Single-family searches soaring

The search for privacy has officially begun. Single-family homes away from densely populated areas are gaining in popularity among Boston-area shoppers.1 Check it out:

  • Of the saved searches by Redfin.com users in May, there was a six-percentage point increase in searches for single-family homes in the Boston metro area since February.
  • Nationally, 36% of Redfin’s saved searches were aimed at single-family homes. That’s up 33% since February.
  • Meanwhile, searches for townhouses, condos, and multi-family homes declined. In May, just 7.5% of saved searches excluded single-family homes, the lowest level in three years.

Sharing the latest market data with you is one of my priorities. Please contact me if you’d like more information.

1Lily Katz, “Interest in single-family homes hits four-year high,” Redfin, last updated June 15, 2020.


The end of the open floor plan?

Open floor plans and “great rooms”—with their inherent lack of privacy—aren’t so great for those working and learning from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Is this the end for these popular floor plans? Here’s more from realtor.com1:

  • The biggest downfall of open plans is noise, due to a lack of sound-absorbing walls. Also, the tile or stone floors that make up today’s modern styles don’t help lower volumes.
  • Those with great rooms are creative when it comes to finding private getaways. Garages, spare rooms, and bedrooms are being converted into makeshift home offices and classrooms.
  • Many are choosing to reformat their open spaces to better fit today’s lifestyle. This includes the use of drop-downs that turn a kitchen island into a classroom or folding desks that save space when not in use.

I hope to keep you updated as we change the ways we live, work, and learn in our homes. Please let me know if you need assistance.

1Lisa Johnson Mandell, “Will working from home spell doom for the open floor plan?”, realtor.com, last updated June 10, 2020.


Remote online notarizations on the rise

With more real estate professionals working remotely, the digitization of the home purchase and lending processes continues. Check out the data from Qualia’s latest industry survey1:

  • The use of remote online notarization spiked by 40% in May, when 33% of industry professionals were using it (compared to 24% in the March/April survey).
  • The majority of those queried work for title and escrow companies. The number of respondents working remotely increased from 61% to 65%.
  • Title and escrow professionals were optimistic about business moving forward: 70% of those surveyed expected an increase of stable order volume in the next 30 days. Only 30% felt that way in March/April.

It’s clear the pandemic has permanently changed the way we work. I will keep you updated on any new industry trends.

1Kelsey Galles, “Survey shows rapid shift toward remote work & digital transactions,” Qualia, last updated June 23, 2020.


A slow recovery for Massachusetts real estate

The Bay State real estate market is slowly recovering—one month at a time. Check out these May numbers from the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® (MAR)1:

  • Single-family home sales were up 8% from April (3,441 units sold) to May (3,712).
  • Sales dropped 30.3% from May 2019. However, the median price of a home did jump 4.7% from one year ago.
  • Inventory remains an issue, as new listings were down 33.6%.
  • Said MAR President Kurt Thompson: “The spring market will now be the summer market. Most likely, we’ll continue to see inventory levels decrease in the short term but will start to see a resurgence when we reach the other side of COVID‑19 issues.”

Here at Capstone Mortgage, the goal is to provide guidance and support. Please contact me if you have questions about the recovering real estate market.

1Alessia Girardin, “Massachusetts real estate market ‘took a pause,’” Boston Agent Magazine, last updated June 24, 2020.


National average is $5‚779

A new report1 examines the financial impact geography can have on mortgage closings costs. Not surprisingly‚ the cost to close varies greatly‚ depending on the state in which the sale takes place.

  • Nationally‚ average closing costs for a single-family home in 2018 were $5‚779. Calculations included taxes as well as fees for titles‚ appraisals‚ recording‚ and surveys.
  • Here in Massachusetts‚ the average was $5‚924 – 13th highest in the country.
  • The District of Columbia topped the list ($24‚613) followed by New York ($13‚581) and Delaware ($13‚309). The most affordable states to close in? That would be Missouri ($1‚887)‚ Indiana ($2‚002)‚ and South Dakota ($2‚149).

Providing relevant market data is one of my top priorities.

1Steve Randall‚ “These states had the highest closing costs in the country in 2018‚” Mortgage Professional America‚ last updated June 18‚ 2019.