Boston Real Estate Blog

Home Staging Decreases Time on Market

Posted August 21st

According to a recent survey from the National Association of Realtors, 62% of sellers’ agents believe that staging a property decreases the number of days a home will be actively on the market.

"Realtors® know how important it is for buyers to be able to picture themselves living in a home and, according to NAR's most recent report, staging a home makes that process much easier for potential buyers," said NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties. "While all real estate is local, and many factors play into what a home is worth and how much buyers are will to pay for it, staging can be the extra step sellers take to help sell their home more quickly and for a higher dollar value."

The report indicated that almost two-thirds of sellers’ agents felt staging decreased time on the market, with 39% stating it greatly decreases the time and 23% stating it only slightly decreases. Sixteen percent believe it either greatly or slightly increases the time on the market while 8% felt it has no impact.

Regarding the buyer audience, 77% of buyers’ agents report that staging a home makes it a lot easier to visualize living in the property, and 40% are more prone to visit a home they first saw staged online. Meanwhile, 38% of buyers’ agents feel that staging can add value only if decorated according to the buyer’s taste. Therefore the decor should be neutral enough to appeal to the greatest audience possible.

Realtors that represent both buyers and sellers all agree that the living room is most important to have staged. This is followed by the master bedroom, kitchen and then any outdoor space. The guest room ranks of least importance on the list.

The majority of buyers’ agents felt that staging increases a home’s dollar value between 1 and 10%. Only 1% of buyer agents think that staging can have a negative effect on price. Seller agents believe that staging can add anywhere from 1 to 15% in home value with no agents feeling it has a negative impact on price.

The reports of how many agents recommend staging and at what time they stage ranged across the board from before listing on the market to only when a home proves difficult to sell. However, almost all agents recommend decluttering the home combined with a thorough cleaning and tending to obvious items in need of repair. 

Upcoming Sotheby's Auctions

Posted August 14th

The affiliation with the Sotheby’s brand not only comes with an unparalleled network and marketing reach, but also an unparalleled relationship with the renowned Sotheby’s Auction House. An over 260 year tradition of auctioning some of the world’s most valued possessions from some of the world’s most affluent.

Here is a look at some of the premier Auction House Events that are scheduled soon.

August 29 - September 11, Original Film Posters Online

Soon to premier will be the inaugural online auction of Original Film Posters Online. The event will run from August 29 thru September 11th with the physical exhibit on view at the New Bond Street galleries from August 2nd. Features include large scale posters of King Kong (1933) and Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) as well as other smaller formats of The Wizard of Oz (1939) and Batman (1966). Read more.

September 1 - September 15, Shake It Up Online

Photographs of the Mario Testino Collection will present an exploration of key themes in contemporary photography from some of the most highly regarded artists of this genre. Works from Vanessa Beecroft, Olafur Eliasson, Nan Goldin, Florian Maier-Aichen, Serrano and Wolfgang Tillmans are just a few of the leading artists that will be featured. Read more.

September 6, London

RM Sotheby’s annual London event is one of the most popular sales for the European collector car calendar for the past decade. The event features cars from prominent collectors with a diverse selection from Edwardians to modern day supercars. Arriving early is recommended to partake in a day out at the Concours of Elegance, partnered with RM Sotheby’s. Read more.

Homeowners Agree That Now is a Good Time to Sell

Posted July 21

According to the Housing Opportunities and Market Experience quarterly survey from the National Association of Realtors, a growing number of homeowners agree that now is a good time to sell. During Q2 71% of homeowners polled felt it was a good time to sell which was up from 69% in Q1 and last year’s 61%. Meanwhile, fewer renters on the other hand feel that now is a good time to buy a home.

“There are just not enough homeowners deciding to sell because they’re either content where they are, holding off until they build more equity, or hesitant seeing as it will be difficult to find an affordable home to buy,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. “As a result, inventory conditions have worsened and are restricting sales from breaking out while contributing to price appreciation that remains far above income growth.”

“Perhaps this notable uptick in seller confidence will translate to more added inventory later this year,” Yun said. “Low housing turnover is one of the roots of the ongoing supply and affordability problems plaguing many markets.”

Renters are having a less optimistic outlook on the sales market as competition has been increasingly more difficult. The report showed 52% of renters think now is a good time to buy which is down from 56% in Q1 or 62% last year.

Optimism about buying property as renters as well as the overall confidence in the economy have both slightly dipped per the survey. The amount of Americans who think the economy was improving had a slight decrease as well in Q2 from Q1 of this year.

“It should come as little surprise that the confidence reading among renters has fallen every month since January, 64.8, and currently sits at its lowest level, 53.8, since tracking began in March 2015, 65.7,” Yun said. “Paying more in rent each year and seeing home prices outpace their incomes is discouraging, and it’s unfortunately pushing home ownership further away, especially for those living in expensive metro areas on the East and West Coast.”

Ultimately there have been many sales transactions this year regardless. With homeowners increasingly feeling that now is a good time to sell this could lead to more available homes for buyers and help restore confidence in the market. 

Home Sales to Increase 3.5% this Year

Posted June 17th

The National Association of Realtors has recently released that single family homes are projected to have their best year of sales since 2006. The driving factors behind this include increased employment and an improving consumer confidence. While sales have a positive forecast, affordability and continued low levels of inventory look to be continued challenges for this year.

Chief Economist for NAR, Lawrence Yun, shared that Q1 of 2017 was the best sales pace for existing homes in the past ten years. He anticipates that the pace will continue through this year with 5.62 million sales which is the best since 2006 and an increase of 3.5% over last year.

However, first time buyers still have their hurdles with limited housing and rising prices.

“We have been under the 50-year average of single-family housing starts for 10 years now,” Yun said. “Limited lots, labor shortages, tight construction lending and higher lumber costs are impeding the building industry’s ability to produce more single-family homes. There’s little doubt first-time buyer participation would improve and the homeownership rate would rise if there was simply more inventory,” he said.

Yun forecasts that new home starts will rise by 8.4% this year to 1.27 million. This is a positive step in the right direction although still short by approximately 1.5 million that would be needed to make up for demand.

Jonathan Spader, Joint Center for Housing Studies senior research associate at Harvard University, joined Yun at the 2017 Realtors Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo to review the real estate market forecast for 2017. He said that the homeownership rate will stay between 61% and 65.1% as it faces challenges including an aging population and changes in family type.

“Stagnant household incomes, rising rental costs, student loan debt and limited supply have all contributed to slower purchasing activity,” Spader said. “When the homeownership rate stabilizes, there will be an increase in homeowner households. Young and minority households’ ability to reach the market will play a big role in how much the actual rate can rise in coming years.”

Yun expects that there will be two more rate increases this year with an ending average of 4.3% at 2017’s close.

“There was a lot of uncertainty at the start of the year, but a very strong first quarter sets the stage for a modest sales increase compared to last year,” Yun said. “However, prices are still rising too fast in many areas and are outpacing incomes. That is why housing starts need to rise to alleviate supply shortages,” he said. “There will be more sales if there’s a meaningful bump in new and existing inventory.”

Upcoming Sotheby's Auction House Events

Posted June 12th

The affiliation with the Sotheby’s brand not only comes with an unparalleled network and marketing reach, but also an unparalleled relationship with the renowned Sotheby’s Auction House. An over 260 year tradition of auctioning some of the world’s most valued possessions from some of the world’s most affluent.

Here is a look at some of the premier Auction House Events that are scheduled soon. Even better, these are online so you don’t need to travel to an Auction House to view these pieces.

 

June 16 - July 6: American Art Online: Summerscapes

Bidding is open from June 16 through July 6 for this collection of 19th and 20th century works across all price points. This offering will be online-only with highlights from Joseph Stella, Gifford Beal, Maurice Prendergast and more.

June 30th - July 14th: Jewels Online, Part I

This is a colorful collection perfect for the summer months. Pieces will be featured from makers including Tiffany & Co., David Webb and Seaman Schepps. The sale features property from the collection of Marjorie S. Fisher of Palm Beach showing her true eye for style and design. Bold jewels by Tony Duquette as well as diamond-sets and desk objects will be premiering. A second collection of Marjorie S. Fisher will be open for bidding in the 2nd online auction July 20 - Aug 3.

July 20th - August 3rd: Jewels Online, Part II

Jewels Online Part II will be a second collection of jewels from the collection of Marjorie S. Fisher of Palm Beach. Pieces will include strands of cultured pearls for daytime to diamond-set necklaces for evenings. Featured designers include Bulgari, De Grisogono and Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co.

Visit Sothebys.com for more information of these highlighted auctions and for bidding details. 

Home Sales Increase by 4.4%

Posted May 18th

Just recently, existing home sales experienced their highest pace in over a decade. With inventory levels still being extremely low, homes are spending less time on the market according to a recent report from the National Association of Realtors.

Total existing home sales, which are completed transactions of residential properties, increased by 4.4% in March which was 5.9% higher than numbers seen a year ago. This activity suprasses January as the best month of sales since February of 2007.

Chief economist for NAR, Lawrence Yun, has shared that the significant gains were driven mostly by the Northeast and Midwest. "The early returns so far this spring buying season look very promising as a rising number of households dipped their toes into the market and were successfully able to close on a home last month," he said. "Although finding available properties to buy continues to be a strenuous task for many buyers, there was enough of a monthly increase in listings in March for sales to muster a strong gain. Sales will go up as long as inventory does."

Housing inventory as of the end of March had increased slightly, but was yet 6.6% lower lower than a year ago. Inventory at this point has been on the decline for 22 months year over year. Housing inventory for unsold properties is at a 3.8 month supply at the current pace.

Yun had also added, "Bolstered by strong consumer confidence and underlying demand, home sales are up convincingly from a year ago nationally and in all four major regions despite the fact that buying a home has gotten more expensive over the past year."

Properties were on the market for on average 34 days for the month of March. This was a decline from 45 days in February and also from a year ago at 47. Forty eight percent of the properties that sold in March were on the market for less than one month.

Increasing prices are a challenge for all, but maybe even more so for first time buyers. Despite this, Yun adds, "A growing pool of all types of buyers is competing for the lackluster amount of existing homes on the market. Until we see significant and sustained multi-month increases in housing starts, prices will continue to far outpace incomes and put pressure on those trying to buy."

On the mortgage front, rates have been slightly rising with the average commitment rate for a 30 year conventional fixed rate coming in at 4.2%. Buyer profiles consisted of 32% of sales for the month of March being mostly first time buyers.

This spring, the best advice for home buyers is to stay patient and to remember the right home will eventually become available for sale. 

Upcoming Sotheby's Auction Events

Posted May 5th

The affiliation with the Sotheby’s brand not only comes with an unparalleled network and marketing reach, but also a relationship with the renowned Sotheby’s Auction House. An over 260 year tradition of auctioning some of the world’s most valued possessions from some of the world’s most affluent.

Here is a look at some of the premier Auction House Events that are scheduled soon.

May 10th - Important Chinese Art, London

Enjoy a selection of notable Chinese ceramics and pieces from the imperial porcelain, lacquer, jade and Buddhist sculpture. Kicking off the sale will be a large and rare cinnabar lacquer dish from the Yuan/early Ming period. Along with this will be Menagerie, a collection of animals and mythological beasts.

May 17th - Finest and Rarest Wines, London

This impressive collection will boast assortments of cases in the 1990, 2009 and 2010 vintages.  Rousseau’s Gevrey Chambertin Clos St. Jacques 1999 and Chambertin 1999 compete for attention with Roumier’s Bonnes Mares 2002 and Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses 2002.  A very rare bottle of Romanée-Conti 1966 and a Jeroboam of La Tâche 1990 are further outstanding Burgundy lots. Many other white burgundy highlights to be found at this event. 

May 19th - Photographs, London

The May sale will showcase some talent from artists including Alex Prager, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Pieter Hugo and Shoei Nishino. Sotheby’s is proud to present Nishino’s diorama maps of London and New York for sale. Supplementing the younger generation of artists will be a Paul Outerbridge color carbro print as well as pieces from Constantin Brancusi and Heinrich Kuhn.

May 19th - Contemporary Art Day, New York

The May 19th event in New York will offer a great selection of work from post-war and the present. Pieces from Joan Mitchell, Robert Motherwell, Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg will be featured for sale. Contemporary painting, sculpture and photography by Richard Prince, Mark Tansey, George Condo and Joe Bradley will be on sale in the afternoon session. 

Pending Home Sales Surge by 5.5%

Posted April 20th

The real estate market nationwide has been performing great lately with pending home sales leaping to their highest level in nearly a year and second-highest level in over a decade per a recent report by the National Association of Realtors. Great achievements were seen widespread with all major regions having experienced healthy gains in activity.

The Pending Home Sales Index has shown a tremendous increase of 5.5% to 112.3 in February up from 106.4 in January. This increase was 2.6% higher than a year ago and is the highest since April of 2016 and the second highest since May of 2006.

NAR chief economist, Lawrence Yun, has indicated that the uptick in activity is a good sign that spring market is upon us. "Buyers came back in force last month as a modest, seasonal uptick in listings were enough to fuel an increase in contract signings throughout the country," he said. "The stock market's continued rise and steady hiring in most markets is spurring significant interest in buying, as well as the expectation from some households that delaying their home search may mean paying higher interest rates later this year. Last month being the warmest February in decades also played a role in kick-starting prospective buyers' house hunt." 

Yun states that there will be highs and lows this spring as the inventory is challenged to meet demand. Homes are going under contract at a very quick rate especially among the lower and mid price ranges. Housing stock is still tight and prices are climbing due to multiple offer situations.

"The homes most buyers are in the market for are unfortunately the most difficult to find and ultimately buy," said Yun. "The country's healthy labor market is translating to greater job security, but affordability is not improving because home prices in some areas are still outpacing incomes by three times or more because of tight supply. How much new and existing inventory there is on the market this spring will determine if sales can reach their full potential and finally start reversing the nation's low homeownership rate."  

Looking onward into the rest of 2017, existing home sales are expected to be around 5.57 million this year which is an increase of 2.3% from 2016. As far as prices go, the median existing home sale price is expected to rise by 4%.

Further breakdowns of the Pending Home Sales Index by region of the nation in February were as follows. The Northeast saw an increase of 3.4% to 102.1 while the Midwest climbed by 11.4% to 110.8. The South increased by 4.3% to 127.8 and the West inched up by 3.1% to 97.5. In conclusion, all major markets are showing great signs of positive activity.

Upcoming Sotheby's Auction House Events

Posted April 7th

The affiliation with the Sotheby’s brand not only comes with an unparalleled network and marketing reach, but also a relationship with the renowned Sotheby’s Auction House. An over 260 year tradition of auctioning some of the world’s most valued possessions from some of the world’s most affluent.

Here is a look at some of the premier Auction House Events that are scheduled soon.

April 25. London - Watches

A collection of some of the finest vintage and modern timepieces from around the world. Historically the Sotheby’s Auctioneers have reached record breaking prices for Rolex Daytonas, Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendars and Breguet tourbillons.

Set to take place in London, the local market is a growing segment of first time buyers and established collectors for the old and new at all price ranges. Consignments are currently being collected at this time for the event. View here.

April 25. New York - Magnificent Jewels

A vibrant celebration for spring, the Magnificent Jewel sale caters to the most discerning collectors. Important colored diamonds will be featured at the sale with stones of various hues of yellow, blue and green that will be offered. A 1.64 carat Fancy Vivid Green diamond as well as two Fancy Vivid Blue diamonds will be presented next to a Fancy Pink diamond pendant. Additionally, classic white diamonds of all shapes and size will be available as well as diamond earrings with square emerald-cut diamonds. View here.

April 25. London - The Orientalist Sale

Now in its 6th year, the Orientalist Sale is a collection of paintings, sculpture, people and customs of areas including North Africa, Egypt, the Levant, Arabia and the Ottoman during both the 19th and early 20th centuries. The focus of this year’s sale is Georg Emanuel Opiz’s “The Arrival of the Mahmal at an Oasis en Route to Mecca,” a detailed rendition of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. 

These works of street life, worship, desert views as well as costume bronzes provide insights into the Arab, Ottoman and Islamic worlds. View here.

April 26. New York - The Art of the Table

This sale focuses on English, European and American silver from the 17th to the 20th century coupled with European and English ceramics and 19th century French furniture and decorative arts. The preview opens April 21st which allows visitors to view these objects in person as they envision them in their modern day homes. View here.

Home Sales Increase for 2017

Posted March 23rd

Per recent data from the National Association of Realtors, existing home sales had a fast start for 2017 with the quickest pace shown in nearly a decade. Completed sales transactions have risen by 3.3% to an annual rate of 5.69 million in January. Additionally, January’s sales pace was 3.8% higher than last year.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist has suggested that these increases are showing positive consumer confidence in our economy. "Much of the country saw robust sales activity last month as strong hiring and improved consumer confidence at the end of last year appear to have sparked considerable interest in buying a home," he said. "Market challenges remain, but the housing market is off to a prosperous start as homebuyers staved off inventory levels that are far from adequate and deteriorating affordability conditions."

The median price for homes in January had surged by 7.1% by comparison to January of last year. Inventory of housing by the end of January had also risen by 2.4% yet this was lower than a year ago by 7.1%. The low levels of housing inventory were most likely the cause for the average days on market to decrease by two days to 50.

"Competition is likely to heat up even more heading into the spring for house hunters looking for homes in the lower- and mid-market price range," added Yun. Tight inventory along with rising home prices and interest rates will likely create a more competitive environment in the market.

Additional breakdowns of the real estate market are as follows.

First time buyers made up 33% of sales in January which is a smaller increase from a year ago at 32%. The average rate for a 30 year conventional fixed mortgage in 2016 came was 3.65%. January’s average was 4.15% which was lower than December’s of 4.20%.

Cash sale transactions were 23% of sales for the month of January. This was an increase from December’s of 21% but down from 26% from January of 2016. Finally, distressed sales (including both foreclosures and short sales), were only 7% of sales in January which was down 2% from January of last year.

Increase the Efficiency of Your Small Space

Post Written by Guest Blogger, Lizzy Manthe of ABODO

Living in a small space doesn’t have to be inconvenient. And as cities continue to become more crowded, studio apartments and starter homes — and more recently, microapartments — are becoming more appealing every day. But can you live comfortably and efficiently? Absolutely. Just follow these tips to transform your small space into the epitome of efficiency.

Make Your Furniture Work

When your living room doesn’t offer much room for living, a coffee table needs to be more than just where you fan out your magazines. Find a table with storage inside, or instead opt for a long ottoman with a hinged top that can act as storage and extra seating, all while providing a flat surface for setting down books or magazines. In your bedroom, make use of the space under your mattress, either with drawers, slide-under totes, or a bed frame — like this one from Ikea — that is almost entirely open for storage, with a hinged mattress base that lifts for easy access.

Pare Down Shelving

Instead of towering bookcases consuming all of your wall space, pare down your books and baubles to just a handful of your favorites to display on wall shelves. Placement tip: If you place these shelves higher up on the wall, it draws the eye up and makes the room appear larger.

Cut Clutter

A space of any size can feel cramped if it’s packed with unnecessary items — a kitchen counter flooded with mail, a cabinet overflowing with wrapping paper, a closet overburdened with strappy sandals. After determining what you maybe don’t need to be hanging on to anymore, and then donating or selling the spare items, invest in some organizational tools — such as a mail holder, totes, and a shoe rack — to keep your place tidy.

Consider a Storage Unit

Now that you’ve identified and purged all of your unnecessary belongings, we need to get a handle on the essentials. Imagine your closets are free and clear to hold only the items you need on a weekly or monthly basis. What if that tote (or three) of Christmas decorations suddenly weren’t robbing you of space to hang your dresses? Or what if the snowshoes you battle with for broom and vacuum space in the hall closet were suddenly… gone. Renting a storage unit will allow you to keep the items you use semi-regularly without crowding your living space.

Streamline Your Kitchen

If you’re short on space and your countertops are showing it — lining any available space with cookbooks, cutting boards, and olive oil — try to maximize your cabinet space. Fix awkward drawers and too-tall cabinets by adding pull-out shelving or organizers that let you utilize more space. These pull-out organizational solutions are relatively cheap, at less than $100, and offer quick, easy installation. You can also fill unused space between cabinets and appliances with narrow pull-out vertical pantries — perfect for unwieldy cooling racks and baking trays.

Living in a small space doesn’t doom you to an unnecessarily cramped existence. Pare down your belongings, organize them, and seek out multifunctional furnishings, and you’ll be living big in no time.

Sam Radbil is a contributing member of the marketing and communications team at ABODO, an online apartment marketplace. ABODO was founded in 2013 in Madison, Wisconsin. And in just three years, the company has grown to more than 30 employees, raised over $8M in outside funding and helps more than half a million renters find a new home each month.

 

Boston Area Developments Beginning in 2017

Posted March 13th

Boston’s skyline is forever changing and is still defined by cranes in the year of 2017. Developments continue to be moving forward as the demand for housing shows no sign of subsiding. Here are some of the large-scale developments that are expected to break ground or begin construction this year.

Fenway Center - Fenway Center is slated to include a wide range of offerings. The scope  includes 550 housing units, 1,290 parking spaces, community space, daycare center, bike storage and sharing and 160,000 square feet of office space.

South Station Tower - South Station will soon feature many additional stories made of glass above the existing 9 stories. Office space will be on the first 26 stories while the top 16 will house condos that should afford remarkable views. Included in the plans of the development, South Station’s bus wing will also become expanded.

Dot Block - This enormous new development has over 10 dwellings with 362 apartments and retail which could include a grocery store. The 400,000 square feet of construction is expected to begin construction as early as this summer.

GE Headquarters - General Electric’s 2.48 half acre, $200,000,000 headquarters with three buildings in Fort Point is planning to begin this year. Included in the design, there will be “maker space” for locals, employees and students to have community work space. The building will also feature a solar veil worked into its design.

171 Tremont Street - 171 Tremont Street will be a 13 story tower offering 12 condos. The tower will replace a shorter, existing 4 story building. Plans initially proposed a 32 story tower but due to local opposition, changes were made to reduce the scope to 175 feet.

Marine Wharf Hotel - There will be two inns erected soon on Marine Wharf. One will be a Hampton Inn featuring 245 rooms where the other will be a Homewood Suites with 166 rooms. The complex will be chock full of amenities with a fitness center, pool, and large 500 seat restaurant. Ground floor retail over 3,500 square feet will complete the offering.

Arsenal Yards - The Arsenal Mall is soon to include an additional 1 million square foot expansion. Included will be over 350,000 square feet of retail including a grocery store. 428 Market rate apartments and 75 affordable will complete the plans. 

Real Estate Boom to Continue for 2017

Posted February 27th

The year 2016 has been good for those active in the real estate market. Sellers are benefitting from some gains on property values while buyers have been taking advantage of the interest rates remaining low. Consumer confidence has driven the market to levels that haven’t been seen since the 2008 recession and industry veterans don’t see a reason that this won’t continue for the year.

Seasoned agents state the buyer demand along with forecasts of slight interest rate increases fuel the heat in the real estate market. Also shared has been the sentiment that although sales have been strong across most of the board, there has been a shortage in the amount of inventory at the entry level.

Like most years the question remains just how the winter will affect the onset of the business of the market. Two years ago the series of blizzards put a halt on activity as it prevented buyers from shopping.

It is suspected that any interest rate increases will not be significant enough to hinder those from entering the market. If anything the threat of rates increasing may even encourage buyers to lock in rates sooner than later in anticipation of said hikes. Many anticipate that younger and first-time buyers are going to drive much of the market for 2017.

The median sale price of a home in Massachusetts has increased to $340,000 as of October which was a 3.7% increase over last year according to the Warren Report which publishes local real estate data.

Pending sales of existing homes which can be a predictor of future statistics shows support of the predictions of brisk sales.

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors shared that 5,680 went under agreement in the state in October which was an increase of 8.7% over the same month for 2015.

Back Bay Towers over Turnpike Moves Along

Posted February 8th

The proposal for two towers to be erected over the Massachusetts Turnpike at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Boylston Street has begun review. Details of the buildings include one being 566 feet tall with 39 stories making it among some of Boston’s tallest. The other would stand 283 tall with 24 floors.

The taller tower would boast some 160 condos while the other would hold up to 182 apartments which will add to Boston’s housing stock.

Weiner Ventures who is developing the site states that this location of 1000 Boylston Street would convert “an underdeveloped Back Bay streetscape and air rights expanse into a fully-integrated dynamic hub of residential housing and retail activity.”

In 2013 Weiner Ventures had acquired the air rights for the development which encompasses building a 23,000 square foot platform over the Turnpike. On this platform would be a six to seven story base for the towers. This base would include 33,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, lobbies as well as 303 parking spaces.

Plans and approvals have not been finalized for 1000 Boylston Street and it is among a handful of others that hinge on building over the Mass Pike. The other buildings that are being proposed along the Mass Pike corridor include Fenway Center in the Kenmore area, The Viola by Berklee College of Music and Columbus Center by Clarendon Street and Columbus Avenue. Columbus Center had originally been proposed years back but had been stalled due to local opposition and financing hurdles.

Which Home Renovations Give the Best ROI?

Posted January 17th

Most everyone is interested in making their homes nicer with various improvement projects. How do you know which home improvement projects have the highest ROI? Knowing this will help you prioritize which ones you may want to do first. Kitchens traditionally are the most significant room in a home having a big impact on a sale. In fact, kitchens are often between 6 and 10% of the total home value and typically have a high return on investment. According to RISMedia, here are the top 5 ROI averages for home  improvement projects.

Replacing your front door. The front door plays a big role in your home’s curb appeal. This should never be overlooked as it is the first and last thing everyone sees. Replacing the front entry door with a solid and an architecturally stimulating one has an average ROI of 101.8%.

Installing a new fireplace.  Why not add warmth and a focal point to any living room with a fireplace. Regardless of it being a wood burning fireplace or a modern, clean and convenient gas fireplace, they both can enhance your decor and add practical function. Adding a fireplace has an average ROI of 91%.

Remodeling the kitchen. As the kitchen is a primary room in the house, upgrading it will add the most value to your home. Remodeling your kitchen with modern day function and aesthetics is sure to help in your sale and has an average ROI of 85%.

Converting the attic into a bedroom. There is no better way to use extra space in an attic than by converting it into a bedroom. The extra space increases your bedroom count while providing you with another room that can serve multiple purposes. If not for a primary bedroom, it can be used as a game room, media room or guest room. The average ROI for this project is 83%.

Replacing exterior siding. Replacing old siding can have multiple benefits. New siding can protect your home from severe weather and elements. Older, damaged siding can sometimes let in moisture, insects or even be less efficient for heating and cooling. Also, new siding will make your home look new and well maintained. The average siding project has an ROI of 80.7%.

Trends Shaping 2017's Housing Market

Posted January 3rd

The landscape is slightly changing right now for the real estate market. After the presidential election mortgage rates have been seeing a slight uptick which will have an eventual effect on home prices and affordability. According to Realtor.com’s Housing Forecast, this along with slowed price appreciation and a stabilization in the homeownership rate is what we may have in store for the upcoming year.

"Because of demographics and affordability challenges that are starting to emerge, more people are focused on getting into homeownership because renting is continuing to have the same challenges and, over the long term, is something that can really impact a household’s financial situation," said Realtor.com Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke.

Here are some of the highlights of Realtor.com’s report.

Millennials and Baby Boomers

Millennials are the largest demographic with the second largest being baby boomers. These two groups are predicted to dominate the real estate market in 2017 as their living situations will be changing. Millennials are expected to account for 33% of homebuyers with 30% being baby boomers.

Millennials make up a significant portion of today’s first time buyers. Therefore, their challenges that they may face are mortgage rates that may increase making affordability difficult. Furthermore, the tight inventory levels also add challenges for them to find their first home. On the other hand, their baby boomer parents will be taking advantage of the higher home values to sell their homes which will open up more inventory for the market.

Home Price Appreciation

Home prices are anticipated to slow down in their increases to 3.9% down from 4.9% in 2016. Smoke notes that the figure is still above average and demand is still going to be stronger than supply in many areas of the country. Of the areas that are expected to see the largest gains, Boston ranks in at #3 of the top 10.

Home Ownership will Stabilize

Homeownership in the Unites States is projected to come in at around 63.5% for the upcoming year according to Smoke. This rate could see an increase, but with prices at their current levels and inventory down across the nation it is not expected to surge. Realtor.com anticipates new home sales to increase 10% and new home starts 3% in the new year.

The Midwest Alternative

As the market tightens, Millennials are either remaining in or moving to the Midwest. The area already has a high concentration of Millennials and this group is staying closer to home after college. Millennials account for 42% of the homebuyers in the region compared to 38% nationally.

"There is a huge disparity in how many dollars are needed to get a home in Des Moines versus San Francisco," Smoke said. "Affordability is a key part of why millennials are deciding to move or stay where they have been, as opposed to staying where they are."

Top 5 Real Estate Trends for 2017

Posted December 21st

Despite issues surrounding limited inventory locally here in Boston and nationally throughout the country, the real estate market has remained strong throughout 2016. The United Kingdom’s Brexit vote and the recent presidential election in the United States have made predictions challenging to forecast for the coming year. The United States has continued to prove to be an excellent space for investing based on the positive activity that we have seen, especially with foreign investors. The Urban Land Institute’s annual Emerging Trends in Real Estate Report  was recently released and shows a better outlook compared to other global locations.

Here is a list of the items that analysts from both PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the Urban Land Institute state that will help shape the real estate market in the near future.

Affordability

Housing markets across the United States for middle-income households are becoming “housing stressed.” Home prices are generally increasing faster than most incomes while homebuilders are generally  not adding many mid-priced options. Population growth, land and construction expenses as well as wages not increasing as quickly leads one to believe that this problem will not be going away soon. Some cities are considering zoning policies as well as rent control options to address these issues.

A More Relaxed Market

Having recovered from the recent economic downturn we have now entered into a calm from the storm. This cycle has reached a mature phase with signs showing that it will remain level for the foreseeable future.  GDP is at a low but steady 2% per year so the Federal Reserve is most likely not going to increase interest rates significantly.

Increased Flexibility

Developers are planning their projects to be more flexible. As one investor states “Jobs are no longer careers, and [many] millennials are not yet looking for the commitment of owning a home. They are footloose in the job market, and footloose as to roots in the community.”

Transformation of Location

In some urban locations, the “live/work/play” concept has been popular as it gives back to the community. Developments in downtown areas are helping by fueling economy with growth opportunities in underdeveloped neighborhoods.

Barriers of entry

Urban development and walkability has made for some income inequality in cities. The report suggests “exclusionary forces are equally alive in suburbs and cities.” This begins in cities and is then carried out to the suburbs. Demands are increasing especially among millennials for things like walkability, transit as well as density.  In particular, inclusivity rather than exclusivity is outweighing as a desirable selling point.

Four Seasons at One Dalton - Boston's 3rd Tallest Building

Posted December 7th

New renderings have been released by Carpenter & Company, the Cambridge based real estate company behind the Four Seasons Hotel and Residences at One Dalton Street in the Back Bay. The development had broke ground nearly two years ago but has remained quiet since.

Carpenter and Company state that the 61-story, 740 foot hotel and condominium tower will be both Boston and New England’s tallest residential tower when it reaches completion in 2018. Currently, the Millennium Tower in Downtown Crossing holds this place with 60 stories reaching 685 feet.

Both towers will be scraping the sky while Millennium Tower boasts a higher percentage of residential space with over 440 units while One Dalton houses 160. One Dalton’s remainder will feature 215 hotel rooms on 23 of the 61 stories.

The One Dalton tower was designed by Harry Cobb of Cobb Freed & Partners and Gary Johnson of Cambridge Seven Associates. The private lobby for residences as well as the 50th floor residents club lounge were designed by New York based Thierry Despont Ltd. Suffolk Construction is the general contractor for the project.

“The 61-story tower, sheathed in glass, reveals its residential floors above the hotel through a series of incised bay windows, a unique reflection on Boston’s historic residential architectural heritage,” Johnson said in a statement. “The tower’s soft triangular form presents a commanding presence on the skyline highlighting the importance of this site while providing stunning views across the city.”