December 2016 Newsletter

December, 2016

Market Update

             The figures are in for 2016 for Single Family, Multi Family, Condo, and Single Family $1M+ property sales.  It makes for very interesting reading.  You will find all the reports at the end of this newsletter.  Note worthy points:

  • Gloucester has seen a steady increase from 2014 to 2016 in units sold, dollar volume, and sales price to original price ratio in all segments except $1M+ single family and multi family properties.  There is a corresponding decrease in days on market as well.  It is a Sellers Market.
  • Rockport on the other hand has seen mixed results segment to segment.  The main factors are 1) lack of inventory, 2) pricing and 3) condition.  Much of Rockport’s inventory is older homes requiring significant updating.  Buyers are pushing back on that if the price is also high.


High End Market—Properties Over $1M

The $1M+ market segment in both communities is softening with a higher percentage of homes remaining unsold.  In Gloucester this year only 34% of properties sold; in Rockport only 36% of properties sold.  There were a total of  71 million dollar homes on the market in both communities and only a total of 25 sold.  Many sellers are facing the fact that today’s buyers are not all that enthusiastic for 3000+ Sq Ft homes.  High-end buyers are looking for more flexibility and are coming back into the second home market by purchasing smaller (2000—2500 Sq Ft) homes and then adding a vacation/winter property which can be rented when not in use by them.  This was not the case during the recession but I see it coming back into vogue now.


Community Differences

I know that Rockport really wants more young families in town but the current inventory is out of their reach.  But, you can find in Gloucester a single family home that’s on the market for $324,900.  It has 3 bedrooms, 1-1/2 baths, on 11,000+ sq. ft. lot near conservation land, recently connected to sewer.  It needs some work but is basically solid.  A down payment of $10,000 on a 30-year fixed mortgage at 4.325% rate (but not including PMI) would generate a payment of $1857 per month (including escrowed real estate taxes). This is within the budget of many young families.  This is one of five 3-bedroom homes in Gloucester that are under $350,000 that are within the budget of a young family.

In comparison, there is only one home in Rockport (a 2-bedroom home) that is on the market for under $350,000 (it’s listed just under $300,000).  There are two more (both on Long Beach) between $350,000 and $450,000 on the market with 3 more that are under contract.  One of which is the house at 4 Pleasant Rd that just went under contract after 7 days.  Asking price was $438,800.  With a down payment of $21,940 (5%) on a 30-year mortgage at a 4.325% fixed rate,  you would face a $2,358 monthly payment (including real estate taxes but no PMI).  PMI (private mortgage insurance) would add a few hundred more each month to the payment.  That is beyond many first time home buyers.

The lack of inventory in Rockport will keep pricing beyond the reach of most average young families which will continue to accelerate the change in the character of the town.  Without more inventory in the $300K to $400K price range the situation will not change.



As predicted, mortgage rates have increased and, with an improved business climate in 2017, will continue to rise.  Most industry experts expect mortgage rates to rise to between 4.3% to 4.5% by the end of 2017.  That is still a reasonable rate for those of use who remember the days of 12% to 15% rates.  Except, back then, pricing was in the $200,000—$250,000 range for a lovely home.  Another fact of interest is the FICO score that lenders want to see.  Conventional mortgages like to see score of around 753, FHA is 686, VA is 709. The higher your FICO score the better the interest rate you will receive.


Always, always, always go through the preapproval process before beginning your property search even if you have a home to sell.  So many things have changed in the last 10 years that you want to be sure you understand the current process thoroughly before beginning your search.  You will save yourself much disappointment.

Spotlight on my Business Directory

             I encourage you to use my business directory to find help with your property issues.  Here’s a few businesses that have helped my clients recently:


Katherine McNally of Guaranteed Rate: Katherine has been in the mortgage business for years. She’s an expert at what she does and Guaranteed Rate has a slick program which keeps you up to date on the status of your loan processing. She’s very knowledgeable on the large number of programs the company offers and she takes a personal interest in her clients.  If you know any young buyers, have them contact her and inquire about a renovation loan.  Sometimes it’s the prefect solution if a property needs some immediate repairs.


Daniel Croce of Advantage Pest Control:  Every once in a while homeowners have a need for pest control—ants, mice, bats, etc. Dan’s company has a long record of dealing swiftly with the annoying critters and he has plans for ongoing maintenance. My home is set back from the road on the edge of woods and I have always had to spray for black ants. Any now that I don’t have a cat, I’ve had to treat for mice as well.  The hawk that used to visit us on a regular basis has been decided to seek other areas apparently and this year I was overrun with squirrels (that stayed out of my house) and mice which did get in.


You will find contact information for these companies as well as many others in the Business Directory that is located on my website at

One More Thing...

I wish each and every one of you a wonderful New Year of 2017.  Let’s put 2016 to rest and move on to make 2017 the best ever.  Help one another, be kind to one another, and reach out to those who are in need.  Do that and 2017 will be the most rewarding  year.


I welcome your feedback on this newsletter and I am never too busy for your referrals.


 Email me at or call at 978.290.1736 (cell).  Visit my website—

RE/MAX Advantage Real Estate  —  224 Washington St, Gloucester, MA 01930  —  978-283-8005


October 2016 Newsletter

Market Update

              You’ve heard all the talk about low inventory, well the results are in.  Check out these figures for the first nine months of 2016 as compared to the same period in 2015.             



Avg  / Mo for Sale

Avg  / Mo Sold

 Avg Mo of


Avg Original Price

Avg Price @ Offer

Avg Sold Price

Avg  Days

 to Offer

Gloucester 2015








Gloucester 2016








Rockport 2015








Rockport 2016








Essex 2015








Essex 2016








Ipswich 2015








Ipswich 2016








Beverly 2015








Beverly 2016








              There were fewer homes for sale this year in Rockport, Essex, and Beverly.  Pricing differences between Original Price and the eventual Sold Price varied the most in the communities of Essex 2016 ($73,831), Rockport 2016 ($57,728), and Gloucester 2015 ($52,582).  Now look at the Avg Days To Offer for those same communities, you can easily see how those communities are experiencing a slower market. Compare those figures to Beverly 2015 ($21,249 difference) and 46 days to offer and Beverly 2016 ($18,695 difference) and 34 days to offer—that’s a hot market!  Beverly only has 2.8 months of inventory remaining on the market as compared to 5, 6, and 7 months.

I’m enclosing the detail for your particular town/city so you can delve into the minutiae.  I have also included Sales by Price Band report. This is very important when you are a seller trying to determine the price for your property. If you want more information, please give me a call.  It’s all about understanding how your property fits within your area and how active your particular price range is.


High End Market—Properties Over $1M

When it comes to high-end properties (those over $1M) it differs greatly between communities. This year to date in Gloucester there were 16 sales in that range; they have another 28 more on the market—at the same rate of sale it will take another year and a half to sell them all. Rockport had sales of 6 so far; there are 12 more on the market now—that’s 2 years of inventory. Essex sold 1; has 4 more available. Ipswich sold 5, there are 10 more available.  Beverly is the only community with less than a year of inventory. Beverly sold 17 so far this year; they have only 13 more available.



Now is the time to speak with your mortgage company about refinancing your current mortgage to shorten the length of time to payoff or withdraw some equity to do household repairs.  Rates can only go up and they most likely will after the election.

I shared a success story in last May’s newsletter about a client of mine who purchased a home that needed lots of work by utilizing a Renovation Loans (FHA 203K). There are two mortgage lenders with local offices that provide this type of mortgage; both have great track records so give them a call to get the details.

Prospect Mortgage — David Snover, NE Renovation Team at (617) 283-3072

Guaranteed Rate — Katherine McNally, VP Mortgage Lending at (978) 879-9313


September, 2016

              One more thing to keep in mind about mortgages in a hot market like Beverly where many homes go quickly and sell for more than the asking price, if the buyer needs a mortgage, appraisals can become an issue. A property should appraise at or above the purchase price.  If it doesn’t, the buyer must come up with the extra funds to put down toward the purchase or the buyer will not be able to get their mortgage and the sale will fall apart. In some cases the appraisal is not completed until about 3 weeks before the closing.  By that time all parties are moving forward with moving plans.  This is not the time to have a sale fall through. Some homes in cities and towns closer to Boston are going for $30K to $50K or more over the asking price. Experienced Buyer Agents will work with their buyers to ensure that this situation does not happen. Experienced Seller Agents will do their best to ensure that prospective buyers are fully qualified and able to get to the closing table. This type of situation is difficult to manage on both end in a market with rising prices.

Spotlight on my Business Directory

In real estate it is absolutely necessary to have a team of people that can assist a seller or buyer with all the last minute things when moving.  I highlight a few members of my team each month just in case you have similar needs whether or not you are planning a move.


Organize That!: Jennifer Lyon has built a business assisting people to get organized in new spaces (offices and homes), packing for a move, decluttering and downsizing in preparation for a move, or just cleaning out old records (what to save and what to destroy). She is helping a client of mine now who will be downsizing from a small house to a much smaller apartment. You would be amazed at how much stuff can be collected through the years.  It pays to have some guidance and assistance. 


Ken Hanley Landscaping:  An indispensable member of my preparation team is Ken Hanley. I can call him just about any time and he can spruce up the yards for my sellers in preparation for open houses.  He can trim the overgrown bushes, clean out the garden debris, and remove it all from the property.  I’ve even had him clean out some gutters—it’s very unsightly when you see those little trees growing out of gutters. If you’d like a little help with your fall clean up this year, give him a call.


You will find contact information for these companies as well as many others in the Business Directory that is located on my website at

One More Thing...

Since the death of my husband last December I have been working my way through my house, sorting, discarding, repairing, and paring down to simplify my life.  I recently had my basement cleaned out and painted.  This is a gift to my children.  This is one thing they will not have to do when my time comes. I can’t adequately convey how freeing it is to shed all this accumulated stuff. I hope that the items I’ve given to Second Glance will fulfill their purpose by brightening up someone else’s life as they did mine.

It’s fall and time to check the batteries in your smoke alarms and CO monitors.  And, it’s not just the batteries.  The effectiveness of the sensors in those devices deteriorates over time.  Pushing the test button just tests the batteries and the sound that’s generated.  It does not test the sensors and if they don’t detect the smoke or CO the alarms will not sound.  The state of Massachusetts has an excellent booklet (Guide to Massachusetts Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Requirements) that you can find on their website.  It includes the current codes.  Please review it and review the systems you have in your home. If they are older than 7-10 years, you should replace them ASAP so you will not be awakened at 1:00 AM some night.  It is very upsetting to say the least and hard to get back to sleep.



I welcome your feedback on this newsletter and I am never too busy for your referrals.


Email me at or call at 978.290.1736 (cell).  Visit my website—

RE/MAX Advantage Real Estate  —  224 Washington St, Gloucester, MA 01930  —  978-283-8005