47-story Copley Square condo tower will be city’s 3rd-tallest
Sep 2011 30

More images have been released of the 47-story condominium tower proposed for Copley Square, in Boston.

The tower, if built as designed, will rise 625’8″ above what is now an empty plaza next to the Copley Place Mall. It would be Boston’s third-tallest building, after the John Hancock Tower and Prudential Center Tower.

Opposition has been fast and furious, mostly focused on the amount of wind and shadow the tower may or may not bring to the immediate area, which includes the Tent City apartment complex, Boston Public Library, and historic Copley Square.

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Images from the Boston Redevelopment Authority website, from the developer’s DPIR.

Low inventory level puts upward pressure on South End condo prices
Sep 2011 20

It’s the fall real estate market and this means that many buyers are out in the Boston neighborhoods looking for a new home.

It looks to be a busy, but short, fall season, based on what I see going under agreement and by the number of inquiries I’ve been getting. It’s hard to make comparisons to prior years, though, since they were unique. Last year, for example, we were still feeling the after-effects of the expiring tax credit program that pushed many people to buy in the spring who may otherwise have waited until fall. So, the fall sales volume was lower than normal. And, in 2009, we were about 12 months into the bottom trough of the recession, following the September 2008 implosion of Lehman Brothers and the beginning of “bad times” for many people.

So, we’re busier this year, but that’s only because things were so slow before.

There may be more buyers, but I don’t see a lot of inventory out there, which will make things difficult for many. Although buyers may have (finally) been able to get their lenders to agree to lend, they are now faced with an unexpected problem: no homes to buy.

Or, at least, no homes at prices they can afford.

Sadly, for many people, prices in the downtown Boston real estate neighborhoods have not fallen by as much as in other parts of the city, state or country.

For example, if you’re looking for a two-bedroom home with 1,000 square feet or more but under $650,000, there’s just 55 from which to choose. This isn’t a lot, given that 165 condos fitting these criteria sold within the past six months. So, there’s a three month supply of housing. In a perfect market, you’d have five to eight months of supply. Less than that and there are too many buyers for the “good” properties and too much demand for sellers to be willing to negotiate. There’s always someone else, they’ll think.

My best advice is, be ready to go when you find the home of your dreams. See as many properties as you can, now, so that when you see the home you love, you know its value compared to what else is out there. Have your pre-approval in hand and already have talked to your co-buyers, lender, lawyer, and real estate agent about your plans.

Go in strong.

Above, 392 Marlborough Street #1, Back Bay, Boston, Massachusetts. Will Montero of Warren Residential Group. It is listed for $1.695 million.

Modern 2, South End condo project, begins closings
Sep 2011 15

Closings have commenced in the brand-spanking new Modern 2 condominium project, located at the corners of Northampton and Tremont Streets, at Massachusetts Avenue.

Sixteen closings have been recorded at the Suffolk Country Registry of Deeds. There are 37 units in Phase 2 of the Modern project, adding to the 25 units that were built and completed just a couple years ago.

Sold units in Phase 2 were priced between $417,000 and $769,000. A fourth floor, two-bedroom, one and ½-half bathroom home with ~1,254-square feet of space sold for $564,000.

MLS is showing an additional eight units under agreement at this time, meaning there are just 13 of the 37 left for sale. The sales team reported last week that they are over 70% sold.

If you’re interested in seeing any of the units at The Modern or learning more about this great new South End condominium development, please let me know.

Photo above of a model unit at The Modern Phase 2

691 Massachusetts Ave South End condos begin closings
Aug 2011 19

The brand-new 691 Massachusetts Ave condo project is complete and closings have begun.

The 40-unit, low-rise development filled in a long-empty lot located on one of the South End’s most historic boulevards.

Condos are priced from the low-to-mid $300,000′s and up. A one-bedroom, one-bathroom, ~608-square foot condo on the 4th floor sold for $343,000. A fifth floor, ~637-square foot home sold for $409,000, and included one parking space.

Thirteen units remain listed for sale in our local MLS with prices from $330,000 to $450,000 with some penthouse units in the low-$500,000′s.

Please contact me for private showings.

Zillow: Downtown Boston home values rise in 2nd quarter
Aug 2011 10

Online real estate valuation company Zillow.com says that home values rose during the second quarter 2011 in many downtown ZIP codes, as well as in other Boston neighborhoods.

The Boston Business Journal has the details.

Demographically, they’re on opposite ends of the spectrum, but Boston’s Beacon Hill and Mattapan neighborhoods do share something in common: They were both among the hottest housing markets in the state in the second quarter.

The BBJ has a cool interactive tool that you can use to plug in your town or city’s name or do it by ZIP code. Not all ZIP codes are available (no 02113-North End, for example) but 159 towns and cities are.

For ZIP code 02118, which is most of the South End and a bit of Roxbury, sales volume was off in the second quarter by 29% (!) but prices were up 3% from first to second quarter and 1% since last year at the same time.

The Zillow.com data is useful if you track it by quarter, but it does have some serious weaknesses.

As the BBJ points out: Zillow’s valuation data is based on all homes in a given market, and not just properties listed for sale or sold in a given period.

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