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Massachusetts Home Sales Hit 16-Year High During Pandemic - Ipswich MA - Windhill Realty - Massachusetts Real Estate

More single-family homes were sold last year in Massachusetts than in any other year since 2004, despite a once-in-a-century pandemic that threatened the financial security of thousands of residents and dramatically changed the process of buying and selling a home.

There were 61,469 single-family home sales in 2020, a 3.9 percent increase over the sales total of 2019, according to The Warren Group. The median sale price for those homes climbed 11.4 percent from 2019 to hit $445,500 last year.

“In the wake of the first COVID-19 lockdown way back in March, single-family home sales took a nosedive for the entire second quarter,” Warren Group CEO Tim Warren said. “If you told me back then that by the end of the year that the total number of sales would surpass 2019, there’s no way I would have believed you … yet here we are. Another record-setting year in the books for Massachusetts real estate.”

Warren said an unprecedented December helped to boost the 2020 totals. December 2020 saw 6,410 single-family home sales in Massachusetts — the most ever recorded for the month and up 28.6 percent from December 2019. The median sale price for the month jumped 14.4 percent to $455,000, an all-time high for the month and the sixth consecutive month with a median sale price greater than $450,000, Warren said.

“The hot market has continued right into December, four straight months of sales gains of 25 percent or more,” driven by low interest rates and people spending more time at home. “The more time they spend at home, the more they think about the home and some ask what they want to change,” he said on The Warren Group’s podcast.

Almost everyone who sold or purchased a home in 2020 probably had to deal with COVID-19 restrictions and safety measures in one way or another. Packed spring open houses gave way to virtual showings and eventually to tightly-scheduled and timed windows for prospective buyers to tour homes for sale.

But despite the new hurdles COVID-19 imposes on buying or selling a home, the virus and its accompanying shift towards remote work helped to fuel a migration away from cities and towards “vacation” areas in Massachusetts like Cape Cod and the Berkshires, Warren said.

He said that he expects the housing market will “continue to sell well” in 2021 but saw a concerning trend emerge at the end of 2020.

“The one thing I worry about is the rapidly-rising median price across the state,” Warren said. “For six straight years, we saw a very good market but with restrained growth in price — just two to five percent. The tail end of 2020 saw huge changes and prices rose by 14 percent or more for five straight months. For the year as a whole, prices rose 11.4 percent. I consider that to be unsustainable.”

He added, “I hope we see the market cool and consolidate its gains before we create a bubble in prices as we did in 2005. The collapse of the market in 2006 and beyond was very painful.”

Gov. Charlie Baker last week signed an economic development bill that included a housing production measure anchored to local zoning changes, and another initiative designed to boost housing near MBTA stations.

More single-family homes were sold last year in Massachusetts than in any other year since 2004, despite a once-in-a-century pandemic that threatened the financial security of thousands of residents and dramatically changed the process of buying and selling a home. Thank you whdh Boston for keeping us informed! 

Looking for a home on Boston's north shore

Rockport MA Adopts Community Impact Fee

Rockport Adopts Community Impact Fee
At the annual town meeting last Saturday, Rockport voted to adopt two articles that will impose a 3% Community Impact Fee on short term rentals. NSAR mobilized its Rapid Response Team, which opposed both articles. Outreach was conducted to REALTORS ® who are Rockport residents to inform them of the issue and the reasons for opposition.
 
A Community Impact Fee is a tax applied to short term rentals (less than 31 days). 3% is the maximum percentage that can be implemented. Within Rockport the tax will apply to rentals that are either:

  • “Professionally managed” (defined as 2 or more units in non-primary residences)
  • Located within a two-family or three family primary residence

When a Community Impact Fee is adopted, at least thirty-five percent of the collected money must be dedicated to either affordable housing or local infrastructure projects. Rockport joined Gloucester and Swampscott as North Shore communities that have adopted the tax.
 

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Boston is the Most Gridlocked City in the Country! Move to a Commuter Town!

Boston, MA is the most gridlocked city in the country! It's hard to believe we outrank Washington D.C., New York City and Los Angeles for traffic congestion but according to a new annual global traffic scorecard by Inrix and reported by WGBH, we are at the top of the list! What can you do about it? Why not move to a commuter town? Ipswich, MA and many other northshore towns are home to the commuter rail. Let us help you make the north shore your home. Leave the city grind behind. 

Best Apple Picking on the North Shore & Beyond

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Best Sledding on the North Shore

Rumor has it, these are some of the best sledding spots on the North Shore!

Woodsom Farm - Amesbury

New England Sports Park - Amesbury

Ward Reservation - Andover

Lynch Park - Beverly

Beverly Golf and Tennis Club - Beverly

Endicott Park - Danvers

Stavros Reservation - Essex

Stage Fort Park - Gloucester

Bass Rocks Golf Club - Gloucester

Veasey Park - Groveland

Castle Hill on the Crane Estate - Ipswich

Cable Gardens Hill - Ipswich

Gannon Municipal Golf Course - Lynn

Essex County Club - Manchester

Seaside Park - Marblehead

Gatchell Playground - Marblehead

Ould Newbury Golf Club - Newbury

Maudslay State Park - Newburyport

Bartlet Mall - Newburyport

March's Hill - Newburyport

Brooksby Farm - Peabody

Evans Field - Rockport

Mack Park - Salem

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary - South Hamilton

Jackson Park - Swampscott

Phillips Park - Swampscott

Wheatland Hill - Topsfield

Wenham Country Club - Wenham

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Buying Vs. Renting North of Boston

When does owning your home become cheaper than renting? There are plenty of pros and cons both ways but if we look at cost only, the gap continues to narrow, particuarly here in Boston, MA and North of Boston. Try this handy Rent Vs. Buy Calculator from Realtor.com to help you decide. Have questions about neighborhoods, schools, community services, home values, etc.? Speak with an experienced professional who knows the area! We do! 978-356-8922  

Municipal Restrictions on Short-Term Home Rentals? Coming Soon to a Town Near You?

TONIGHT the Town of Lynnfield, MA will hold a Town Meeting that will, if passed, affect the rights of its property owners. 

Take a look at Article 6 on Lynnfield's Town Warrant. This language would prohibit owners of single family homes from renting out THEIR PROPERTY, if the rental period is 30 days or less. No doubt what prompted the panic was the Lynnfield fatal shooting at a sprawling mansion earlier this year.

I can certainly see a homeowner's initial reaction being, "Why should anyone be able to dictate what I can and cannot do with my property?" However, there seems to be more to the story when you dig deeper. Sure, we have Little Neck, Great Neck, and Plum Island which come to my mind immediately; and all the weekly and seasonal short-term rentals that allow many of those owners to afford their slice of paradise. Many of my personal best vacations were the weekly rentals of beach-front and lake-side homes. Are vacationers ruining the fabric of the neighborhoods? One of the biggest opponents of Airbnb says exactly that about how Airbnb is hurting the neighborhoods of NYC. His (some say hypocritical) position is that it forces would-be long-term renters out for the astronomically high rents short-term renters are willing to pay. He does make a point there.

What do you think? 

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Oldest Historic Towns in Massachusetts

 It's no wonder, every time I travel, I find myself comparing the landscape, architecture, and feel to home. New England is bursting with charm, history, age, and most of all, roots; and that includes the people. Generations of folks rooted in their hometown right down to the family owned hardware store or donut shop where the 100-year-old floor boards creak and first-names are commonplace, create an energy, a vibe; it's palpable. Historic towns with historic homes and endless history will always be home to me. What town has more First Period homes than any other in the nation? That same town is on permenant exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. You know the one! Where are the oldest towns in Massachusetts?

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Real Estate Buzz

Swarming open house activity the past 3 weekends, multiple offers, bidding wars and sign-in sheets overflowing. I also noticed quite a few "back on market" listings this morning. So if you thought it was gone, you might want to check again. Are you thinking of selling? NOW is the time! The simple rule of supply and demand puts Sellers in a prime position right now. Buyers...make sure you are pre-approved for your mortgage if you want to be able to compete. Looking for a lender who can help you with a pre-approval? Here's our list of preferred providers who have a proven track record. Looking for an agent to represent your best interests, one you can trust, who will be your confidante, advocate and will negotiate on your behalf? The best team of real estate agents North of Boston is right here!