By Steve Levine, President of Steve Levine Inc., and an agent for REMAX Prestige

Steve Levine, President of Steve Levine Inc and an agent at REMAX Prestige.

As 2012 draws to a somewhat anti-climactic close, we can look back on the real estate market with a deep sense of relief. What a year it has been.

After a 2011 that made many homeowners, and real estate professionals alike feel as though we were staring into a bottomless abyss, this year rocked from the very start. Buoyed by what many called “the winter without snow,” and fed by the lowest mortgage rates in history, we finally saw that “bottom” that we were looking for, and once we did, all bets were off. Prices in towns here in our area skyrocketed, beating back years of decreases, and sales volumes are up across the board.

Since the beginning of 2012, there have been 427 sales in Shrewsbury alone, leading all of the suburbs in number of transactions! In other local communities, Westborough saw 229, Northborough had 205, Southborough had 152, and Marlborough had 400. Oh, and for those who keep telling me that Worcester properties aren's selling, I's happy to report nearly 1,500 transactions there since January 2012. Nationally, figures point to year-over-year increases of around 6%, which were a huge breath of relief to the many homeowners who wanted to move long ago but found themselves with negative equity.

While the huge increase in buyer activity has been fantastic, it has not been met with a similar increase in listing activity, and that has created some huge problems throughout our region. Our inventory has been depleted far faster than our ability to get new listings into the pipeline. This has meant an odd winter return to multiple offer scenarios, and buyers desperate for something to purchase and finding absolutely nothing that meets their needs. On Thanksgiving weekend alone, when I thought I's have some down time to eat turkey and watch football, I wound up negotiating four home sales, ranging from the 300s to the 600s!

As it looks now, 2013 may be a pretty good year, but only if sellers step up to the plate. For them, this may be a unique chance to hit the market in the dead of winter, and because of the low inventory, sell their properties for far more than they might have ever expected. Yes, that sound you hear is opportunity knocking, and yes, the winter will probably bring you more money than the spring, when you'se competing with more people.

As many of you know, this is the time of year that I open up the “Homeowners Blend” program for my home sellers. To try and get some inventory into the pipeline, I will keep that open for the next few weeks, in the hope that we can get 10 or 12 new listings on that program for December and January, to kick off the 2013 market.

That's always been a huge hit with the local people, in that it provides some pretty unique fee-saving options that can be worth up to 10 or 20 thousand dollars – which is a huge difference when your equity position is low to begin with. We already have a few people signed up for late December and early January, but still have room for a few more – so if you have any interest in that, just give me a buzz and I'sl save you a place in the program.

Steve Levine is President of Steve Levine Inc., and an agent at REMAX Prestige. He has been ranked 10 times as the top REMAX Agent in New England. He can be reached at 508-735-4663.

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