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Boston’s Best New Building?

Great post from Curbed.com.  Don’t you just love John Keiths comments on The Troy?  Enjoy!

What Was Greater Boston’s Best New Building of 2014?

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[315 on A]
Paul McMorrowBoston Globe op-ed columnist and CommonWealth magazine associate editor: There are so many! The Burnham building on the Filene’s block is obviously the best thing to happen downtown in forever. Sasaki’s Ferdinand building looks incredible and it’s getting private developers to take a look at a neighborhood they’ve been ignoring for decades. ADD Inc.’s 315 A Street manages the neat trick of being on the waterfront without looking like a glass box that snuck in from Houston. The Lawn on D is not technically a building, but it has swings and ping-pong tables and Wi-Fi so it wins everything.
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Lara Gordona broker in Cambridge and Somerville: Could it be anything OTHER THAN Millennium Place? Speaking not from an architectural or design perspective, but purely for its contribution to the Downtown Crossing renaissance.

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[Troy Boston]
John A. Keitha Boston broker: I’d have to go with the Troy, ready for occupancy in early 2015, purely for the huge balls the developer must have, building a 400-unit apartment building across the street from New England’s largest homeless shelter (and a Mobil station) and, literally, in the shadow of an eight-lane interstate highway. I also like the new 100 Pier 4 apartment building in the SBW Seaport neighborhood, also to be delivered (late) 1st Quarter 2015. Perhaps a step up from the existing Waterside Place down the street, 100 Pier 4 is the first building to be completed in the Pier 4 mixed-use development. It has the best views of the new residential buildings in the neighborhood and is the closest (so far) to downtown Boston. Of course, neither of these were completed in 2014, so may not qualify as “Best of 2014”.
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Charles Cherneya broker in Cambridge and Somerville: If only there were new condo buildings in Cambridge and Somerville.
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Jonathan Berk, real estate attorney, founder of the BuildingBOS blog and member of Boston’s Onein3 Council: My wink goes to Ink; Ink Block by National Development: Ink Block will be opening in the coming few days and will serve not only as it’s own self contained live, play environment but will also spur growth and redevelopment of the Harrison Ave and Washington Street corridors. It will provide the South End the necessary connection between Downtown, South Boston and the South End. Game-changing retail activation (Including a 50,000SF Whole Foods) coupled with a pool, outdoor BBQ’s, grass courtyard will make Ink a catalyst for necessary neighborhood reinvestment and a destination unto itself.
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[Millennium Tower on the Boston skyline; Handel Architects]
Nick Warrenpresident and CEO of Warren Residential: Millennium Tower … by far. I don’t know if it officially qualifies for 2014 since it currently only has a few floors of concrete and rebar’ but it’s certainly the most exciting. There has never been a building in Boston that has received so much buzz and attention like Millennium Tower has. From their $37.5M PH to the amount of units they put under agreement right out of the gate, it truly stands out against its competition.
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David Batesa Boston broker and our Bates By the Numbers columnist: 315 on A – the building located in a cool area that is getting cooler. It’s green and sustainable construction. The developers put a lot of thought into the features and amenities, like the best bike storage room in the city, the indoor pet refuse area, the conference rooms, the on-site art. Plus, the rooftop common area is among the best amenities I have seen.

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trends

Real Estate Trends That Defined 2014

Below is an rundown of real estate trends we saw in 2014 and a look forward to what we might see in 2015. This post provides a terrific national overview that is meaningful for our local markets as well.

The year 2014 saw a steady build-up of housing momentum that is expected to carry the market into 2015 gains, according to a realtor.com® report released today.

The 2014 Housing Review points to significant improvements in the U.S. economy overall and low mortgage rates as fueling the housing market. However, there are also factors that continue to hold back a recovery, including tight credit restrictions and a limited supply of homes for sale.

“The strong outlook for 2015 is based in part on the improvements and momentum experienced by the economy and housing in the second half of 2014,” said Jonathan Smoke, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “With several key factors turning strongly positive, 2014 was a turning point and sets the stage for a stronger recovery in 2015.”

Here are the top 10 trends of the past year, with five indications of growth and five limiting factors.

Realtor.com®’s Top 10 Real Estate Trends of 2014

Indicators of a stronger housing recovery

1. Improving economic fundamentals: After an especially harsh winter, the economy picked up steam this spring and produced a banner year for new jobs. The GDP this year was higher and is still trending higher, resulting in stronger consumer confidence.

2. Historically low mortgage rates continued: Mortgage rates declined despite the end this year of quantitative easing, a monetary policy intended to stimulate the economy. Global weakness, along with actions by the European Central Bank and central banks in Asia, kept our Federal Reserve from raising the Federal Fund Rate, which kept mortgage rates low.

3. Return to normal price appreciation: After two years of abnormally high levels of home price appreciation in 2012 and 2013, price increases moderated throughout 2014. We are now experiencing increases in home prices consistent with long-term historical performance.

4. Decline of distressed sales: Foreclosures and short sales declined throughout the year, and while total home sales decreased year over year, normal (non-distressed) home sales increased over 2013. Foreclosure inventories also fell substantially and are forecasted to be down 30% year over year at the close of 2014.

5. End of the era of major investors active in purchases: Related to the drop in distressed sales opportunities, and against a backdrop of higher home prices, portfolios of single-family homes for rent may have reached their peak this year. Large-scale investor purchase activity in the single-family market sector continued to decline, leaving more room for traditional first-time buyers.

However, we still have a ways to go back to normality.

“Despite the positives, several factors were far from normal this year,” Smoke said. “The limiting factors held back demand and even supply in 2014, but economic gains and late 2014 government housing policy actions brighten the potential for even more positive change in 2015.”

Factors holding back recovery

1. Tight credit standards: Despite historically low rates, many households were prevented from capitalizing on mortgage access because of overlays lenders added to qualification standards in order to limit their risk. As a result, mortgage credit availability did not improve in 2014.

2. Limited inventory: While absolute inventories increased as the year progressed, supply did not outpace demand. Monthly supply of new homes and existing homes remained beneath normal levels, and the age of inventory was down year over year.

3. Depressed levels of first-time buyers: The share of first-time buyers fell to the lowest level in more than 20 years, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. “But the first-time buyer share is showing signs of modest improvement by the year-end,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist. Federal policy actions, such as revised regulations for lenders and new low down-payment programs introduced in December are anticipated to have a positive impact in 2015.

4. Record levels of renters and ever-increasing rent prices: Continued declines in homeownership rates resulted in record numbers of renting households. Rent increases became an inflationary concern this year, and looking ahead, the pace of these increases is not slowing down.

5. Lack of recovery in homebuilding and low share of new home sales: Single-family starts barely increased in 2014 over 2013. New home sales remain far from normal share levels – typically near 16%, they are now around 9%. New home prices increased substantially again this year, revealing that higher priced product is limiting the demand.

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trends

Boston Is Market To Watch In 2015

Great story from Boston Magazine

 

Boston Ranks as a Market to Watch in 2015

After analyzing real estate markets around the country, both Boston and Middlesex County are listed in the top 10 housing markets to watch next year.

Photo provided by Shutterstock.

Real estate search database Trulia has released their 2015 Housing Outlook report, including the top 10 housing markets to watch in 2015. After analyzing market potentials and trends throughout the country, researchers selected 10 markets with the capacity for real estate growth in the upcoming year. Factors like job growth, vacancy rate, and the amount of millennials ready to enter the work force influenced their report.

According to the report:

Our 10 markets to watch have strong fundamentals for housing activity. These include solid job growth, which fuels housing demand, and a low vacancy rate, which spurs construction. We gave a few extra points to markets with a higher share of millennials. These young adults are getting back to work and that will drive household formation and rental demand. We didn’t include markets where prices looked at least 5% overvalued in our latest Bubble Watch report.

Here are the Top 10 Housing Markets to Watch in 2015, in alphabetical order:

•  Boston, MA
•  Dallas, TX
•  Fresno, CA
•  Middlesex County, MA
•  Nashville, TN
•  New York, NY-NJ
•  Raleigh, NC
•  Salt Lake City, UT
•  San Diego, CA
•  Seattle, WA

Despite low inventory rates, over-asks, and bidding wars, the Boston market has a slue of new luxury apartments aimed at millennials, who are predicted to be one of the highest groups of home buyers this year.

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trends

Markets More favorable To Buyers.

 

Good to see some balance returning to the Boston market.

 

Housing Market More Favorable for Buyers This Fall

 
Towns are seeing an increase in the number of homes for sale.
By Scott Van Voorhis
Boston.com Correspondent

Boston-area buyers have endured serious abuse over the past couple years, facing sometimes dozens of competing offers and cocky sellers dictating all sorts of demands.

While it is too soon to call an end to what has been an epic seller’s market, buyers are finding a less crazed atmosphere as they check out homes and visit open houses this fall.

An increase in the number of homes hitting the market across Greater Boston has meant there are more listings to choose from, brokers say. In some cases, buyers are even able to haggle over price, instead of simply asking “how high” before signing a purchase and sales agreement, notes Re Gibson, manager of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s office in Franklin.

“Get a house, period, is what you needed to do before,” she noted. “Now you have choices.”

The change has been particularly dramatic in Franklin, a growing suburb out on the 495 beltway between Boston and Providence. Last fall, there were just 40 single-family homes on the market. This year, that number has nearly doubled to 76, Gibson said.

Franklin is not alone in the number of mid-priced homes for-sale. It’s a trend seen across Boston’s suburbs.

Towns in Norfolk County, which includes Brookline and Dedham, and continues from Franklin to the Rhode Island border, have seen significant increases in the number of homes for sale. This is especially so in the $300,000-to-$350,000 range, and the $500,000-to-$600,000 range notes Alex Coon, market manager for Redfin’s Boston area office.

The western suburbs have also seen a big jump in mid-range homes, with 419 listings in the $500,000-to-$600,000 range, up from 358 last year. Days on market, or the time it takes for a house to snag a buyer, have increased to 98, up six day over last year.

With more homes to choose from, buyers are taking their time to look around instead of rushing to buy the first available house, Coon said.

“From the agents on the ground, there is definitely not as much of a sense of immediacy” on the part of buyers, Coon said. “It’s a great thing – it will allow people to have a little more of a sane approach.”

Some buyers are even able to engage in a fun activity many have come to believe no longer exists: negotiating over price.

Matt Hanson, a Redin agent who works in the Reading- Woburn-Melrose area, said homes that are in great condition and well-priced are still drawing two-to-four bids. But, if a house needs work – whether it’s a new roof or a tired kitchen – there’s room to haggle.

“I do think there is some room to negotiate when a house is not in move-in condition,” he said. Out in Franklin, Gibson says some buyers are able to talk down the price by two or three percent.

“We had a lot of multiple offer situations in the spring and summer,” she said. “We are not seeing as many now.”

Even Cambridge is not quite as crazy as it was in early summer, with homes staying on the market a week or two instead of getting snapped up in a matter of days or even hours, said Bill Aibel, a premium associate at Coldwell Banker.

“I am actually feeling a shift in the winds a little bit favoring potential buyers,” he said.

 

 

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general info trends

Three Boston Neighborhoods With A September To Remember

 

An interesting post from Curbed.com.

 

Three Hub Condo Markets Have a September to Remember

Thursday, October 16, 2014, by Tom Acitelli
Here’s the latest installment of Bates By the Numbers, a weekly feature by Boston real estate agent David Bates.

up-arrow.jpgIf September was the month that you were supposed to put down the home sale and pick up the homework, then nobody told the CambridgeSomerville and South End condominium markets. In Cambridge, the number of condominiums that went under agreement in September 2014 was 53 percent greater than did so in September 2013. In the South End, September under-agreements were up 64 percent. And versus September 2013, Somerville’s under agreements were up 18 percent and the median list price of Somerville under-agreements was up an impressive 20 percent.

These significant sales gains were in sharp contrast to the weak and somewhat flat results of many other Hub condo markets. In Back Bay, 17 percent fewer condominiums went under agreement in September 2014 than in September 2013. And, in Charlestown, September under-agreements were off 29 percent compared with the year before.

What was the leading indicator of how a market fared in 2014 versus 2013? Inventory, of course. In Cambridge, 40 percent more listings came to market this September versus last. The South End listed 20 percent more condos than it did in September 2013. In contrast, the Back Bay (-23 percent) and Charlestown (-23 percent) markets had significantly fewer condominium listings come to market than they had last September.

The increase in for-sale inventory and the advantageous market conditions combined to make this the best September for Cambridge pending sales since 2007. As well, according to MLS, data it was the best South End September for pending sales in at least as long. In Somerville, where nearly three times as many condominiums went under agreement as did in September 2011, it might have been the best ever September.

Will the uptick in pending sales continue in these key Hub markets for the rest of the year? It will depend on the amount of sale-able inventory that comes to market.
· Our Bates By the Numbers archive [Curbed Boston]

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What to Watch For This Fall In Boston Real Estate- Curbedboston.com

 

Very good post by Tom at curbedboston.com.

 

What to Watch This Fall in Greater Boston Real Estate

by Tom Acitelli

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[Rendering from Pei Cobb Freed/Cambridge 7 Associates via the Globe]
‘Tis the unofficial start of autumn/fall this week with the passing of Labor Day, so we thought we’d dive into which trends and events in Greater Boston Real Estate Land are worth your attention in the next few months (they’re certainly things we’ll be following). Will Boston see its first $20M condo sale? Will Everett get a casino-resort? Will Revere? Can anything bring Hub apartment rents down? Come along, now, let’s get interested.

The Great Luxury Apartment Pivot
This is a phenomenon already under way and it could really pick up steam this fall: the conversion of under-construction or planned luxury apartment complexes into luxury condos. There are two big reasons for this: a dearth of available condos, especially in downtown Boston (more on this in a bit); and too many new luxury apartments going up, especially in downtown Boston (more on this, too, in a bit). Higher demand in a red-hot condo market also makes this move deliciously appealing.

Up, Up and Away Go Condo Prices
Condo sales prices throughout the region have been scaling up for many months now. Take downtown Boston (please… no, seriously…). It’s entirely likely that as you read this that area’s average condo price is $1,000,000 or more. Limited supply + seemingly insatiable demand + maddening opposition to new development + historically low (for now) mortgage rates = sellers asking, and getting, more and more—a trend sure to continue this fall.

And the Rents Came Tumbling Down (Sort Of)
We called a luxury apartment glut a while ago and it looks like it’s here. Newer developments are starting to offer mad-crazy incentives to lure tenants (two free months?!) and others are taking their sweet time leasing up. Add to this surplus of supply a greater number of vacancies in general and you’ve got the seeds of gradually lower rents, particularly at the higher-end. We think this fall will mark the end, at least for a while, of $3,000-a-month studios. It was a helluva run.

Mass. Rolls the Dice on Everett or Revere 
Mark your calendars: Friday, Sept. 12. That is when the state gaming commission is set to designate either Everett or Revere as host city of eastern Massachusetts’ casino-resort. Yes, it seems like the wrangling has been going on forever (and it has: Massachusetts has already taken longer than any other state on its casino licensing, according to The New York Times); but the deadline for a decision is clearly in sight this fall. But! So is another deadline of sorts: Election Day on Nov. 4, when voters will have a chance to repeal the 2011 law O.K.’ing casinos.

The March Toward Boston’s First $20M Condo Begins
Construction on the massive pair of towers (massive for Boston, at least) at the Christian Science Plaza is likely to start this fall. The taller of the two towers will be quite swanky, with condos and hotel rooms managed by the Four Seasons brand (the tower’s rendered above, to the left of the Pru). Speculation has already started as to whether this699-foot spire, destined to be the tallest residential one in Boston, will host the city’s first-ever $20,000,000 condo deal. Allow us to add to the speculation: Yes, or the tower going atop Copley Place will.

As always, dear reader, stay tuned.

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general info

5 Things To Know About Housing In 2014

A long but very interesting post from Housing Wire – from a national perspective – and while many of the fundamental issues do not directly reflect our local market performance…it is important to know as we  navigate our own real estate markets.

 

5 things to know about housing for the rest of 2014

See what housing insiders are saying

The future of housing for 2014 looks a lot different  than it did at the start of the year.

Either fundamentals have changed, or the evidence is getting so overwhelming that neither the most hopeful naiveté or calculating spin can cover it.

That’s not to say there aren’t bright spots, but marking the danger spots on the map is a lot more important than marking X on the buried treasure.

So here are five things to know about housing and where it’s going for the rest of 2014.

1) Luxury Sales Fly as Home Sales for the Rest Crash and Burn

Home sales among the 1%  look like they will beat last year’s numbers, and that’s about the only real bright spot in housing on the horizon, and the only thing looking positive for the rest of 2014.

Sales of the priciest 1% of homes are up 21.1% so far this year, according to Redfin. This follows a gain of 35.7% in 2013. Meanwhile, on the other side of the bridge, home sales in the remaining 99% of the market have fallen 7.6% in 2014.

It’s not that interest rates are usurious by any stretch. This is despite mortgage rates having dropped to their lowest level in more than six months. The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.14% for the week ended May 22.

BlackRock CEO Laurence Fink said Tuesday that the housing market is “structurally more unsound ” than prior to the financial crisis due to its reliance on the government-sponsored enterprises of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

“There are haves and have-nots, and the haves are the ones out buying,” Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman said.

2) Real Estate Investment Highly Uncertain

Concerns still linger over the state of residential investment, which contracted in both the fourth quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014, as well as prices being driven up by investors rather than homeowners, and the growing affordability gap for buyers. The weak labor market means that the recovery is tenuous. Weak job growth and wage stagnation remain challenges for both housing and for the economy in general.

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland researchers Edward Knotek II and Saeed Zaman say there are three primary factors behind the recent slowdown in residential investment: the increase in mortgage rates since early 2013; the unusually cold winter; and a modest tightening of lending standards in the residential mortgage market.

The weather reason doesn’t really fly. As CoreLogic’s (CLGX) reported, past severe winters that have affected housing starts negatively were followed by a rebound after temperatures began to rise again. This analysis indicates there should be a rebound again this spring, but it will not be sufficient to counteract the current weakness in the market, which can’t be blamed on the weather.

Knotek and Zaman say the resumption of more normal weather and ongoing improvements in labor markets and the broader economy should allow for a rebound in residential investment. However, the researchers also note that the experiences of the past year highlight the strong interest rate sensitivity of the housing sector.

3) Investor Price Increases Push Housing Out of Reach

Home prices in the United States are just 12.8% off the 2006 peak, according to the comprehensive March home price index report from Black Knight Financial Services.

April home price data from S&P/Case-Shiller released on Tuesday, found slight increases for the month. The 10-city and 20-city composites recorded miniscule rises for March 2014, increasing .8% and .9% month-over-month.

Separately, the Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index found that prices continued to trend higher in the first quarter, and increased for the eleventh consecutive quarter, rising 1.3% in the first three months of 2014.

Housing affordability is being skewed by cash investors (increasingly) and institutional buyers (less so than last year) which are still accounting for almost half of all home sales. Until there is affordability, there cannot be a rise in first-time buyer participation. Which brings us to the next point.

4) Millennials Want to Buy but Can’t

DoubleLine Capital founder Jeffrey Gundlach said he is concerned that would-be young buyers are shunning mortgages even though all the evidence shows they want to buy rather than rent. So far, returning homebuyers havedominated the scene in 2014 because too many first-timers are dealing with mounting debt.

“The deferral of marriage has such a staggering impact on real estate and I just don’t think people focus on it,” said real estate investor Sam Zell, 72, whose Chicago-based Equity Residential is the largest U.S. apartment landlord. “I don’t think the multifamily market has ever had a better set of future demographics.”

Zell said he expects the Homeownership rate to drop as low as 55% from the current 35-year low, as more people delay marriage.

So what’s the good news? Now might be a good time to invest in apartments.

5) Mortgage Originations Fizzle

Mortgage originations are at their lowest level in 14 years and everyone is expecting that will only get worse as mortgage rates creep up.

Chris Flanagan, MBS/ABS strategist for BofA Merrill Lynch, said mortgage activity is going to underperform in 2014.

“We were expecting $1 trillion in gross issuance for the year (at the start of 2014.) We’re at about $200 billion now,” Flanagan said. “So we’re on track for $750 billion for the year, which is less than expected.”

He said credit remains a headwind for buyers.

“We came into this year knowing credit would be tight,” Flanagan said. “We hear anecdotal evidence that credit is loosening, but (when you consider mitigating factors to the anecdotal evidence) the end result is credit is still very, very tight.”

Flanagan said that while the FHA has lowered its threshold for FICO scores by 15 points, it hasn’t translated into increased mortgage originations.

It’s happening across the board. Bank of America (BAC) reported that its first-quarter mortgage originations fell 65% year-on-year in its earnings report. Wells Fargo (WFC) reported record net income of $5.9 billion, up 14%, or $1.05 per diluted common share, for first-quarter 2014, where as JPMorgan Chase (JPM) recorded a first-quarter 2014 net income of $5.3 billion, a drop from $6.5 billion in the first quarter of 2013.

Lawrence YunNational Association of Realtors’ chief economist, noted in the most recent existing-home sales report from NAR, “Some growth was inevitable after sub-par housing activity in the first quarter, but improved inventory is expanding choices and sales should generally trend upward from this point. Annual home sales, however, due to a sluggish first quarter, will likely be lower than last year.”

The housing market has improved since the financial crisis, but it’s not clear how strong that improvement is, given that so much of it is supported by intense government subsidies, protection and backstops.

Even Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen concedes that housing is no longer helping – it is hurting the economy.

“One cautionary note, though, is that readings on housing activity – a sector that has been recovering since 2011 – have remained disappointing so far this year and will bear watching,” she said. “Another risk – domestic in origin – is that the recent flattening out in housing activity could prove more protracted than currently expected rather than resuming its earlier pace of recovery.”

Further complicating matters is the conflict between regulatory pressures at cross-purposes – a push for an affordable housing mandate versus regulatory standards for debt-to-income ratios, QM mandates and so on.

That’s where things stand as the market crosses the halfway point on the calendar year.

Anthony Sanders, distinguished professor of real estate finance at George Mason University, sums up the problem by taking a step back from the details.

“True, credit is tighter than during the housing bubble, but average FICO scores on closed loans has been dropping,” Sanders says.“But the problem remains a slow recovery for the middle class in terms of employment and income. Of course, The Fed could speed up tapering and allow rates to rise (cutting off cheap funding sources to investors). As it stands, house prices are rising while affordability for the middle class is shrinking.”

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Fabulous Ink Block In Boston

great post by Scott!

From Tabloid to Hip Condos

Link|Comments ()Posted by Scott Van Voorhis

Location, location, location – that’s what real estate is all about. And the new Ink Block, taking shape where the South End meets Chinatown, has it in spades.

The glitzy glass-and-steel, six-building condo and apartment development is taking shape on Harrison Ave., where the big old brick red Boston Herald building stood until it was demolished last year.

As a reporter at the Herald back in the 2000s, the location couldn’t be beat. Need to get to Beacon Hill? No problem, that’s a 20 minute walk. Press conference in the Back Bay – be there in 15 minutes. Hungry? Let’s head across the street to Chinatown. Or for that matter, around the corner to the South End, a restaurant paradise. No car needed – just you and your two feet. (OK, I’m tall and a pretty fast walker, but still.)

That location, which was great for reporters, will be even better for the residents of the $500 million Ink Block, with the city and its attractions literally at their feet.

A total of six buildings are planned, each featuring a unique design inspired by the South End and intended to be an antidote to the Boston’s increasingly hard to tell apart bevy of new luxury condo towers, Ted Tye, managing director of National Development, tells me.

“There is so much being built in the city these days that is very generic – you can’t tell whether you are in the Seaport, the Back Bay, or the South End,” Tye says.

Final Sepia Hero Night.jpg

 

More than 60 percent of the units at the Sepia, the project’s 83 unit condo building, are already spoken for, Tye tells me. (Herald, Ink Block, Sepia – you get the theme.)

Prices range from $500,000 for a studio to over $2 million for a penthouse unit. The condos come with balconies large enough to actually recline in a chair and take in the city skyline, with a neat rooftop hangout spot, complete with an outdoor kitchen.

The developer’s initial proposal to build condos at the Herald site drew its fair share of skeptics a few years back, with condos still recovering from the downturn. Now demand is soaring, condos are hot, and Tye feels vindicated.

“On Sepia, the idea has been to create luxury condos and really take advantage of being in the South End,” Tye said. “We bet a couple years ago the condo market would come back. We took a risk.”

Beyond skyline views – the project is taking shape roughly where the Herald’s publisher once held court in a suite facing the city – some additional treats are in store as well for Sepia residents.

A 50,000 square foot Whole Foods is also taking shape at the site, along with a bevy of what will hopefully be some hip new restaurants, in keeping with the South End’s proud culinary traditions.

There are also some extra perks for residents, who can enter the store directly from the Sepia without going outside, and then head back up the elevator, groceries bags in hand, to their condos. Or they can take a plunge in the rooftop pool that is being built on the roof of the grocery store.

Three apartment buildings are well underway now, with openings planned for early 2015.
Named Ink Block One, Two and Three, each takes a different design theme from the South End. Ink Block Two, for example, will feature loft style units with a black and white color theme.

While the Ink Block is a great launching pad from which to explore Boston, the immediate area around the project wasn’t always much to write home about.

In fact, the old Herald, when it was standing, was an outpost of zaniness amid a no-man’s land of sprawling parking lots, a homeless shelter, and the occasional streetwalker.

But the streets around the emerging Ink Block are on their way to becoming a residential hot spot, with a number of projects taking shape in the area.

The Ink Block itself was deliberately designed with six different buildings in a bid to give the project more a vibrant neighborhood feel, Tye notes.

Stay tuned.

 

 

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MA Assoc Of Realtors Report For March

Always good to get the big picture statewide – our local markets are mirroring the statewide trends.

 

Massachusetts Homeowners started to Put More Homes on the Market in March with the Start of Spring

by | Apr 23, 2014
Prices up as closed sales down again in March compared to last year

March 2014 Sales Data

WALTHAM, Mass
. – April 23, 2014 – The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® (MAR) reported today that while a general shortage of homes for sale pushed sales down and prices up in March, the spring market is starting to come to life. For the second straight month homeowners have added more homes to the market than the same time last year. Condominium sales and prices were both up in March.

“While the market still needs more homes for sale – including both existing homes and new construction- the increase in new listings in March is a good sign,” said 2014 MAR President Peter Ruffini, regional vice president at Jack Conway & Co., in Norwell. “With home values on an upward trend, it gives homeowners the opportunity and incentive to take advantage of the current buyer demand and list their homes for sale.”

There were 2,698 detached single-family homes sold this March, which was down 11.5 percent from the 3,048 homes sold the same time last year. On a month-to-month basis, home sales were up 27.2 percent from 2,084 homes sold this past February. A significant increase in home sales from February-to-March is typical.

The median selling price for single-family home in March was $314,063 which was up 8.3 percent from $290,000 in March 2013. This is the 18th straight monthly year-over-year increase. On a month-to-month basis, the March median selling price was up 6.5 percent from $294,950 in February.

There were 1,264 condominiums sold this past March, an increase of 4.2 percent from the 1,213 condos sold the same time last year. Year-over-year sales of condominiums have gone up 26 out of the last 27 months. On a month-to-month basis, condominium sales were up 36.1 percent from 903 condominiums sold this past February. Similar to single-family home sales, a significant increase in condo sales from February-to-March is typical.

The median selling price for condominium in March was $300,154 which was up 11.2 percent from the $270,000 median price in March 2013. This is the 10th straight year-over-year increase. On a month-to-month basis, the February median selling price was up 5.3 percent from $283,000 in February.

Inventory and Days on Market: 

The inventory of single-family homes as of March 31, 2014 decreased 13.9 percent from March 2013 (16,691 listings in 2014 from 19,695 listings in 2013) which translates into 4.0 months of supply in March 2014.  This is down from 5.0 months of supply last year and flat from this past February.  This was the 25th straight month of inventory decreases.

The number of new listings added to the market of single-family homes in March increased 12 percent over the same time last year (7,110 new listings in 2014 from 6,347 in 2013).

The inventory of condominiums on the market in March was down 23.7 percent compared to the year before (4,733 listings in 2014 from 6,206 listings in 2013), which translates into 2.7 months of supply, which is down from 4.0 months in March 2013 and down from 2.8 months in February.

The number of new listings added to the condominium market in March decreased less than one percent (-0.8%) from March 2013 (2,651 new listings in 2014 from 2,672 listings in 2013).

Detached single-family homes stayed on the market an average of 122 days in March 2014 compared to an average of 140 days in March 2013.  Condos stayed on the market an average of 85 days, down from an average of 106 days in March 2013.  On a month-to-month basis, days on market for single-family homes was up from 121 days in February while condos were down from 98 days.

 

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Bad Combo

 

March review from Scott.

Bad combo: Rising prices, falling sales

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis

Home sales fell again in March, a bad omen for the spring market.

But right now it’s buyers who are taking it on the chin and sellers who are laughing all the way to the bank.

Home sales fell 11.5 percent this March compared to the same time last year, theMassachusetts Association of Realtors reports. The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman, pegs the decline at a somewhat smaller 7.8 percent.

Yet both market trackers report a big jump in prices, a trend that has been going on for at least 18 months.

The median home price in Massachusetts rose 8.6 percent in March, to $315,000, according to the Warren Group, while MAR is reporting just about the same price, and an 8.3 percent jump.

So what gives?

The same old, same old we have been hearing about for the past year, too few homes for sale.

“The low inventory of single-family homes in the market is the primary cause of the decreasing sales activity,” said Timothy M. Warren Jr., chief executive The Warren Group, in a press release. “Motivated buyers, however, are eagerly bidding for the limited supply which accounts for the increasing sales prices. People want to buy homes before prices and interest rates rise further.”