By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Westborough – The suburban Boston real estate market has weathered the economic downturn better than most around the country, and Andrew J. Abu, a veteran Realtor here, encouraged potential buyers and sellers to keep that in mind.
“I read recently that Boston is the fourth best job market in the country. The real estate market here has held its value better than markets nationally, and better than I had expected,” he said, urging people not to panic at the gloomy economic news they hear daily.
“The national picture skews to the negative side. If we could talk just about our own area, things would look a lot sunnier. I just saw in the Wall Street Journal a prediction that the national real estate market would not be back before 2015, but I think values in this market will come back much faster.”
Abu, owner/broker of Andrew Abu Realtors, has been working in the Metrowest area for 21 years. “Last year, 2010, was the best year we ever had based on volume. And 2011 is trending to be on the same level,” much of that business from personal referrals. The firm, with eight brokers, serves towns from Worcester, east to Framingham, south to Uxbridge and north to Bolton.
He senses the local real estate market is bottoming out.
“There's more energy and activity in the market, so it seems like we may have hit bottom. We'se seeing more multiple offers on properties, and many are moving faster than buyers might have expected,” he said, pointing out also that mortgage interest rates are extremely low.
Abu encouraged buyers and sellers to take a hard, realistic look at both their real estate and overall financial situations in making decisions on houses in this economy.
Potential sellers “are paralyzed because they feel the value of their home has dropped so much. But wherever they are moving to, the values are down there as well. They need to look at the whole picture.
“Forward planning is extremely important. If you are going to move, why not do it now? You can's spend your life waiting for the real estate market to change,” Abu said. “You need to examine the true costs of continuing to live in the house, such as taxes and maintenance costs. Is it ridiculous to continue to pay $14,000 in real estate taxes if you no longer need a big house?”
And if financial circumstances have changed and you can no longer afford the house you have, “how long are you going to let that go on?”
Abu advised potential buyers to “look at the value proposition of renting. You are paying huge rents and getting nothing for it. We have been too fixated on whether a house is a good investment, whether it's cheaper to rent, and not factoring in what it's like to come home to a place of your own.”
With lower prices and interest rates, financially-able buyers “should take advantage of the market to upgrade” or to buy their first home.
Even if younger buyers are not sure how long they will stay in the area, “when you are buying at these price points, you have a much better opportunity to sell quickly if you need to,” he said.
As for investment properties, Abu noted that “capital gains tax rates are so low, it is an excellent time to get rid of an investment property,” and, for younger buyers just considering investment properties, the prices on multifamily properties are low, making them “a very good long-term investment in a strong rental market.”
Andrew Abu Realtors is located at 80 Flanders Rd., Suite 102, in Westborough. For additional information, call 1-508-836-3333 or visit the website at www.AndrewAbu.com.