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Welcome to your constantly updated resource for news and views on the Brookline Real Estate market. Here you will find commentary and statistics to explain the daily changes in the Brookline specific housing market.

Whether you're looking for an estate in Cottage Farm, a condo in Brookline Village or are just stopping by please feel free to read along and comment at will. If you are interested in speaking about renting an apartment, buyer representation or listing your home please feel free to contact me.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Yes things are down, and they are up. HUH?!?!

Today's Brookline TAB Blog piece about May home sales highlights a continuing trend in Brookline. Single family homes are not selling(only 5 in May). Condos are selling well(78 now, 74 last year). Pricing is down in condos slightly, but some of that is tied to a difference in data between MLSPIN and the Warren Group (taken from the Registry of Deeds). I've consistently kept my analysis tied to the information available on MLS as it allows a slightly broader selection of search options.

So, in response to Neal, what the heck is going on out there?

From the beginning we've always identified supply and demand as the one and only constant in a real estate market. Brookline has always had demand. Whether it's tied to the proximity to the Longwood Medical and Academic Areas, the Biotech Corridor in Cambridge, or plain and simple, downtown Boston, Brookline has always had the benefit of strong desirability.

Which of those things has changed in the last year? Call me when one of them does, because that will be HUGE news.

The one thing about demand is we can't really control it. It ebbs and flows, is tied to financial hardships, and can swing as quickly as the publication of MCAS scores.

What about supply?

That's a simple measure. We have none right now when it comes to single family homes. In the last month we saw 25 properties on the market, 10 of them went under contract, and only 3 sold.

When we compare that to last year, that's about 1/4 of the volume in all categories.

So, why? Single family homes in Brookline are expensive. Even when compared to our lofty reality, only a small segment of the overall population can ever think about buying them. Does it surprise anyone, in an era of 50% declines in the Stock Market that we're talking about millionaires not moving frequently?

Condos on the other hand have been feed by a sudden, and somewhat shocking, construction and conversion boom this spring. From St. Aidan's, the projects on Sewall, St. Paul and Green, North Brookline has seen an amazing influx of new supply.

Remember, the factors that drive demand have not changed dramatically since the boom days of 2003-2006. So, if anything limited our marketplace last year it was a lack of good stuff to buy. Now, we're seeing great new condos sell after less than a week on the market. We're seeing people who still yearn to live in our great community. As a result, pricing has stayed pretty steady.

So, what's on the horizon?

Remember those three single family home sales? We've already seen 16 more in the 25 days of June so far. So, I look forward to Neal being able to write " Home sales up 500% since last month.

Condos are a little more complex, and I'd rather wait for the numbers to come out at the end of the month. At the end of the day, our market is hanging in there. Your local real estate offices are amazingly busy. Our schools are still amazing, and if we could ever have a sunny day we might all be able to get away from our computers and out around town to enjoy the amazing, demand-driving benefits of Brookline.

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Greg Kiely is the Operations Manager for both the Newton and Brookline offices of
William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage & Insurance. He works regularly with many of the area's most accomplished agents and deals personally with the marketing and sale of every transaction in each office.
Greg also serves on the Government Affairs Committee of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors.


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The views expressed on these pages are the opinion of the author and any public contributors. They do not substitute for the advice of a legal or financial professional. These opinions are not representative of any firm or business. Please always consult an attorney, financial professional or sign a contract with a Buyer Agent or Seller's Agent for specific advice.