Blog :: 2013

NAR Housing Economist 2013 Housing Trends

According to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), there were a few surprises in the housing market this year.
Price appreciation was more accelerated than anticipated, and cash purchases continued to make up an uncharacteristically large portion of sales."The recovery accelerated a lot faster than we anticipated, which was great for sellers and for the 75 million homeowners who saw their home values appreciate," Yun said in his 7 Housing Trends for 2013.
After a minimal rise from $179,000 to $180,000 over the year in 2012, the national median listing price shot up to $199,500 by September this year, according to Realtor.com.  Another surprise for Yun was the large portion of cash purchases. Over the past three years, cash purchases have made up about one-third of home sales, according to Realtor.com.  Both investors and overseas purchasers contribute to this trend, but Yun said, "Even some owner-occupant buyers are cash buyers because of the excessively tight underwriting standards for loans."  "Some people are getting help from relatives to buy, and then they plan to take out a home equity loan later to repay them," he said.
Other trends this year include rising mortgage rates, persistently high affordability, bidding wars, demand from first-time home buyers, and mounting popularity for real estate mobile apps.
As Yun expected, mortgage rates increased this year, "but they're still very affordable when you look at rates on a historical basis," he said.  Rising mortgage rates and rising prices contributed to a decline in affordability this year, but despite reaching a five-year low, Yun said, the affordability rate is "still the fifth highest for the past 30 years."
Price appreciation, low mortgage rates, and a third ingredient--scarce inventories--created a recipe for bidding wars this year. As of September, the housing market holds a five-month supply of homes, according to realtor.com.  The market is also beginning to see more demand from traditional buyers.  While homeownership has declined over the past several years, there is now a "replenishment of renters who want to buy homes," said Barry Habib, co-owner and chief market strategist for Residential Finance Corp., according to realtor.com.
Yun also took note of a growing trend among real estate brokerages to produce mobile apps to help both buyers and sellers. "Nearly every Realtor and brokerage in the country introduced a mobile app this year," according to Realtor.com, and consumers are relying on those apps.
Sixty-eight percent of homebuyers used a mobile app while searching for a home, according to a study by Google and NAR.  

Affordable Home - Village of Shelburne Falls

This affordable home is located on the Buckland side in the Village of Shelburne Falls.  Located on a dead-end street with a fabulous yard that is perfect for gardening! The house has a good size kitchen, dining room, family room with fireplace, and first floor bedroom and full bath.  The second floor has 2 bedrooms, office and walk in closets/storage area.  In addition it comes with a newer roof, enclosed porch, garden shed, and car port.  Ready for immediate occupancy, come take a look!  $155,000

To preview more photos, check out the visual tour:

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Looking to Build? Check out 32 acres in Heath, Mass

This property comes with a septic system, drilled well, underground power,  poured concrete foundation all on 32 private acres.  The walkout basement has a flat rubber roof and the interior has a kitchen, living room, bedroom and wood heat.  The owners have used it as their hunting cabin and enjoyed many weekends entertaining their friends.  The location is surrounded by plenty of recreational activities including hunting, snowmobiling, fishing, hiking, skiing, rafting and so much more.   $128,000

Check out the visual tour and preview more photos:

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Build Tiny House for $11,000

Many of your reading this might pay for in a year for property taxes, mortgage payments and potentially for Starbucks coffee in a year than what architect, Macy Miller, did for what is a stunning, although tiny, home.
Having been through the ordeal of a foreclosure and with mortgage payments consistently being an issue, Miller took her dream of home ownership into her own hands by designing and building her own home for about $11,000.
The 196 sq. ft. home is in Idaho where Miller resides and plays home not just to her but to her Great Dane. Yes, a Great Dane. One of the biggest dogs on the planet lives in this micro home. Incredible. On top of all that Miller is expecting a child in March and has a place carved out to accommodate her child in her home as well.
This is incredible. I'm amazed at people who put their mind to do something like this and not only do it, but have it look amazing in the process. Yahoo has the full story and gallery of Macy Miller's micro home.

Keep up with the maintenance of your home! Can lose $20,000 in value - read on . . .


An out-of-shape house is older than its years and could lose 10% of its appraised value, that's a $15,000-$20,000 adjustment for the average home. But good maintenance can even add value. A study out of the University of Connecticut and Syracuse University finds that regular maintenance increases the value of a home by about 1% each year. So if you've been deferring maintenance, or just need a good strategy to stay on top of it, here's the simplest way to keep your home in good health.

This article has a list of things that you can do to keep up with the maintenance of your home.  Another good idea is to contact your local realtor and have them take a look at your house to determine what things would need to be done to retain the home's value.   

Mohawk Winter Concert - Thursday December 12 6:30 p.m.

Come join us for a night of music and fun at Mohawk's Annual Winter Concert! Thursday, December 12, 2013, at 6:30 pm in the Mohawk Auditorium. This event is free and open to the public.
The concert will feature High School and Middle School music ensembles. This year's concert will include pop music, folk songs, classical masterpieces, Yiddish music, dancing, and songs to get us into the Holiday Spirit! Bands, Choirs, and the new high school Rock Band will be performing.
Light refreshments will be available to purchase in the lobby at intermission.






Listen to the Mohawk Trail Regional High Select Chorus

Holiday Festivities Northfield, Mass Dec 14th 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


Join the holiday festivities in Northfield 
Saturday Dec.14th 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

This special day in Northfield has a full holiday schedule of live music, crafts, food, tree lighting on the Main Street, shopping, appearance by members of the Pioneer Valley Symphony and more!  Preview the grand homes that have one of the most dramatic and classic streets capes found anywhere in New England.   Click here for more information about this special day in Northfield.

Valley Gives - Western Mass - Saturday December 12, 2013

This Saturday December 12, 2013 is your opportunity to make a donation to a non-profit organization of your choice.    You can select from several organizations and donate as many times as you want.  

During Valley Gives, western Massachusetts nonprofits collaborate with the goal of getting thousands of Valley residents to support their favorite nonprofits. By participating, donors will help charities become eligible for special prizes totaling $200,000.

This is how it works, 1)  Log on to ValleyGivesDay.org  2) search for your favorite cause or organization  3) Donate!  

Open Houses Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Greenfield and Turners Falls, Mass

Come visit us at our open houses we have scheduled for 
Saturday December 7th -11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Would you love to own this home but don't have enough for a down payment? The seller is willing to help out offering owner financing to qualified buyer. 

Come take a look this Saturday and preview this extremely well built Tudor style home with spacious and open floor plan.  There is a very nice apartment that you could rent to help out with the mortgage payment. This multi-level home has a large kitchen, dining & living area with fireplace, large full bath with jacuzzi tub, 3 bedrooms, and a recreation room with fireplace!  In addition it has an attached 2 car garage, central air, large deck, outbuilding and heated pool!
Ready for immediate occupancy.  Located at 370 Green River Road in Greenfield, Ma. $325,000

This wonderful Ranch style home has been remodeled top to bottom and it shines! It has an open floor plan with a fabulous kitchen with lots of attractive cabinetry.  In addition there is a large dining and living area; master suite with full bath and walk-in closet; two bedrooms and full bath; laundry closet; and a fenced in yard! Nothing needs to be done to this place but move in.  It is conveniently located on the hill in Turners Falls.

This affordable home is priced at $179,900. Located at 44 Coolidge Avenue on the hill in Turners Falls.

Cathy Roberts speaks to students at Mohawk Trail Regional High School


Cathy Roberts along with Kathy Caputa from Greenfield Savings Bank spoke to over 50 students at the Mohawk Trail Regional High School about the process of buying a home.   The outline focused on credit scores, what is a good score, how to keep one, what a credit score means when buying a home.  In addition they discussed the mechanics of applying for a loan at a lending institution and what is involved in getting approved for a loan.   

Cathy talked about what it is like to shop for a home, how to review an offer to purchase, down payments, appraisals, home inspections and buyer & seller agency.  The students at Mohawk learned a lot and felt it was beneficial.