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?”,, 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.


Single women continue to buy

Single women are outpacing single men when it comes to homebuying—both nationwide and in the metro Boston area. Here’s more on this group of buyers:

  • A recent LendingTree analysis found that 12.3% of single women own homes in the metro Boston area‚ compared to just under 8% of single men.1
  • When totaling ownership among the country’s 50 largest metro areas‚ single women own roughly 1.5 million more homes than single men.
  • Properties located near public transportation are popular among single women‚ according to one Boston area loan officer.
  • Single women frequently take advantage of first‑time homebuyer programs that help with down payment and closing costs.

If you would like more information on the special programs that can assist in financing a home for a single buyer‚ please contact me.

1Kathleen Conti‚ “In Boston area‚ more single women are snapping up homes than single men‚” Real Estate‚ last updated April 30‚ 2020.


Optimism abounds as economy reopens

As states begin to lift restrictions and reopen their economies‚ industry professionals are cautiously optimistic about the housing market’s ability to bounce back this summer. Count National Association of REALTORS® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun among them.1

  • At the 2020 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings on May 13‚ Yun pointed out that residential investment‚ which includes home building‚ home sales‚ and remodeling‚ was up 21% in the first quarter—a sign of the robust market that existed before the pandemic.
  • As the pandemic spread‚ personal savings jumped by 152%. “Are they waiting for the economy to reopen?” Yun asked. “Or does it imply pessimism? There is certainly more money available.”
  • Amidst steep declines in spending‚ there was a 10.4% increase in the amount devoted to building materials and gardening. Said Yun: “People are remodeling‚ working on lawn care. All things you do to sell a home.”

It’s possible that this year’s spring selling season was simply delayed until summer. I am always here if you have questions.

1Catherine Mesick‚ “Watch for home sales rebound as economy opens up‚” REALTOR® Magazine‚ last updated May 14‚ 2020.