Real Estate News

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

Boston Luxury Condo Update

luxury condo update

Boston luxury condos have always been in high demand, with expansions from the inner city to the Seaport. Like many markets across the country, tenant activity and demands have evolved and the development process was halted.

What communication with tenants is being had? Are developers noticing that tenant design demands are changing? Will rentals numbers in the condo market grow? Which projects are changing the condo landscape despite the coronavirus and which Boston submarkets are seeing buying activity?

Join Bisnow as we connect with Noannet Group Founder Jordan Warshaw, HYM Investment Group Senior Development Manager Julie Livingstone and Cain International CEO Jonathan Goldstein for a discussion on how the Boston condo market has evolved and what that evolution means for the market moving forward.

WEBINAR SUMMARY

  1. Are luxury condos still a viable investment option given the current state of the market?
  2. In traditionally strong submarkets (Seaport, Back Bay, etc) tenant demand remains strong. How is inventory in the other submarkets fairing?
  3. Are condos trading right now? If so, are they discounted or in line with pre-pandemic numbers?
  4. Have design expectations from tenants for developments underway changed?
  5. Will condos as leasing opportunities be explored given the current buying landscape?

Watch webinar HERE.

U.S. Existing-Home Sales Rose 20.7% in June

Monthly activity remains well below pre-pandemic levels as fears about job security and health keep many potential buyers sidelined

By Nicole Friedman | Wall Street Journal | June 22, 2020

A sluggish U.S. housing market is staging a recovery amid the pandemic, shaking off high unemployment and a rising number of infections as buyers with pent-up demand seize on record-low mortgage rates.

Sales of previously owned homes rose 20.7% in June over the prior month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.72 million, according to data from the National Association of Realtors released Wednesday, the biggest monthly increase on record going back to 1968. The surge in existing-home sales follows other recent bullish indicators such as rising new-home sales, robust home-builder activity and a flood of mortgage applications.

Driving sales are apartment renters seeking more space, young families moving to the suburbs, and wealthy city dwellers looking for second homes, brokers and economists say. At the same time, the supply of houses for sale remains low, with the pandemic making potential sellers cautious about letting people tour their homes.

“The housing market is hot, red hot,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, an industry trade group. “As we are coming out of the lockdown, we see this backlog of buyers…trying to take advantage of the record-low mortgage rates.”

Even with the jump in home sales, monthly activity remains well below levels that were seen before the spring lockdowns. June sales marked an 11.3% decrease from a year earlier. Many potential buyers remain on the sidelines, concerned about job security or the health risks related to visiting homes.

Sales of previously owned homes, which make up the vast majority of U.S. housing stock, were particularly strong last month in the West and South. Mr. Yun said activity was higher in small towns and suburbs than in urban centers. Compared with a year earlier, sales increased for homes between $250,000 and $500,000, while declining for lower-priced and higher-priced homes.

Rising home sales could boost the economy, as builders ramp up construction and new homeowners splurge on furniture and renovations. But a resurgence in Covid-19 cases and continued high unemployment could weigh on demand in the coming months. The housing market typically accounts for between 15% and 18% of the U.S. economy, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

The housing market has been a rare bright spot for what’s expected to be an exceptionally weak second quarter for the economy. Gross domestic product is expected to contract at a 35.3% annual rate in the second quarter, according to data firm IHS Markit. That would mark the sharpest quarterly deterioration in records dating back to 1947.

Home sales had been in a two-year rut headed into 2020, weighed down by perennially tight supply and historically high home prices. Even solid U.S. economic growth and low unemployment couldn’t get sales moving.

The housing market showed signs of finally busting out when activity surged at the start of the year. February existing-homes sales hit their highest monthly pace in 13 years. But they hit a wall a few weeks later, after widespread lockdowns kept buyers indoors, prevented real-estate agents from showing homes in some places, and prompted some sellers to pull their houses off the market.

Now, the major question is whether June’s strong sales pace can continue through the summer. In week ended July 14, about one-fourth of American adults missed their latest mortgage or rent payment or had little confidence they can make the next payment on time, according to a Census Bureau survey.

Homes typically go under contract a month or two before the sale closes, so the June data largely reflect purchase decisions made in April or May.

Some agents and brokers are optimistic that the usual spring demand has been pushed to the summer, and that momentum is building. The spring is normally the busiest season for home sales, as buyers with children want to move into new homes before the school year starts.

“We were in a strong housing market before, and we’re going back to it again,” said Jerry Howard, chief executive of the NAHB. “Even in places where the virus is peaking, there is still interest in home buying.”

Some of the hottest markets in May, which would be reflected in the June sales data, were Phoenix, Nashville, Tenn., Jacksonville, Fla., and Austin, Texas, said Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com. News Corp, parent of The Wall Street Journal, operates Realtor.com.

In the Phoenix area, some homes on the market are getting 20 or more offers, said Kelly Khalil, an agent with Redfin Corp. The number of homes for sale is limited, and buyers are worried about missing out, she said. “I’m starting to feel like by this time next year, we won’t have any houses under $400,000 in our hotter markets,” she said.

Economists warn that growing Covid-19 outbreaks in some parts of the country, including Arizona, Texas and Florida, could slow the market’s gains. Some buyers from New York and California are delaying their trips to Miami to shop for homes due to concerns about the state’s rising case count, said Danny Hertzberg, an agent with Coldwell Banker Realty.

“It felt like we were gaining momentum week after week, month after month, and all of a sudden there’s a little bit of a pause,” Mr. Hertzberg said.

Other housing indicators suggest a more bullish mood is emerging. A measure of U.S. home-builder confidence rose in July to pre-pandemic levels, the NAHB said last week. Housing starts, a measure of U.S. home-building, also rose 17.3% in June from May, the Commerce Department said last week. Pending new-home sales rose to a record in June, Meyers Research said on Wednesday.

For Liz Morrison and David Mahaffey, the attraction of low interest rates outweighed concerns about the pandemic.

The couple started touring homes in May and closed on their first house in Plano, Texas, in June. “It did feel scary. You never know when something’s going to go wrong,” said Ms. Morrison, 27 years old. “But I really was attracted to the low interest rate to save money over time.”

The average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 2.98% last week, the lowest level on record, said mortgage-finance giant Freddie Mac. Mortgage applications for home purchases rose 19% from a year earlier in the week ended July 17, the ninth straight week of year-over-year increases, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index.

But limited inventory could make it harder to find a home. There were 1.57 million homes for sale at the end of June, up 1.3% from May but down 18.2% from June 2019, NAR said.

Coronavirus fears reshape home design

COVID home

By Cameron Sperance | Boston Globe June 30, 2020

The 1918 flu outbreak gave us the powder room. What will COVID-19’s design legacy be?

A pandemic is temporary, but its impact on residential design could last for generations.

“Security” became the buzzword in building design and construction following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Stronger reinforcement, increased fire safety, and heightened security are baseline expectations in an office building since the tragedies at the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Architects expect COVID-19 to leave its legacy on building design, from new forms of apartment living to suburban single-family homes, long after a vaccine is discovered.

“There’s a lifestyle change happening. It’s been three months since shelter-in-place orders came out,” said Liz Morgan, creative director at Portland, Ore.-based JHL Design. “That’s plenty of time to change habits, so there’s just going to be more attention to home design — period.”

The longer quarantines and operation restrictions last, the more people will rely on their homes as mission control for daily life. But a kitchen counter as a home office, or free weights shoved into the corner of a guest bedroom masquerading as a gym, are only stopgap measures.

As corporate teams warm to the idea of working from home, heightened short-term health measures are becoming protocol — think of the health equivalent of a TSA screening at the airport. As social distancing remains in the back of everyone’s mind, home expectations will adjust, Morgan said.

“It also depends on someone’s means and how much space they have,” she added.

Dedicated spaces for home offices or gyms are among the more talked about home design changes, but these can still be achieved with dedicated areas in smaller spaces like a studio apartment.

Improved air filtration systems as well as pivoting away from synthetic materials like glues and certain padding under flooring may appeal to buyers with compromised immune systems or asthma. A recent study of home buyers found that 66 percent would spend another $1,000 on their home if it included a whole house air filtration system, according to Mollie Carmichael, principal of Meyers Research. That’s up from 56 percent least year. Homeowners or potential buyers will probably also crave flexible space or indoor/outdoor rooms to boost their access to natural air.

More elaborate design changes include adding a “drop zone” or transition space from the outdoors to inside like a mudroom.

“People are going to have to have places to keep things that haven’t been sanitized and where you can sanitize materials,” Morgan said.

More than half the home buyers in Gazelle Global Research’s America at Home Study, which was conducted in late April, said they wanted features like germ-resistant countertops and flooring, touch-free faucets and appliances, a better-equipped kitchen for cooking, and more storage for food and water.

Kerrie Kelly, a design expert for Zillow, is predicting an uptick in smart-home features. “Touchless faucets and bidets are only the beginning,” Kelly said. “Just wait until the floor tile takes your temperature and the bathroom mirror checks your vitals. Exciting new products are on the horizon when it comes to keeping a clean, safe, and healthy home.”

More than 30 percent of those surveyed in the America at Home study wanted amenities like touchless home entry, a home office, and an adaptable space with flexible walls. In research Zillow released on June 22, Katie Detwiler, vice president of marketing for Berks Homes, said buyers will see the return of doors. “Open floor plans are changing. People are feeling like they need more privacy, so we’ll see more doors — especially for home offices — more insulation for noise control, and separate spaces to keep the kids busy while parents work,” Detwiler said. “More people will work from home in the future — period. There will need to be space and privacy to accommodate that.”

“A home office has been part of the plan for a number of our builders over time, but not everyone has asked for one over the last 10 years,” said Donna Tefft, director of marketing and sales at The Pinehills — a 3,200-acre residential development in Plymouth. “Recently, potential buyers are asking for not only one at-home office but two.”

The Pinehills is home to nearly 2,500 families, with an expected build-out of 3,000-plus homes. Buyers are flocking to the development 45 miles south of Boston because of its outdoor spaces and 10 miles of walking trails, Tefft added, but they are also looking for new amenities within their own home.

To accommodate two home offices, various home builders in the Plymouth development are weighing whether to convert loft spaces or finish walk-out basements to accommodate two offices in future homes. More recently, prospective buyers of homes in development have asked about fitness facilities and even “getaway spaces,” or go-between areas to take a call that aren’t open environments like a living room or a bedroom.

While many of these amenities were under consideration precoronavirus, the pandemic has throttled forward the planned rollout.

“One of the consultants we work with says disruptions like this amplify changes already underway,” said Tony Green, the development’s managing partner.

Any changes to building and home design stemming from COVID-19 would be the latest chapter in centuries of architectural responses to public health crises.

Wide front porches and increased ventilation gained popularity following three cholera pandemics in the first half of the 1800s. Carpeting and upholstery in bathrooms became far less fashionable later that century as scientists began to understand how germs and disease are spread.

Powder rooms surged in popularity following the flu pandemic of 1918, according to City Lab, Bloomberg’s urban life publication. Similar to Morgan’s prediction that mudrooms could gain in popularity as a drop zone because of COVID-19, powder rooms were billed as a way to sanitize quickly upon first entering a home.

Pandemics have a history of shaping residential design, but it still may take awhile for COVID-19′s legacy to permeate the Boston housing market. Projects currently underway or on the cusp of breaking ground have been in the planning and approval process for months, if not years. But some building infrastructure changes, such as increased air filtration and improved HVAC systems, have already been adopted into various municipal building codes in Greater Boston and in major metropolitan areas around the country, those interviewed for this story said.

It may take time for a contemporary post-pandemic legacy to emerge.

“All these things are being considered but, really, for our area, this only erupted in early March. People are still figuring things out,” said Frank DiCenso, a vice president at Bridgewater-based Callahan Construction Managers. “If we have this interview in three, four, or five months from now, I’d bet we see some changes.”

It’s simply a matter of when, not if, changes arrive to design, Morgan said.

Social-distancing measures in phased economic reopenings have led to temporary barriers in commercial properties like offices and restaurants. While health and safety concerns made those responses more immediate, it could take months for home design to shift.

“It’s kind of like asking a designer how long until the next big fashion cycle will come around,” Morgan said. “With home design, some people are still concerned with having a contractor come inside, so it’s hard to predict when this will all manifest.”

Making the most of your outdoor space, no matter how small

Homes_Designer_Rethinking_Outdoors_05532-scaled$medium

By Boston Globe | June 25, 2020

1 Homes_Designer_Rethinking_Outdoors_82998-1024x576$medium

Coronavirus quarantines have many people rethinking the interiors of their homes this spring. DIY projects were tackled, and rooms reorganized. Now that summer’s here, why not give the same mini-makeover to backyards and outdoor spaces?

You’ll feel less cooped up if you bring some indoor style outside, even if it’s just to a tiny balcony or front porch, said New Jersey interior designer Anna Maria Mannarino.

“You’re expanding the real estate really by bringing the indoors out,” Mannarino said.

Here, she and two other design experts — Connecticut landscape architect Janice Parker and Houston interior designer Lauren Rottet — share advice on how they create stylish outdoor spaces that can accommodate a range of activities, from cooking and socially distant entertaining to relaxing and working from home.

Comfort and coziness

Even the smallest outdoor space probably has room for one or two comfortable chairs and a bistro table, Mannarino said. If you don’t normally keep a table outside, Rottet suggested bringing out a small folding table when you want to dine or work outside. Add a crisp linen tablecloth, she said, and even an inexpensive card table will look special.

Layering the space with pillows and a throw blanket for evenings adds a cozy vibe. Choose pillows and cushions in an outdoor-friendly fabric like Sunbrella, which needs little care to stay looking and feeling good throughout the seasons, Mannarino said.

“And I would definitely add an outdoor rug if you have the space to do it,” she said.

If you don’t want to buy an outdoor rug, Parker said, just bring out a throw rug from inside to use on a sunny day.

Sounds and scents

The sounds of rippling water or birdsong can be great antidotes to rumbling traffic or barking dogs. Parker suggested buying an inexpensive tabletop fountain, and bird feeders to attract songbirds.

“It’s a great time to get into bird-watching,” she said, “because they do seem to be more abundant than in the past.” (Get a squirrel-proof feeder if you want to make sure the food actually goes to the birds.)

There’s an even simpler, virtual option, Parker pointed out: When you sit outside, play recordings of chirping birds or rippling water from your phone or other device.

Pleasing scents will also elevate your outdoor space. Buy a potted lavender plant, Parker said, or flowering plants like nicotiana (also called “flowering tobacco”), which “are iridescent in the evening and have a wonderful scent.”

Homes_Designer_Rethinking_Outdoors_05532-scaled$medium

Many grocery stores are selling potted plants, and “you don’t have to fuss with re-potting them,” Parker said. If they come in plain plastic containers, simply wrap the container in a bit of burlap or other fabric to make it more attractive.

For something more dramatic, Rottet said, potted citrus trees look and smell lovely. Or add a pencil cactus or other succulent in a tall planter; it can withstand summer heat while functioning like a sculpture in your outdoor space. When summer ends, fill the planter with a hardy flowers like pansies, which might even last through the winter.

No time or resources to add plants this year? Floral or lavender candles are another option, Parker said.

Dining and cooking

A gas grill can be an asset if you’re cooking outdoors a lot. But Rottet also recommended the Big Green Egg charcoal grill. “It’s not a huge commitment,” she said, “because you can roll it into a tight little space.”

If you have a grill and would like to create more of a kitchen around it, add an outdoor table or console that can serve as a work surface and perhaps has some storage, Mannarino said, “so you’re not just walking over to a grill and holding a tray in your hand.”

Want to create the feel of an outdoor bar? Add a rolling bar cart, or, even more simply, fill your biggest salad bowl with ice, Parker said, and bring out a selection of cold drinks.

Sunshine and shade

If you’re working outside, you need shade to see the screen. Retractable awnings are helpful, as are large outdoor umbrellas that stand alone or fit into an outdoor table. (They also let you spend more time outside, if it’s raining.)

In the evening, Rottet said you can expand the feeling of even a small backyard by wrapping strands of small white lights (available in outdoor-safe versions that are battery-powered or solar-powered) around your trees.

3 Homes_Designer_Rethinking_Outdoors_82213-scaled$medium

Lanterns with lit candles inside are lovely outdoors after the sun goes down, though LED candles can be a more practical choice on a breezy night.

A fire pit will also brighten up your outdoor space, and warm it up this fall and winter.

Rottet created one for her Houston home using a large concrete planter that can withstand heat.

But as Parker pointed out, you don’t have to buy anything to have a fire pit. It might be fun to create one the old-school way: Dig a wide hole in the ground, she said, contain the space safely, and build a campfire “Boy Scout style.”

The changes you make to your outdoor space don’t have to be elaborate, she said. “Just get out there. Take your chair from the kitchen table if you need to. Take your coffee cup and go.”

Pier 4 Office Building / Elkus Manfredi Architects

By ArchDaily | June 10, 2020

Pier 4-Tishman Speyer

Pier 4-Tishman Speyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

•Architects: Elkus Manfredi Architects

Area: 385,000 ft²
• Year: 2018
• Photographs: Magda Biernat
• Manufacturers: AutoDesk, AGC Interpane, Alucabondusa, Doors, Flooring, Interior wall systems, Trimble, Windows
• Design Team: Elkus Manfredi Architects
• General Contractor: Turner Construction Co.
• Structural Engineer: McNamara/Salvia
• Mep: Consentini Associates, Inc
• Civil Engineers: Tetra Tech
• Geotechnical: Haley & Aldrich
• Landscape: Reed Hilderbrand LLC
• Lighting: George Sexton
• Building Code: Jenson Hughes
• Traffic Consulting: Vanasse & Associates, Inc.
• Parking Consulting: Walker Parking Consultants
• Leed Consultant : The Green Engineer
• Developer: Tishman Speyer

The Pier 4 complex includes two buildings, one an office building and the other a condominium building. Designed by Elkus Manfredi Architects, the office building is a striking addition to the architectural landscape of the Seaport District as visible from the water and the new Seaport District neighborhood.

The building’s waterfront prime location determined the design of an iconic building that would have high visibility from the Harbor, from the city and within the Seaport neighborhood. The building’s modern glass and steel exterior provides two distinct and different signature façades one facing the harbor and the other facing the city.

The West façade, facing Boston, has a more subdued gesture. It opens up to the city with a convex façade and having its three main features, the main entrance, a trapezoidal cut-out terrace at the fourth floor facing the Institute of Contemporary Art museum, and an open to the sky Penthouse terrace. All of these moves are located in a staggered rhythm creating movement towards the water.

The East Side, facing the harbor in a more intimate way, have these two story undulating triangular moves that shift and slide between each other, creating a constant movement that changes though out the length of the day. At night, the underside of the waves is lit up continuing to show this same effect causing a reflection on the harbor and the pedestrian walk below.

To achieve an oversize dimension of the glazing units (IGU) without the use of visible horizontal mullions, an intermediate transom or ‘kiss mullion was introduced. This allowed uninterrupted sleekness to the curtain wall surface.

The office lobby is located in the center of the building creating a public corridor from east to west serves as an important element in the public access requirements of the building, creating permeability through the building.

Elkus Manfredi Architects has been central to the redevelopment of Boston’s Seaport District since 2010. That year, with its initial project One Marina Park Drive, the firm set a high architectural standard for mixed-use buildings in the area. Elkus Manfredi’s next District project, Liberty Wharf, was completed in 2012. Liberty Wharf is a lively waterfront restaurant/office complex that strategically reinstated a missing section of Boston’s famed HarborWalk and has been recognized with a number of design awards, including the Preservation Achievement Award of the Boston Preservation Alliance. Elkus Manfredi has since played a substantial role in ongoing urban planning, and architecture in the Seaport: in a three-square-mile area, the firm is responsible for over six million square feet of new and re-purposed space, including retail, office, life science, hospitality, and mixed-use.

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.

Take a look at 10 luxury properties on the market during the pandemic

photo-11-1024x576$medium

By Megan O’Brien | Boston Globe | May 4, 2020

The COVID-19 public health crisis has slowed many industries since Governor Charlie Baker introduced a stay-at-home order in March, and real estate is no exception. Even so, multimillion-dollar listings continue to pop up on the market.

300 Pier 4 Boulevard, Unit PHN, Seaport District

$6,765,000

3 bedrooms, 3 full baths, 1 half bath

2,506 square feet

Janice Dumont at Advisors Living-Back Bay has the listing.

 

Tales from the Field: Selling a Penthouse During a Pandemic

By Manuel Davis | Sr. Vice President of Advisors Living | Inman | April 21, 2020

What’s it like selling a penthouse during a pandemic? One agent shares the process — from penning a soft-launch email to receiving five offers in one day of showings and finally closing the deal.

In early March, our clients were calling my business partner (Kristy Ganong) and I on a daily basis. The cadence of every conversation was consistent. It began with talking about fear for our collective health, followed by how the global pandemic was affecting the economy and shared concerns about the value of real estate as a result.

 

We’ve been at this for 25 years and know how to navigate the normal anticipatory fears of when the right time to list is. During pre-COVID-19 times, we would have been confident that our marketing introduction to our clients’ rare and stunning sun-filled duplex penthouse would be well-received. However, the pandemic unraveled the norm, leaving buyers, sellers and agents speculating what to do next.

We still don’t have all the answers, but we were confident that listing a home seemed impossible without the human touch and interaction necessary to experience and close. We spent hours discussing if and how we should list. There’s no formula for the unprecedented predicament, other than a value derived from a report produced weeks prior to our country sheltering in place.

Scared, uncertain and in full acceptance that there might not be a safe way to do this, Kristy and I relied on our longevity in the business and the technology we had at our disposal to prepare the listing. Our priority was to do this safely, while remaining vigilant — one step at a time.

We spent the next four weeks preparing the marketing material with the overtone that once complete, we would reassess it, with no expectation to actually list.

Our clients, Kristy and I were in uncharted waters. When the custom marketing materials were ready, we leveraged our personal database to test our virtual platform and sent a “coming soon” email. The creative pointed to a Matterport tour, floor plans and a comprehensive website. We coupled the creative and professional photography with descriptive copy:

“Coming soon … A tastefully designed and impeccably cared-for penthouse duplex. Located on Braddock Park in the South End and steps from the Back Bay — with an absolute emphasis on its superior location. Boasting a new rooftop deck with panoramic views of the Boston skyline and a large back deck off the dining room. Offering 1,662 square feet of opulent living space with a magnificent blend of transitional finishes, anchored by high-ceilings and over-sized windows. This urban top-floor sanctuary offers ample natural light, 2 levels of living, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, deeded parking, a custom chef’s kitchen, custom finishes, gas fireplace, new bathrooms, new systems, in-unit washer and dryer and the luxury of living above it all while maintaining the irreplaceable tangibility of this exquisite neighborhood.”

Our soft launch email was well-received and gave us the confidence to consider the next step. After several weeks of advising our clients, we decided to list on Thursday, April 9th.

We realized that the news of the pandemic wasn’t so new anymore, and now, people are, for the most part, accepting the gravity of our times. In lieu of a better reality, we took all precautions to ensure everyone’s health and safety.

We listed our clients’ penthouse for $1,985,000, which resulted in an entire Saturday of back-to-back showings. We had 17 total showings in half-hour intervals — with masks, gloves and a requirement of “absolutely no touching” in place.

We left all closet doors closed and supplemented with a photo gallery on the property website, providing straight-on pictures of each closet and storage interior. This worked brilliantly.

I have been home with my family for 30 days until Saturday, April 11th. There was a sense of angst before the showings commenced. Kristy and I split the day, starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m. Each buyer was calmed by the controlled environment.

The day concluded with our clients returning home at 6:30 p.m. to help ensure the unit aired out for 2.5 hours after receiving a disinfection on all “potential” touch points. By 8 p.m., we fielded our fifth and final offer. With the work of several dedicated agents and a protocol that made everyone feel safe, the day was a success.

We are now under agreement for well over asking, but we did not accept the highest offer. We advised our clients on accepting the offer with the largest down payment (in this case 65 percent down). With the uncertainty of our financial future, we could not afford to risk accepting the highest offer with only 20 percent down.

The entire turn of events on Saturday was an eye-opening experience. We were back in the field, engaging in a much different, socially distant way — but an effective one, nonetheless. Along with the successful turn of events, we realized that our industry will be faced with many new norms. We might not always know our next move, but our commitment to excellence and dedication remains invaluable and unchanged.

Manuel L. Davis is a senior vice president with Boston Realty Advisors in Boston, Massachusetts.

 

 

Luxury living at affordable prices at The Mezz

By Wayne Braverman | Boston Homes | April 5, 2020

The Mezz is the newest and one of the most exciting developments to come to South Boston, offering fortunate homebuyers luxury living in one of the 42 exclusive condominium residences.

Back in the 20th century, one of the most popular places to be in South Boston was the Broadway Theater. Opened in 1920, this was a place to watch “old” vaudeville shows and movies.

It still holds a lot of memories for residents, one of whom recalls that during the 1950s, kids would go into the theater on a Saturday afternoon and watch cartoons, Three Stooges shorts and a full length movie – all for just a quarter.

This was known as “the city’s largest, most attractive moving picture house.”

At the site of this treasured Broadway Theatre today is an icon reimagined and repurposed into a five-story tower of delight getting ready to start the property’s second act.

The Mezz is the newest and one of the most exciting developments to come to South Boston, offering fortunate homebuyers luxury living in one of the 42 exclusive condominium residences.

Boston Property Ventures is the lead in this development while the Boston-based RODE’s team of architects, designers and urban planners are handling the architectural design and master planning. Advisors Living of the Boston Realty Advisors is the full-service luxury real estate lifestyle and brokerage company leading the sales.

When construction is completed later this year, the curtain will rise on this new 420 West Broadway production, and residents at The Mezz will have quite a treat to enjoy: homes brimming with luxurious details and design; generous perks such as garage parking, private outdoor spaces and low HOA fees; and an abundance of fun at all the amenities that the heart of historic South Boston offers.

The Mezz offers studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom residences, ranging in size from 544 to 1,061 square feet with prices starting at $499,900 (much lower than, yet just as nice as Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Waterfront or Seaport homes).

As you enter the main lobby of The Mezz, you will notice the perfect blend of Art Deco styling and modern sophistication with a subtle nod to the past and the famed Broadway Theatre, adding a touch of specialness to your experience.

Each unit is designed with an open-concept floor plan and 9-and-10-foot tall ceilings that adds to the light and airy flair. The large windows provide sweeping views of South Boston, the Seaport and the city along with an abundance of natural light. Five-inch white oak hardwood flooring along with the Wilsonart Ruskin Oak millwork add to the qualitative appeal.

The chefs will love the modern, open kitchens. Each one feature polished Concerto Quartz countertops, Black Jack pendant lights, a stainless steel gas range with an over-the-range microwave as well as the Bosch three-door, counter-depth refrigerator. Clean-up is easy with the pocket handle dishwasher.

The bathrooms offer a sleek design highlighting Porcelanosa Dover Acero tile with natural white Quarts countertops and white tiled showers. Hansgrohe and American Standard fixtures are also part of the deluxe bathroom packages. Doing laundry will be easy with the stackable LG front load washers and dryers.

Residents will enjoy spending nice days out on their private terraces or relaxing on the two tiered patio. There is also a grilling deck. For additional community fun, there’s a large clubroom with a fireplace, billiards table and a seating area with a wall mounted flat-screened television.

No need to wander the streets looking for legal parking space – The Mezz has its own covered parking garage. And for those who prefer peddle power, there’s plenty of bike storage, along with a cluster of Blue Bikes nearby.

Unit 202 is perfect for a first-time home buyer or an investor. This is a 545-square-foot studio available for only $499,900 – an extremely low price for a home in a new construction luxury building in a prime location. And the association fee is remarkably low at $212.74 per month.

Another home to consider is Unit 305, which offers 976 square feet of space that includes two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The price for this home is only $989,900 and the condo fee is a very affordable at $380.97 per month.

Unit 604 is a two-bedroom, one-bath home with 873 square feet of living space. This is a highly-desirable corner residence with a lovely private balcony that provides animating views of the South Boston neighborhood. The listing price is $1,047,125 with an incredibly low condo fee of $341 per month.

The condo fee includes water, sewer, master insurance, elevator, clubroom, exterior maintenance, landscaping, snow removal, refuse removal and reserve funds.

Over the last few years, the neighborhood of South Boston has become one of the hottest and fastest-growing parts of Boston.

The location of the new luxury condominiums at The Mezz is very desirable. South Boston is known for having some of the best eating establishments, flaunting the trendiest of restaurants, cafes and bars. West Broadway, in particular, is considered to be the “Restaurant Row of Southie” (where people from downtown Boston/Back Bay often frequent).

Residents are within walking distance of the 2019 New Restaurant of the Year – Fox & The Knife – as well as the popular Lincoln Tavern and Loco Taqueria. Just across the street from The Mezz is the popular Capo Restaurant & Supper Club. Some of the popular shopping destinations in the Southie neighborhood include Foodie’s Market South Boston and the South Boston Farmer’s Market at 446 West Broadway. And, of course, everyone enjoys a sweet treat from J. P. Licks.

South Boston is also noted for its beautiful beaches, many of which line the shore of Old Harbor and Pleasure Bay, including Carson Beach, the M Street Beach and the very popular Castle Island – famous for Sullivan’s and Fort Independence.

South Boston also hosts a plethora of parks and playgrounds, with pathways for walking, biking and inline skating, as well as tot lots and doggie plots for fun and playing. Moakley Park, which is currently under renovation, will soon be a great place for recreational and community gatherings, while Lawn on D, just east of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, offers seasonal entertainment and “over-sized” fun. Thomas Park, M Street Park and South Boston Maritime Park are a few others.

The Mezz is close to the MBTA Red Line and Silver Line as well as several bus routes for other destinations.

When tallying up the list of reasons why purchasing a home at The Mezz is a great investment – spacious, modern residences that embrace timeless, contemporary style and exceptional finishes; affordable association fees; prime location; and all the appreciated amenities within and around the complex (including energy efficiency and ease of maintenance, plus the other aforementioned perks), it would be very difficult to find a comparable place anywhere else in the Boston area.

Don’t wait to experience a new kind of urban chic in an historic landmark that’s taking center stage. While The Mezz is currently under construction, pre-sale opportunities to buy are available.