You may have read an article in The Wall Street Journal or watched Diane Sawyer on ABC talking about housing market trends and alerting you of the best times to buy or sell your home. While the trends may be accurate on a national level, they may be entirely different when you consider them from a local — or even regional — perspective.

There are a few factors that cause these incongruities between national and regional trends. This past winter was so oppressively cold that only a few brave souls were diligently working on buying or selling their homes. This left the northeast region behind some other regions in home sales. Now that the weather has improved, we’re seeing a market correction, of sorts. More people are aggressively vying to buy in a market with limited inventory.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, the Housing Opportunity Index (HOI) for a given area is defined as “the share of homes sold in that area that would have been affordable to a family earning the local median income, based on standard mortgage underwriting criteria.”

HOI is a good indicator of determining trends because it takes both median income and affordability into consideration. Statistics show that Boston’s HOI has been in decline since 2012, largely due to a decrease in median household income combined with an increase in the median price for home sales. Nationally, the average percentage of affordable homes is 66%. Locally, the percentage is just 51%, a full 15% lower than the national numbers.

We can conclude from this that national numbers can’t be assumed to coincide with the local Massachusetts housing market. So when Diane Sawyer tells you to buy, sell or hold tight, it’s best to contact me for advice that comes from a locally informed source. I will gladly discuss all the concerns you have about timing your new home purchase and give you the best advice for your individual needs.

 

July’s Home Value Improver

Garden Pest Terminator: The Ladybug

Are you fighting a losing battle in your garden? Are the bugs eating your vegetables before you get a chance to enjoy them?

It’s no wonder farmers turn to pesticides to eradicate those flying and crawling garden pests. But half the fun of raising your fruits and vegetables yourself is to enjoy your own completely organic, toxin-free foods. So what’s an enterprising gardener to do? The solution: Ditch the pesticides and order up a big batch of ladybugs.

The ladybug is a natural, cost-effective eliminator of common garden pests. They especially love aphids, but will consume other bugs, worms and mites. They may come in a cute package, but they are a generalist predator and will keep your unwanted bug population under control.

You can pick up your ladybugs at some garden centers or you can simply order them online from Amazon (yes, they really have everything at Amazon, including boxes of 1500 live ladybugs, costing under $20).

Once your ladybugs arrive, wait until evening. Watering your plants before releasing them is a good idea, as the ladybugs may feel dehydrated from being in captivity. Doing this at night gives your ladybugs the best chance to remain in your garden as they acclimate themselves quietly overnight.

Will your ladybugs fly away? Yes, many will. However, the ones that stay will almost immediately start laying eggs, keeping your ladybug population flourishing. If you happen to notice a small black and red insect that looks like a spiny little alligator, that’s a ladybug larva. They may start off homely, but they hatch ready to eat your unwanted bugs.

Put those ladybugs to work and enjoy the harvest of your own organic garden.