Uncategorized

In a sign of stability, US new-home sales have posted a surprising gain

AdobeStock_43096-1024x576$medium

By Bloomberg | Boston Globe | May 26, 2020

New-home sales in the United States unexpectedly increased in April after swooning a month earlier, suggesting the housing market is starting to stabilize.

Purchases of new single-family houses climbed 0.6% from March to a 623,000 annualized pace, government data showed Tuesday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a drop to a 480,000 rate of sales. The median sale price fell 8.6% from a year earlier to $309,900.

The report boosted the stocks of home builders, which have rebounded in recent weeks. An index tracking the industry had jumped 19% in May through Friday, beating the gain in the S&P 500.

Mortgage rates near historic lows may be putting a floor under the housing market. And even as soaring unemployment and tighter credit standards threaten to complicate the recovery, home-building is proving to be a bright spot. Builders have been helped by local governments, which in many cases have deemed the industry essential and allowed work to continue.

Job losses are primarily hitting renters who are more likely to be working in lower-paying service and hospitality jobs that were damaged most by social-distancing rules, said Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wells Fargo.

Unlike the existing home market, which has seen a big drop in inventory, builders were able to accommodate buyers, showing floor plans virtually and even offering drive-thru closings.

“If the reopenings continue, housing may provide an upside surprise to the economy this year,’’ Vitner said.

Three of four US regions showed stronger home sales in April than a month earlier, reflecting 2.4% gains in the South and Midwest, the Commerce Department’s report showed. Purchases climbed 8.7% in the Northeast and dropped 6.3% in the West.

The government’s data measure signed contracts to buy homes. The slight gain in April came after sales dropped the most since 2013 in March, when much of the US economy shut down to stem the spread of coronavirus.

While housing is holding up better than expected, the recovery will depend on how quickly the rest of the economy bounces back.

“We’re still trying to understand what is the new normal,’’ said Alex Barron, an analyst with the Housing Research Center in El Paso.

Lots of unique treasures in this Chestnut Hill mansion

1

By Todd Larson | Boston Homes | March 19, 2020

The new sunroom, kitchens, bedroom suites, game-room loft, multipurpose garden level, heated three-car garage and classical terrace/patio reflect the architects’ vision of “picturesque charm and proper setting” and “sympathetic relation to the established historical domestic styles,” as Architectural Record described the house in 1910.

The angular wingspread of 152 Suffolk Road’s Spanish Mediterranean Mission façade – an architectural anomaly in Chestnut Hill – speaks volumes about its unique features: the wide variety of rooms it encompasses, the open-armed welcome it extends and the four elevator-accessible levels of comfortable living it offers.

“Because of its unique flanking design, the home does not feel so overwhelming and linear” said Manuel Davis of Advisors Living–Back Bay, who, along with Kristy Ganong, is co-offering the 14,109-square-foot, seven-bedroom residence at $12 million.

Its hospitality also owes to a three-year restoration, renovation and expansion of its 1904 design by Chapman & Frazer. This included replacing the roof with Spanish barrel clay tiles sourced from the company that made the originals (Ludowici of New Lexington, Ohio) and restoring century-old oak paneling, leaded-glass windows, fireplace mantels and other period details.

The new sunroom, kitchens, bedroom suites, game-room loft, multipurpose garden level, heated three-car garage and classical terrace/patio reflect the architects’ vision of “picturesque charm and proper setting” and “sympathetic relation to the established historical domestic styles,” as Architectural Record described the house in 1910.

This is evident upon entering the Spanish-tiled gateway to an axial path across the vast treed lawn to the arched center-entrance loggia, or motoring up the gravelly carriage drive. The façade hugs the drive, welcoming you warmly from the outset.

The entry gallery continues the warmth with oak paneling, leaded-glass casement windows and convenient direction everywhere. The west gallery leads to the dining room and great room. The east gallery accesses the back stairway/elevator hall and family room.

The central hall reaches the balustraded bluestone terrace from which a split stair descends to a bluestone patio overlooking conservation land – an elegant setting for a wedding. The hall also accesses the chef’s kitchen, the garden-level stairway and the bedrooms via a staircase with a balustrade of columned arches.

Flanking the vestibule are a walk-in coat closet and marble powder room with a hand-hammered metal sink.

The dining room, accessible by a swing door from the garden-level stair, is dressed for dinner with lamp-shaded crystal chandeliers, crown moldings upholding ceiling vaults and a marble fireplace with a carved mantel. For an apéritif or digestif, guests can withdraw to the octagonal sitting room, warm up by its fireplace, framed in carved animal/plant reliefs, and reach the terrace through a French door.

The sitting room and gallery access the great room through its curved wall of bookcases and square columns. Chicago windows with leaded glass, crystal chandeliers and fireplace-flanking French doors flood the space with light.

The French doors spill the entertainment onto a monumental Tuscan-columned porch and down to a balustraded side yard. This descends to a bluestone walk that passes through a stone archway under the terrace en route to the patio and the garden level.

The kitchens – one for formal catering, one for family cooking – boast custom Crown Point cabinetry, quartzite and marble counters including sink islands, six-burner gas ranges, Wolf stainless appliances, Miele integrated dishwashers and Sub-Zero refrigerators and wine coolers. The family kitchen has a Wolf espresso machine and a breakfast bay. Symmetrical with the sitting room, the bay also accesses the terrace through a French door.

The family room preserves a mantel of orange terra cotta tiles with fleur-de-lis and pinwheel accents and a stone hood with scrolled brackets and egg-and-dart moldings. Oaken ceiling beams, wall paneling and benched recesses for the leaded-glass casement windows add baronial grandeur.

Glazed double-doors introduce the sunroom, to which an Arts-and-Crafts tiled floor and a chandelier of bronze serpents and lions dangling bell lights give sympathetic relation to the historic family room. A door with arched transom accesses a deck over the garage.

The front stairway lands at a leaded-glass window on axis with the rear terrace before ascending to the bedroom level where all but one of the six bedrooms have en suite marble baths. A front-window sitting area precedes the junior suite with a bay window.

Across the corridor is the master suite’s dressing room with a window-seat, marble sorting island and a carousel chandelier.

Through a door is the palatial master bath of Calacatta Bellissimo marble.

“The designer Marie Share and ownership bought excess marble used to hand-pick only the tiles that perfectly match,” said Davis.

Matching fixtures include a bay-windowed Victoria & Albert soaking tub made from volcanic limestone, a twin-sink vanity with central makeup station, a benched shower with rain, fixed and hand-held shower heads, a towel-warming rack and water-closet where the commode automatically lifts up when the frosted-glass door is opened.

A double French door connects the bath to the master suite’s central hall, where a wet bar is handy. The hall accesses a triangular walk-in closet and the master bedroom, where a classic mantel frames a white marble fireplace and a double French door opens to the great-room porch’s roof, which can be decked.

Along the opposite corridor are the separate bedroom and bath, the bay-windowed study, a windowed laundry room and the three remaining bedroom suites. One has a sitting bay and a walk-in closet; another has deck access over the garage.

The hipped roof forms a cathedral game room with paneled square pillars that conceal the steel columns that were newly installed to support the rebuilt roof. Off the game room are a windowed bonus room, a shower bath and storage/mechanical attics under the wings’ roofs.

The garden level has three entertainment spaces. One displays framed original blueprints of the house and a reclaimed copper-hooded brick fireplace – newly framed with a classic wood mantel.

Also down here are a 4,000-bottle-capacity wine cellar; an overflow laundry room and an au pair suite with a separate entrance from the bluestone walk. There’s also a spa/gym with a bath, steam shower and cedar sauna; and a mudroom incorporating a pet spa with hand-held shower and an antique coal-burning stove by “Cyrus Carpenter & Co., 44 Hanover St., Boston” from the original basement kitchen.

Beside the mudroom are a powder room and garage access.

100 Shawmut project will offer 138 new luxury condos

By Wayne Braverman | Boston Homes | March 10, 2020

“We are thrilled to celebrate yet another milestone of 100 Shawmut,” said Jonathan Davis, Founder & CEO of The Davis Companies during Monday’s Topping Off Ceremony. “This project is a great example of an innovative and sustainable development in what is becoming a new nexus between the Back Bay and South End neighborhoods. We are honored to be a part of it.”

The last beam is in now in place at one of Boston’s newest and most exciting projects. On Monday, The Davis Companies, along with the Boston Chinese Evangelical Church (BCEC) and the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA), signed and raised the final steel beam on 100 Shawmut.

“We are thrilled to celebrate yet another milestone of 100 Shawmut,” said Jonathan Davis, Founder & CEO of The Davis Companies during Monday’s Topping Off Ceremony. “This project is a great example of an innovative and sustainable development in what is becoming a new nexus between the Back Bay and South End neighborhoods. We are honored to be a part of it.”

He added, “This project would not have been possible without the efforts of my leadership team, led by Brian Fallon, who have been working with our South End partners to reach this milestone. Thank you for your continued commitment to this project.”

The Architectural Team, Inc. located in Chelsea, was in charge of designing the building’s exterior and EMBARC Studio, located in Boston, designed the interiors. Suffolk Construction is the general contractor for 100 Shawmut. Also involved in this project is Copley Wolff Design Group. They are taking care of the landscape architecture.

Engineers for 100 Shawmut are Howard Stein Hudson Associates, McNamara Salvia and WSP. Construction lenders for 100 Shawmut include M&T Bank, Berkshire Bank, HarborOne Bank, Needham Bank and Bank of New England.

In a recent interview, Colleen Daniels, a member of the 100 Shawmut team, talked about how a lot of work has been done to preserve the “sweetness of the original structure.” When 100 Shawmut is completed, the 232,000-square-foot property will “seamlessly integrate the historic character of the original 1920s facade with a newly constructed glass structure, designed by The Architectural Team (TAT).”

The original brick and arched windows will form the heart of a hybrid building topped with elegant, angular glass curtain walls showcased on the upper levels.

This 13-story residential project offers a wide range (from studios to four-bedrooms) of one-of-a-kind condominium residences. The exquisite collection of 138 luxury residences encompasses 22 studios, 34 one-bedroom units, 23 one-bedroom units with a den, 27 two-bedroom homes, 15 two-bedroom homes with a den, 12 three-bedroom units, 3 three-bedroom units with a den and 2 four-bedroom homes – 11 of which are penthouses.

EMBARC Studio, the interior design team, “has created a modern approach to the interiors with a mixture of white oak wood detailing and textural stone conveying a warm, neutral color palette, transitioning and merging the historic architecture with a fresh, new interior.”

The new residents will enjoy a treasure-trove of features that create an exceptional blend of classic character and contemporary comfort, complemented by an ample expanse of glass providing impressive panoramas of the Boston skyline.

Some of these luxurious facets include high ceilings and white oak wood floors throughout; professionally designed upscale kitchens with state-of-the-art, fully integrated appliances; and Silestone countertops in the kitchens and baths.

100 Shawmut is a full-service lifestyle building offering a comprehensive suite of amenities that will make living here a special experience.

The enjoyment will begin upon arrival, stepping into the beautifully appointed lobby, punctuated by a stunning pass-through fireplace, and will continue in the adjacent suite of spaces designed for entertainment and leisure, co-starring a chef’s kitchen, library and a billiards room.

Residents will also enjoy the Great Room, private dining/conference rooms with entertaining/ caterer’s kitchens, and additional lounge/activity areas, including a fitness center. And that’s not all. Kids will delight in the children’s playground and the family pet will relish being pampered at their own spa.

According to project leaders, “the building will have an unprecedented amount of outdoor space, including a number of private balconies offering unmatched vistas of the city.”

In addition to the generous private balconies, residents will enjoy the 13th-floor, which features an indoor and outdoor lounge as well as a rooftop sky lounge equipped with gas grills and fire pits and a backdrop of the Boston’s skyline.

Other building amenities include 24-hour concierge, an elevator and private garage parking.

Thanks to a partnership between The Davis Companies with the BCEC and the CCBA, there will be up to 536 rental and home ownership units, including 26 percent dedicated to affordable housing, as part of this project.

100 Shawmut also incorporates the ground floor retail, commercial, community and cultural spaces that will enliven the Washington Street and Shawmut Avenue corridors.

Moreover, 100 Shawmut will provide 26 percent on-property public open space, including an East/West pedestrian connection that will provide local residents with a safe, well-lit public pathway.

The Davis Companies also committed $200,000 to community programs, including the planning, designing, engineering and construction of an open space area, job training and services to the Asian American Civic Association and additional funds to the Community Benefits Grant application process.

The new owners of 100 Shawmut will appreciate the location, which is at the intersection of Herald Street and Shawmut Avenue just around the corner from Whole Foods and minutes to Chinatown, Back Bay and Seaport.

Boston’s legendary South End neighborhood is home to historic brownstones and more than 20 parks nestled among its meandering, tree-lined streets, as well as an array of restaurants, locally-owned specialty shops, lifestyle amenities and a vibrant art scene.

The home is within walking distance of the very popular SoWa Art and Design District, not far from the Boston Center for the Arts and the Underground at Ink Block. It’s also within easy reach of Peter’s Park, Castle Square Parks, William Gary Walsh Playground and the Berkeley Community Garden.

PRICE PRESSURES

In Boston’s luxury condos, supply-and-demand economics don’t apply

Boston’s luxury condo market is facing a mismatch between supply and demand: Developers are building condos aimed at the wealthiest buyers, but buyers are looking for a wider range of prices, according to real estate experts and recent data.
While Boston’s population is growing, wage growth hasn’t kept up with the fast rise of prices, according to a recent recap of Boston’s luxury condominium market by The Collaborative Cos.
“Buyers have not been able to fully engage in this new, costlier market,” the report said. “The factors which would traditionally support a fast-absorbing pricing dynamic do not appear to be available for this current supply of product.”
In other words, thousands of luxury units are being built across the city, but sellers may have to lower those prices or risk sitting on unsold condos until the supply-demand imbalance gets restored. The report recommends that a consistent volume of sales can only happen if new residential units are designed with a broader range of sizes and price points.
Record-high sales prices

Total home sales fell over the course of 2019, sending worries through Boston’s residential brokerage community. But at the same time, Boston saw record-high sales prices: The median cost for a condo in Boston was $810,000 in 2019, and average listing prices were $280,000 higher in 2019 than in 2018, said Laura Gollinger, vice president of The Collaborative Cos., who oversees research and design development programs for the Boston-based residential consulting and analytics firm.

“Some people were kind of saying the sky was falling. And in reality, yeah, the absorption was less. But the price points were much higher,” Gollinger said. “The number of transactions was slightly less, but the price points were record-setting.”

For instance, at both the recently opened Four Seasons Private Residences One Dalton Street in Back Bay, and at Pier Four in the Seaport District, some units sold at over $4,000 per square foot. “The city’s never seen anything like that,” Gollinger said.

Some 25,700 units are either planned or under construction across Greater Boston, according to the report. In the Seaport alone, some 1,200 apartments and condominiums are expected to come online within one block of each other, at NEMA Boston, EchelonSeaport, Gables Seaport and the St. Regis Residences, Boston.

EchelonSeaport is a good example of unit diversity: With a price range of $700,000 to $5 million and higher, EchelonSeaport has seen a “brisk pace,” selling around 10 units per month.
This year prices may level off, which could allow wage growth to catch up, said Mike Schlott, president of Kinlin Grover Real Estate, which operates from Cape Cod through Plymouth and Bristol counties.

“The last couple of years I think we’ve seen a more normalization in price appreciation in Massachusetts,” Schlott said. “Hopefully wage growth is keeping up with that.”

Million-dollar battles

The heaviest competition continues to be for homes priced under $1.5 million. In past years, the buyer pool would have been focused on the under $1 million range, Brian Dougherty, managing director of residential brokerage Compass in Boston and head of the firm’s private brokerage division, said.

“The price band under $1.5 (million) is where buyers have to roll up their sleeves and really make a very strategic effort to find a place in core Boston,” Dougherty said.

Dougherty recalled one property, priced at $1.25 million, that recently received 17 offers to buy. “There are for sure buyers that in years past would have been in the mix, and they’re kind of waiting it out, or they’re priced out of the market,” he said.

Boston’s buyers have predominately been locals, Gollinger said, as opposed to Manhattan, which tends to draw a larger pool of foreign investors. As a result, the pool of buyers who can afford an ultra-luxury product is small relative to the city’s entire residential market. In 2019, for all of Boston’s luxury residential buildings, there were just 60 transactions at $6 million and above, Gollinger said. Most of those were at One Dalton and Pier 4.

“As you get larger in terms of your price point, your demand dips,” Gollinger said.
At the ultra-luxury Raffles Back Bay Hotel & Residences, now under construction now at 40 Trinity Place, a majority of units will be priced between $2 million and $5 million. That’s an example of where The Collaborative Cos. is advising developers to not emphasize the top 1% of buyers.

“There’s definitely demand for both new luxury and new mid-luxury,” Gollinger said. “I just caution that, as people are planning new projects, really keeping in mind who the buyer is, because having empty buildings isn’t good for anybody.”

2019 Boston Submarket Condo Report

AdvisorsLiving_BostonMarketReport_EOY2019_Page_01
2019 AT A GLANCE

2019 was a landmark year in Boston’s condo market as a wave of new luxury construction projects throughout the city begin to close. Just as the closings at Millennium Tower did in 2016, Pier 4, One Dalton, and Echelon sales pushed 2019 sales prices and price per foot metrics to new heights and dramatically impacted the overall Boston condo market; for the first time, multiple buildings have had sales that breached the $4,000/sf threshold, and average $/sf for buildings outside of Back Bay and Beacon Hill have crossed the $2,000/sf line. This signals that the top end of the luxury condo market continues to be strong in this economy heading into 2020.

View full report here.

100 Shawmut Tops Off

By BLDUP | February 17, 2020

100 Shawmut in the South End has topped off. The new 13-story tower which incorporates the preserved facade of the brick and beam building on the site will offer 138 luxury condos. Amenities at 100 Shawmut will include a 13th-floor rooftop deck and amenity space and a 9th-floor rooftop terrace, both offering sweeping views of the Boston skyline.

Steel Framing Rising for 100

2019_11_21-100_Shawmut_Hero_Day-Final

By BLDUP | January 11, 2020

Steel framing is rising for the luxury condo project, 100 Shawmut in the South End. The project will offer 138 homes featuring elegant finishes including white oak wood floors and Silestone countertops. Resident amenities will include a 24-hour concierge service, valet parking, a fitness center, library, pet spa, children’s playroom, and a rooftop sky lounge.

The Outlook for 2019 Interest Rates – Will Rates Drop Lower?

The Federal Reserve is currently debating whether or not interest rates will continue to drop in July. Even after the drop this week from 3.99% to 3.94% according to Bankrate, investors and homebuyers nationwide are hoping that there could be a quarter point to a half a point drop next month. The last time mortgage rates were this low was November of 2016. It was the seventh decline in the past nine weeks for the 30 year fixed rate mortgage, which was at 4.55% this day last year. Most institutional investors anticipate a quarter point drop in July of this year in order to combat the uncertainty of the upcoming trade talks between President Trump and Xi Jinping. If the Fed anticipates that these discussions may turn sour, then they will buoy the economy by lowering the interest rates to spur investment.

So what does this mean for new home buyers and sellers? Now is the time to start researching how much buying power you have, because with this new rate decrease, monthly payments will be lower than ever. You may not even need to put 20% down depending on whether or not you are in a competitive real estate market. This is the time of year where deals can be made, and with lower interest rates, your purchasing power might be stronger than you expected.

Thought about refinancing your mortgage? Buying a new condo? There’s never been a better time to see what’s out there on the market than right now before the Fall frenzy begins. Contact us on our website and let us help you navigate the market.

“The Davis Companies Celebrates the Groundbreaking of $170 Million, 138 Unit Condo Building in Boston” by Boston Real Estate Times

BOSTON — The Davis Companies hosted a groundbreaking celebration to launch 100 Shawmut, the South End’s newest collection of thoughtfully designed luxury condominium residences slated to open in Fall 2020.

100 Shawmut is the first of three abutting projects, collectively approved by the Boston Planning and Development Agency, to commence construction. Speakers included Martin J. Walsh, Mayor of Boston, Jonathan Davis, Founder & CEO of The Davis Companies, Steven Chin, Senior Pastor at the Boston Chinese Evangelical Church, and Paul Chan, President of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association.

“Today, we celebrate the groundbreaking of 100 Shawmut – a project realized through a unique partnership between The Davis Companies, the Boston Chinese Evangelical Church and the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association,” said Jonathan Davis, Founder & CEO of The Davis Companies. “Our collaboration has yielded a dynamic development for the historic South End and this innovative property will ensure that our Chinatown-based non-profit partners will be able to serve the community for years to come, in addition to bringing new housing and jobs to our city.”

Located at the intersection of Herald Street and Shawmut Avenue, the $170 million, 13-story, residential project is comprised of 138 condominiums, including studios, one, two, three- and four-bedroom units, many featuring a den space.

When 100 Shawmut is completed, the 232,000 square-foot property will seamlessly integrate the historic character of the original 1920’s facade with a newly constructed glass structure designed by The Architectural Team (TAT). The building will have a number of private balconies offering sweeping vistas of the city. EMBARC Studio, the interior design team, has created a modern approach to the interiors with a mixture of white oak wood detailing and textural stone conveying a warm, neutral color palette, transitioning and merging the neighborhood architecture with a fresh, new interior.

The building will have a comprehensive amenity program that includes 24/7 concierge, private parking, a private dining/conference room with an entertaining kitchen, a great room, a billiard room, an activity lounge, library, fitness center, dog wash station and children’s playroom. The Penthouse features an indoor and outdoor residents lounge, and a rooftop sky lounge equipped with gas grills and fire pits. 100 Shawmut also houses 3-levels of enclosed private parking containing 112 spaces for residents.

“100 Shawmut presents a rare opportunity to live in a stylish, new condominium building in the South End, one of Boston’s most sought-after historic neighborhoods,” said Janice Dumont, CEO of Advisors Living.  “The definition of modern luxury has just been elevated. The comprehensive amenity program, along with the building’s incredible views, private outdoor spaces and the availability of three-and-four- bedroom residences and penthouses creates a new lifestyle experience in the heart for the city for homeowners. We are privileged to be the exclusive brokerage firm for The Davis Companies on this unique property.”

The Davis Companies will be making a $15,000,000 contribution toward the creation of Inclusionary Development Policy (IDP) units in an escrow account controlled by the BPDA for the benefit of the CCBA Building. In addition, The Davis Companies has committed $200,000 to various community programs.

Suffolk Construction is the general contractor for 100 Shawmut.  The Architectural Team, Inc. located in Chelsea, MA is the design architect and EMBARC Studio, located in Boston has designed the interiors. Copley Wolff Design Group is the landscape architecture firm for the project. Engineers for 100 Shawmut are McNamara Salvia, WSP and  Howard Stein Hudson Associates.

The project is financed by a $105,000,000 construction loan from M&T Bank with participating lenders that include Berkshire Bank, HarborOne Bank, Needham Bank, and Bank of New England.

The Davis Companies is an integrated real estate investment, development and management firm headquartered in Boston that has invested more than $6.2 billion in gross asset value through real estate equity, debt and fixed-income securities. A combination of capital markets, development and management expertise allows The Davis Companies to nimbly tackle complex opportunities. Directly, and with its valued partners, The Davis Companies currently owns a real estate portfolio of approximately 10.2 million square feet of office, retail, hospitality, light industrial, healthcare and life science properties and approximately 5,000 residential units across the Eastern United States.

Advisors Living is a full service luxury real estate lifestyle and brokerage company representing residential, new development, and leasing clients. Our team is committed to exceptional service and delivery and our depth of experience is unparalleled in today’s market. The properties we represent include Pier 4 in the Seaport, which has achieved the highest price per square foot to date in the City of Boston. New development sites extend as far north as Newburyport and as far south as Westport with a strong presence in the metro west and Boston markets.