Government Affairs First Quarter Update

Massachusetts State House in Boston

The first quarter of 2018 saw housing issues take center stage in state government. The Senate announced its next two leaders, and mandatory energy scoring bills left and came back again all within just a few months. MAR is also excited to announce that Governor Charlie Baker will be the keynote speaker at the 33rd Margaret C. Carlson Realtor® Day on Beacon Hill on June 7. Continue reading

Housing shortage continues to affect Massachusetts economy

free fall of the stock market concept with pen and business chart

The UMass Donahue Institute reports the state’s economy slowed in the first quarter of 2018 and cites the lack of housing as an important factor. As the report states, “the challenge for Massachusetts going forward will be to address the housing, transportation, and infrastructure constraints that make it more difficult for the workers who will be needed to fill these positions to relocate to the state and meet the needs of growing employers. While this challenge is not new, the price of inaction is high and rising.” Continue reading

Median Price for Condos Rises Higher than Single-Family Homes in Massachusetts

Closed sales for both single-family homes and condominiums fell in March while median prices went up. The median price for condominiums in March was $10,000 more than single-family homes for the first time since MAR began recording the data in 2004. This is the fourth month in a row that the number of single-family homes for sale has been below the 10,000 mark, an unprecedented low number. Continue reading

Pending Median Price for Condos Rises Higher than Single-Family Homes in Massachusetts

The number of single-family homes put under agreement in the month of March increased over last year. The number of condominiums remained essentially the same. Median prices for both single-family homes and condominiums saw a hike year-over-year. The median price of a condominium was higher than the price of a single-family home. Continue reading

MAR Opposes Energy Scorecard Bill

MAR issued the news release below in response to An Act relative to consumer access to residential energy information that was filed by Governor Baker on Tuesday, April 3. MAR opposes mandatory energy scoring at the time of transfer.

Massachusetts Realtors® Oppose Energy Scorecard Bill Requiring Mandated Energy Scoring at Time of Sale

Bill will not improve energy efficiency, will hurt moderate-income homebuyers and restrict needed inventory reaching the market.

WALTHAM, Mass. – April 3, 2018 – The Massachusetts Association of Realtors® (MAR) came out today in opposition to An Act relative to consumer access to residential energy information, because it won’t meet its intended goals of improving energy efficiency in the Commonwealth. As written, the bill will cause harm to moderate-income homeowners, and further hurt a housing market starving for inventory.

“Realtors® are for energy efficiency, but the mandatory nature of this bill won’t do what its supporters hope it will,” said 2018 MAR President Rita Coffey, general manager at CENTURY 21 Tullish & Clancy in Weymouth. “The key to increasing energy efficiency in Massachusetts is through incentives and not mandates. Programs like Mass Save that provide incentives is the right way to go.”

Massachusetts has distinguished itself as the most energy efficient state in the country every year since 2011, according to the State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, which is produced by the American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy. The state’s success can be linked to the success of the voluntary Mass Save program.

According to MAR housing data, the number for homes for sale in Massachusetts has been going down for 72 of the last 73 months. This lack of inventory has pushed median home prices to their highest level on record. A mandatory energy audit required prior to a home being listed for sale would further restrict inventory levels at a time when more homes are needed to meet demand.

“Massachusetts is starved for housing inventory. In fact, it’s so severe, that we’re seeing the lowest number of homes on the market since we’ve been tracking this data,” said Coffey. “This scarcity is increasing home prices to a point where many first-time homebuyers are being forced out of the market and deciding to look in other states to buy a home.”

Energy Score: Another facet of this bill that MAR opposes is the requirement that each home that is listed for sale receive an energy efficiency score. Realtors® work to protect their clients and counsel their buyer on the benefits of having an energy efficiency inspection of a home they intend to purchase. Buyers are then able to use that information as they see fit. However, the mandatory nature would unfairly penalize moderate-income homeowner who cannot afford to make upgrades to improve the home’s score.

“This energy efficiency score would really stick it to moderate-income homeowners with older homes who can’t afford upgrades,” said Coffey. “Not every 53-year-old home is the same and to put an energy efficiency rating on them won’t improve energy efficiency.”

About the Massachusetts Association of Realtors®: Organized in 1924, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors® is a professional trade organization with more than 24,000 members. The term Realtor® is registered as the exclusive designation of members of the National Association of Realtors® who subscribe to a strict code of ethics and enjoy continuing education programs.

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