Kathy & Terry Sullivan

Kathy: 978-927-9199


RE/MAX Advantage Real Estate
Boston's North Shore, Essex County MA

Offices: Beverly, Gloucester, Marblehead, Peabody, Salem MA

Luxury Homes Waterfront Properties Condos
Multi Family Investment Properties Land All MLS

Judith Coughlin


Buyer Specialist
RE/MAX Advantage Real Estate, Beverly, Marblehead, Salem, Peabody, Gloucester, MA

MA December Unemployment Rate Drops to 5.5% from 5.8%; 10,900 Jobs in Dec.

Massachusetts adds 10,900 jobs in December
Unemployment Rate Drops to 5.5%

BOSTON, MA - January 22, 2015 ---  The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) today reported that preliminary estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show Massachusetts added 10,900 jobs in December for a total preliminary estimate of 3,447,600.  The December total unemployment rate was 5.5 percent, down 0.3 of a percentage point over the month.

Since December 2013, Massachusetts has added a net of 60,900 jobs; with 58,400 jobs added in the private sector. The total unemployment rate for the year is down 1.6 percent from the December 2013 rate of 7.1 percent.

BLS also revised its November job estimate to an 11,700 job gain from the 13,500 gain previously reported for the month.

New Fannie Mae Appraisal Process Will Likely Push Down Appraisal Values


New Fannie Mae Appraisal Program: Helping or Hurting?

Posted: 14 Jan 2015 04:00 AM PST

New Fannie Mae Appraisal Program: Helping or Hurting? | Keeping Current Matters 
Every home must be sold TWICE! Once to the buyer, and once to the bank appraiser if a mortgage is involved.


The second sale may have just become more difficult.

A new program announced by Fannie Mae may slow down the home-sale closing process by causing more disputes over prices between sellers and buyers. In a recent Washington Post article they explained the basics of the program:
“Starting Jan. 26, Fannie plans to offer mortgage lenders access to proprietary home valuation databases that they can use to assess the accuracy and risks posed by the reports submitted by appraisers.”  “The Fannie data will flag possible errors in the appraiser’s work before the lender commits to fund the loan, will score the appraisal for overall risk of inaccuracy and may provide as many as 20 alternative “comps” — properties in the area that have sold recently and are roughly comparable to the house the lender is considering for financing but were not used by the appraiser.”
Using the additional information provided by Fannie Mae, the lender can then ask for an explanation from the appraisal company for any discrepancies and request an amended appraisal. This added step in the process of determining the price of the home to be bought/sold, could add time to the closing process and cost to the appraisal for the additional work.


Why is this happening?

Fannie Mae wants lenders to make informed decisions when agreeing to the amount of a loan that a buyer will be approved for.
“Excessive valuations create the risk of future losses to lenders and investors if the borrower defaults and the house goes to foreclosure.”


What is the process now?

As a seller:

You’ve put your house on the market, picked an agent who has helped you determine that the best price to list your home for is $250,000, and found a buyer willing to pay that price. The appraiser comes to the home and agrees your home is worth the asking price and writes their report. Everything is working perfectly!


As a buyer:

You’ve found your dream home, in the right neighborhood, in the right school district, with the perfect yard, at the high end of your budget, but all the pluses are worth it. You agree on a price and start daydreaming about living in your new home.


What happens after January 26th?

The lender submits the appraisal report to the new Fannie Mae program and they come back with “lower-risk comps” that value the home at $230,000. The lender then turns to the appraisal company to justify the $20,000 difference, adding time and frustration to the process. If the lender does not agree with the reasons for the price difference they will not lend the buyer the amount they need to purchase their dream home and the amicable, agreeable sale turns into a heated justification of the higher price. The buyer may even have to give up on the home if the funding isn’t there. An article by Housing Wire shares the appraiser’s point of view:
“The bottom line, appraisers say, is this could lead to delays to closings and higher costs, as well as a depression of prices in markets where prices are rising. Appraisers complain that if they have to justify every step of their comps for their valuation, rather than those coming from the one-size-fits-all evaluation from Fannie, it will delay closing, throw off buyer and seller timetables, and delay real estate broker commissions.”


Bottom Line

The fear of some real estate practitioners is that if appraisers feel as though they are constantly being second-guessed, they may become more conservative in their assessments, impacting home values and slowing growth in the market.

Winter Special - Mortgage Rates at 3.74% - Nice Buying Opportunity

NAR 2015 Outlook: Resales Up 7%, New Construction Sales Up 30%

National Association of Realtors Forecast for 2015: Existing Home Sales Up 7% and New Construction Could rise 30%. 

Inspite of  improvements in the jobs market, increasing population growth, rising residential rents, improving inventory, record high household net worth and low mortgage rates, residential sales will be 2% lower in 2014 than 2013 - a mystery!

Because the major factors effecting housing are positive, NAR feels this will drive rising sales in 2015: existing home up 7% and new constuction could surge 30%. 

Factors for Improving Home Sales

By Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® , http://goo.gl/1VCMiH

Nearly every factor generally associated with home sales has been turning for the better. We have more jobs, growing population, rising rents, additional inventory choices, record-high household net worth, and exceptionally low mortgage rates. On top of these trends, there is accumulating pent-up housing demand from people who underwent distressed property sales several years ago. The penalty period has timed-out and a steadily increasing number of families should be welcomed back to the market. Even rising home prices, though in one sense this is a negative for transactions as they cut into affordability, are bringing existing homeowners out of underwater status and into the game. Rising home prices and the prospect of such a trend can also act as a confidence booster for homebuyers knowing that they will build equity over time.

Despite these positive developing forces, the only variable that refuses to improve has been home sales. Home sales (new and existing combined) look to have declined about 2 percent in 2014. The numbers and logic are not adding up – at least they did not in 2014. It should, therefore, naturally mean that numbers and logic have to prevail in the upcoming years. A soft year in 2014 should mean a robust year in 2015 and beyond.

Let’s revisit the logic by examining each of the factors in detail and see how this should effect housing in 2015.

Read More »

Q3 GDP Up 5%, Strongest Growth in 11 Years - Dow At Record Highs

U.S. Economy Posts Strongest Growth in 11 Years

http://goo.gl/xzqR09  Updated Dec. 23, 2014 8:06 p.m. ET

Commerce Department said the U.S. economy expanded at a 5% seasonally adjusted annual rate in the third quarter, its strongest pace in 11 years, and reported that consumer spending accelerated last month amid rising incomes and falling gasoline prices.


A big question remains: Can consumers sustain the momentum into 2015? 

There still are signs the economy is far from full health. Inflation remains low and has sagged lower in recent months, largely because of falling oil prices. Low inflation and sagging commodities prices are a possible signal of weak underlying demand, particularly overseas. Wage growth remains sluggish, though there have been glimpses in recent data of a potential pickup. Gains in labor productivity have been slow.

Weakness around the world could reduce demand for U.S.-made products, and a stronger dollar could further depress exports by making them more expensive overseas.  

Fed officials expect full-year growth will come in below 2.5%, marking 2014 as only a slight pickup from recent years.  
But officials see growth strengthening to between a 2.6% to 3% rate in 2015.

The housing market has yet to return to prerecession levels despite low mortgage rates and strong job growth. Sales of new single-family homes fell for the second straight month in November and are essentially unchanged this year from 2013, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

Inflation, meanwhile, remains tame. The Fed’s preferred gauge, the Commerce Department’s personal consumption expenditures price index, slipped to a 1.2% annual gain in November from 1.4% in October. It was the 31st consecutive month that inflation undershot the central bank’s 2% target.

The unemployment rate was 5.8% last month, down from 7% a year earlier, according to Labor Department data.

Personal income rose 0.4% last month from October and climbed 4.2% from a year earlier, the largest annual income gain since December 2012, the Commerce Department said.

Eric Morath And , Ben Leubsdorf, Jonathan House, Kathleen Madigan and Josh Mitchell contributed to this article.

MA Nov Unemployment Rate Drops to 5.8%

 MA added 13,500 jobs in November and 59,600 net jobs since November 2013.

Total MA employment is now 3,438,500 and the November unemployment rate fell to 5.8%.






How To Fix Excessive Battery Drain of iPhone / iPad After Upgrading to IOS 8

Do you have excessive battery drain of your iPhone / iPad after upgrading to IOS8?  

Here is a solution?

Backup you device to your computer using iTunes and then restore your device from this backup.

Here are Directions:

1. Connect your iPhone / iPad to your computer via the syncing cable that came with your device and open iTunes.
(iTunes may automatically open if your iTunes settings are to open iTunes when device is connected to your computer)
2. Click on the icon of the iPhone / iPad on the top left of the screen to display the settings for your device
3. Select the Summary tab
4. Select "Back Up Now" button to backup your device to your computer
After backup is complete,
5. Select Restore Backup button - this will take about 3-5 minutes. Follow directions on screen.
After restore, your battery drainage problems should be fixed.

MA Unemployment Rate 6% for Oct; US Nov Payrolls Grew 321,000 Jobs, Nov Unemployment Rate 5.8%

U.S. Payrolls in November Grew 321,000; Jobless Rate 5.8%

Economy on Track to Record Strongest Year of Job Creation in 15 Years

Average hourly earnings for private-sector workers rose 9 cents from October, to $24.66. That was a 2.1% gain from a year earlier, up a hair from the 2% annual trend of recent months but largely in line with the postrecession trend. In addition, weekly earnings got a boost from a slightly longer workweek: 34.6 hours in November, up from a revised 34.5 hours in October.
A broader version of the unemployment rate, which includes involuntary part-time workers and people marginally attached to the labor force, was 11.4% last month, down from 11.5% in October and 13.1% in November 2013.

MA Added 1,200 Jobs in October, Unemployment Rate Remained at 6% 

(MA reports one month behind US reports)

Since October 2013, Massachusetts has added a net of 52,600 jobs; with 50,400 jobs added in the private sector. The total unemployment rate for the year is down 1.2 percent from the October 2013 rate of 7.2 percent.


The Internet Is a Zoo: The Ideal Length of Everything Online

Infographics: The Internet Is a Zoo: The Ideal Length of Everything Online 

- click link to see entire graphic.  



GDP for Q3 2014 Revised Up To 3.9% from earlier estimate of 3.5% - Best 2 Qtr Growth in 10 Years

Amid Global Slowdown, U.S. Growth Keeps Looking Better

While GDP growth for the third quarter was revised upward to 3.9%, wages, among other things, are holding back full-blown economic growth.

The economy expanded at its fastest pace in more than a decade during the spring and summer, showing the U.S. has strengthened its economic footing despite increasing global uncertainty.

Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services produced across the economy, grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.9% in the third quarter, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

The upward revision from a first estimate of 3.5% put the combined growth rate in the second and third quarters at 4.25%, affirming the best six-month pace since the second half of 2003. The output figures are inflation adjusted  ...

The upward revision to overall growth, driven by stronger consumer and business spending and a smaller drag from inventory investment, surprised economists who had expected quarterly GDP would be marked down. ...

The third-quarter growth revision was supported by several factors. Consumer spending, rising at a 2.2% pace, was better than initially estimated as businesses didn’t allow stockpiles to dwindle as much as first thought. Those factors, combined with falling gasoline prices, point to the potential for strong momentum for shoppers heading into the holidays. ...

Business spending on new buildings, machinery and research-and-development efforts grew more than initially estimated, and spending on residential building and improvements advanced for the second straight quarter after slowing late last year. ...

Last quarter, trade added 0.78 percentage point to overall growth, supported by a 4.9% increase in U.S. exports. A global slowdown is likely to depress demand for U.S. goods and services, and could turn net trade into a drag on the economy.

Government outlays contributed to economic growth for the second straight quarter, after mostly serving as a drag in recent years. But the latest increase was due to an unusually large jump in military spending, increasing at a 16% pace, which is likely to be reversed in coming quarters given efforts to constrain military budgets.

Forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisers projects GDP gains will slow to a 2.2% pace in the fourth quarter, putting full-year growth a shade above 2%.

Those risk factors could weigh on the Federal Reserve’s decision for when to raise short-term interest rates from near zero, despite a much improved labor market. The unemployment rate fell last month to its lowest level since 2008, though some underlying metrics suggest the labor market remains short of its potential.