Boston real estate roundup for Sunday, March 21, 2010

The weekend Boston real estate roundup for Sunday, March 21, 2010.

§ The developer of the Macallen building has hired a new real estate team to market the condo project. The building was being marketed by an internal sales team before and after construction was completed, in 2007. In the fall of 2009, Rob Cohen at Boston Realty Advisors took over the listings. This past week, they were relisted with Jennifer Athas at Campion & Company Fine Homes Real Estate.

There are 140 units in this building along with 130+/- in its sister building, Court Square Press, next door. Approximately 78 units have already been purchased. Prices on the listed units range from $489,000 to $1,199,000.

From the $1,199,000 property listing:

Stunning corner home with panoramic city Views in the Gold Leed certified Macallen Building. This distinctive property features a state of the art kitchen with an open living and dining area perfect for entertaining. Amenities abound in this luxury building complete with a 20,000 sq ft landscaped plaza and heated pool, gas grills, a state of the art on site gym, and 24/7 concierge. All utilities included, i.e. heat, a/c, water, gas, Direct TV, and internet. Minutes to The Fin. District, S.End

§ There’s a little bit of a scuffle going on up in Ipswich, Massachusetts. According to an article in today’s Boston Globe, cottage owners on Little Neck are asking the court to change the ownership guidelines set forth in a will written back in 1660. As of now, the 167 families who live their own their homes but the land on which the homes are built belongs to a trust. The “owners” are renters of the land. They want to change that by organizing as a condo association and buying the land, outright.

There’s a lot more to the story so I recommend reading it. Very interesting case. Does the will have to be followed by the “letter of the law” or can it be modified? (I dunno, let’s ask the trustees of the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum what they think …)

§ Finally, the weekly tally. Which Boston real estate agents had the best week?

Fifty five condos and single-family homes were recorded as sold in Boston this past week, according to MLSPIN.

The most-expensive single-family home sold was at 293 Marlborough Street, for $4.7 million. This was a 4,860+/- square foot home complete with four bedrooms and 3 full- and 2 ½-baths, four fireplaces, and included two parking spaces. Tracy Campion of Campion & Company Fine Homes Real Estate was the listing agent and Jan Boyce of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage was the buyer’s agent.

The most-expensive condominium sold was at The Clarendon, at 100 Stuart Street, for $2.8 million. This was a 28th-floor, 1,958+/- square foot home complete with three bedrooms and 3 full- and 1 ½-baths and included two parking spaces. The Related Companies sales team is listed as having handled both sides of the transaction.

The most-expensive resale condominium sold was at 185 Marlborough Street, for $2,430,000. This was a 2nd-floor, 2,062+/- square foot home complete with two bedrooms and 2 full- and 1 ½-baths and included one parking space. Michael Moran of Otis & Ahearn was the listing agent and Maryann Hoskins of Landvest was the buyer’s agent.

Congratulations to the new homeowners. Welcome to Boston!

New listing at Parris Landing in Charlestown, 2-beds, 2-baths, $629,000

Wayne Lopez at Otis & Ahearn Real Estate informs me he has a great new listing on the market.

Exceptional value in this penthouse triplex at the Phillippe Starck designed Parris Landing. Enjoy spacious multilevel living over 3 floors with 2 bedrooms, 2 full baths plus a study and your own private roof deck.

This designer decorated home is a must see and features numerous custom upgrades including gourmet chef’s kitchen, cherry cabinets, pro-style stainless appliances & granite counters w/ bar. Floor to ceiling windows. Hardwood floors in living area and great water views from the deck.

The property is approximately 1,373 square feet in space. The purchase includes one parking space. More photos, here.

Please contact me for more information and for buyer’s agent representation.

The Clarendon : Back Bay records 25th closing, $3.8 million; 24.2% sold out

The 25th closing at The Clarendon Back Bay was recorded, today. The purchase price was $3,800,000 and included two garage parking spaces.

This was a 28th-floor, three-bedroom with den, four and ½-bathroom, 2,428+/- square foot condo, approximately $1,565.07 per square foot.

There are 103 units in the building on floors 15-33; there are fourteen floors of luxury apartments on the lower floors, and a restaurant on the first, along with a branch of the US Postal Service.

With the latest sale, the building is 23.3 percent occupied.

Please contact me for more information and for buyer’s agent representation.

Boston condos and real estate sales report, March 20, 2010

The following is Boston Proper condo and real estate sales data for the 30 days ending March 20, 2010 (March 13, 2010) (and March 20, 2009, where possible).

Number of units currently on the market: 1,103 (1,052) (N/A)
Average days on market: 122 (126) (N/A)
Median list price: $599,000 ($589,000) (N/A)
Average list price: $990,019 ($996,765) (N/A)
Price changes: 213, -5.19%, -$39,855.74 (173, -5.23%, -$38,460.70) (N/A)
Expired: 39, average 143 days on market (37, average 144 days on market) (N/A)

Number of units under agreement: 133 (127) (N/A)
Median UAG price: $569,000 ($529,000) (N/A)
Average UAG price: $691,414 ($737,424) (N/A)

Number of units sold (past 30 days): 107 (101) (56)
Average days on market: 151 (149) (156)
Months of supply: 10.30 (10.42) (N/A)
Median close price: $565,000 ($580,000) ($495,000)
Average close price: $856,010 ($927,618) ($728,839)
Original list to close price: 94% (93%) (93%)
Sales velocity: $91,593,092 ($93,689,387) ($40,814,975)

Thoughts: Pretty much no change in under agreements or sales from last week; inventory went up a bit. Let’s see some offers out there!

This report includes sales and inventory information for condominiums located in the following downtown Boston neighborhoods: Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Charlestown, Financial District, Leather District, Midtown, North End, Seaport District, South End, The Fenway, Theatre District, Waterfront, West End, Chinatown, Faneuil Hall , Kenmore Square.

Data collected from third-party sources by the Multiple Listing Service Property Information Network, Inc. for the period between 02/20/2010 – 03/20/2010, 02/13/2010 – 03/13/2010, and 02/20/2009 – 03/20/2009.

Photo of my old condo courtesy Sebastian Diesel at

Boston real estate roundup, March 19, 2010

The latest Boston real estate news, March 19, 2010

§ The Boston Redevelopment Authority held a public meeting last evening to discuss proposed new height and density guidelines for the land surrounding the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The new guidelines seem to be focused on the amount of light lost and wind created by new construction. The BRA is proposing higher buildings on the “city” side of the Greenway.

Much of what the BRA is proposing is shorter than has been put forth by existing landowners; namely, Don Chiofaro who controls the “Aquarium Garage” and the owners of the James L Hook Lobster company. Mr Chiofaro has been pushing for a pair of high-rise towers along the Greenway and facing the Boston Harbor; he is proposing heights of 625 feet. The BRA feels otherwise, and is recommending buildings top out at 200 feet.

Paul McMorrow has more at Banker & Tradesman including a list of “winners” and “losers”
The Boston Globe reviews the guidelines has details from the meeting as well as some graphics

§ A new study released by IHS Global InSight states that home prices in areas considered “extremely overvalued” during the housing boom that peaked in 2005 dropped by 37 percent before leveling out in fourth quarter 2009.

According to a press release by the company published in Banker & Tradesman, In more than half of the 52 housing markets found by IHS Global Insight to be extremely overvalued in 2005, prices appreciated more than 90 percent from when the bubble began in early 2002.

Greater Boston performed significantly better than many metropolitan areas, according to IHS Global InSight. According to its analysis, average home prices topped out in 4th-quarter 2005 at $359,300 at which point they were considered “overvalued” by 25.1%. In 2006, average prices dropped to $343,100 (10.5% overvalued), then to $332,300 (0.2%), and in 4th-quarter 2008 were undervalued by 7.9%. In the 4th-quarter 2009 average home prices seemed to have leveled out at 9.4% less than fair value.

According to the company, “statistically normal house values considers not only house prices and interest rates, but household incomes, population densities, and any historical premiums or discounts metropolitan areas have exhibited over time.”

§ FHA loans have become less popular, according to a report discussed on The Real Deal.

Federal Housing Administration-backed loans may be losing favor, as the number of FHA mortgages originating in January dropped by 10 percent from the previous month, according to National Mortgage News. A total of $26.9 billion worth of FHA single-family loans originated in January, as questions continue to mount over whether how sustainable FHA loans are.

NMN reports that 9.4% of FHA loans are now 90-days+ past due.

§ How come Canada’s housing market hasn’t collapsed? It’s near the United States, after all, and it has been affected by the worsened global economy as much as any other country (although, if you live in Alberta, you’re probably pretty happy with increased oil revenues).

Alex J Pollock gives his opinion in a Wall Street Journal column.

Canada has no housing GSEs. Mortgage interest is not tax deductible. It does not have 30-year fixed rate, freely prepayable mortgage loans. Mortgage lending is more conservative and much more creditor-friendly.

Canadian mortgage lenders have full recourse to the mortgage borrower’s other assets and income, in addition to having the house as collateral.

Meanwhile, mortgage delinquencies have so far remained much lower than in the U.S., with the percentage of loans delinquent 90 days or more at approximately one-tenth of the U.S. level.

Canada has a home-ownership equal (actually a little above) the U.S.