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Sales of single-family homes and condominiums in April increased from year ago levels in Greater Boston as rising mortgage rates, an influx on new listings for sale, and continued strengthening in home values fueled an increase in market activity, according to data issued today from the Greater Boston Association of REALTORS® (GBAR).

Sales of detached single-family homes experienced a modest increase of 0.2 percent in April as 853 homes were sold compared to the 851 homes sold in April 2017. This year’s sales total is the ninth highest figure on record for the month of April and is a 19 percent increase on the March 2018 sales total of 728 homes sold. The condo market experienced a more significant increase in sales activity, seeing a 16.2 percent increase from 739 homes sold in April 2017 to 859 last month. Last month’s condo sales total is the fifth highest on record for the month and is an 8.5 percent increase on the 738 condos units sold in March 2018.

 “The mild weather this winter allowed for an early start to the spring market which is evident by the growth in sales this April,” observed GBAR President Marie Presti, broker-owner of The Presti Group in Newton.  

Notably, this marks the first month that sales of single-family homes and condominiums have risen on a year-over-year basis since October and November 2017, respectively. 

“Buyers this spring are finding more homes to choose from along with less competition as higher interest rates and home prices have softened demand, especially at the upper end of the market,” Presti stated. “That’s led to fewer multiple offer scenarios, less seller exuberance, and more normalcy in the negotiation process,” she said.

Still, the median sales price of single-family homes continued to increase last month to a new record-high for the month of April at $612,000. This reflects a 3.7 percent increase in median sales price from April 2017 of $590,000. Likewise, the condo market experienced an increase in median sales price, from $520,000 in April 2017 to $593,629 last month. This is a 14.2 percent increase and is a record-high median sales price for the month of April.

“Despite the increase in new listings for sale, the reality is buyer demand continues to far exceed housing supply and that’s putting upward pressure on home prices.  As a result, homes and condos are selling quickly, typically in a month to five weeks if priced right, and most are selling at or above asking price,” Presti noted.  

Indeed, even though new listings for detached single-family homes rose 11 percent in April from April 2017 and 39 percent from March, active listings declined 15 percent last month, from 2,999 homes for sale last April to 2,541 listings at the end of April 2018.  Similarly, in the condo market, new listings improved 21 percent in April over year ago levels and 36 percent from one month earlier, the number of active condo listings fell 5.1 percent from 1,875 in April 2017 to 1,751 this April.

“Looking forward, we see an increase in pending sales, so we can anticipate a strong month of May and continued steady sales this spring,” Presti noted.

In the single-family home and condo markets experienced increases in pending sales last month, with the single-family market increasing 12.1 percent from 1,338 pending sales in April 2017 to 1,500 last month, and condos rising 9.1 percent from 1,104 to 1,204 in April 2018.

For additional information regarding April 2018 Greater Boston Housing statistics, including our new interactive housing market data dashboard, visit the Monthly Housing Market Reports page.
Greater Boston Home Sales Bounce Back in April
Real estate agents are under an obligation to present all offers to their seller client. The REALTOR® Code of Ethics Article 1, Standard of Practice 1-6 states that offers and counteroffers must be submitted as objectively and as quickly as possible. However, not all real estate agents are REALTORS® and required to abide by the Code. In Massachusetts, 254 CMR 3.00 also requires all agents to present offers and states: “All offers submitted to brokers or salespeople to purchase or rent real property that they have a right to sell or rent shall be conveyed forthwith to the owner of such real property.” Many MLS Rules and Regulations, including MLSPIN, also require that a seller agent present all written offers to their client. The MLS may also have a rule that allows buyer representatives to request to be present for the presentation of the offer to the seller. Despite the requirement that offers be presented, there is no legal obligation to acknowledge receipt or send a formal rejection of an offer, making it seem like your offer is floating out in the great abyss. Under both Massachusetts licensure law and the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, the only situation in which a real estate professional is exempt from presenting an offer to a seller is if the seller client has provided an explicit instruction to the agent to not present offers that do not meet certain criteria, such as a minimum price. 

If you are concerned that your offer may not be presented, or hasn’t been presented at all, the best action you can take as a buyer’s agent is to ask that the seller provide you a formal rejection in writing. That will demonstrate that the offer was presented and the seller chose not to accept those terms. The buyer can then move on, or submit a new offer with different terms.  In recognition of this issue, the Professional Standards Committee of the National Association of REALTORS® voted at their May 2018 meeting in Washington DC to amend Standard of Practice 1-7.  Under the newly amended SOP 1-7, of Article 1, a listing broker or agent will now be required to respond in writing that an offer was submitted to the seller if the cooperating broker who submitted the offer so requests. The listing broker or agent must respond in the affirmative unless the seller has provided written notification waiving the obligation to have the offer presented.

A buyer may choose to contact the seller directly to inquire as to the status of their offer, but it is likely that this course of action will ruffle some feathers. If a seller wishes to work with a buyer directly, they would not have hired an agent. 

A last resort, if you are truly convinced that the listing agent has withheld your offer, is to file a complaint with your local REALTOR® association or the Board of Registration. This is not an option to take lightly, but is available if necessary.

If you have questions about this article or any other matter pertaining to your real estate business, please contact Attorney William G. Mullen, III or the brokerage counseling hotline at 617-399-7842.
Was My Offer Presented?
Legislation filed late in the session by Governor Baker to require home energy audits before a home could be listed for sale has been shelved by the Joint Committee on Telecommunications Utilities and Energy.  Bill H.4371, “An Act Relative to Consumer Access to Residential Energy Information” was reported out not to pass upon expiration of time granted Committees to consider legislation. Earlier this year the Committee sent similar legislation S.1839, “An Act Relative to Home Energy Efficiency” to a study.  

The Greater Boston Real Estate Board and Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® oppose any new law that would require an energy inspection prior to the sale of an individual’s home and the creation and use of a mandatory energy score. Such provisions would add expense, time, and complications to an already complicated transaction without creating any measurable energy efficiency investment in homes. Additionally, the proposed mandatory government energy labeling requirements could have significant negative impacts on homeowners and the housing market across the Commonwealth.
Bill Requiring Energy Audits Before Listing Shelved
This year’s REALTOR® Day on the Hill event is fast-approaching and will be held on Thursday, June 7th at the State House in Boston.  As you know, this event is a great opportunity for REALTORS® to meet with legislators to voice their opinions about issues and concerns facing the real estate industry. This year, the REALTOR® organization’s list of legislative priorities includes support for Land Use and Zoning Reforms: The H.O.M.E. bill, First Time Home Buyer Savings Account, Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief, and Copper Pipe Theft Prevention.

Additionally, again this year we are offering free shuttle bus service that will run to and from the State House on the day of the event. One bus will leave from our suburban office location at 68 Main Street in Reading and another will have two pick-up points, first at the Sheraton Four-Points Hotel at 1125 Boston-Providence Highway in Norwood and second at the Holiday Inn at 55 Ariadne Rd. in Dedham. Limited seating is available so if you would like to reserve a seat on one of the buses, please email Kevin at kbutler@gbreb.com and indicate which bus you plan to take. 
Gov. Baker to Address REALTORS at Day on Beacon Hill
If you need to schedule a smoke and carbon monoxide detector inspection don’t wait until the last minute!  The Boston Fire Department (BFD) allows for a smoke certificate to be good for 90 days, unlike the Commonwealth of Massachusetts which only allows for 60 days. Please encourage your sellers to apply for an inspection as soon as the purchase and sale is signed so they can get on the schedule for the Boston Fire Department. This will allow for plenty of time to get the inspection done and allow for corrective action when the home does not pass. Remember, during the spring, the BFD experiences a high volume of inspections so please plan ahead. 
 
Boston FD Urges Homeowners to Order Smoke & CO Detector Inspections at P&S
GBAR is saddened to report the loss of one of our longest-serving volunteer members, Judy Moses, who died tragically on Sunday after being struck by a car in Medford. The broker-owner of Pathway Home Realty Group in Newton Centre, Judy joined the REALTOR® association in 1987. A former GBAR Director and GBREB Director, she also was a past member of the MAR Board of Directors and currently served as an alternate state director. She also served on numerous committees at the local and state levels. Judy was very active with the Women’s Council of REALTORS®, having served as a local chapter president, state governor and regional vice president, before being elected to the office of president of the WCR National Chapter in 2007. She was a RPAC Major Investor and held the professional designations ABR, CRS, GRI and SRES.

She was the consummate professional; a loyal friend to so many of her colleagues, and a warm, generous, kind-hearted woman who cared deeply for her clients, fellow REALTORS®, and the dogs she provided a home to or cared for at local animal shelters.

A Funeral Mass will take place on Friday, May 4 at 11:30 a.m. at the Holy Rosary Church, 1015 Shirley St. in Winthrop. You may also express your condolences by sending a sympathy card or note to Judy’s husband, Charles Capace, to 123 Wolcott Road, Chestnut Hill, MA. 02467.

For a complete obituary, access this link https://bit.ly/2HIg7Rw
 
Remembering Judy Moses
 

Education & Events

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GBAR- International Connection
May 30, 2018
Crowne Plaza
1360 Worcester Street
Natick, MA
Real Estate Professional Ethics (Webinar)
Jun 06, 2018
Webinar
REALTOR® Day On The Hill
Jun 07, 2018
Massachusetts State House
24 Beacon Street
Boston, MA
CIPS- Asia/ Pacific International Real Estate
Jun 12, 2018
Two Center Plaza, Mezzanine Suite
Training Room
Boston, MA
Ziplogix Training
Jun 13, 2018
Greater Boston Real Estate Board
One Center Plaza, Mezzanine Suite
Boston, MA
CRB Designation: Show Me The Money- Compensation Planning
Jun 14, 2018
Greater Boston Real Estate Board
One Center Plaza
Mezzanine Suite
Boston, MA
Lunch & Learn-Condos: Beyond The Basics
Jun 15, 2018
Greater Boston Association Of REALTORS
1 Center Plaza
Mezzanine Suite
Boston, MA
GBAR Annual Awards And Networking Breakfast
Jun 22, 2018
The Venezia Restaurant
20 Ericsson Street
Boston, MA
Real Estate Safety Matters: Safe Business = Smart Business
Jun 27, 2018
GBAR Member Service & Training Center
68 Main Street
Reading, MA
 

Calendar

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GBAR- International Connection
Crowne Plaza
2:45pm
 
Real Estate Professional Ethics (Webinar)
Webinar
2:00pm
 
REALTOR® Day On The Hill
Massachusetts State House
9:30am
 
CIPS- Asia/ Pacific International Real Estate
Two Center Plaza, Mezzanine Suite
8:00am
 
Ziplogix Training
Greater Boston Real Estate Board
10:00am
 
CRB Designation: Show Me The Money- Compensation Planning
Greater Boston Real Estate Board
8:30am