Boston Real Estate News – February 2013

Boston Real Estate News - February 2013

In this Issue:*

2012 Home Sales – Best in 5 Years

Locking In Interest Rates – Best Policies to Follow

Keep Your House Free of the Flu Bug


2012 Home Sales – Best in 5 Years

>2012 Home Sales - Best in 5 Years

The National Association of Realtors reports that December sales of previously owned homes came in just slightly below November’s sales pace, but up 12.8% from a year ago. That brought full-year sales to 4.65 million, up 9% from 2011 and the best year for home sales since 2007, when there were 5 million homes sold just before the start of the recession.

Sales are being helped by a combination of strong market fundamentals, near record low mortgage rates, lower unemployment and a rebound in home prices, all of which are bringing buyers into the market who had been waiting for it to bottom out. According to NAR, the mortgage rates and years of depressed home prices have also combined to create the most affordable housing market on record.

And the NAR predicts strong sales should continue into 2013 and beyond. It has a forecast for 5.1 million existing home sales this year, and 5.4 million next year.

The rebound in the market for previously-owned homes is also showing up in the market for new homes, where sales rebounded to their highest levels since 2009, while housing starts reached the highest level since 2008.



Locking in Interest Rates – Best Policies to Follow

Locking in Interest Rates - Best Policies to Follow

No one can time the market as to when interest rates should be locked in. The question most often asked about rates, “what’s going to happen in the next few months with interest rates?”

No one knows, and if anyone tells you they know what will happen to rates in the future, consider whether you really want to listen to them or work with them. They think they know things they can’t possibly know.

Consider the following when deciding whether or not to lock in your mortgage rate:

1 –  Lock in your rate when you have a good deal and you know roughly when you can close on your property. 30 to 60 days should be the longest lock period you consider.

2 – Lock in with a lender who offers you a float down. If rates get better, you can take advantage of the lower rates.

3 – Consider locking in with a lender who offers a liberal rate-lock extension policy. Understand that rate lock extensions are not free. Some expire beyond the ability to extend. Try to find a lender who will allow you to extend your lock if, for some reason, your deal takes longer to close than you had anticipated.

4 – Don’t think too long. Rates always go up faster than they fall, sorta like gasoline prices. If you find a rate that suits your budget, lock it in!

We know what moves interest rates, and we can even look back and determine what caused rates to increase after the fact. But we can also know who won the Super Bowl on Monday morning, but we don’t know who will win before it’s played.

Lock in your interest rate using the above guidelines as soon as your are able to.



Keep Your House Free of the Flu Bug

Keep Your House Free of the Flu BugWith most of the country experiencing its worst flu year in decades, we need to be more conscience of things it takes to stay clear of the dreaded bug.

Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself from the flu. There are additional steps you can take to keep yourself and your family healthy this flu season.

Hand-washing is key, and vigorous hand rubbing is more important than water temperature or type of soap. Also, place paper towels or napkins at the sink you can use and toss, don’t use hand towels that just absorb and pass along germs.

More Anti-Flu Tips:

• Line trashcans with plastic bags from the grocery so you can throw away used tissues without touching them.

• Clean door handles and faucets with inexpensive rubbing alcohol — 70% or 90% — rather than commercial anti-bacterial wipes.

• Don’t forget to sanitize TV remote controls, especially if a sick person has touched them.

• Crack a window or door to let in fresh air, rather than just breathing the same stale, germy air.

• Wash sheets on sickbeds at least twice a week in the hottest water that they can stand and add a splash of chlorine bleach.

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.