RE/MAX Leading Edge

Jay Bradley, REALTOR

RE/MAX Leading Edge, 319 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA 02474

617.799.6142 jayfbradley@gmail.com

Proposal for More Flexible Zoning Laws in Arlington

 

Zoning laws are very strict and very hard to change. Arlington, for example, is a dense community, with small lot sizes, and not a lot of unused land. I agree that zoning laws are important in order to protect and control the water usage, the wetlands, the architectural integrity, and the mixed-use laws for promoting businesses. However, we have a housing shortage with a very high demand, and I think we can do something to help the situation.

I work with a lot of new construction homes in Arlington, so I am very familiar with the zoning laws. Currently if you were to build a new home you would need a minimum lot size of 6,000 square feet and 60 feet of frontage, with a height restriction of 2 ½ stories. If you have a lot that has an existing home on it, and you wish to raise it and build new then the requirements drop to a minimum lost size of 5,000 square feet and 50 feet of frontage. 

I propose that Arlington be more lenient on some existing zoning laws that would help create new housing. How? 

Here’s my idea: Arlington has many non-conforming lots. For example, non-conforming could mean that the lot size isn’t large enough to build on, perhaps it falls shy of the 5,000 sf needed, or, the set back requirements don’t meet the current ones to allow you to raise the structure and build new. Non-conforming lots can also prohibit a home owner from expanding by adding an addition.  My proposal is to let people who have these non-conforming lots use the same ratios as conforming lots – 10 feet on either side of the building and 60 feet of frontage - basically 2/3 of the frontage is build-able and the other third makes up the side set backs. 

Using the same ratios with non-conforming lots would allow us to be creative in what kinds of new housing we could offer and it would also allow people to build new or add value to their current homes. This proposal is small in scale.  It wouldn't add an enormous amount of housing that would have a negative effect on the community in regards to transportation, and public resources. However, it could potentially let us increase the amount of new construction that would help us with the housing shortage.  

I think it’s something to think about and I would love to hear your feedback on what I have proposed.  Do you think it’s a good idea?  Do you think Arlington would change any current zoning laws?  What would you propose? 

If you are interested in learning about Arlington’s zoning history, in 2006 Alexander von Hoffman, a senior research fellow at Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, wrote a case study on Arlington’s zoning history.  You can read an article about the study here that was posted in the CommonWealthMagazine in which he provides detailed history and criticism of how zoning evolved in Arlington especially after WWII. 

A Walk Down Memory Lane

 

I grew up in Arlington.  Arlington is home, and over the years I have seen and experienced all of its wonderful growth and changes.  With change we lose and gain some things, however, in our case we have gained a lot. I embrace with pride the developments within the community.  For example, the school systems are highly ranked within the state, in fact, Arlington High School was ranked one of the best public high schools in Massachusetts. 

The elementary schools are also outstanding and one of the reasons why many families want to live here and raise their families.  I remember taking my son Seamus to his first day of kindergarten at Hardy Elementary.  While we waited in the playground for the bell to ring I suddenly remembered my father taking me to the same schoolyard 40 years earlier.  We lived around the corner on Randolph Street. I nervously walked with my dad, my hand in his, with my heart pounding, a little scared and excited for my first day alone at school. I remember when the bell rang I quickly let go of my father's hand, and any doubts I may have had as I ran as fast as I could inside the school for fear I would be late on my first day.  What a feeling to be standing there 40 years later with my own son, his hand in mine, and I was sending him off to now make his own memories and friendships that my brothers and sisters, and I had done in the same place, many years ago. 

In my youth, as in many small suburban towns, we rode our bikes throughout the neighborhoods; walked along the railroad tracks, now the bike path; and spent summer nights hanging out by Spy Pond.  It was a great place to grow up, where I knew everyone in my neighborhood. In fact, my grandmother lived below us in our 2 family home and neighbors became family friends that lived next door for more than forty years, who we called aunt and uncle.  Even though things have changed, like in most towns outside major cities within the U.S., Arlington is still a great place to live, raise a family, and has a wonderful strong sense of community, where people care about each other and take care of one another.  Community here is strong, and I believe is one the reasons why it is one of the most desirable towns to live in outside of Boston. I may be a little biased, but I think most residents would agree.

I look forward to my son making his own memories and growing up in our town.

Did you know that Uncle Sam was born in Arlington?  You can find more fun facts about Arlington here http://www.arlingtonma.gov/i-want-to-/arlington-history

SEPTEMBER 2015 HOUSING REPORT

Market Summary

The Fall market has officially kicked-off in Massachusetts particularly in the Greater Boston market according to the RE/MAX Leading Edge September Housing Report. Sales of combined condo and single family homes in Massachusetts increased +11.6% year-over-year. Inventory is down -16% year-over-year and down -3.1% month-over- month. The median price of combined condo and single-family homes increased +3.1% year-over-year.

“As expected, buyers are back in the market especially in suburban markets like Lynnfield, Melrose, Reading and Winchester where pending sales are well into the double digits outpacing both Boston and the overall Massachusetts market,” said Linda O’Koniewski, CEO of RE/MAX Leading Edge. “After one of the most gorgeous summers on record, buyers came back in full force and took advantage of low interest rates in an effort to settle in before the new school year.”

 

 

Full Housing ReportFull Report

 

 

Arlington Condominium Housing ReportArlington – Single Family

 

 

Cambridge Single Family Housing ReportCambridge – Condominiums

 

 

Cambridge Single Family Housing ReportCambridge – Single Family

 

 

Lynnfield Housing ReportLynnfield

 

 

Medford Single Family Housing ReportMedford – Single Family

 

 

Newton Housing ReportNewton

 

 

Somerville Condo Housing ReportSomerville – Condominiums

 

 

Somerville Housing ReportSomerville – Single Family

 

 

Watertown Condominiums Housing ReportWatertown – Condominiums

 

 

Winchester Housing ReportWinchester

 

 

 

 

Arlington Housing ReportArlington – CondominiumsBoston Housing ReportBostonCambridge Condo Housing ReportCambridge – Multi FamilyLexington Housing ReportLexingtonMedford Housing ReportMedford – CondominiumsMelrose Housing ReportMelroseReading Housing ReportReadingSomerville Single Family Housing ReportSomerville – Multi FamilyWakefield Housing ReportWakefieldWatertown Single Family Housing ReportWatertown – Single Family

 

 

RE/MAX LEADING EDGE JANUARY 2015 HOUSING REPORT

The RE/MAX Leading Edge January Housing Report reflects the blizzard conditions and more than 72 inches of snow that has fallen already this year.  The sale of single family homes in Massachusetts decreased -4% year-over-year and condo sales decreased -12% year-over-year.  Inventory continues to be a challenge despite the winter weather.  Active single family homes dropped -17% year-over-year and condos fell -26% year-over-year. Prices continue to rise across the Commonwealth for the third consecutive month.  Single family prices rose +4% year-over-year and condo prices rose +3% year-over-year.

“While the market experienced a strong finish in 2014, the frigid temps and accumulated snow has kept buyers and sellers at home and out of the real estate market,” said Linda O’Koniewski, CEO of RE/MAX Leading Edge.  “When we turn the corner on the weather, we will see renewed activity in the market.”

To read the full report click here.

2015 New England Housing Forecast

 

RE/MAX of New England Forecasts Millennial Buyers are Expected to Fuel the 2015 Housing Market

Loosening Lending Practices, Low Inventory and Steady Interest Rates Anticipated to Heat-up the First Half of the Year

Natick, MA – January 20, 2015 – According to the RE/MAX of New England 2015 Housing Forecast, millennial buyers are expected to play a significant role in the 2015 housing market across the region, and New England will continue to experience inventory shortages in desirable areas, while consumers should expect to see higher interest rates in the second half of the year.

RE/MAX of New England cites the convergence of increased consumer confidence, a rebounding local economy and continued low-interest rates to create a steady, consistent housing market throughout much of New England in 2014. Inventory shortages in desirable areas drove prices up, but throughout much of the region, overall home sales decreased over 2013 numbers.

The first quarter of 2014 saw lower-than-anticipated sales throughout New England, but as interest rates and oil prices ticked down, and the weather heated up, pending sales throughout the region hit double-digit increases year-over-year. Price increases coupled with inventory shortages helped to motivate buyers from the sidelines resulting in a busy spring and summer market. Investors took a backseat in 2014, as fewer distressed or under-valued properties entered the market.

According to the report, single-family and condominium home transactions were steady throughout New England in 2014, creating a very similar market to what was experienced in 2013.

In Connecticut, sales were similar to the 2013 market, with approximately 40 fewer homes sold in 2014 according to CTMLS and CMLS data. The average median price of a single-family home was $190,000, condominium sales rose 3.2%, and the average median price of a condo was $78,700, according to CTMLS data.

In the Greater Fairfield County area, single-family home sales decreased 5.9% while condominium sales rose 1.5%. The average median price of a single-family home in Greater Fairfield County was $400,000.

The average median sales price of a single-family home in Massachusetts increased 3.8% from $320,000 to $332,000 in 2014, according to MLSPIN. Single-family home sales decreased 3.0% and condominium transactions decreased 0.6% year-over-year.

At $227,900, the average median sales price of a single-family home in New Hampshire was up 3.6% over 2013 figures. Single-family home transactions decreased 1.6% year-over-year according to NNEREN, while condominium transactions decreased 0.5% and prices increased 4.3%.

In Rhode Island, single-family home sales decreased 1.3% year-over-year. Condominium sales decreased 7.0%. Average median price for single-family homes increased 3.8% compared to 2013, reaching $218,000.

Single-family home transactions were flat in Vermont, while the median price decreased 3.8%. Condominium transactions rose 9.5% with the average median price rising 3.3%.

“Across New England we experienced extremely moderate price increases,” said Breault. “Single-family homes increased 0.8% on average, while condominiums fared better, rising 2.7% over last year’s prices. This is the type of appreciation we expect to see in a healthy market and helps set the stage for what we can expect to see in 2015.”

To read the entire RE/MAX of New England 2015 Housing Forecast, click here.

November 2014 New England Housing Report

 

November 2014 New England Housing Report

 

 

Natick, MA - December 18, 2014

- The New England housing market experienced a seasonal year-over-year sales decrease of -8.0% and a month-over-month sales decrease of -25.4%.

 

Pending sales were up 5.8% over November 2013, while month-over-month figures declined -20.4% over October 2014.

Across New England, median prices rose year-over-year in every state except Maine, which was down -1.0%. Month-over-month, prices held steady, increasing 0.5% on average.

"We expect to see home sales trailing off in the fourth quarter as we get into these cold winter months," said Dan Breault, EVP/Regional Director of RE/MAX of New England. "The good news is that prices are holding steady across the region and homes are staying on the market fewer days than a year ago."

To read the entire report, click here.

About RE/MAX of New England and RE/MAX Integra

Since its inception in 1985, RE/MAX of New England has grown to over 200 offices and 2,700 sales associates throughout Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, providing franchised residential and commercial real estate services to its franchisees and their real estate professionals.

RE/MAX of New England is owned by RE/MAX Integra, a privately-held company headquartered in Toronto, Canada. RE/MAX Integra is the largest sub-franchisor of RE/MAX, LLC worldwide, and represents 28,000 agents and approximately 30 percent of RE/MAX, LLC.

For more information about RE/MAX of New England or RE/MAX Integra, visit the RE/MAX of New England blog at www.remaxne.com and follow us on Twitter at @REMAXNE. RE/MAX is proud to help raise millions of dollars and support local charitable organizations including Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.

For more information, contact:

Stacy McNary 
Public Relations & Communications Manager 
RE/MAX of New England 
508-655-9400
8 Strathmore Road 
Natick, MA 01760

 

 

 

 
 
   

October 2014 New England Housing Report

 

October 2014 New England Housing Report

 

 

Natick, MA - November 17, 2014

- The New England housing market experienced a year-over-year sales increase of 6.5% and a month-over-month sales increase of 3.5%.

 

Pending sales showed an uptick of 9.3% over October 2013, with month-over-month figures representing an incredible 65.7% increase over September 2014*.

Across New England, every state in the region showed solid year-over-year sales increases with the state of Maine in the lead, up 25.4% over 2013 numbers.

"We're excited to see an increase in sales across the region this month," said Dan Breault, EVP/Regional Director of RE/MAX of New England. "Traditionally, this time of year represents a slow-down in the housing market, but with pending sales up almost 70% and pricing holding steady, New Englanders are starting to feel the effects of a more stable economy."

To read the entire report, click here.

*Please note we do not have pending sales figures for the state of Maine reflected in this report.

About RE/MAX of New England and RE/MAX Integra

Since its inception in 1985, RE/MAX of New England has grown to over 200 offices and 2,700 sales associates throughout Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, providing franchised residential and commercial real estate services to its franchisees and their real estate professionals.

RE/MAX of New England is owned by RE/MAX Integra, a privately-held company headquartered in Toronto, Canada. RE/MAX Integra is the largest sub-franchisor of RE/MAX, LLC worldwide, and represents 28,000 agents and approximately 30 percent of RE/MAX, LLC.

For more information about RE/MAX of New England or RE/MAX Integra, visit the RE/MAX of New England blog at www.remaxne.com and follow us on Twitter at @REMAXNE. RE/MAX is proud to help raise millions of dollars and support local charitable organizations including Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.

Are prices starting to level off?

The hottest housing markets in Massachusetts in Q3; let the price cutting begin (BBJ DataCenter)

Nov 6, 2014, 6:09am EST
0624 home for sale sign
Enlarge Photo
Courtesy of National Association of Realtors.

According to data provided by Zillow, some 42.7 percent of all homes listed for sale saw a reduction in their list prices during the three-month span that ended Sept. 30, while the average price cut per listed home was 5 percent.

 

Managing Editor, Online & Research-Boston Business Journal

The unseasonably cool temperatures of late summer appear to have had an equally chill effect on the state's housing market.

The market's third-quarter downshift was apparent in communities from Cape Cod to the Berkshires, as sellers in high-end as well as lower income areas of the state resorted to deep price cuts to lure buyers their way. According to data provided by Zillow, some 42.7 percent of all homes listed for sale saw a reduction in their list prices during the three-month span that ended Sept. 30, while the average price cut per listed home was 5 percent.

In the prior quarter, only 33 percent of listed homes reported cuts in asking prices, and the average reduction from their original list was 4.3 percent.

The market's apparent softening was widespread. For example, in the Western Massachusetts communities of South Chesterfield and Brimfield, more than 70 percent of listed homes saw price cuts in the third quarter. In Lawrence, where 49 percent of listed homes saw pricing reductions, the average cut was 8.8 percent. Further south in Newton's tony Nonantum neighborhood, some 38 percent of listed homes combined for an average price cut of 8.2 percent.

Compare that to the second quarter, when only 27 percent of Nonantum's listed homes reported price reductions and the average cut was 3.7 percent.

The findings were part of the Boston Business Journal's quarterly Hottest Housing Markets report derived from a collection of sales and pricing data provided by Zillow. The quarterly rankings use a weighted formula to identify the local home markets most — and least — in demand in a given period, in this case the three-month span that ended Sept. 30. The Q3 research included data for 283 ZIP codes spread throughout the commonwealth.

Local 3rd Quarter Housing Report

Is the Real Estate market on the verge of changing?

Boston Properties is selling. Should other property-owners be worried?

Sep 29, 2014, 2:14pm EDT
100 Federal Street
Enlarge Photo
Warren Patterson

100 Federal St. in Boston, a building in which a Norwegian sovereign wealth fund just bought at 45 percent stake from Boston Properties.

 

Boston Properties is in selling mode again — a fact underscored by recent transactions through which the company is shedding nearly half of its stakes in 100 Federal St. and Atlantic Wharf in Boston. A Bloomberg reporter recently noted that the last time this happened, the company cashed out of significant real estate holdings just before the 2008 crash.

A slide Boston Properties executives used a presentation to investors in Boston last week makes the point starkly.

The slide, which can be found on the Boston Properties website, shows that during the three years before the 2008 crash, the REIT disposed of $4.1 billion in real estate while acquiring only $1.2 billion. In the immediate aftermath of the crash, Boston Properties began buying again — acquiring $5 billion in real estate while disposing of only $559 million worth.

Things get especially interesting when you look at the past 18 months. According to the chart, which was disseminated by Boston Properties and prepared by Green Street Advisors and Eastdil Secured, the REIT has again been in selling mode, acquiring only $458 million worth of real estate while selling, or announcing plans to sell, $3.6 billion worth.

In their Boston presentation to investors, Boston Properties executives sounded anything but alarmed about markets. An unofficial transcript made available by Bloomberg to subscribers quotes company leaders speaking effusively about the Cambridge and Waltham markets and positively, if in a more-reserved manner, about the Boston market for high-end tenants.

But an executive whose identity is unclear from the transcript says: "We do think today is an opportunity ot time to harvest select assets in our portfolio."