Category Archives: Market Conditions

What Brexit Means for American Mortgage Rates

dreamstime_s_54561593Britain’s vote to leave the European Union on Friday shocked many and left Americans wondering what effect the action would have on our economy. International concerns play a large role in the mortgage-backed security market. As a general rule of thumb, when there is risk or danger in the financial markets, investors and speculators tend to flee to ‘safe haven’ assets, such as U.S. treasury bonds and U.S. mortgage-backed securities. This typically results in lower mortgage rates and mortgage-bond purchasing leads to higher prices and lower bond yields.

For Americans who have been waiting for one reason or another to refinance, now is the time to act. Rates are back at historic lows and the Federal Reserve is likely not going to be raising short-term rates again for a while. Investors are putting their funds toward the safest assets, such as U.S. Treasuries, mortgage -backed securities, and gold. According to financial analysts, this won’t last long. Homeowners are urged to act quickly, and lock in rates as soon as possible.

The Brexit vote and ensuing turmoil in Europe also strengthened the U.S. dollar overseas. As a result, imported goods, such as German automobiles or appliances, could also see some price improvements over time with a stronger U.S. dollar, along with a decrease in the cost of traveling to Europe.

It is certainly worth a conversation this week about where your mortgage rate is and whether or not the team at Fairway can help you save money each month. Call our partner at Fairway, Jarred Alexandrov, to discuss where rates are and how he can assist you with a quick refinance for your home. If you have been considering moving to a new home, he can talk about your options as well, as there may not be a better time to buy in 2016 than in the coming weeks and months!

Jarred Alexandrov
Office: 508.735.0078
Cell: 508.735.0078

Source: Fairway Independent Mortgage


Brookline is the brainiest place in Massachusetts

Brookline is the brainiest place in Massachusetts, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data gathered by the Boston Business Journal and parent company American City Business Journals in 40 markets around the country.

See the other cities ranked and learn more about why Brookline was ranked the #1 best-educated community in Massachusetts. To read more: Boston Business Journal.

Brookline SS Pierce Building

Homes: What $25 million buys around the world

Got a $25 million real estate budget? Here’s a selection of homes from around the global market.

Sotheby’s International Realty has 10 of the 15 listings featured in this CNN Money article. Talk about international!


7 Tips for First Time Home Buyers

7 Tips for First Time Home Buyers Competing in a Seller’s Market:

1. Gather Down Payment – Explore all potential sources and be prepared with the highest down payment possible.  You may not need it, but the more you have at your disposal, the better you can compete.

2. Establish A Budget – Determine the monthly payment you can afford or the maximum you are willing or comfortable paying each month towards housing costs.  Be sure to include mortgage, condo fees (if any), property taxes, insurance. Determine whether this is gross or net of taxes benefits.

3. Determine Your Time Frames – How long do you plan to live in the home, own the home and/or maintain the initial mortgage.

4. Develop Your Team – There are multiple people involved in a real estate transaction, including: Buyer’s Agents, attorneys and lenders. Meet with a Buyer’s Agent to help put your home buying strategy together, taking your short and long term goals into consideration. Find a group of experts to represent you, negotiate the best deal and help simplify the process.

5. Line Up Financing – Get pre-approved and understand current interest rates, closing costs, and various loan programs available to you.

6. Search Properties Online – Ask your Buyer’s Agent to provide you with a real time feed of the newest properties to hit the market within your specific parameters based on your desired location, the size, type and amenities you are hoping to find, and your budget.

7. Attend Open Houses And Make Appointments To See hand-101003Homes With Your Buyer’s Agent – Your agent should not just set it and forget it.  He or she should be aggressive, proactive, and available to meet your needs. Buying a home is a process of elimination, and understanding your true tastes and motivations can only be discovered by seeing properties with you and asking the right questions.

Following these steps should make your home search more efficient, more effective and help you compete in a hot Seller’s Market.

For more information, you’re invited to attend one of our First Time Home Buyer Seminars. Click here for more.

2014 Real Estate Market: consumers are optimistic and more committed to buying and selling homes.

Prudential Real Estate Q4 Consumer Outlook Survey: Consumers Optimistic About 2014 Real Estate Market, More Committed to Buying or Selling This Year

IRVINE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Prudential Real Estate, an HSF Affiliates LLC real estate brokerage network, today released results of its fourth quarter Consumer Outlook Survey indicating that consumers’ perception of residential real estate is increasingly favorable, and that consumers are more committed to buying and selling homes in 2014 than they were during the previous year.

“Consumers are increasingly sophisticated about real estate and many come to the table armed with impressive research”

In fact, favorability toward real estate reached 78% among all respondents, a 5-point jump from the previous quarter and 15 points higher than at year-end 2012. Millennials’ perception of real estate is most favorable, peaking at 87%. Respondents’ growing optimism yields resolve, as 76% of likely transactors and 63% of all survey participants indicated they were more committed to buying/selling homes in 2014.

“Consumers understand that the U.S. economy and residential real estate continue moving in positive directions,” said Earl Lee, CEO of HSF Affiliates LLC. “Accordingly, they’re feeling much better about their personal situations and want to take advantage of attractive home prices in many markets and interest rates that remain low by historical standards.”

Respondents acknowledged that macro-economic events of 2013, such as government sequestration and rising interest rates, impacted their personal finance decisions. However, they look to the new year with anticipation: A full 65% are optimistic about the housing market in 2014 and a nearly 60% believe home sales will increase during the year. Half of all respondents believe that the rate of appreciation in U.S. home values will slow this year after a strong run in 2013.

“Normalcy is returning to residential real estate,” said Lee. “People are seeking homes for all the right reasons – to gain shelter and security, raise a family and generate long-term wealth.”

While financial concerns certainly play a role in the decision to buy or sell, home ownership remains a deeply personal decision. Owning a home is important to 96% of Americans, and 78% agree that home ownership is an important part of the American dream. When asked about their experience buying and selling in today’s economy, 72% of respondents said that finding the right home and community are crucial to their family’s happiness.

Caution remains in the marketplace. “Decreasing home values” is the No. 1 concern of respondents, followed by “saving enough for a down payment.” Underscoring the stringent lending guidelines that are still in place from the industry downturn, just 39% of respondents believe it will be easier to secure a mortgage loan in 2014. Consumers also acknowledged that tight housing inventory may impact their home-buying decisions this year: 67% expect to face more competition for homes on the market.

These and other hurdles call for advice and guidance from real estate professionals. A full 64% of survey respondents indicated that a good agent can help them make the right choices about the type of home and community they want; 62% said a good agent can help maximize home ownership investment. Among millennials, 70% said a good agent can help them maximize their investment and 62% say now, more than ever, they look to a real estate agent for sound guidance on a real estate transaction.

“Consumers are increasingly sophisticated about real estate and many come to the table armed with impressive research,” said Stephen Phillips, COO of HSF Affiliates. “However, they will always need an experienced agent to pull it all together, assess opportunities, negotiate in good faith and keep everything moving for a successful transaction.”

The full survey details are available upon request. An infographic illustrating survey findings is available here.

Prudential Real Estate Outlook Survey Methodology

Interviews with 2,500 Americans who are “in the market” to buy or sell a home were conducted online by Edelman Berland in December 2013 and January 2014. Respondents are aged 25-64 with a household income of at least $50,000. The margin of error is +/-1.96% for all respondents.

Original Article Provided by Business Wire Here

Prudential Real Estate Ranked Highest for Customer Satisfaction in Three Segments of J.D. Power and Associates 2013 Home Buyer/Seller Study

Prudential Real Estate Ranked Highest for Customer Satisfaction in Three Segments of J.D. Power and Associates 2013 Home Buyer/Seller Study 

(Brookline, MA) – Prudential Real Estate, an HSF Affiliates LLC company, and Prudential Unlimited Realty announced that the Prudential Real Estate affiliate network ranked highest for customer satisfaction in three of the four segments included in J.D. Power and Associates’ annual Home Buyer/Seller Satisfaction Study. The network scored highest in Repeat Home Buyer, First-Time Home Buyer, and First-Time Home Seller categories. It ranked third in the Repeat Home Seller segment.

The sixth annual study measures customer satisfaction among the nation’s largest real estate brokerage companies. Overall satisfaction is gauged across four factors of the home-buying experience: agent/salesperson, real estate office, closing process, and variety of additional services. Seller satisfaction is evaluated through the same four factors plus marketing.

Among repeat home buyers, Prudential Real Estate scored 829 on a 1,000-point scale, performing particularly well in agent/sales person, variety of additional services and closing process. The network tallied 811 points among first-time home buyers, showing strength in all factors. Prudential Real Estate scored 809 points in the First-Time Home-Seller segment, drawing strong marks for marketing and closing process. This represents the third time in six years Prudential Real Estate ranked highest in seller satisfaction including recognition in 2008 and 2010.

“Prudential Real Estate stands for quality and consistency in neighborhoods across America,” said Earl Lee, network president and CEO of HSF Affiliates LLC. “Buyers and sellers alike appreciate our affiliates’ market leadership and our agents’ skill and innovation.”

Lee added that the Prudential Real Estate network enjoys one of the industry’s highest average selling prices and that its agents stand out as local-market experts. “Affiliate to affiliate, Prudential Real Estate sales professionals have a strong work ethic and drive for client satisfaction. These prestigious awards further underscore our agents’ success and the quality of our network.”

The team at Prudential Unlimited realty works hard to exceed the expectations buyers and sellers alike, explained Prudential Realty.  “In today’s market, our clients require all the expertise and service we can offer. Through our knowledge, innovation and guidance we maximize the home-buyer/home-seller experience to ensure our clients’ needs are met.”

Among other survey findings:

  • First-time home buyers and sellers are most influenced by a company’s good reputation and the recommendations they receive from friends, family and colleagues.
  • More than one-third (35%) of first-time home buyers and 27% of first-time sellers indicate they selected their real estate company based on its reputation.
  • 28% of first-time home buyers and 27% of first-time sellers selected their company based on recommendations.
  • Overall satisfaction with real estate companies is higher among repeat customers compared to first-time buyers or sellers.
  • Suggesting better times in residential real estate, the percentage of first-time home sellers increased to 44% in 2013 from 30% in 2012.
  • The percentage of first-time home buyers also increased significantly, 49% in 2013 vs. 40% a year ago.

The 2013 Home Buyer/Seller Study includes 4,371 evaluations from 3,930 respondents who bought or sold a home between March 2012 and April 2013.


About Prudential Real Estate and HSF Affiliates LLC

Prudential Real Estate is a part of the HSF Affiliates LLC real estate brokerage family, which includes Real Living Real Estate and the new Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand available later in 2013. Prudential Real Estate franchisees are independently owned and operated.

HSF Affiliates LLC, based in Irvine, Calif., is a joint venture of HomeServices of America and Brookfield Asset Management.

About Prudential Unlimited Realty

Prudential Unlimited Realty is an independently owned and operated franchisee of Brookfield Residential Property Services (BRER). As an independent franchisee, our local owners have the freedom to make decisions quickly and on a local level, but with the backing of the strong, internationally recognized Prudential brand. We believe in maintaining the flexibility and entrepreneurial spirit that top agents are looking for. This allows us to respond better to our local market with speed and innovation that may prove to be more challenging for a larger enterprise.

Prudential, the Prudential logo and the Rock symbol are service marks of Prudential Financial, Inc. and its related entities and are used under license with no other affiliation with Prudential.

About J.D. Power & Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company providing performance improvement, social media and customer satisfaction insights and solutions. The company’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-

Join Boston Real Estate Investment Club’s next meeting Feb. 27th


Join the Club February 27th!

The Boston Real Estate Investment Club has announced another meeting on Wednesday, February 27th at Osaka Japanese Sushi & Steak House.

About the Club

The Boston Real Estate Investment Club is open to real estate investors of all experience levels who want to meet and continuously learn from other investors and real estate professionals. Each meeting features knowledgeable speakers to guide members through new and relevant topics relating to the many aspects of Real Estate Investment. Past events have covered Why invest in Real Estate?, Foreclosures, Self-directed IRA’s, 1031 Exchanges, and Creative Tax Strategies.

It’s an opportunity to network with others who share similar goals & needs, to learn about unique & hot properties, to find ways of obtaining & utilizing different sources of capital, and so much more! 

February’s meeting will feature:

Matt Newman :: Investor

“In the mid 1990s, Matthew started a real estate company that today has two offices: one in Brookline, and one in Jamaica Plain, Prudential Unlimited Real Estate. He is a silent partner but participates in corporate development and consultation. Matthew began buying, managing and developing real estate in the early to mid 1990s. At first he bought condominiums, three family houses and small projects. Now over 20 years later, he owns over 200 residential units, has completed dozens of condominium conversions, acquisition-renovation-management situations, and renovated and sold numerous assets and properties, has developed dozens of projects and has bought and sold over 50 million dollars worth of property in the area. Matthew is still involved with the two Prudential offices. Currently, he oversees the management of the Newman Properties portfolio and is seeking new acquisitions. “

Eric Erickson :: Investor / Mortgage Specialist

“In 1992 I began my career in the mortgage industry. By the mid 1990’s I became known as the “Go-To Guy” and the “He can get it done guy” for the FHA 203K loan. I founded my own mortgage company in 1996 just a few short years before the economy took a large downturn and eventually the FHA 203K loan became obsolete. Now in 2012 the program is needed again and I am back to provide these loans to properties in need of improvement. I have the opportunity to bring my skills to borrowers that need to navigate the current lending environment. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage has given me the ability to provide both the FHA renovation loan as well as Conventional loan programs for home buyers and investors.”


•    2013 Investment Planning     •
•     Short Sale Update     •
•     Hot Properties     •
•     and more!    •


February 27th, 2012

6:00PM :: Registration / Networking / Food / Drink

6:45PM :: Lighting Round with Guest Speakers & Prudential Unlimited Staff

7:00PM :: Meeting


 Location / Amenities / Registration


Osaka Japanese Restaurant

14 Green St, Brookline, MA 02446

$10 with pre-registration (
OR $15 at the door (Includes Sushi)

Cash Bar Available



Mortgage Update: FHA Changes Restrictions on Condo Lending

Update by Jarred Alexandrov : Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation

You may or may not already know that the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) has had some pretty strict regulations in place for condo owners wishing to get an FHA Loan to purchase or refinance a condo.

Now, the FHA has announced some changes to it’s approval process, making it easier for some Condo projects and some borrowers to qualify for an FHA Loan.

Here are some of the changes the FHA has made:

FHA condo approved

  1. Delinquent Dues: FHA has eased restrictions on the percentage of units in a building that can be delinquent on their association dues. Going forward, no more than 15 percent of a building’s units can be more than 60 days delinquent. The previous rule was 30 days.
  2. Investor Ownership: Investors may own up to 50 percent of the total units in an existing building so long as at least half of the units have been sold, or are under contract to owner-occupants for use as their principal homes.
  3. FHA Certification: In condo buildings that are proposed, under construction, gut rehab conversions or those that have been built within the past 12 months, only 30 percent of the units must be owner-occupied in order to be FHA certified.

Read more about the changes in the Chicago Tribune.

Many condo projects that did not qualify previously may qualify under the updated guidelines.

If you’ve had a client who wanted a low down-payment FHA loan, but could not get approved because of FHA restrictions, it is probably time to have them to a loan officer again.

Jarred Alexandrov
Marketing Director and Loan Coordinator
617-456-1700 ext.115


Don’t forget to come in, call or visit us at for all your Real Estate needs in Boston, Brookline, Jamaica Plain and surrounding areas.

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The Rental Market AFTER Sept 1st with Al Norton of Prudential Unlimited Realty

A Rental Market Update
by: Al Norton, Rental Manager

September First has come and gone, so the rental market is dead, right? I mean, roughly 90% of all Greater Boston apartments are on a 9/1 – 8/31 lease cycle, so what could possibly be available at the start of October? Well, while the floor of our rental department isn’t exactly Grand Central Station like it was just a few weeks back, there is still business going on –  new homes being found – so if you are looking now or plan on looking in the next few months, what follows will help you be a more informed consumer!

Traditionally, the off-season (October thru April) inventory is made up of some combination of September First leftovers, lease breaks, luxury units, and new investment property…


September First leftovers

September First leftovers are just that, places that were listed for 9/1 occupancy that no one rented. Maybe because they were overpriced, maybe the office that had the listing didn’t do any marketing, maybe they just somehow slipped through the cracks, but frequently current conditions simply leave them vacant. The good news is that because they have been on the market for a while, the rent for these units is likely lower than it was six weeks ago. Keep in mind there is only so low they will drop; a $2600 two bed in Brookline is not going to fall to $1900, but you might get it for $2400 . Also, the leases for these units will likely be less than one year in order to get back on cycle and then you are looking at a rent increase to get back up to market level.

Lease Breaks

Lease breaks are situations where the current tenant has to move; they have a lease in place, likely through the summer, but people get new jobs, lose jobs, split up, get engaged/married and all year round with no respect to our leasing cycle, so these units do pop up. Also. the First Time Home Buyer market has been hot this season due to low rates, causing tenants to grab deals thus freeing up more units. There’s not a ton of them, but they are out there and the thing to keep in mind about these units is that they will likely not be discounted since the landlord already has a contract with the existing tenants where they have to pay the rent until someone else takes the place, so there is no reason for them to mark the unit down.  The good news is these rentals aren’t available because of issues of quality and/or price, so you won’t have to adjust your expectations the way you would for a leftover.

Luxury Units

Luxury units don’t always follow the same rental cycle because the amenities those buildings typically offer – some combination of concierge services, gym, pool, club/media room, garage parking – are hard enough to come by where they are always going to be in demand no matter what time of year they are available. There can be some discounting involved in the off-season but those discounts might be along the lines of a one bed that was $3500 now being $3200; $300 a month off your rent is great but it’s still $3200 a month in rent!

New Investment Units

New investment units come to market all year round because real estate closings happen all year round. A smart investor will recognize that their goal with an off-season closing is to get a quality tenant in the unit at a price they can live with in order to get the unit back on the 9/1 cycle, so you may be able to get what would be a $1900 unit for $1800 or even $1750. Again, don’t forget that you will be looking at an increase at the end of the lease but if you can save $100 – $150 a month for 8 -10 months that pays your moving costs (for example).
We rental agents speak in general terms, which during a strong market some renters can find discouraging, but the truth is all you need to find is one place, so take the information you’ve just read and bring an informed, realistic, and yes, optimistic mindset to your search!

Next week we will have a feature from Thomas O’Connor, Head of Property Management for Prudential Unlimited Realty about how you can add value and efficiency to your home.  Don’t forget to come in, call or visit us at for all your Real Estate needs in Boston, Brookline, Jamaica Plain and surrounding areas.

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Why Getting a Loan Approved Will Get Harder October 20th

By Jarred Alexandrov of Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation

It’s what nobody wants to hear…but getting a loan (especially a condo loan) may get more difficult as of October 20th 2012 due to an update to Fannie Mae’s “Desktop Underwriter” (DU) system.

The more you know about the changes, the better you can adjust to them in advance. REALTORS® can correctly advise their clients based on the these changes. Lenders can accurately qualify potential borrowers.

What is DU?

DU is the online system through which lenders like Fairway Mortgage submit their mortgage applications to get instant feedback on whether a loan will qualify under Fannie Mae’s standards.

We run DU on every loan, so when there is an update to the DU system, it can affect every loan application.

The Changing Appraisal Requirement

“Exterior Only” appraisal inspections will no longer be offered…full interior/exterior appraisals only.

The Change to Condo Project Reviews

DU will require a full project review, as opposed to a Limited Review, on principle residences in condo projects when the LTV/CLTV is greater than 80%.

DU Will Require 2 Years of Tax Returns from the Borrower

Fairway currently requires 2 years of tax returns (as opposed to 1 year), so this will not be a change for Fairway clients.

Funds to Cover Unpaid Credit Card Balances

Findings will require that we document that the borrower has sufficient funds to cover the unpaid balance of all 30 day charge accounts.

There are sure to be a few other changes when the DU update is released on October 20th 2012 that will impact the qualifying process of our loan applications.

However, the agents and lenders who adjust to these changes in advance will be able to best serve borrowers looking to get a loan in the 4th quarter of 2012 and beyond.

Be Looking out for more updates on the current market and what to expect for the rest of 2012 and 2013. Prudential Unlimited Realty will also be featuring some great Do-It-Yourself Articles, Rental/Sales Market Updates and GIVE-AWAYS! Check back weekly!