August 19, 2006
CAUTION: You are entering "The Bubble Spin Zone"
"You're traveling to another dimension, a
dimension not only of sight and sound... but of mind. A journey into a
wondrous land, whose boundaries are only that of the imagination...
you're entering... the Bubble Spin Zone."
Reading some assessments of the current Massachusetts housing market, one wonders if industry spokespersons are taking their cues from Rod Serling classic, "The Twilight Zone." Arguing "that prices are not declining sharply in response to falling sales," one recently told the Boston Globe that "I'm seeing some concessions from sellers, but not a whole lot." Last August when the same spokesperson was asked by WBZ-AM radio talk show host Paul Sullivan if buyers were in danger of buying at the height of the market, he said no.
So, to help inform homebuyers and protect them from overpaying in overvalued housing markets, The Real Estate Cafe has developed an interactive map to involve homebuyers (and fellow buyer agents) in the process of documenting falling housing prices, in Massachusetts and beyond. Beyond price concessions, we are particularly interested in mapping sales below assessed value. Would you believe that some buyer agents first began chatting privately about homes selling below appraised value this time last year?
If you are actively looking for a home, please visit our real estate bubble map before making an offer. Working with site users, we've already mapped nearly 300 properties sold recently below their assessed value in 27 of the most expensive cities and towns in Greater Boston. We assume our readers know more than we do, so we've made it easy for you to post comments, add new properties, or start your own local bubble map. Some consumers have begun documenting sales below assessed value in highly desirable towns like Cambridge, Brookline, Newton, and suburban communities near Route 495.
Shortly, we'll add another 150 sales below assessed value which occurred during the past six weeks. Some of the properties already mapped have sold for at least $100,000 off, but don't let that cause you to rush into an offer. The largest price reductions could be between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day; when historically, one in five properties sells for at least 10 percent off. This year, we'll track how many sell for 10 percent below their assessed value, but we'll need your help to do it.
If you're one of our paying clients in Massachusetts, we'll reward you for each property you add to the one of our regional bubble maps. See our Tipping Policy for more detail. (Get it? Real Estate Cafe, Tipping policy?)
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