The Happenings

7 MUST SEE New Construction Projects In The South End

It’s no secret that there’s a wave - no a tsunami - of new construction washing over Boston.  And it makes sense - new real estate inventory has slowed to a trickle and buyers are desperately competing for what little options they have, often times waving contingencies and paying tens of thousands of dollars over asking price.  Exacerbating the drought of Boston condos for sale is the influx of new residents from all over the world, attracted to the area for it’s consistent and high ranking as one of the country’s best cities for education, job opportunities and lifestyle.  

The short supply of existing residences, steady stream of new Bostonians, growth of industry, and the stability created by an abundance of local universities have made it an optimal time for developers to pepper the city with new residential construction projects. But even with an abundance of new options, the market for new construction units is very competitive, and buyers must be prepared to purchase these units before they are completed or very soon after.  

So we went through each of Boston’s neighborhoods and put together a snapshot of our favorite residential construction projects.  Some have recently been completed and others are scheduled to be completed between now and the Summer of 2018.  This week, we’ll start with one of Boston’s hottest neighborhoods and a hot bed for new residential construction: The South End.

1. Union Park Condos

(Image Source: www.bldup.com)

Although part of this South End condo building is a restoration of an existing four-story historic brick building (the majority is a contemporary four-story addition), we’re putting it first on our list for two important reasons: it was recently completed and there’s only one unit left (Unit 2).  Here are the specifics (Source: unionparkcondos.com)

  • 3 luxurious units: two duplex units and one extra-large floor through unit
  • Located on coveted Union Park in The South End
  • Views of Union Park and Back Bay / downtown skylines
  • Steps from restaurants, cafes, shopping boutiques, farmers market, grocery stores, schools, parks, rec. facilities and public transportation
  • Luxury offerings include: high-end finishes, modern home features and amenities, high energy HVAC systems, custom wood cabinetry, stone counter tops, Wolf & Subzero appliances, spa bathrooms with radiant floor heating and recessed lighting.  

2. The Factory at 46 Wareham 

(Image Source: www.bldup.com)

If you’re looking for a fashionable, creative and one-of-a-kind neighborhood, SOWA is a “world-renowned retail and arts community in The South End” (Source: sowaboston.com).  It’s also home to The Factory at 46 Wareham - 18 residential ownership condominiums atop 32,875 square feet of office space.  

  •  Large 2 and 3 bedroom units (1,200+ sq ft) and a penthouse
  •  66 parking spaces
  •  Expected completion late 2017 / early 2018

3. Siena at Ink Block 

(Image Source: www.bldup.com)

Joining it's recently completed sister building Sepia, Siena is the next condominium project at Ink Block - a city block of upscale residential condominiums, high-end amenities and retail.  Ink Block Boston is being described as the “ultimate urban living experience.“ Details are as follows (Source: http://www.bldup.com/projects/siena-at-ink-block):

  • 76 luxury residential condominiums
  • Amenities include a rooftop Sky Lounge and roof deck, a fully equipped fitness center, 24/7 concierge service and on-site parking
  • Homes will feature hardwood flooring in common areas, wool carpeting in bedrooms, and state-of-the-art finishes
  • A number of Siena’s condominiums will be maisonette, featuring private entrances
  • Completion early 2018

4. 370-380 Harrison Avenue

(Image Source: www.bldup.com)

This 14-story, 356,500 square foot mixed-use building is in the heart of The South End’s rapidly developing New York Streets neighborhood.  Expected completion isn’t until 2019, but this project is generating a lot of buzz and the 96 ownership condominiums are sure to sell out long before the building is completed.  Details include (http://www.bldup.com/projects/quinzani-s-bakery-development):

  • 96 ownership condominiums and 218 rental apartments
  • Approximately 8,500 square feet of ground-floor retail
  • Resident amenities include upper level roof decks with outdoor social space
  • 3 levels of parking with a total of 180 spaces

5. Jordan Lofts

(Image Source: www.bldup.com)

These South End condos were completed last year, and though the building is almost sold out there are still a few units available.  Nestled in the SOWA neighborhood, this fully restored historic building features fifteen luxury loft condominiums which include

  • High ceilings, large windows, abundant natural light, open floorpans and recessed lighting and skyline views
  • One vehicle parking space per condo
  • Commercial / retail space totaling approximately 13,000 square feet located on the ground floor

6. 7 East Springfield

(Image Source: www.bldup.com)

This nine-unit residential condo building in The South End is currently under construction.  It’s located steps to Boston University School of Medicine and Worcester Square.  The six-story building is bounded on one side by the oldest surviving house in the South End - the federal style Porter House, and it includes:

  • Eight 1,000 square foot two-bedroom units and a 1,800 square foot three-bedroom penthouse
  • A five car parking garage will be constructed on the ground floor

7. The Girard

(Image Source: www.bldup.com)

This new mixed-use building offers only rentals, but it’s an artistic space with contemporary units inspired by local artists, and an atmosphere that’e definitely worth mentioning.  In a nutshell, the building offers:

  • 160 apartments and approximately 3,600 square feet of ground-floor retail
  • Amenities: Wi-Fi Workbar, meeting rooms, top-floor and rooftop common areas and a fitness center
  • A gallery exhibiting local artists’ work
  • 162 resident parking spaces in a two-level underground garage

The South End is a culturally rich neighborhood, with exceptional food, a lively nightlife and a dynamic atmosphere.  As one of Boston’s most desirable neighborhoods it’s not a surprise that so many developers have chosen this coveted area as the site of new residential projects.  We expect there are many more to follow, so stay tuned as we continue to provide updates on new condos in The South End and around Boston.  

The Charles Realty has had its finger on the pulse of Boston real estate for 34 years.  Our agents have unparalleled knowledge of the city and it’s neighborhoods, and oftentimes have access to information not yet made public.  For any questions about listings in the aforementioned buildings, other new projects in Boston, the status of projects, availability of new construction homes, or anything pertaining to Boston real estate, please contact us.  

 

 

 

What Millennials Are Looking for in Boston Real Estate

For years Boston has attracted Millennials with it's abundance of highly ranked colleges and universities, and it has retained them with a thriving job market and renowned cultural appeal.  Real Estate in Back Bay, The South End, Beacon Hill, Downtown, The Seaport, Dorchester and South Boston is particularly attractive to Millennials, because homes here offer a social and convenient lifestyle not found outside the city.  Therefore it's important for the sellers of homes in these neighborhoods, and also for builders looking for land to develop residential buildings, to understand the preferences this target demographic.  Our friends at Sky Five Properties put some research together that we thought would help give some insight into this growing population of home buyers.  To help us understand what Millennials are looking for in Boston Homes.  

What Millennials are Looking for in Boston Homes

Millennials are spreading their wings and finding their way in this big, big world and doing so in a way that truly affects the local real estate market. Part of that is moving out of their parents’ house and into a space of their own. And although they are known to spend their money on experiences, adventure, travel, good food, and fun, they all need a place to rest their heads at night. Boston is a popular city for millennials for obvious reasons; the culture, a thriving job market, the art, the food, the big city feel, the public transportation, the coffee shops and sidewalk boutiques and access to one of the most sought after universities in the country. When moving to Boston, millennials are looking for a few key things in a home or apartment that are non-negotiable. When it comes to real estate, there are a few things your home needs to have in order to attract these tech-savvy, environmentally conscious, global-minded, entrepreneurial, social media addicted go-getters. 

The ability to connect- For most millennials, staying connected is a priority. They usually have a multitude of different devices plugged in at one time, and having them charged and ready to use at any moment is important. Built in office spaces, conveniently placed outlets, and other features that allow them to plug in quickly and easily are important for this generation of homebuyers. They’ll ask questions about Internet and cell service in the area, so make sure you have the answers for that. 

The option for fitness-  Millennials tend to be a more health conscious generation than those before them. Health and fitness are important to them, so a place to work out is a definite plus when looking for a home. An exercise space in the home is usually a perk, but being close to a local gym, running path or hiking trail can also peak a millennials interest.

A place to eat-  Millennials are brave and open-minded when it comes to trying new foods. They appreciate a diverse range of foods and are more likely to spend their money on a cool new local restaurant than a typical fast food chain. And because they love food, they need a place to cook it in. A modern kitchen is a must for this generation. Contemporary appliances, stylish décor and a place that feels comfortable and spacious is a must. The kitchen has become a popular place for hang-outs and get-togethers, so this room of the house needs to be updated, open, stylish and convenient to really wow them.

An outdoor space- Whether it is a small patio that they’ll convert into a Zen place to do yoga or a large backyard where they will grow their own vegetables, millennials appreciate a private place outside to get some fresh air. They appreciate a balcony, a patio or an intimate front porch that they can unwind on after a busy day. It’s not about the size of the space for millennials, it’s about the opportunity to get outside to recharge and relax, sip some good wine with friends, read a good book, write, check emails or hang out in a hammock. 

Because they typically enjoy travel and put value in experiences over material things, many millennials rent a home or condo before they buy, (more about that here). The idea of spending a lot of money or time in one place may not fit with their lifestyle, so renting gives them a little more freedom in that department.

Say what you will about millennials, but one thing is certain: Millennials moving to Boston for their first adventure on their own have a specific set of requirements that must be met before they will commit to buying a home. By making a few of these changes, your home could become the dream home for enthusiastic, energy efficient, progressive, nomadic, multi-taskers who are taking their next big step in life. 

For more information about the Boston real estate market, contact one of our experts, 617-236-0353.

 

Top-10 New Years Resolutions for Your Home

You know the drill: new year, new this that and the other thing.  But according to Statisticbrain.com, only 9.2% of people feel they're successful in achieving their New Years Resolution, which means that over 90% of people set themselves up for failure.  This year, instead of vowing to spend more time at the gym or less time on devices, how about shifting the focus to your home.  Houselogic.com has put together this Top-10 List of New Years Resolutions for your Home, and we think you should take a look so that when 2017 comes to a close, you have a sense of achievement AND you’ve added value to your home!

For more tips on how to care for and add value to your home throughout the year, contact our team of experts who love to share what they know! 

What's Next for Interest Rates and What Does it Mean for Home Buyers?

If you follow real estate even a little, you've probably heard that interest rates are on the rise.  In fact, on December 1st most lenders came close to the highest levels we've seen in two years.  So what's next?  And does an increase in rates mean that home prices will drop since there will be fewer buyers and therefore less demand?  

Let's address the second question first.  In an article titled "Higher Rates Don't Mean Lower House Prices After All," the Wall Street Journal revealed that a recent study found that "prices weren't especially sensitive to rising rates, particularly in the presence of other positive economic factors such as strong job growth, rising wages and improving consumer confidence."  In fact, the last four times rates dramatically increased - in 1983, 1987, 1993 and 1999 - home prices increased by 6.6%, 5.2%, 1.2% and 10.9% respectively.  But with the combination of rising rates and U.S. home prices finally topping record levels for the first time since July 2006, it’s likely that prices will begin to increase more gradually then we’ve seen in the last 4 years.  

Now for the hard part - what’s next?  Interest rates were remarkably low in 2016, so an increase was inevitable, and since some lenders were offering loans with rates in the 2’s, a jump back to more “normal” levels will be a very sizable increase.  However, many industry experts predict that although rates will continue to rise in 2017, it won’t be as extreme as many people fear.  Kiplinger says that “even with a rate hike, interest rates will likely stay low and fluctuate within a narrow range for some time to come.”  Michael Winks, Executive Vice President / Chief Lending Officer for Northpointe Bank in Grand Rapids, Michigan, anticipates rates remaining in their current range through 2017.  Without a crystal ball none of us can be certain, but one thing is for sure: lenders and agents are advising buyers not to take their chances by waiting.  Even a small price increase on home prices, coupled with a marginal (one eighth to one half percent) increase in rates could cost a buyer tens of thousands of dollars.  

Here’s the bottom line: If you're thinking of refinancing, now's the time to lock in a rate.  If you have your eye on a property or you’re considering buying at some point over the next year, you'll find lower rates and will compete against fewer buyers if you act now.  In fact, waiting just a month or two could make a huge difference, as the influx of new inventory that comes to market in the first 6-8 weeks of a new year attracts crowds of buyers.  For more information, contact one of our experts, or call us at 617-236-0353. 

Tuesday Tip - 19 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

In this post from last year, we featured 13 tips for winterizing your home, via AOL Finance.  So far the temperature has been higher than the same time last year, but the forecast calls for a steady drop and by Christmas we're sure to see some of the white stuff.   So, we thought we'd do a little research to find more great tips for trimming your bills and staying warm this winter.  Take a look at this article by Popular Mechanics, which offers 19 Easy Ways to Winterize your Home.  

 

The Best Activities and Entertainment This Holiday Season in Boston

(Photo credit: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/ultimate-guide-christmas-boston)

Boston is a fun place to be any time of year, but especially at Christmas-time, when the sparkling Christmas trees and festive lights illuminating streets and storefronts bring cheer to even the scroogiest Bostonian.  The city buzzes with music, holiday shoppers fill the sidewalks and stores and best of all, special holiday events start filling people’s calendars.  To make sure you capture the allure of Boston during the holiday season, and to avoid missing out on tickets or double booking yourself, it’s important to start planning your event schedule as early as possible.  Here are our recommendations for the best activities to participate in this year:

Lighted Christmas Trees - By late November and early December beautifully lit christmas trees begin to pop up all over the city.  You can find two of the biggest trees in Boston Common and Faneuil Hall, which is also the site of the Blink! holiday lights and music show which is free and runs 12 times between 4:30-10pm.  Here is a list of tree lightings taking place in November, and here is one for December. 

Ice skating on the common - If you're planning to head to Boston Common to see the glorious Christmas Tree, make sure to pack your ice skates for the outdoor rink, which opens in mid-November.    

Menorah lighting - Also in Boston Common you'll find public Menorah lighting each night through Hanukah (December 24th - January 1st).

The Nutcracker - Performed by Boston Ballet at Symphony Hall from November 25th-December 31st.  

Holiday Pops - Performed by Boston Symphony Orchestra from November 30th-December 31st.

Holiday shopping - You'll find unique shopping experiences in some of Boston's most charming neighborhoods.  Make sure to check out Newbury Street and the Prudential Center in Back Bay, Charles Street on Beacon Hill, Salem Street in the North End, Washington Street in Downtown Crossing and Harvard Square in Cambridge.  

Santa - In many of Boston's popular shopping areas you'll have the chance to visit with Santa, which is a nice way to break up a day of shopping with the kids.  

Santa Speedo Run- On Saturday, December 10th, hundreds of scantily clad runners will hit the streets for a run that raises money for The Play Ball Foundation, "which provides Boston middle school students with a chance to play, and build friendships and character through the lessons of sports - teamwork, communication and discipline."  It's a fun, unique holiday event for both runners and their audience

First Night - Boston's signature New Year's Eve event includes a fireworks show over Boston Harbor, a huge Celebrate Boston Parade down Boylston Street, musical performance, ice sculptures and fun activities for the whole family.  

These are just a few of our favorites, but there's no shortage of festive, entertaining things to see and do in Boston during the holiday season.  For more advice on activities in your neighborhood, contact one of our agents, all of whom live in the city and surrounding area.  

 

 

 

Backyard Improvement Ideas

Sunny days and nice weather are ahead of us this summer making it the ideal time to make backyard improvements. Creating the right features in a backyard make it the ideal close escape. Here are some ideas that will make any backyard pop:

Lighting- The right outdoor lighting helps with late night relaxing and prevents people from tripping or running into objects in the dark. Both electrical lighting and torch/lantern lighting will make a backyard more inviting.

Digital Vision/Thinkstock

Outdoor Fireplace/Firepit- Cheap and easy to make, fireplaces and pits are great places to gather with friends and loved ones. This project can be as easy as digging a pit and filling it with some stones to hiring a contractor to make a big project out of this. Fireplaces and pits are good gathering spots to roast some marshmallows with the kids or have some drinks with friends.

Digital Vision/Thinkstock

Create Your Own Beach- With enough sand you can create your very own beach in your backyard.

Digital Vision/Thinkstock

Sources: Top 10 Ideas for Outdoor Living Spaces 25 Ways to Create an Outdoor Oasis

Reducing Summer Utility Bills

The summer months are the best time to save money on utility bills and make up for the long months of winter this year. Here are some ways to reduces energy use to keep those utility bills low during the summer:

1)      Unplug Devices - Unplug unused chargers and cords because they still eat up energy even when out of use. 2)      Use Windows and Fans - Save A/C costs by using ceiling fans and breezes from outside. 3)      Close Doors to Trap Cool Air - Dedicate one or two rooms as A/C rooms and close the doors to hold in the cool air. 4)      Turn Off Lights - Use natural daylight during the day to save electricity costs. 5)      Turn The Thermostat Off - When you're not home turn off the thermostat to avoid heating/cooling the house when no one is home. 6)      Hang Laundry Outside - If you have the space, try hanging laundry outside to save the costs of going to a Laundromat or high energy bills. 7)      Stay On Lower Levels - Heat rises so stay on the first floor or basement where the house will be coolest. 8)      Grow Trees Surrounding Your Home - The Trees will provide shade and cool your home.

Sources: 10 Ways to Reduce Your Summer Utility Bills 10 Ways to Reduce Your Summer Utility Bills 20 ways to REALLY reduce your summer utility bills

Updates to 34 Plympton Street

A Modern Renovation in the Trendy South End

Unit 1 Updates: Will now be converted into a 3 bed/2 bath for $799,000.

Unit 2 Updates: Price reduced to $849,000.

Unit 3 Updates: Price is still $899,000, but will include a private roof deck to be built by seller.

All 3 Units: Seller will include 1 years parking in area garage.

These spacious loft style homes embody the flawless balance between state of the art amenities and modern designelements.  The open kitchen boasts recent renovations such as: stainless steel appliances, granite counters, plenty of cabinet space, dishwasher/disposal, and refrigerator.

These residences boasts modern features such as hardwood floors throughout the units, and tranquil bathrooms complete with rain shower heads, tiled walls with inlays, Toto water saving toilets, and Kohler tubs.

Residency at 34 Plympton offers luxuries including: a security system, air conditioning, private designated storage, walking distance to the restaurants on Harrison Avenue and Washington Street, and easy access to 93 and the Mass Pike.

If you would like to see any of the three condos in person, feel free to contact one of our expert agents by scheduling a showing here. Also be sure to go to 34plymptonboston.com for more images and information.

Boston's Best Parks for Lunch Breaks

Now that the weather is becoming more seasonable, it is the perfect time to get outside and explore Boston's finest parks. With over 2,600 acres of park land throughout the city, Boston offers a wide range of parks. Here are some to check out.

Public Garden (Beacon Hill/Back Bay)

photo via beaconhilllivingsir.com

One of Boston's most notable parks is one of America's first public botanical gardens. With a Victorian era feel, there are memorials, sculptures, and the famous George Washington statue. Flowers and trees throughout this area beautifies the park even more and during the warmer months swan boat rides are offered to give a close up view of the lagoon.

Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park (Waterfront)

photo via beaconhilllivingsir.com

One of the best places to enjoy a picnic while watching boats in Boston Harbor, Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park also features the Memorial Rose Garden trellis. This park is perfect for people of all ages and is located near the Aquarium and North End.

Norman B. Leventhal Park at Post Office Square (Downtown)

photo via beaconhilllivingsir.com

With 1.7 acres of land between buildings in Downtown Boston, this park is a hot spot for people working in the area. With a sculptural fountain and a long trellis, there is plenty of scenery in an unexpected spot. Lawn cushions are provided for seating on the lawn during the day, and live music is provided variously. This park will make you forget that you're in the middle of the city with its beauty.

Cassidy Playground/Chestnut Hill Reservation (Brighton)

photo via beaconhilllivingsir.com

Boasting both recreation and beauty, this park is adjacent to the reservoir and its 1.6 mile path perfect for walks, runs, and dogs. The park also has one baseball field, two softball fields, and two tennis courts among the large grass covered park.

Piers Park (East Boston)

photo via beaconhilllivingsir.com

Over in East Boston, where fewer businesses are located is the 6.5 acre Piers Park. This park features a playground, mini amphitheater, and a 600 foot pedestrian promenade with views of downtown Boston. Although no ball throwing is allowed, this is one of the best picnic spots in Boston.