Summer’s Here. Time to Catch Our Breath

Man, oh, man! What a nutty spring market here in and around Lexington (never mind nearby planets like Cambridge, where one buyer bid $1.3 million over a $3.7 million asking price). Inventory has been tight. Bidding wars were the rule rather than the exception. Since January 2013, the Janovitz + Tse Team have had 19 MLS transactions, plus a couple more that were non-MLS sales. Of all of the above, we have had 14 listings, five of which sold at or over asking price. Our most recent, 32 Percy Road, was priced at $1,389,000. We had four offers all over $1,400,000. The winning bid was far above that with no contingencies (as it has not yet closed, we are not at liberty to publicize the final sale price). However, we were on the losing side of a bidding war for this Moon Hill house. We are told the buyer went similarly over asking with similar terms.

When we act as buyer agents in such a heated market, we are in a tough position. What is any particular house “worth” when you have to take the recent sale comps with a shaker of salt because the other three (or 17) bids are offering a whole new price range with no financing contingency, and subsequently no appraisal being a potential issue later on? Our advice in a case has to be to bid the best-and-final price/terms above which you would feel comfortable walking away from the house. If you are okay with not getting a seemingly high-priced $1.3 million house because you offered your top of $1.35 million, then it is time to move on. Otherwise, be prepared to dig a little deeper for the house of your dreams, because we are experiencing as much a sellers’ market here as we have seen in over a dozen years in this business.

The message for potential sellers who have been holding off, the time is right. Interest rate hikes are pushing fence-sitters into a more urgent mode. There have been many buyers shut out of the spring bidding wars still looking. There are renters with leases running out. A spike in inventory, coupled with the traditionally slower summer and fall markets should balance the market a bit. But like all “should” cases this year, ya never know.

Some notable modern listings and sales of ours this year:

Swampscott $959,000. We sold for $927,500. Photo courtesy of Steven White, Raveis.


3 Stonewall Road, Five Fields, Lexington. $1,690,000. We sold for $1,675,000


And you can see the other listings we have sold recently with their final prices here.