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      Blog :: 10-2014

      The Best Neighborhoods and Streets for Trick-or-Treating in Boston on Halloween

      beacon-hill-halloween-1Every Halloween, quiet residential streets must prepare for the inevitable visit of costumed children yelling "Trick or treat!", eager to collect what they are entitled as members of any given community. If you've got children, then you know what we're talking about. And to help you and your kids capitalize on this holiday, we've compiled a list of the best neighborhoods around Boston for trick or treating.

      Roughly about two years ago, Zillow compiled a list of top trick-or-treating areas in various cities including Boston, which proudly came in 2nd on the company's Best Cities to Trick-or-Treat list. They based their findings on home values, crime rates, population density, and whether or not a neighborhood is walkable and can be easily navigated by foot. These neighborhoods, most often than not, are also the best ones to live in the city if you have children, so we went ahead and included some listings you might want to take a look at while you're halloweening through the streets. Happy gathering, everyone!

      beacon-hill-halloweenBEACON HILL

      This neighborhood is by far,  the overall winner. It's reasonably quiet, adequately decorated, and aesthetically pleasing. What more could you want? Some of its small, townhouse-adorned slopes may prove a bit tricky in a freakish rain or snow storm, but possible brick-sized chocolate bars could serve as great remedies for few (if any) minor bruises. See listings

      Sure treat streets: If you hadn't already planned on venturing past Mount Vernon and Pickney Streets, try your luck on Revere and Chestnut Streets.

      CHARLESTOWN

      Located near the Boston Harbor and Mystic River, young and thriving professionals make up a large part of this neighborhood. Again, it's been rightfully ranked--it's a nice part of town with some popular tourist attractions (try to get some steps and stroll by the Bunker Hill Monument and the USS Constitution if you go early). See listings

      Sure treat streets: There are some extra-generous homes between Bunker Hill, Medford, and Main Streets.

      BACK BAY

      Not surprised? Back Bay has some of the nicest homes in the city, it's easy to get to, and it's easy to get around in. There are tons of Halloween spots in this part of town, especially if you're feeling a little chilly since the Pru usually hosts indoor trick or treating in its stores. See listings

      Sure treat streets: Peruse down Marlborough, Clarendon, and Dartmouth Streets, and take the little ones over to Clarendon Street Playground for the annual Halloween celebration. 

      NORTH END

      Take your costumed selves down to this beloved neighborhood, which, though usually hustling and bustling with carbo-loading restaurant-goers, is still a popular Halloween gem. Pedestrian-friendly and fittingly eerie (think narrow spaces and old graveyards), the North End could very well be the perfect spot to fill your hollow candy buckets in record time. Not to condone gluttony, but if you also choose to top off your already calorically rich collection with a box full of Italian pastry goodness, it's understandable. See listings

      Sure treat streets: Stroll through quintessential Hanover street as well as the area of Salem, Charter, Unity, and Prince, and Tileton streets. 

      WEST ROXBURY

      West Roxbury is equipped with lots of green space, not-so-trafficky residential streets, and a general appreciation for kids, as the neighborhood is known for its youth programming. Not to mention, it was once home to an "experimental Utopian community" that attracted famous writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson. Does this denote trick-or-treating perfection? Quite possibly. See listings

      Sure treat streets: Lagrange and Corey Streets off of the busy Centre Street

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      Why The Millennium Tower Is Truly Buzz-Worthy: Inside The Showroom

      Millennium-PlaceBy now, you've probably heard all about the recent outing of The Millennium Tower's $37.5M penthouse unit. Indeed, it really is amazing how Manhattan-like Downtown Boston condos has gotten in the past two years, not only in terms of price but also in terms of build outs. Just to remind you, the said penthouse is quite literally a mansion on the sky. Not only is it 13,000 square feet of pure, unadulterated space that's 600 feet above ground, but it also comes with a 2,500 square foot wrap-around deck that offers what will be known as the best and the highest views of Boston's skylines to the north, south, east, and west!

      Not many in Boston can brag about their build out, although many have attempted to belong in that category in the past couple of years mainly in the "newer" neighborhoods of the city such as the North and South Ends, and most notably the Seaport and Greenway/Financial Districts. But the cake definitely goes to the developers of the Millennium Tower. Why?

      Millennium_PenthouseWell, in terms of showmanship, Millennium Partners really has had a long-standing record in the city that's comparable to Manhattan skyscrapers with its throve of developments to date, including the Millennium Place, the Ritz Carlton Residences and the beautifully designed retail and fitness center that it houses on its base. Though it's only fair to say that Millennium isn't the one and only gem that our city has. While it's true that others developers have similar developments to showcase, Millennium Partners have historically known how to bring it to market.

      The Club : Level 1Never before has Boston experienced such an elaborate showroom. The "sales center" as it is dubbed, is the hub of where prospective buyers are delightfully treated to experience the Millennium Tower in all its glory. Located in the heart of Downtown Crossing by Washington Street, the center has a doorman to welcome its guests - something that isn't mind-blowing until you realize that 1) it's is only a showroom, and 2) the development is only in its pre-sales phase.

      Needless to say, the Millennium Tower's sales presentation can't just be called a sales pitch - it is, for lack of a better term, a total sensory experience complete with a terrifyingly accurate and elegant 3D model, a hallway full of conspicuously-hidden monitors that change from walls to images that present to you the look of the tower when it is done, all the good stuff you can think only imagine will come from a sales pitch.

      The Club : Level 2In another room, the tower and whole Boston cityscape is projected on a screen that's so huge it actually makes you think you're looking out to size. This is also where a mock-up of the living room and kitchen is presented, complete with all the materials used to bring the two spaces together. And if, at this point you're wondering what your future-unit's view will be, you are treated to see it - live! - through a smaller high definition monitor.

      Indeed, Millennium Partners have taken the sales presentation to a whole new level. Truly, a great majority of clients we've brought there have been impressed with it. That's no wonder that so far as sales go, the Millennium Tower has generated so much buzz since its launch that it has reportedly already sold a good chunk of its first few floors!

      Think you're ready to experience it? Click HERE to schedule your very own walkthrough!

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      September Real Estate Market Scene: Mixed Inventories and Median Prices

      Commons CloudySeptember's numbers are out, and it seems markets have responded well after briefly pausing in August. The renewed recovery last month was spurred by new construction of single-family homes, which reached a six-year high during the last month of summer. Consumers also found more listings matching their search, as number of new listings rose in many neighborhoods in the Greater Boston Market, buoyed by sellers listing their properties, no doubt encouraged by higher selling prices.

      In particular, New Listings in the Greater Boston region were up 3.1 percent for single-family homes. In response, Newton, Brookline, and Wellesley saw inventory increases for these types of properties. Condominiums, on the other hand, saw its number of new listings dwindle by 5.1 percent throughout the region, dropping from 1,253 a year ago to 1,189 units last month.

      Inventory for the Greater Boston Area - for both single-family and condominium properties - continued to erode in September, as the total number of available single-family homes decreased by 2.1 percent from 3,021 from a year prior to 2,939 this year. Available condominium units also dropped  a whopping 25.5 percent from 1,990 units the same period last year to 1,483 units last month, signaling a shift in buyer's preference towards condos compared to single-family homes.

      Closed Sales decreased 8.2 percent for detached homes and 9.0 percent for condominiums, something not uncommon for this year as more properties closed at the onset of the Spring and Summer sales months.

      The Median Sales Price for the region was down 2.5 percent to $490,000 for single-family properties but increased 4.9 percent to $430,000 for condominiums. Months Supply of Inventory increased 5.9 percent for single-family units but was down 18.1 percent for townhouse-condo units.

      In the City itself, the Median Sales Price increased by 4.8 percent to $456,760 - a $20,000 increase from the same period last year. It seems sellers in the city are holding off listing their properties citywide, as both New Listings and Inventory dropped 8.6 percent and 23 percent, respectively.

      Finally, Closed Sales for Boston City Proper dipped 17.5 percent, caused perhaps by the departure of investors from the scene. Last year, 509 properties closed in the month of September, compared to this year's 420 units. As one can recall, investors flocked to invade and invest in Boston last year, buoyed by forecasts that property prices were going to increase in the coming months, later proven by the upward trend of Median Selling Price which started June 2012. Compounded from that month to the period ending September 2014, the average increase in Median Sales Price since then has been an astounding +16 percent - definitely not bad for a city that has limited horizontal property growth!

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      Government Center Among Top 5 Most Expensive Neighborhoods In US

      GovtCtrBefore we get down to the business of the headline,  let's first take a glance at the glimmering national performance of properties last September. It seems that after months of softening housing data, the tide may be turning towards a continued housing recovery - something analysts weren't sure was going to happen for the remaining quarter of the year.

      According to data released last Friday by the Census Bureau, September housing starts - a gauge for the number of homes in which construction has begun - rose 6.3% to 1,017,000, translating to an increase of 17.8% over last year's figures. This means that more and more homes are being built across the country in anticipation of demand. Little is known about how much of this figure are actually homes that have already been prepaid for, but traditionally this data translates to the number of housing units that have an eventual closing date within the next six to nine months. Building permits - another measure of how well the construction of new housing units are doing - also rose 1.5% during September, increasing 2.5% above last year's levels. These numbers are a much-welcomed improvement from August, when housing starts fell 14.4% and building permits slumped 5.6%.

      All this data suggest the real estate conditions in the nation are continuing its path to stabilization, at least in terms of inventory. If you can remember, there was a period this year when nationwide inventory looked grim, as investors stocked up on available listings. The local market also took a turn for the worse, when supply was forecasted to only last 2.2 months (the average healthy market has supply for at least 5.5 months).

      The housing story has largely focused on softening home prices over the past year. Home prices peaked during the first quarter of 2012 and started to soften fall of September 2013. But as more and more media outlets and research firms are reporting, home prices are still expected to rise over the next year, but at a smaller growth rate versus 2012.

      In totality, the pullback in prices coupled with the continued decline in mortgage rates, should allow more buyers to enter the market on the heels of greater affordability. Currently, 30-year mortgage interest rates are at their lowest since June 2013, paving the way for first-time buyers to take chance of the on going climb towards real estate recovery.

      America's Most Expensive Rental Neighborhoods

      Speaking of buying, if you're living the Government Center area of town, you might want to consider buying. The central neighborhood is in the spotlight this week, as CoStar - a commercial real estate data provider, released figures on the average monthly lease for a one-bedroom rental rate in the US during the peak season of September. Turns out, the rest of the country is only paying, on average, $939 a month. That's obviously waaay off Boston's median rental rates.

      One bedroom rentals in the Government Center neighborhood place 4th Most Expensive across the country, clocking in at $3,643 per month. New York City's Penn Plaza, DUMBO, and San Francisco's Yerba Buena districts precede it, not by great lengths, though. Below is the complete list of the Top 15 Most Expensive Neighborhoods For Renters in the US:

      • 1. New York City: Penn Plaza / Garment District - $4,440 average monthly rent
      • 2. New York City: DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) - $4,023
      • 3. San Francisco: Yerba Buena - $3,643
      • 4. Boston: Government Center - $3,782
      • 5. Oakland/Emeryville, Calif.: Golden Gate - $2,695
      • 6. Palo Alto, Calif.: Crescent Park - $3,157
      • 7. Great Neck, N.Y. (Nassau County): Great Neck Plaza - $3,223
      • 8. Jersey City, N.J.: Historic Downtown - $3,068
      • 9. Newport Beach, Calif.: Newport Center - $3,133
      • 10. San Diego: Harborview - $2,206
      • 11. Queens, N.Y.: Hunters Point - $2,811
      • 12. Washington, D.C.: Foggy Bottom / GWU / West End - $2,662
      • 13. Pasadena, Calif.: Southwest Pasadena - $2,957
      • 14. Philadelphia: Rittenhouse Square - $1,860
      • 15. Boston: Back Bay - $1,850

      And with the proposed plans to build a tall skyscraper on the sites' current garage parking, there's sure to be increased interest in the area, as well as perhaps an increase in rent? Hopefully not much more. Read more about the details of the gargantuan project here and here.

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      What To Expect For The Downtown Condo Market This Fall

      BOS-brownstone autumnNow that the fourth quarter of the year has started, there's perhaps a lingering question on investor's minds that can now probably be best answered: what will the last quarter of 2014 hold for the real estate market? More precisely, what promises and potential does it bare for the Downtown Boston condominium market? Well, if 2013 was any indication, the last quarter will yield not only an increase in holiday sales, but also a well-performing condo investment climate.

      Looking back at Q4 2013, there were almost 1,000 Downtown condos that went under agreement during the last four months of 2013. If you're going through the figures by holidays, you'll see that one-day condo sales performed best during Halloween (12 closed), Thanksgiving (6 closed), Christmas (5 closed), and the week before New Year's Day (45 closed) - needless to say, these days saw a lot of merrymaking! If this trend were to carry over to this year, we'll see an inflated number of closed condo properties, particularly in the Downtown Boston area.

      Another upbeat assessment for the condo market this year is the fact that there are more inventory for buyers to choose from. Properties traditionally list on the onset of Spring - April 1st, to be exact - however, there was a dip in that number this year possibly because of sellers holding out on better pricing opportunities as the year rolls on by. This, combined with the fact that there are more newly-built or soon-to-be-built buildings announced this Fall that are already taking up pre-sales reservations. These two factors alone make for a great argument for investing during this "downtime" season, as more units are actually coming online, with less number of competition in the general market.

      While there are many reasons to buy this quarter, it would be out of taste not to mention that it can be a great time to sell as well. Last year, 865 Boston condo sellers listed their homes for sale beginning October 1st. And, although the last quarter of the year is not known for its buyer quantity, it might be remembered for its buyer quality. That's because the median list price of a Boston condo that went under agreement in December 2013 was $449,000. In comparison, even the median list price of a Boston condo that went under agreement in April 2013 was only $429,900. That said, there can't be any doubt that holiday décor (and perhaps bonus planning) is to take credit for inflated offers during the traditionally holiday "slow" months of the year.

      So what do you say, want to try your luck on still finding your dream condo before the year ends? Check out this cool condo heat map we've created just for you, condo seekers!

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