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The Case For a Big Year in Home Sales

Buying News Boston
Despite a rough winter that discouraged sellers, Waltham-based real estate broker Anthony Lamacchia predicts that 2015 will be a great year for home sellers in Massachusetts.
Despite a rough winter that discouraged sellers, Waltham-based real estate broker Anthony Lamacchia predicts that 2015 will be a great year for home sellers in Massachusetts. GLOBE

Despite a rough winter that discouraged sellers, Waltham-based real estate broker Anthony Lamacchia predicts that 2015 will be a great year for home sellers in Massachusetts, according to a recent Boston Globe column which Lamacchia wrote for the paper.

“It’s a great time to be a seller right now,’’ the owner of McGeough Lamacchia Realty, Inc. told Boston.com in a separate interview. “It’s a tough time to be a buyer.’’

Lamacchia said this spring he expects the real estate market to balance out its supply and demand. This could be the biggest year for home sales since 2005, when about 81,000 properties were sold in Massachusetts, he added.

Here is the reasoning behind Lamacchia’s prediction:

The Economy

With falling unemployment rates, lower inflation rates, and increased consumer spending, the U.S. economy is improving this year, according to business economics groups. The improved economy might encourage prospective buyers – even first-timers — to take the plunge.

The Weather

Due to the snow, Lamacchia said the real estate market has been slow to fill with inventory this spring. Homeowners are too busy clearing snow piles and fixing ice dams to put their property on the market. “Buyers were out in force right at the beginning of the month, but sellers were actually even slower than usual about listing,’’ Lamacchia wrote in the Globe.

But now that the weather is improving, Lamacchia said he expects listings to increase, and buyers to respond with pent-up demand.

Gas Prices

Increased U.S. production and oversupply of oil have led to very low gas prices this year. According to forecasts from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, prices at the pump are expected to stay down this summer, at rates up to 30 percent cheaper than last year.

Lamacchia thinks the extra change in people’s pockets could influence them to consider buying a home: “This is welcome news which will help the real estate market, because anytime people have more money in their pockets they feel better about buying homes,’’ Lamacchia wrote in a McGeough Lamacchia Realty, Inc. blog.

Low Interest Rates

Since September 2014, interest rates have fallen and are at their lowest level in almost two years, Lamacchia wrote. Last year the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.43 percent, but it has dropped to 3.8 percent.

Looser Lending

Mortgage companies and government-sponsored enterprises are loosening up their lending guidelines as the housing market improves, Lamacchia said. Federal lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, for example, are offering 3 percent down mortgages –payments first-time homebuyers are more likely to be able to manage.

Rising Home Values

Finally, home prices are rising. January 2014 saw the highest median price for homes in Massachusetts since 2008, and Lamacchia said this increase in property value could encourage sellers to try and size up or trade down.

Are some areas better for sellers than others?

“The closer to Boston, the hotter the market is, the more demand there is,’’ Lamacchia said. So, if you’ve been considering selling your home, this spring might be the right time – especially if you’re close to the Hub.