As the first month of the year will soon be wrapping up, most results of last year's final quarter are slowly finding their way to the public. This week, tons of data regarding the market's uptick have been published in several newspapers, citing the city's real estate comeback. At the same time, new projects have sprouted along the way, suggesting that developers are really riding the recovery wave hard, pumping up steam to fill the inventory gaps that are really starting to strain the market.
According to real estate aggregator Trulia, rents in Boston rose 6.4% year-on-year to an average of $2,400, comparing 2011 and 2012. But the increase in the average was driven mostly by upscale and luxury residential rentals in neighborhoods such as Back Bay, the South End, and Beacon Hill, where vacancy is scarce. Most of the units leased out last year in these properties were for professionals whose offices have relocated or have opened up either in the city, Cambridge, or the Innovation District. More so, Housing experts anticipate record rental rates this coming year as the Spring months roll on by, since there is strong indication that the number of new students coming into town will be significantly higher than usual.
TURNING THE CORNER
Not to be outshone, Homes prices for the Bay state also increased in value by as much as 18% in 2012. This number marks the twelfth consecutive month that homes prices in Boston has had year-on-year gains, and a banner year for the local real estate community since 2006. This only proves that the city has "turned a corner", and has risen from its housing market troubles. The increase in value also reflects gains in the median price of a home, estimated to be at $300,000 - a 12% increase from 2011. But the biggest leap was for condominiums, with sales rising more than 25% to 19,600 compared to only 15,200 in 2011.
REMODELING BUSINESS IS BACK UP
In an even more encouraging sign, it's been reported that the home remodeling business in back up again. Local home remodelers, have been getting a steady flow of inquiries regarding improvements they want done over the Spring and Summer months. Homeowner spending over the last two years have increased, signaling stronger sales in the coming quarters, as more homes and condominiums gets snapped up. Although figures for 2012 aren't readily available yet, pundits are confident it will hover the 8-12% range, coming off from $275 Billion in 2011.
Although local interior decorators have "smaller" projects than what they have been used to in the past, the market is busy and the number of these minimal projects have been steadily increasing in mass. This shift in modular renovations - wherein homeowners choose to renovate a particular portion of their property rather than a bigger spread - could be interpreted as a cautious approach into building up a home's equity. Whatever the case is for your home improvement and renovation, it certainly makes up for the industry's slow growth in the past.
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE CENTER
Elsewhere in the city, news of a new high-rise building by the Christian Science Plaza along Mass. Ave is spawning some excitement in the neighborhood. Prominent local developer Carpenter & Co. is charged with redesigning the 14.8 acre Plaza and the city skyline by introducing two towers, totaling to 70 stories high. The project is set to give rise to a high-end hotel, condominiums, retail establishments, and restaurants.
Yet to be named, the development promises to transform the pocket neighborhood, and will not disturb the current serene configuration of the Plaza, as it will be built on its borders, occupying a triangular plot that is separated from the main plaza which is now being used as a parking lot between a church-owned office and the Prudential Center. The whole project is set to introduce an additional 950,000 square feet of residential and commercial space.
The plaza has been an integral part of the Back Bay landscape for more than 130 years and serves as a destination for thousands of visitors, neighbors, and tourists. The plaza currently has seven buildings and about 10 acres of open space. Once this phase of the Plaza's redevelopment is completed, a third building along Huntington Avenue and a small retail pavilion at the corner of Huntington and Belvidere are also on the pipeline. But those project are still years away, for now these two towers are slated to begin demolition and construction by mid-year.