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The latest news about the residential real estate market in Boston and the surrounding areas

New residential buildings are full of amenities, but oh that pretentious name

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By Nestor Ramos | The Boston Globe

Welcome to Boston, tech wizard/financial planner/GE executive! Your new apartment has elegant fixtures, stainless appliances, underground parking, a fireplace, and a view of the harbor in a gleaming new building.

But that name, though.

All over Greater Boston, luxurious new living quarters are sprouting up like gleaming, modernist weeds. And a lot of them, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear, have names. Not names like the apartment building you may have grown up in — “23 Stanley Street” — but Names. The Eddy. VIA. TROY. The Kensington. Watermark. Alloy. The Allele.

The Allele.

Allele is, of course, Adele’s less talented younger sister (you may have heard her hit song: “Hello. It’s me . . . Allele”). No, that’s not right. Since most Americans are fluent in the chromosomal genetic science, we obviously know that an allele is (Googles frantically) a different version of a gene.

Somewhere along the way, we started naming our cats like people and our people like cats. “Meet my son, Plank, and my cat, Bruce.” Now we’re naming our apartment buildings like swanky hotels. Pretty soon hotels won’t even have names, just a picture of a buffalo that looks like a caveman drew it.

“It gives them a little panache,” said Mary Kelleher, a real estate agent with Gibson Sotheby’s International in Boston. “You can say to me ‘150 Dorchester Avenue,’ and you’re like ‘Where the hell is that?’ ”

And because the marketing of high-end apartments and condos sometimes hinges on a little panache, the names race is on.

“We’ve named quite a number of projects,” said Javier Cortes, partner and creative director of KORN Design, a brand strategy and design firm in Boston. “The process involves a fair amount of research — we try to honor the place and its history.”

Remember the “Mad Men” episode where Don Draper sells a slide projector with a speech so thoughtful and impassioned that it sent an ad executive scurrying away in tears? It’s sort of like that, but for high-rises. Cortes and his team whittle down a list of maybe a hundred names to about a dozen that they bring to their clients.

“You want to make sure the name is memorable, applicable, not too hard to pronounce,” Cortes said, and then you have to scan for “egregious meanings in other cultures” — the classic (and largely apocryphal) Chevy Nova problem, in which Spanish-speaking countries allegedly declined to buy a car named “doesn’t go.”

KORN named the Liberty Hotel — it seems obvious now, but when it was an abandoned, rat-infested jail next to the hospital, it didn’t scream “luxury hotel” or “liberty.” Alloy, at Assembly Row in Somerville, was so named because it represents the “fusion” of Boston and Somerville, Cortes said, and echoes the area’s industrial history.

The Eddy, he said, emerged from historical research and calls on three different ideas. Eddy, most simply, sounds a little like Eastie, the neighborhood where the building sits on the water. Robert Henry Eddy, an architect and civil engineer, worked on various early maps of East Boston in the 19th century. And “eddy” describes circular movement in water running counter to the main current.

The Eddy.

“If you’re deciding where you’re going to live in Boston, choosing to live in Eastie is a little counter current,” Cortes said. “Here’s a building that’s on the water and runs counter current.”

Mind. Blown.

“It’s OK if you don’t know it on face value. It sounds cool and it works,” Cortes said. “We work hard to make sure there’s very deep meaning.”

But they can’t all be this deep. Right?

Lars Unhjem, vice president of development in Boston for Mill Creek Residential, said Modera Medford earned its name because “Modera” is Mill Creek’s flagship brand nationally (the Medford part is self explanatory).

Modera.

“No meaning,” Unhjem said in an e-mail, “just a word someone made up.”

“Some of it, honestly?” Kelleher confided, “we pull this stuff out of you-know-where.”

This all started happening in earnest during an earlier building boom, said Colleen Barry, chief executive officer of Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty.

“The units were getting scooped up. We weren’t really worried, per se, about whether they were going to sell,” Barry said. “What we were starting to think about was how do you distinguish one from another? The idea was to brand these so they each kind of had a different feeling.”

“It was the very early stages of a slightly different way of thinking about development,” Barry said.

As it happens, Kelleher credits Barry with naming The Allele.

The Allele’s name, Kelleher said, grew from a discussion about the building’s concept: All the best elements of loft living (high ceilings, open floor plans) without the drawbacks (sleeping in what is essentially the far corner of the kitchen; commune-level privacy).

“I think ‘allele’ is a biological term — the fusion of two elements,” Kelleher said. “I’m probably simplifying it. Maybe even bastardizing it.”

But not according to one of the world’s leading geneticists. Dr. Stephen Elledge is the Gregor Mendel Professor of Genetics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He’s also a 2017 recipient of the Breakthrough Prize, which “recognizes paradigm-shifting discoveries in the life sciences, physics, and mathematics,” according to the Harvard Gazette. The board is a who’s who of tech billionaires, and the prize comes with $3 million.

In an e-mail that was surely a profound waste of his very valuable time, Dr. Elledge said collections of alleles account for differences between people — height, eye color, etc. Many of those differences aren’t inherently good or bad.

“I am ok with ‘Allele,’ ” Elledge wrote, emphasizing that the variation they’re referencing isn’t bad — just different. “In this case, I suspect they feel like their change is one for better.”

It is, by all accounts, a lovely place to live.

 

View full article here.

Boston Luxury Condo Market 2016 YE Recap

Lovejoy Wharf

The Boston Upscale and Luxury Condo Market had a Strong 2016. 

Sales volume in the Boston Upscale and Luxury condo market in 2016 was up 7% with the average price up 20% to $1,150,000.  An unseasonably high fourth quarter 2015 can be attributed to the closing of 22 Liberty, while the third and fourth quarters 2016 benefited from the closing of Millennium Tower.  Overall, when comparing fourth quarter 2015 and 2016 absolute prices remained fairly flat, with fewer transactions happening in 2016 because a majority of the Millennium Tower sales happened in third quarter versus fourth quarter 2016.  We define the Upscale market as condos $700/SF+, $500,000+, 4+ units, and central AC in the building, while Luxury is the top 10% of the market.  Even though the average price per square foot may be 6% below the end of last year average PPSF, it is still 5% higher than the next highest quarter.  As condo prices continue to go up, many buildings that did not qualify as “Upscale” in 2015 do now, as they are now trading higher than $700/SF and $500,000, further showing that pricing along all residential segments is up.

Neighborhood Supply Low and Demand High.  When observing all Boston markets, there is still a shortage of supply in all neighborhoods.  Market equilibrium is typically defined as 6 months of available inventory.  Very few large residential projects are delivering in 2017, but those that are, are 40%+ sold out.  The two largest buildings delivering in 2017, Pierce (The Fenway) and 50 Liberty (Seaport), are both 40-50% sold out as of the end of 2016.  A few other projects slated to be delivered this year are Siena (South End), 110 Broad (Financial District) and Telford 180 (Brighton) are also selling fast.   Sales offices for LoveJoy Wharf (Waterfront, near North Station) with plans to capture some of the pent up demand in the “Upscale” market for homes located on the water but with no parking in the building offered.  Back Bay continues to go strong with One Dalton condos selling at record high selling prices with a new high watermark on price per square foot as well.

What’s Hot? By the end of 2016, the main three condo types (1, 2 and 3 bedrooms) in the upscale and luxury markets all saw big jumps in asking prices.  Both one and two bedroom condos saw the largest jump at approximately a $100,000 increase to average asking prices, bringing them up to $1.1 million and $1.9 million, respectively. Three bedrooms saw the largest sales to ask spread of three condo types, but still achieved an average sales price over $3 million.

Overall, 2017 looks to be an exciting year in the Boston real estate market, with prices only expected to continue to rise in a supply constrained market.

Optimistic Outlook for 2017

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While we have been settling into the first few days of 2017, the residential real estate market has hit the ground running. Housing market trends throughout the Boston area show a 3% rise each year in median sales prices and a 2% rise in median rent per month. With the rents down from previous years, it looks like 2017 will be a profitable and exciting time to move to a new home. Over the past six months, rising home prices in the Boston area have acted as a catalyst to improve the buying power of people selling their homes, allowing sellers to stretch their money further when they look to purchase a new home.

This urgency to buy and sell is indicative of a strong economy in a great city. As the home to multiple top-notch universities and thriving companies, Boston and the surrounding areas benefit from a community and a culture that prides itself on ingenuity and innovation. The current confidence demonstrated by buyers and sellers has boosted the outlook for a strong residential real estate market in 2017.

Federal Reserve Raises Interest Rates

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What does The Federal Reserve Increase on Wednesday, December 14 mean for you?

On Wednesday, December 14th, the Federal Reserve raised the federal funds rate by 25 basis points from 0.5% to 0.75%. The confidence in the U.S. economy was caused by a strengthening labor market, a low rate of unemployment only expected to go further down in 2017, and inflation moving rapidly toward targeted levels. This is only the second time in the past decade that this has happened. It is anticipated by the Fed that there will be three rate hikes in 2017 instead of two, a change that reflects their increased anticipation of a strong U.S. market.

According to Fed Chairman Janet Yellen, “Our decision to raise rates should certainly be understood as a reflection of the confidence we have in the progress the economy has made and that it is expected to make.”

So what does this mean for potential home-buyers in Massachusetts, or really throughout the U.S.?

Now is the time to buy Mortgage interest rates are still very low, but with this announcement and other increases predicted for 2017, your buying power as a consumer of real estate is only going to go down as the Mortgage rate goes up.

For example, the cost to finance $500,000 (before this announcement, 30-year fixed, 4.35%) was approximately $2,486 per month principle and interest. Since the rate increase on Wed. the average % has moved to 4.45% giving a buyer a cost of approximately $2,519 per month principle and interest.  An increase of approximately $33 per month or $396 per year. With three more interest rate increases expected in 2017, one can expect these small bumps in the mortgages rates to add up to a bigger monthly cost number.  If you can, buying now make “cents”.

 

Luxury New Construction: 175 K Street in South Boston

Advisors Living is pleased to introduce our newest exclusive listing. This luxury new construction contemporary single family home is located at 175 K Street in South Boston. Designed by the local and talented architectural firm Embarc Studio, this home was built to offer a multi-level contemporary and luxurious lifestyle while maintaining the much sought after and often over looked traditional layout. The transitional finishes embody a pronounced elegance and sophisticated design, culminated by an exceptional use of material and craftsmanship.

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THE SUBSTANTIAL FOUR BEDROOM HOME is remarkable in nature with its open concept and impeccable custom design. The abundant oversized Marvin integrity windows and the 10’ ceiling heights throughout offer a natural rhythm shared with the exterior, a design that prioritizes quality of light and use of space.

175 K Street Living Room

THE PROFESSIONAL CHEF’S KITCHEN features Jenn-Air stainless steel appliances. The custom painted light grey, beaded edged maple cabinets are accented by the Quartz Artic white honed counters which present clean and modern lines.

175 K Street Kitchen

The build and layout exceeds by including a wonderful living room accented by a centered modern gas fireplace and a well-positioned separate dining area that fills with natural light via exceptional window placement.

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For more information on this luxury home in South Boston, please contact exclusive brokers Manuel Davis or Kristy Ganong, or visit Liveat175K.com 

Mission Hill’s Mosaic sells all of its condos in under a year

Mosaic-Sales_html_082416_web_croppedAdvisors Living recently completed the sell out of 42 market-rate condominiums at the Mosaic on the Riverway. Closing prices averaged nearly $1,000 per square foot. Below  is an excerpt from Curbed Boston’s coverage on the new development success:

In October 2015, sales at Mission Hill’s under-construction Mosaic on the Riverway residential complex got underway. Some 85 of the 10-story building’s 145 units were slated as condos, with 42 of them market-rate and the rest below-market-rate (the remaining 60 units are designated as affordable rentals).

All 85 Mosaic condos have traded and closings have started.

As of Oct. 5, 11 condos have closed at an average price of $928 per square foot, according to Bldup.com. That is a not-insignificant sum for the neighborhood, but not all that high by new-development standards in present-day Boston.

Read the full article on Curbed.

545 East Third Street – New Condos in South Boston

The Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) just approved a new 5-story condo building at 545 East Third Street in South Boston. Designed by Souza Architects, the building will include 18 condominiums, a 22-car ground-floor parking garage and on-site gym.

Rendering of 545 East Third Street in South Boston.

Rendering of 545 East Third Street in South Boston

The $8.5 million project, developed by South Boston’s Cedarwood Development, is situated on the corner of East Third and K Street. 545 East Third Street is conveniently located just one block from Stop & Shop and two blocks from an MBTA bus stop with direct access to Downtown Boston.

545 East Third Street is also located a few blocks from local Southie restaurants including Paramount (longtime winner of Boston Magazine‘s Best Brunch), Tasty Burger and Boston Beer Garden.

Looking to buy or rent in South Boston? Email us today and one of our neighborhood experts will help you find the perfect home.

545 East Third Street is ideally located in the heart of South Boston.

545 East Third Street is ideally located in the heart of South Boston

 

 

2016 PRISM AWARD HONORS

Brendon Properties and Advisors Living were the proud recipients of eight prestigious PRISM awards at The Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Boston’s (BRAGB) annual flagship gala on October 6th at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel.

Brendon Properties was recognized for excellence in building construction and design for two of their Signature Communities, Montage at Danforth Green in Framingham, MA and River Trail Place in Wayland, MA. Advisors Living is the exclusive sales and marketing firm for both communities.

PrismAwards_LinkedIn3_NEWGold PRISM Award – Best Detached Home Under 2,500 Square Feet
The Hayden at Montage was the fastest selling plan in the community, appealing to both young families as well as early empty nesters.

Gold PRISM Award – Best Special/Limited Time Marketing Promotion
The marketing campaign promoting the Montage Grand Opening created quite a Buzzzzz. Over 500 people attending the weekend-long event which included a champagne toast and ribbon cutting on Friday, Friends and Family Breakfast on Saturday and finally a Block Party on Sunday afternoon. Advisors Living implemented a fully-integrated print and digital advertising campaign to promote the event.

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Silver PRISM Award – Best Attached Home Under 1,800 Square Feet
The Monet at Montage has been an extremely popular plan for first-time buyers and snow birds looking for smaller, efficient home perfect for seasonal living.

Silver PRISM Award – Best Multi-Unit For-Sale Community Attached Homes

Silver PRISM Award – Best Print Brochure
Advisors Living worked with Doerr Associates to create the brochure for Montage. With 7 different home styles, 5 detached and 2 attached, Montage was positioned as an offering of condominium homes in a village setting.

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Silver PRISM Award – Team of the Year – Alison Miceli, Lorraine Murray & Gail Carter
The Montage Sales Team formally launched sales for the community of 176 homes in late spring, 2015. In just 12 months they sold 117 homes! As of October 2016, there are only 23 homes available at Montage.

Silver PRISM Award – Most Valuable Team Member: Jennifer Wilson
As the Online Sales Concierge for Montage, Jennifer embraced a new role in our company and taken it to an entirely exponential level.

Silver PRISM Award– Sales Person of the Year Gina Sanginario, Sales Director, River Trail Place
Gina led the successful sell out of River Trail Place. In just 17 months she sold all 42 homes totaling $32.7 million in sales.

Congratulations to Brendon Properties and the Advisors Living team!

From left to right: Jason & Tana Weissman, Derek Derosher, Gail Carter, Tom Betts, Alison Miceli, Lorraine Murray, Gina Sanginario, Leslie, Brendon Giblin, Robin Giblin, Pat Flinn, Mary Beth Canova, Jennifer Wilson, Janice Dumont, Jennifer Frizzell, Bradley Braunstein, Cameron Cross.

From left to right: Jason & Tana Weissman, Derek Derosher, Gail Carter, Tom Betts, Alison Miceli, Lorraine Murray, Gina Sanginario, Leslie, Brendon Giblin, Robin Giblin, Pat Flinn, Mary Beth Canova, Jennifer Wilson, Janice Dumont, Jennifer Frizzell, Bradley Braunstein, Cameron Cross.