do yoga or a large backyard where they will grow their own vegetables, millennials appreciate a private place outside to get some fresh air. They appreciate a balcony, a patio or an intimate front porch that they can unwind on after a busy day. It’s not about the size of the space for millennials, it’s about the opportunity to get outside to recharge and relax, sip some good wine with friends, read a good book, write, check emails or hang out in a hammock. 

        Because they typically enjoy travel and put value in experiences over material things, many millennials rent a home or condo before they buy, (more about that here). The idea of spending a lot of money or time in one place may not fit with their lifestyle, so renting gives them a little more freedom in that department.

        Say what you will about millennials, but one thing is certain: Millennials moving to Boston for their first adventure on their own have a specific set of requirements that must be met before they will commit to buying a home. By making a few of these changes, your home could become the dream home for enthusiastic, energy efficient, progressive, nomadic, multi-taskers who are taking their next big step in life. 

        For more information about the Boston real estate market, contact one of our experts, 617-236-0353.

         

        20 Flooring Options That Will Capture the Attention of Home Buyers

        One of the first things buyers notice in listing photos and on viewings is the flooring in a home.  Like paint colors and decor, everyone has their preferences - some like the warmth and comfort of carpeting, others are drawn to the clean lines of hardwood, but one thing’s for sure - any flooring that’s brand new will catch people’s eye.  So, if you’re thinking about updating your flooring as a way to capture buyers’ attention and make your home stand out above the rest, be sure to evaluate all of your options (there are more than you may think) to make sure you find one that has the right look, price and durability.  

        To help you get started, our friends at MorningChores.com  have put together a list of 20 Appealing Flooring Options & Ideas That Are Sure to Astound You.  From tile to laminate to cork and bamboo, they offer an overview of each flooring type, a price range, photo examples, maintenance instructions and in some case even tutorials for installation.  

        For more real estate advice, and information about the Boston real estate market, contact one of our experts, 617-236-0353.

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          Tuesday Tip - The Best Home Improvements to Increase the Value of Your Home

          At the start of every new year, many home owners start to prepare their home for the market.  But Spring and early Summer are the most popular times to sell a home (translation: more competition), so it's important to focus on the things that will really make your home stand out above the rest.  Today's Tuesday Tip comes from KayUConnection, and offers The Best Home Improvements to Increase the Value of Your Home, with input from 45 interior design and real estate experts and 113 prospective home buyers, summarized in a snazzy little infographic.  Updating your kitchen, improving lighting, adding fresh paint - they all make a difference when it comes to the appeal and value of your home.  How much is each one worth to your bottom line?  Take a look and find out.  

          For more information about how to make your home desirable to buyers, so that it sells quickly and for list price or higher, contact one of our experts, 617-236-0353.

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            3 Reasons Overpricing Your Home is a Big Mistake

            Awhile back we wrote this post outlining 4 reasons not to overprice your home, and it's such an important topic we think it's worth revisiting. We get it, the market is crazy competitive right now and it seems like testing it with a high asking price might be a great way to maximize your profit, but in reality it has damaging affects that could have the opposite result.  Here are a few more reasons that drive our point home:

            If you overprice your home, not only will you miss out on views, showings and offers, but you'll lose credibility with buyers.  Expect that buyers who live in your area have done their research, so they know what similar homes are worth, and they likely won't want to get involved in negotiations with sellers that seem to have unrealistic expectations.  

            When you're working with an agent who advises you to overprice your home, or doesn't advise against it, they're either uncomfortable being honest with you (not a good quality in an agent), they just want to get their sign up in your lawn for exposure, or they want their name to be associated with higher priced homes.  None of these motivations are good ones, so if they don't advise you to price your home appropriately for the market, start shopping for another agent immediately.  

            According to research, you'll get the best price for your home if you sell within the first two weeks of hitting the market.  If you price competitively, you're likely to get attention from multiple buyers who recognize the value of your home at the listed price.  In a competitive offer scenario, you could end up getting more from your home than you would if you overpriced.

            We can't stress enough how important it is to find the right asking price.  To get started, check out our home value estimator, then call one of our agents for some expert advice, 617-236-0353.  

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            Top-10 New Years Resolutions for Your Home

            You know the drill: new year, new this that and the other thing.  But according to Statisticbrain.com, only 9.2% of people feel they're successful in achieving their New Years Resolution, which means that over 90% of people set themselves up for failure.  This year, instead of vowing to spend more time at the gym or less time on devices, how about shifting the focus to your home.  Houselogic.com has put together this Top-10 List of New Years Resolutions for your Home, and we think you should take a look so that when 2017 comes to a close, you have a sense of achievement AND you’ve added value to your home!

            For more tips on how to care for and add value to your home throughout the year, contact our team of experts who love to share what they know! 

            What's Next for Interest Rates and What Does it Mean for Home Buyers?

            If you follow real estate even a little, you've probably heard that interest rates are on the rise.  In fact, on December 1st most lenders came close to the highest levels we've seen in two years.  So what's next?  And does an increase in rates mean that home prices will drop since there will be fewer buyers and therefore less demand?  

            Let's address the second question first.  In an article titled "Higher Rates Don't Mean Lower House Prices After All," the Wall Street Journal revealed that a recent study found that "prices weren't especially sensitive to rising rates, particularly in the presence of other positive economic factors such as strong job growth, rising wages and improving consumer confidence."  In fact, the last four times rates dramatically increased - in 1983, 1987, 1993 and 1999 - home prices increased by 6.6%, 5.2%, 1.2% and 10.9% respectively.  But with the combination of rising rates and U.S. home prices finally topping record levels for the first time since July 2006, it’s likely that prices will begin to increase more gradually then we’ve seen in the last 4 years.  

            Now for the hard part - what’s next?  Interest rates were remarkably low in 2016, so an increase was inevitable, and since some lenders were offering loans with rates in the 2’s, a jump back to more “normal” levels will be a very sizable increase.  However, many industry experts predict that although rates will continue to rise in 2017, it won’t be as extreme as many people fear.  Kiplinger says that “even with a rate hike, interest rates will likely stay low and fluctuate within a narrow range for some time to come.”  Michael Winks, Executive Vice President / Chief Lending Officer for Northpointe Bank in Grand Rapids, Michigan, anticipates rates remaining in their current range through 2017.  Without a crystal ball none of us can be certain, but one thing is for sure: lenders and agents are advising buyers not to take their chances by waiting.  Even a small price increase on home prices, coupled with a marginal (one eighth to one half percent) increase in rates could cost a buyer tens of thousands of dollars.  

            Here’s the bottom line: If you're thinking of refinancing, now's the time to lock in a rate.  If you have your eye on a property or you’re considering buying at some point over the next year, you'll find lower rates and will compete against fewer buyers if you act now.  In fact, waiting just a month or two could make a huge difference, as the influx of new inventory that comes to market in the first 6-8 weeks of a new year attracts crowds of buyers.  For more information, contact one of our experts, or call us at 617-236-0353.