Condo sales in 2012 reached their highest level in 5 years. Morfe confidence in the economy, low interest rates and a somewhat pent up demand have driven condominium sales in Boston to their highest level since 2007. The hottest neighborhood is the Back Bay where 147 condos changed hands, followed by the South End with 146 units sold, and South Boston came in third with 142 sales .
Announced this week: An online school and a management consulting firm are two of the latest to announce leases in the Hub’s Seaport District. Campbell Alliance Group has signed a 6459 square foot office sublease relocation at 2 Seaport Lane. Penn Foster, an online educator, is opening its first Boston office on Congress Street. The company will occupy 2500 square feet of open layout office space.
On Friday, October 14, 2011, Boston Luxe hosted its belated anniversary party to celebrate the merger of Drew Abysalh and Boston Luxe as well as the launch of the redesigned bostonluxe.com. Refreshments were served as we hosted clients and friends to celebrate this new beginning. Thank you to everyone that joined us and here’s to another year!
Dwindling housing inventory is becoming a real issue for a recovering real estate market in area’s like Boston real estate market sales have been booming and setting records in recent months. Both new buyers and renters are running into problems trying to get the dream house they have been wanting and saving for in the last few years. Apartment vacancy rates are running below 3% which is a very tight level. Inventories of single family homes, condos and town homes are dangerously low, with sellers holding out to see what happens in the election in November. Other considerations that are having an effect on the current real estate recovery is the European Debt Crisis, our own debt crisis and the many tax decisions that the new President and Congress must make early in 2013.
The Christian Science Church has announced a 99 year lease of it’s 26 story office tower in the Back Bay neighborhood to an affiliate of Beacon Capital Partners. The building, located at 177 Huntington Avenue, was built in the 1970s. and sits on a 15 acre parcel of land that was originally donated by the church’s founder, Mary Baker Eddy. The church received approval for the development of offices, retail shops, hotel and residences just last year. Since 2006, the church as been active in seeking ways to utilize it’s real estate holdings to help offset some of it’s real estate expenses. The Christian Science Church’s decision to sign the lease will also provide an important way to maintain a say in the future of this and it’s other properties, says Barbara Burley. Barbara Burley is the senior manager and director of Boston real estate planning of for the Christian Science Church.
National Development has announced that it is selling 6 properties among which is the building at 263 Summer Street in South Boston. The eight story office building is famous for its rounded facade and ruby red neon beacon on the top of the building.
The well known neon sign at the top of the building was refurbished and relit in 2006. The major tenant at 262 Summer Street is the headhunting firm Isaacson Miller, according to HFF who is going to be marketing the property. The Summer Street property is one of several going on the market by the end of the year
July home sales are the best since 2005, up about 27%, according to the Warren Group, publisher of Banker and Tradesman. The Massachusetts Association of Realtors reports similar results.
The increases were similar for the nations real estate sales. The 20 cities tracked by the Case-Shiller index also saw price gains in June over May, with Boston real estate sales posting a 2.5% increase.
Experts cautioned however, that there are enough reasons to be cautious. Fears of a double dip recession haunts some, and the slowness of economic growth bothers other real estate analysts. Nearly 5000 homes changed hands in Massachusetts in July, a far cry from the 6672 homes that sold in July of 2005. The economic situation remains unsettled and could unravel in a matter of months, due to the debt crisis in Europe or a possible global meltdown like that which took place in 2008. There are a series of huge federal budget cuts set to take place next year unless the new president and congress take some action soon. Most experts now think there is a 50%-50% possibility of that happening, which could say bye-bye to a continuing real estate recovery.
Even with the job market remaining somewhat on the lackluster side, certain real estate markets continue to sputter along with some markets showing signs of gaining strength in the Boston area.
Overall real estate investment activity remained fairly robust as reflected in the recent $2 Million sale of the Flex One Bldg. in the New Bedford Business Park and the $1.7 Million sale of the Candleworks Office Bldg. in downtown New Bedford.
Multifamily properties have been leading the real estate recovery, with year over year rental growth of about 4%-5% in 2012, according to CBRE Econometric Advisors. Rent growth for multifamily properties is strong in virtually all markets, with half already exceeding prior peak rents.
Office properties placed second nationwide, with office vacancies declining from 16.5% in the forth quarter of 2010, to 16% in the forth quarter of 2011. Rents in the office sector increased by 3 percent during 2011. The Industrial sector has continued to show improvement with the Retail sector showing about the same vacancy rates.
Depending on investors’ risk tolerance, investment experts say there are some good opportunities to be had for sure. Careful selection and attention to solid fundamentals is the rule of the day in this protracted real estate recovery.
According to Christine Harvey of Bloomberg, Prudental real estate conducted a survey and the results showed a real optimism in the American consumer.
60% of people surveyed last month had positive views about the housing market.
70% expected property values to improve over the next two years, according to the survey released today. About
63% percent of respondents said they considered real estate a good investment, up from 52 percent last year.
90% + said the housing crisis is a reminder they must be more cautious in buying and selling property.
80 % said home ownership is important to them,
15% said the economic downturn made owning a home less important.
Stephen Van Anden, chief marketing officer for Prudential Real Estate, stated that “This is the second consecutive year consumer confidence in housing has improved, signaling the property market may “finally be climbing out of its deep hole”.