Monthly Archives: June 2016

Bay State Home Sales Reach Highest Numbers Of 2016

Single-family home sales in Massachusetts rose by 20.9 percent in May, and the median sale price reached an eight-month high, according to a new report from The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman.

There were 5,297 single-family homes sold in the Bay State in May, compared with 4,382 in May 2015. Year-to-date, sales were up by 28.2 percent, with 19,554 homes sold in the first five months of 2016 compared with 15,258 sold during the same time last year.

iStock_000007666250_Medium_twgThe median sale price of a single-family home in May was $347,000, a $7,000 increase from $340,000 last year, the highest median sale price in eight months. Year-to-date prices remained flat, with a median sale price of $325,500, up 0.2 percent from the same period in 2015.

“Single-family sales increased pretty dramatically year over year,” said Larry Rideout, owner/CEO of Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty. “The suburbs are catching up now. I’m still cautious about maintaining these incredible numbers. June is going to be off the charts. Then in July, units at the Millennium are going to start closing and you’ll see some big impacts.”

The 60-story luxury condominium tower in Boston’s Downtown Crossing was 90 percent presold at the topping-off ceremony in September of last year; the penthouse went under agreement earlier this month for an estimated $35 million.

Condominium sales rose in May by 9 percent, with 2,146 condos sold compared with 1,969 sold in May 2015. This marked the 12th consecutive month of increases in condo sales. Year-to-date, condo sales increased by 19.4 percent to 7,845 condos sold, compared with 6,573 in the same timeframe last year.

The median condo price in the Bay State increased in May by 4.4 percent to $335,000, compared with $321,000 in the same month last year. Year-to-date, condo prices were up 3.2 percent to a median sale price of $310,000 compared with $300,450 in the same time period last year.

Rideout said he’s also seeing an increase in properties for sale; not enough to flood the market, but enough to bring some balance to what has been a strong seller’s market.

“Things might be reaching a point where the inventory will be at a level where people can make more thoughtful decisions,” Rideout said. “That’s the good news, that we’re supplying demand. It’s better for everyone when the market is balanced. We’re going to see a strong second half. The numbers in June and July are going to choke you. It’s going to be a great year.”

Boston real estate hits another peak with marketing of Fenway roof decks

From the front page of today’s Boston Globe…

For $350,000, you can buy a four-bedroom house in, say, Framingham, or a condo in Dorchester.

Or, if you are among a select few, you can buy a 16-by-16-foot patch of roof deck in the Fenway.

In the latest salvo of “Can you top this?’’ by luxury real estate developers, Samuels & Associates is selling something straight out of South Beach on the roof of its Pierce Boston building that is under construction: “sky cabanas.’’

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They’re not canopied cabanas in the classic sense, but 12 open-air roof decks ranging from 150 to 250 square feet, with lounge furniture, wet bar, and an endless view of Boston. They’re priced from $300,000 to $350,000, but are available only to those who have bought a condo in the 30-story tower; those start at around $1 million and run north of $6 million.

We’re told all the time: This is a new Boston. That translates into buildings hoping to woo new money, and touting the latest amenities from valet parking to private chefs to — now — cabanas in the sky. The private party pads may be a first.

In a city where parking spaces have been known to fetch $300,000 or more, crazy sums for nice extras are hardly new. Early marketing suggests that this novelty, too, will sell, despite a square-foot price that rivals the actual penthouses in the Pierce.

“It’s a little funny to think of your own private little piece of cement up there,’’ said Rich Giordano, a community organizer with the Fenway Community Development Corp., after hearing about the sky cabanas.

A longtime affordable-housing advocate, Giordano marveled at the new heights of the Boston real estate market.

“It’s a symptom of something. The market reaching for the [most] it can,’’ Giordano said. “After a while, what can you say?’’

For Samuels & Associates, the sky cabanas were a way to turn an underused patch of roof into something that can set its building apart from the luxury towers rising from the Seaport to the Fenway.

“It’s not something you see in Boston,’’ said Leslie Cohen, chief operating officer at Samuels. “You might see it in Miami.’’

The 12 cabanas will line one side of the building’s roof, set apart from an outdoor pool and sitting area and indoor lounge that are open to all Pierce condo owners. Each comes with a door and frosted windows, for privacy, along with a wet bar, nice flooring, and a wide-open view of the city.

“We were looking to create this urban oasis and offer an amenity no one else is,’’ Cohen said. “It’s the best of both worlds: outdoor common areas and private sky.’’

So far, four of the cabanas are already spoken for, more than a year and a half before the building opens. Sue Hawkes, a marketing consultant who is helping sell the units at Pierce, said it doesn’t take much to pitch them beyond a simple description.

“People say, ‘Wait, I can get a cabana?’ ’’ said Hawkes. “It’s kind of crazy, but people are really into it.’’

And as more high-end buildings pop up, Hawkes predicted, there will be more high-end amenities like this as developers try to stand out during a real estate boom.

Giordano would like to see more actual homes built at the prices these cabanas cost, homes that regular Bostonians can afford — and actually live in.