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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Let Us Help You Succeed

Businessman giving hand for handshake

One of the most important missions of the Realtor® Association is to help new members succeed.  It can be overwhelming to start a new career, and you need the resources to help grow your business.  That’s why MAR developed the My Realtor® Mentor program a few years ago.  My Realtor® Mentor introduces new agents to resources available through the Association and helps them jumpstart their business to sustain a profitable, rewarding career as a Realtor®.

Each month for a year, the newest Realtor® members receive an email from us that contains information, tools, videos and other resources to help them succeed in business and understand the benefits available to them as a member of the Realtor® association. Even if you’ve been in the business for more than three years, you can still join the My Realtor® Mentor program.

Since the MAR My Realtor® Mentor Program began, over 12,000 members have received invaluable information, and according to annual membership research it is rated high among the reasons members find value in belonging to the organization.

My Realtor® Mentor Program will help you develop the self-confidence needed to succeed in the industry. If you’re looking for a way to take your business to the next level, My Realtor® Mentor Program is a great place to start.

Action Alert: Oppose Short-Term Rental Tax

Long row of cottages along the beach in Turo along Cape Cod Massachusetts

The House of Representatives is expected to take up a bill on Thursday (delayed due to the storm Wednesday) that seeks to tax, regulate, and potentially restrict short-term rentals in the Commonwealth. MAR opposes this legislation for two main reasons.

1.    The bill would grant cities and towns the explicit authority to restrict a property owner’s right to rent their unit on a short-term basis; and
2.    It would require homeowners to comply with onerous business regulations and administrative burdens that were never intended for the average homeowner.

MAR is supporting two amendments to the bill.

Amendment 6: Would strike a provision that would allow cities and towns to restrict short-term rentals by passing by-laws or ordinances that would include a limit on the number of days an owner may rent out a home or requiring that each home is an owner’s primary residence.

By way of example, a city or town would be able to prohibit homeowners from renting out their property for more than 14 days per year, or from renting out a second home on Cape Cod in order to off-set their mortgage and carrying costs, simply because it is not their primary residence.

In addition, by authorizing cities and towns to impose a business licensing requirement on short-term rentals, H.4314 would impair a fundamental attribute of private property ownership—the right to rent—and convert it to an unlawful business use for which the “privilege” of a license is required.

Amendment 14: Would clarify language to ensure that Realtors® who collect rent and taxes from renters would be able to pass those funds on to the owner, without incurring any tax filing obligations.

What We Need You to Do:

Please contact your State Representative and let him or her know that this bill is bad for homeowners and private property rights in Massachusetts and ask that they support these amendments.

Look up your state representative.

Sample Call Script:

Hello, my name is ______________ and I am a Realtor® and constituent from ______(TOWN)_________.

I’m calling today to talk about H.4314 the short-term rental bill that the House will be considering.

I am opposed to this bill because it seeks to allow communities to restrict a property owner’s right to rent their property simply because it is for a short stay.
This is important to me because this bill would impair a fundamental attribute of private property ownership—the right to rent—and convert it to an unlawful business use for which the “privilege” of a license is required.

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors® is supporting two amendments that would improve this bill. Number 6 filed by Rep. Tackey Chan and Number 14 filed by Rep. Daniel Cahill.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to me today.

Read more information on House Bill H4314.