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Weston Builder, Broker See Housing Uptick

Weston builder Mike Rizzo sees reason to be hopeful about the ailing housing market . Rizzo first noticed the decline five years ago. Since then, he said, both housing and land have plunged. "Everything has dropped 20, 25 maybe 30 percent," he said.

Now Rizzo thinks the worst is over. "Within the last three or four months things have picked up a little bit," he said.

Kathleen O'Connell, a real estate agent for William Raveis, one of the top housing brokers in town in terms of gross sales, agrees.

"There isn't a distinct pattern," O'Connell said, "but our December sales are better than they were last year."

However, O’Connell said new federal regulations on bank loans and real estate appraisal have been a mixed bag.

"Everyone has to be flexible these days," O'Connell said. Recently, one of her clients decided not to sell, and renovated their Weston home instead. She also closed a deal in February for a homebuyer who took advantage of the $8,000 homebuyer tax credit, which expired in May.

For Rizzo, the market has forced him to stop building to spec. "It's too much of a risk," he said. "I know people who are doing it, but using their own money." As banks have tightened restrictions on loans, fewer companies are interested in the terms and the banks are hesitant to take risk, he said.

Rizzo's company, MJM Construction , recently broke ground at 46 Steephill Road for a new home valued at $1.09 million. He is happy to be building again, even if most of his projects have fewer square feet than in years past. "I'm very fortunate," he said. “Weston's been my home for 20 years now. I'm really proud that I've helped landscape this town with new homes and additions."

The construction industry is one of the first industries to suffer from economic woes, and one of the last to recover, according to Weston's building inspector Rack Gleason.

What do you think of the housing market? Is it getting better? Worse? No Change?

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