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Realtors against Zillow – Trulia merger

Today, the NY Post reported that Realtors are not happy with the merger between Zillow and Trulia:

Not in my backyard!

The National Association of Realtors — one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington — wants regulators to block the $3.5 billion merger of Zillow and Trulia, The Post has learned.

Newton office park could add 334 apartment units

Boston condos

Boston condos

This is interesting.

Cabot Cabot & Forbes wants to build 334 apartment units within an already existing office park in Newton.

It’s not an entirely original idea — though it’s definitely a very welcome idea.

Nordblom has already launched a major redevelopment at its old Northwest Park in Burlington. Once exclusively an office park, the developer plans to add retail, entertainment, restaurants and housing.

The idea is to create more of a mix-use community, as opposed to a vast work site, to attract younger people who simply don’t want to work in the old-style suburban office parks that their fathers and mothers labored in over the decades.

Market demand is changing. So suburban developers are changing the supply mix to meet that new demand.

Part II: Using aerial drones to sell real estate in Massachusetts

Boston condos

Boston condos

In reaction to the post and Herald story linked immediately below, a reader writes in:

Sorry, press is still getting the story wrong. Commercial use is still prohibited.

New regs are on the way — and the current permitting process is long and expensive, with zero guarantee of approval. To date, one commercial permit issued — after spending millions of dollars and several years on the permit process.

The National Association of Realtors put out a statement reminding realtors it’s still not legal and to stop using drones. Then they linked to an FAA page that basically says “yes, its prohibited, and yes, we’re going to regulate it.”

And here’s what the FAA says: The agency occasionally discovers such operations through the news media or postings on internet sites. When the FAA discovers UAS operations in violation of the FAA’s regulations, the agency has a number of enforcement tools available to address these operations, including a verbal warning, a warning letter, and legal enforcement action.

Here’s more from the FAA on its drone policy.

Notice how it dances around the assertion that the US is falling behind other countries in the use of drones, saying the US airspace is busy, busy, busy. But the fact is other countries are pushing ahead of the US on this business and technological front.

Done deal: Dr. Dre buys Tom and Gisele’s mansion for $40M

Luxury real estate

Boston Luxury real estate

It’s official: “Rap legend Dr. Dre is the new owner of Tom Brady’s former home. The sale of the Brentwood, Calif., mansion for $40 million, which was first reported last month, became official Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles Times. The New England Patriots quarterback and his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, purchased the property for $11.75 million in 2008 and built the 18,298-square-foot home – which includes such amenities as a gym, a sauna, a pool and seven fireplaces — over the next four years.”

Harvard: Home remodeling will stay strong, but then weaken later this year

Boston condos

Boston condos

Housing scholars at Harvard have good news and so-so news.

The good news: Home remodeling should remain strong through most of the year but …

Sluggishness in the housing market and specifically in home sales may result in a deceleration of home improvement spending from double-digit annual growth through the third quarter to a year-over-year gain in the high single digits by the end of the year.

It’s not clear why sales will get more sluggish than they already are, at least in Massachusetts. One suspects the usual culprit is at work again: Lack of inventory. The fewer homes for sale, the fewer homes that need remodeling before or after a sale.

More news on the coming luxury apartment glut in Boston

Real Esate MA

Boston Condos

The Globe has a front-page story this morning on growing concerns that there may soon be a glut of luxury apartments in Boston due to all the ongoing downton construction.

Some people say it’s time for developers to shift gears and start building other types of housing in other areas of the city, which is what the Mount Vernon Co. says it is doing in Allston at its so-called Green District complex (see image above from its web site).

Others developers say they’re not worried about a glut.

Who’s right? Who knows.

But here are our quick thoughts:

— Let ‘em build luxury apartments if they want. If some of the luxury projects go bust, well, that’s the free-enterprise system. Those buildings would then be picked up at much cheaper prices by other investors (probably after foreclosures) who could then charge lower rents to undermine their competition. Isn’t that what we want? Competition? Is a partial glut such a bad thing? More on possible busts here.

— At the same time encourage other developers to build elsewhere in the city. Allston, Brighton and East Boston are fine. And so is trendy Jamaica Plain.

But how about the other neighborhoods outside the core downtown area where land is cheaper? Hyde Park, Roslindale, Dorchester, Mattapan and Roxbury, etc

— Encourage construction of more condos and small multifamily townhouses. The city and state need more housing for people to own and sell, not just rent.

— Make it easier for small contractors – not just huge multi-state contractors – to build in Boston. This might take action on various zoning and building-code rules. The BRA might also have to sell off some of its vacant lots strewn throughout the city. The goal should be to become less reliant on a dozen or so large companies to build housing in Boston.

Let’s get more contractors involved – and contractors who know the neighborhoods and don’t need to make the mega-huge profits ultimately demanded by the large investors backing all the mega-huge luxury developments projects.

Just a few thoughts.

And yet more from the messed up downtown Quincy project …

Boston condos

Boston condos

It seems that a certain Congressman (and later ex-Congressman) was involved in pushing the now screwed up downtown Quincy redevelopment project:

During his final weeks in Congress, William D. Delahunt stood before his constituents at a packed public meeting in Quincy, urging the city to take swift action on a billion-dollar-plus overhaul of Quincy Center.

A year and nine days later, he was consulting on the project for Quincy, with a contract paying him $90,000 a year.

Now let’s see. Delahunt is also involved in casino gambling, pot dispenseries, and other varied business interests.

He’s so talented and multi-faceted!

And this is all on top of the double pensions that he receives for his years in public service.

Building a new toll bridge to the Cape?

Boston Development

Boston Development

Here’s an odd but intriguing idea being floated around: Building a private new “twin” toll bridge to and from the Cape Cod, presumably next to the Sagamore Bridge.

Or at least that’s the way we read the story. Only those willing to pay could theoretically use the bridge.

It’s probably not going to happen. The DOT commissioner certainly doesn’t seem excited, calling it pure speculation (we’re surprised he didn’t slip and use the word “fantasy”).

So it may be a true Bridge to Nowhere, conceptually speaking.

Still, once upon a time, there were indeed private road and bridges that builders charged tolls to use. The idea is worth exploring, at the least theoretically. The idea would then simply slip away, sort of how we hope another costly fantasy, i.e. a future Boston Olympics, will simply disappear one day soon too.

Photo via Wikipedia Commons.

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