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Blog :: 01-2015

Welcome to our blog! As Boston's leader in apartment rentals, we have our finger on the pulse of the local real estate market. Here, you'll find insight and announcements from our team to keep you up to date on everything you need to know about real estate in the Boston area.

MA Home Sales Climb 10% in December

- Credit: The Boston Globe

home sales jumped 10 percent in December due to falling mortgage rates – deeming the strongest year-to-year sales increase of 2014. Sale prices have risen from $322,000 in 2013 to a median $330,000.00 in 2014. The 2.5% increase due to low mortgage rates and strong job growth has fed hope to real estate economists whom predict a strong 2015 year ahead. Although Boston has a relatively stable market, the limited, yet in demand land, is proving its advantages.

From The Boston Globe:

Annual home sales, just under 49,000, slumped 2 percent last year, down from about 50,000 in 2013…Prices, however, rose in 2014, to a median $330,000, up 2.5 percent from $322,000 in 2013.

Timothy M. Warren, chief executive of the Warren Group [notes], ‘We have not seen a bump like [December] in over a year,’ he said. ‘With rates hitting historic lows for 30-year mortgages and strong job growth, I am confident that we will see a strong start to 2015.’

Boston Homeowners are Eager to Tap into Equity

- Credit: The Boston Globe

A mini refinancing boom has come about in recent weeks as homeowners are ecstatic about the ultra lowering interest rates. According to Freddie Mac, The Federal Loan Mortgage Corporation, the average rate on a 30-year loan fell to 3.63 percent and a 15-year mortgage dropped to 2.93 percent just last week.

Reminiscing on our undergraduate basic Macro Economics class, we know that the US economy flourishes when spending’s increase. So with recent gas prices and interest rates dropping, it comes with no surprise that consumers are more able and eager to spend some of their higher pockets of earnings, which in turn creates more generosity of lending by banks.
With banks becoming more gracious about lending, offering what is referred to as cash-out refinancing’s – homeowners tap equity by borrowing more than they owe on their mortgages. And ironically, an incredible amount of consumers are now choosing to spend this additional cash flow on updating their homes opposed to paying off their homes.

To explore the world of refinancing is highly advised. Advise from none other than the President of Chelsea-based Metro Credit Union, Robert Cashman, stated, “Now is the time if someone hasn’t had the opportunity, if they haven’t had the chance to refinance.”

And people are taking this advice, moving full speed ahead. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, refinancing applications jumped 22 percent for the week ended Jan. 16, after surging 66 percent the previous week.

It is forecasted by Patrick Newport, an economist with IHS Global Insight, that the interest rates are predicted to maybe rise later this year, but when exactly is still uncertain.

[Boston Globe]

Predictions for Residential Real Estate Market in 2015

- Avalon Exeter in Boston

D. Sidney Potter of the Huffington Post projected real estate for the year of 2014 and all predictions were 85% correct. So we decided to take his predictions a bit more seriously this time around, and we advise that you do, too.

Here is a compilation of his predictions for U.S. Real Estate in 2015 from the Huffington Post:

• Mortgage rates are currently at 4% and are expected to increase by 100 points/1% on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage(4>5%)—to avoid the increase you should get a 15-year fixed rate which will drop it by 100 poins/1% (4>3%)
• Home appreciation is still decreasing in the residential market, yet at a very minimal amount – 100 points – opposed to last years steep decrease of 500 points.
• Tract home development will have an 18-20 percent increase
• ibeacons will be more relevant to consumers – “It’s like your mobile device gets a pop-up message when you pass a store that was a beaming device attached to the outside of its establishment. This technology works similar for home shoppers that are cruising through neighborhoods to see what’s on the market, or actually attending open houses. When a realtor attaches one of these beaming devices on their real estate signs, it alerts a passenger driving by of the homes amenities, a price reduction, or special financing terms. When the home shopper enters the home, it gets even more personal. Walk into the kitchen and get a pop-up message that the new granite counters were just installed. Walk into the bathroom, and learn of the new HGTV-esque remodel. You get the picture.” [Huff Post]
• California and the Southwest will lead in home appreciation
• 2015 will be a mysterious year for real estate – because most homes in the US are at or above pre-bubble levels be prepared to expect the unexpected

So hold on for the ride, folks; this year is predicted to be full of surprises!

AVA Theater District Boston to Open this Spring

- Credit: Curbed

2015 holds many surprises - yet both in size and secret, the AVA Theater District is the biggest of all. This 30 story building is comprised of 398 units of studios, 1-BRs, 2-BRs and a five story cantilevered parking garage. It is expected to be the largest apartment opening this year in Boston and will be opening its doors on 45 Stuart Street no later than this spring.

Curbed Boston notes, the tower "features a five-story, cantilevered parking garage...the angle-heavy creation from AvalonBay stretches as high as 30 stories and is chock-a-block with studios, 1-BRs and 2-BRs."

Ink Block Residents Land Whole Foods

- Credit: Curbed Boston


The new Whole Foods opened their doors today at the Ink Block!

So home hunters, if you’re looking for an all exclusive building that comprises modernity and healthfulness, look no further – Ink Block is where it’s at!

According to a Curbed report, 80 percent of the 83 residential units at the development’s Sepia condos have traded for an average of $1,052 per square foot.

The building will open in the fall.

Boston Olympics: How Would the 2024 Games Impact Local Real Estate?

- Credit: Boston.com

What is this we hear; Boston might be hosting the 2024 Olympics? Eeeek!

But hey… maybe there are some positives that can come out of this. Boston 2024 Executive Vice President Erin Murphy Rafferty sure thinks so. As he stated in a recent interview, “We believe Boston would benefit … in the form of new housing, improved infrastructure, smart urban planning, new green space and much-needed transportation upgrades.” [Boston.com]

And with cities flourishing post-games in the past, he probably isn’t very far off.

“Since the Olympics, Atlanta has had a return-to-the-city movement,” said Richard Martin, a University of Georgia business professor. In the 2000s, Atlanta grew in population for the first time in decades, he added.

However, although some cities have seen large property gains as a result of the games, more or less cities like Sydney and Atlanta’s effect on property prices were virtually none.

So Bostonians, where does your vote lie?

Royal in the South End is Boston's First Big Close of the Year!

- Credit: Curbed

News of South End being the up-and-coming spot proves true! South End recently hosted Boston’s first big close of 2015 at the Royal on 407 Shawmut Avenue. The condo is carved from an old Salvation Army building—restating the gentrification process like no other. What was supposed to sell for $811 a square foot, sold for $733 a square foot, and still landed at a juicy total of $1,250,000.

And they don’t plan to stop there. Brokers are working steadily to keep this move going. So home shoppers keep an eye out for South End – worthy deals are in store for you!

You can view what’s currently available here.

Boston Residential Real Estate Developments Burst into 2015

- Credit: Curbed

we enter into the New Year, real estate connoisseurs can’t help but wonder what 2015 will bring to the Boston real estate world.

There are predictions that this year will be one of major changes, and with developments such as the Fenway Center mega-project, Harbor Garage and Residences at the Malden Station all coming to fruition, one cannot doubt this projection.

Be sure to keep an eye on these developments.

The “New” New York keeps booming folks – what an exciting year ahead!

Cambridge Residential: Kendall Square Housing Space Added

Kendall Square is currently in the rezoning process with plans to expand by 14 acres around the Volpe transportation offices.

From Cambridge Day:

"Residential also increases by 33 percent, to 1.3 million square feet from 1 million. Maximum height on most of the parcel goes to 250 feet, up from between 65 to 120. The changes promote middle-income housing space by allowing greater height (300 feet), and support startup innovation space with exemptions from floor-area limitations."

Waterfront Apartments at East Pier: Portside Shifts away from Condos

- Credit: Boston Curbed

There seems to be a change in promise for the waterfront project at East Pier. Instead of 370 condos and 173 apartments that were recently approved for the complex, there are new plans to have 454 apartments and 103 condominium units. According to Curbed.Boston, “the developer of the big-time waterfront project Portside at East Pier is apparently quite bullish on the region’s rent market.”

Stay tuned for more changes coming from East Boston.