Massachusetts has become one of the most popular states for buyers from China, so charted the National Association of Realtors (left) in their report: 2013 Profile of International Home Buying Activity.
My column in Banker and Tradesman discussed the increasing amount of Boston condos being purchased by Chinese investors as well as the organizations, Realtors and brokerages who are positioning themselves to profit from this trend.
Where are Chinese investors buying real estate in Boston? How big is that market? Why do they buy in the U.S.? For a copy of the column, subscribe to Banker and Tradesman or email me your request.
My featured column in Curbed was once again devoted to the Hub’s current condo inventory, or lack thereof.
The chart (exclusive to the BRER) tracks the cumulative on-market inventory for the nine markets I cover most (Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Brookline, Cambridge, Charlestown, Jamaica Plain, Somerville, South End, South Boston). Since October 2011, on-market inventory has gone from 1,204 to just 292.
Find out how today’s inventory compares in some of these key markets: Read my featured column!
If you could ask The Greater Boston Real Estate Market a few questions, what would they be?
Well, I called several times this summer and nobody picked up!
My monthly column in Banker and Tradesman details my efforts to reach said market and the things that I wanted to bring to its attention for insights and feedback.
No matter how hard I treid, I never reached the market and you might be surprised at why it was impossible for me to get a hold of the market.
For a copy of this light take on what’s happening in our current real estate world, email me.
My featured post in Boston.Curbed this week celebrated the one year anniversary of my column, “Bates By the Numbers.”
I reflected on the posts I wrote over the year, their topics and focus, and revealed a couple of stories behind the story, like the post that was based on a joke I used to like to tell and how another post was themed after a famous song. Hopefully, folks had a few laughs at my light-hearted posts. I like to think that I am funnier than the average real estate writer. LOL.
Check it out! You’ll have a chance to see a couple of columns you might have missed. You’ll find out why I wrote more than a fair share of columns about the Back Bay and you might be surprised at the most unusual place that I have ever written from. Thank you Curbed for the opportunity to reach some of Boston’s most enthusiastic real estate folks!
Looking for a Boston condo but, can’t find anything you like at a price you like?
Is the challenge the price or the neighborhood?
To get an insight into that age old question, I broke Boston’s first half condominium sales into ten different price ranges. Then, I totaled up the transactions by Boston neighborhood.
And then, I made charts, 13 of them. They visually communicate the amount transactions as the price goes up, so they tend to take the shape of ski slopes, mountain climbs and Bell Curves. Check them out in the gallery below! In it, you’ll find distribution for 13 different Boston neighborhoods, including Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Brighton, Charlestown, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Midtown, the North End, the South End, South Boston, the Fenway, the Waterfront and Roslindale.
Or if you want to know the most prolific Boston neighborhoods in certain price ranges, check out my featured post in Curbed.
Sure, you could go up in price, but if you check out the charts, you just might find there’s more opportunity to buy the condo you wanted in a neighborhood you didn’t know you wanted, LOL.
For my featured article in Curbed this week, I spoke with Demetrios Salpoglou, the CEO of the rental network that arguably does more Hub rentals than any other company.
He identified several surprising trends currently occurring in Boston’s rental market.
What is he most worried about in the current rental market?
What is the unusual item that some landlords are including in the apartment to get premium rent?
What’s more important to some Boston demographics than apartments with parking?
What’s the highly talked about trend he doesn’t expect to continue in 2014 ?
You may think you have a deal.
You signed an offer, survived an inspection and executed a p and s.
There’s a commitment letter and a closing scheduled.
Yet, as Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over til, it’s over.” The same is true in Boston real estate.
My column in Banker and Tradesman this month concerned happenings in the last 24-48 hours of a deal that threatened to delay or kill it.
In the column, I talk about a final walk through that you’ll remember for a long time as well as something surprising that occurred after all the i’s were dotted and all the t’s had been crossed..
Check out Banker and Tradesman, the Massachusetts real estate paper of record. For a copy of the article, email me.
My featured column in Curbed this week, discusses how to use speed as a winning strategy to get the home you want.
In this low inventory, multiple offer, over-ask real estate market, speed starts with being the first to see the newly listed property. As an agent, I often try to get offers accepted less than 24-hours after a newly listed home comes to market. In other words, the deal wraps up even before other buyers and agents find out the property was available.
Offers with speedy timelines are also less risky and less costly for owners to take. To see why, check out my post!
A review of 2013 single family sales through the first four months of the year reveals that for the first time in MLS history, gas heated homes outsold oil heated homes, 43% to 42%. This is a stark difference from 2007, when during the same time period oil heated single family sales had a 7% lead over gas heated single family sales. Since then, increasing economic and environmental concerns helped natural gas chip away at the difference. In addition to being less expensive, there are numerous other benefits of natural gas versus oil, including that it is more efficient,uses less of the earth’s resources, produces significantly less CO2 emissions, produces virtually no sulfur dioxide, it’s not stored in storage tanks, it doesn’t need truck delivery every 10 days or so, and more than 80% of the gas is domestically produced.
Kevin Kelliher of Lundgren Management is a good example of people seeing the benefits of natural gas. Running a property management company, he used to look at heating oil prices every day. He says he was on “pins and needles about what the market would do” and how it would impact the condominium associations his firm managed. According to Kevin, the final straw was the 2007-2008 heating season, a time when the costs of heating oil seemingly got out of hand, going up on average from $2.38 a gallon to $3.24 a gallon, a nearly 40% increase over the previous season. Around that time, he presented the financial benefits of switching over to one Boston association’s trustees noting that “Currently natural gas costs 1/3 less than oil,” and because Keyspan was offering free, new energy efficient equipment (steam boilers), it meant a savings of around $50K-$60K in capital equipment. Kevin pointed out that even though it would still take a $65K investment by the association to effect the change, if the differential between gas and oil remained the same, the payback would only take 2.5 to 3 years. It did and as a result, Kevin estimates that association has since saved more than $600K in heating costs.
A chart from the Department of Energy Resources, shows the average price of heating oil in the 2012-2013 season was $3.97. That’s more than three times the cost of the 1999-2000 season, when heating oil cost 1.31 a gallon. The more that oil prices rise, the more homeowners switch to gas. Since 2007, Lundgren Management has switched a dozen associations over from oil to gas and seen the cumulative oil consumption in these association go from 800,000 gallons annually to just 5,000 gallons annually. Yet, the biggest changeover is yet to come and most likely a result of the “Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance” recently passed by the city of Boston, the purpose fo which is “to reduce the emissions of air pollutants, including greenyhouse gases, from energy production
The price of pahking a cah in Bahston has once again made headlines.
I guess another six months has gone by.
Maybe, my post of May 24 should have been entitled, “Buy the Parking, Get the Car for Free”? LOL.
More seriously, for local condo buyers unsecured parking can be a cause for concern. To find out how prevalent secured parking is in Boston neighborhoods, check out my chart. I reviewed condo sales from 2005-2012 to see what percentage of condos for sale offered parking. The parking offered could be rental, assigned, an exclusive use area, or deeded, just so long as it was offered as transferable with the sale. Due to the fact that many listing agents may have included garage parking in both categories, the two categories were not mutually exclusive.
|Area||1+ Parking||Garage Parking|
(Source: Bates Real Estate Report Analysis of MLS data)
Additionally, about two years ago, I had three revealing posts about the cost of parking in Boston and now is a good time to revisit them. One explored the median sales price of condos which offered parking versus condos without parking. Before you say $560K was too much to pay for that parking behind 298 Com Ave, or even that such a purchase should be expected from someone owning a nearby townhouse, you should definitely check out this post. It will give you an idea of the real value of the parking in Back Bay.
I gotta go now, a space just opened up on Newbury Street.
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About David Bates
The Bates Real Estate Report is an original content blog about the Greater Boston real estate market, written by a real estate agent who works the condo market and who has a passion for Boston real estate.
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