OK, now down to business. So what's happening in the local market? Here are some stats that may help put things in perspective:
Brookline Condos Sold Jan-Feb 2006
Listings: 67 Average List Price: $553,194 Average Sale Price: $532,940
Average Market Time: 107.64
Brookline Condos Sold Jan-Feb 2007
Listings: 86 Average List Price: $506,231 Average Sale Price: $495,769
Average Market Time: 89.43
Brighton Condos Sold Jan-Feb 2006
Listings: 50 Average List Price: $335,868 Average Sale Price: $327,222
Average Market Time: 91.38
Brighton Condos Sold Jan-Feb 2007
Listings: 48 Average List Price: $324,145 Average Sale Price: $312,536
Average Market Time: 88.04
What we see is a 7% drop in average sale price in Brookline, and a 4.5% drop in Brighton. The volume of units sold is up in Brookline for 2007 and about the same in Brighton for both years. So, clearly the buyer's market has pushed prices down.
If you are selling in this market three things are critical: (1) price correctly, adjusting for current market conditions, (2) prepare your house to be shown in optimal condition by making improvements and staging it properly and (3) get the best marketing and exposure you can. Most people talk about only (1) and (2) and forget that real estate, like any other market, is driven by supply and demand. Unfortunately, real estate is what economists would call an "inefficient market", meaning that demand for your product will not automatically be at a certain market-driven level just by placing your property for sale. Demand must be CREATED, and the way to do that is through EXPOSURE, which in turn is accomplished with a marketing plan.
It's a good time to buy! Rates are still low and motivated sellers will negotiate. Find a good buyer agent, preferably a Realtor like myself with the ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative) designation. Your buyer agent will counsel you on how to get the best price and terms in any given situation.
Matt Bless, Realtor, ABR is Broker/Owner of Vanguard Realty in Brighton, MA and specializes in residential sales in Brookline, Brighton and surround towns.