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Modern 3-D and modular housing wonders

Boy, the 3-D and modular housing concepts are getting a lot of attention these days.

With the recent push for more “micro” apartments in Boston and elsewhere, we suspect we see a trend.

Do you think it has something to do with how hard it is to find affordable housing almost anywhere these days?

Photo above, of a 3-D “printed” home, via BI.

Read other posts about: General Housing News

Middle-class getting squeezed everywhere by rising rents

It’s not just Boston. It’s everywhere across the nation.

File under: Costa Rica, here we come … Or maybe Fayetteville, Ark.

Read other posts about: General Housing News

Yes, we’re in a housing market ‘bubble’ in Boston

It’s probably official now: So-called “escalation clauses” are back in the Boston area, last seen here about 10 years ago during the run-up to the previous peak prices around 2005.

What are “escalation clauses”? They’re a little-used negotiating tactic deployed as a sort of last resort during multiple-bid situations, i.e. in a hot housing market with regular bidding wars.

They’re rather simple. A seller asks for bids. Everyone else puts down a firm price offer. But one person (or couple) puts in writing that he or she will beat any of those bids by a set amount, say, $2,500, $5,000, $10,000 or even $15,000.

The person issuing the “escalation clause” almost aways reserves the right to see the other bids (with names crossed out) and the opportunity to back out, within about 30 to 60 minutes, if the highest bid is ridiculously high. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you don’t.

There’s some debate whether they’re worth it. But there’s little doubt about this: Their apparently growing re-emergence in the Boston market, after 10 years of relative hibernation, is a sign that we’re probably approaching peak pricing levels in some sub-sectors of the market.

But, hey, who knows? This is Boston. The market here is so unpredictable and crazy these days.

Read other posts about: Boston Real Estate, Massachusetts real estate

A look at the old Locke-Ober’s new Winter Place Residences

The owner of the old Locke-Ober’s restaurant complex in Downtown Crossing is touting the six new condos that range in price from $1.75 million to $3.3 million.

Here’s the floor plan of the $1.75 million unit and the floor plan for the penthouse unit.

Fyi: Jim Robertson, a partner at Origen Ventures, the developer, is hoping to sign up a new restaurant tenant next month, under the condition a new eatery respects the décor of the old Locke-Obers. Stay tuned.

Read other posts about: Downtown Crossing

The Cape’s very long housing-market recovery

Here’s a story about how the national vacation-home market is starting to pick up.

From the data we’ve seen, there’s also been an impressive uptick in real-estate activity on the Cape, with some homes going for big bucks.

But other recent data we’ve seen, from the Warren Group, suggests the Cape and even the Islands have a way to go to catch-up to their pre-recession peak levels. Brewster’s median home prices were still down 12 percent from pre-recession highs as of late last year. Others include Barnstable (down 11.7 percent), Sandwich (down 12.5 percent), Falmouth (down 13.2 percent) and Orleans (down 14.6 percent).

It’s not too surprising. Before vacation-area housing markets can recover, the general national and state economies have to recover first and people have to get back on their financial feet before they can even consider buying (or renting) a second home.

But the Cape will bounce back soon, likely this year, in many if not most towns.

File under: Pass the hot dogs … Speaking of which: Mmmm. Hot dogs. See below. Oooooo. Summer. Barbecues. Right around the corner.

Map via Wikimedia Commons.

Read other posts about: Vacation Homes

Good-bye, Charles Street Market. Hello, Farmer’s Market?

Beacon Hill residents were quite upset when the Charles Street Market closed last year, soon to be replaced by a Peet’s Coffee later this year in the fourth quarter (according to signs now plastered in the windows on Charles Street).

But fear not: Two Beacon Hill residents, Colin Kreik and Casey Fox, are hoping to open a new Beacon Hill Farmer’s Market.

File under: Welcome idea

Read other posts about: Beacon Hill Real Estate

The haves and have-not towns in Massachusetts

The Globe had an real-estate story yesterday pointing out the differences between the core Boston metropolitan area’s housing market vs. places outside Route 128.

The core area is incredibly hot, exacerbated by extremely tight inventories of homes for sale. It’s so tight, that 30 communities now have median home prices sometimes well above their pre-recession peaks, as demand outstrips supply and drives up prices.

Some of the top real-estate markets are Cambridge (27.9 percent above 2005 peak prices for the area), South Boston (26.6 percent), Jamaica Plain (26.6), Somerville (26. percent) and Charlestown (20 percent).

At the very bottom is Brockton, where housing prices are still more than 30 percent off of 2005 prices.

But even in areas outside 128, competition for housing is fierce in some pockets, such as in Andover and elsewhere.

File under: More housing, please

Read other posts about: Massachusetts real estate

Hong Kong billionaire buying up apartments and other properties in Harvard Square

Hong Kong billionaire Gerald Chan has spent more than $120 million recently to buy coveted real estate properties in and around Harvard Square, including the Hotel Veritas (seen above) and the building that used to house Upstairs on the Square.

Banker & Tradesman first reported Chan’s real-estate moves earlier this year.

OK, so maybe Chan’s been a little heavy-handed with some retail tenants of late. But, hey, it’s his right to buy and the purchases clearly show he believes in the area and is even setting down family roots in Cambridge, bringing in family members to run restaurants. He now has a family stake in the viability of Harvard Square — and that’s a good thing.

Photo via Hotel Veritas.

Read other posts about: Cambridge Living, Cambridge/Somerville

Charles Ponzi’s old Lexington home for sale at $3.3M

The former Lexington home of perhaps the most famous con man ever, the one and only Charles Ponzi, is now on the market for $3.3 million.

It’s the first time the 16-room home, built in the early 1900s, has been publicly listed for sale. Prior sales were apparently handled privately and discreetly, for whatever reasons.

By all accounts, the home was beautiful when Ponzi briefly lived there — and it’s beautiful to this day.

House photo via Hammond Residential. Ponzi photo via WikiMedia Commons. Fyi: That’s a diamond studded walking stick he’s holding, purchased during the height of his fame as an investor and before the infamous collapse of his scheme. Compared to Bernie Madoff, Ponzi was a sort of lovable rogue, a true psychopath who couldn’t comprehend the pain he caused, yes, but at least an almost joyous and comical psychopath. He also had good tastes in real estate.

Read other posts about: General Housing News

Well, at least Boston isn’t Los Angeles

The Globe has an excellent interactive map and other stats showing that Bostonians have to shell out 22.3 percent of their income to pay for housing, specifically mortgages, making it considerably higher than the national average.

But the Bay State’s percentage is actually slightly down from previous years — and it’s far lower than what’s occurring in California.

In Los Angeles, for instance, residents there shell out an average 39.6 percent of their income for housing. You read that right: 39.6 percent. San Francisco is next (39.3 percent), followed by San Jose (36 percent) and San Diego (32.8 percent). Six of the top 10 cities are from California.

Boston ranks as the 8th highest income-gobbler for housing.

Read other posts about: Boston Real Estate

Let's talk Boston real estate. The most recent real estate comments

  • John Ford, Charles Ponzi’s old Lexington home for sale at $3.3M: That’s a great idea. Anyone have an idea how...
  • Rich, Charles Ponzi’s old Lexington home for sale at $3.3M: Speaking of Mr. Ponzi, he ran his Ponzi scheme out of an...
  • amparo bracero, Big changes in store for Tremont Street?: I will love to comunicated my self with aida I was one of...
  • warren currier, Low mortgage rates may partly explain low inventory: The banks are making it very hard to get a loan....
  • Kiki, ‘Our biggest impediment’: Inventory: A quick maybe unrelated question. What’s a typical or...
  • JS, Hey, let’s tear down most of downtown Boston for the Olympics: I agree, and I resent the commission describing us...
  • PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMPANIES in Carlsbad CA, ‘Our biggest impediment’: Inventory: good blog
  • Phoenix property management, Blog: As you may have noticed I am having problems with the comment section of the blog....
  • Phoenix property management, Get your very own ‘mushroom house’: Good post. i like it so much.
  • Phoenix property management, Get your very own ‘mushroom house’: Good post. I like it
  • PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMPANIES in Carlsbad CA, California dreamin’ on such a winter’s day …: Good post...
  • Borris C., ‘Friendly competition’ keeps Seaport rents as high as possible: Sounds like good old-fashioned collusion...
  • Matthew Mowell, Boston’s glut of new luxury apartments may bring down rents – and banks with them : One reason why...
  • greent, Boston Condos Sunday Open Houses: The editorial team unmistakably thanks ea and ea and occasionally every
  • Anumaneitaka, NAR job posting – needed: economist, spokesman, human punching bag: Вас не отпускают с работы? Не...
  • PROPERTY MANAGEMENT Oceanside CA, Blog: Thanka
  • warren currier, Chinese homebuyers are snapping up properties in … Detroit?: Don’t taunt them...
  • warren currier, Chinese homebuyers are snapping up properties in … Detroit?: Re Boston: If you venture out to...
  • anon, Five signs you’re a ‘renter for life’: Or you could very well understand finances and the...
  • anon, Return of low down-payment mortgages: Brilliant! Just keep lending more for less and prices must keep rising....

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