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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

‘We have been priced out of the market’

If you guessed the above quote came from a frustrated homebuyer in Massachusetts, you’d be wrong.

It’s actually a quote from someone who keeps getting outbid for homes in Austin, Texas. The frustrated person is thinking of moving to either Tennessee or the Carolinas.

File under: Schadenfreude. … Or is it ‘misery loves company’?

Read other posts about: General Housing News

A new twist on ‘micro’ apartments: Flatbed trailer homes

Here’s a cool idea: A tiny home built on a flatbed trailer.

Alek Lisefski, who designed and built the California abode, has his own web site, where he also has a photo gallery and sells books and designs of the home.

Well, they’ve had trailer homes for a long time. So why not homes built on flatbed trailers?

Somehow, we don’t think Weston, Wellesley, Brookline, Concord and other tony Massachusetts suburbs are going to exactly embrace this idea. Maybe the Seaport District? Nah. Property there is too expensive.

Photos via Alek’s site and item via Business Insider.

Read other posts about: General Housing News

Can Boomers really afford their dream retirement homes?

Sure, Baby Boomers, with their arguably big and fanciful egos, think they’re going to retire in style, real-estate wise.

But can they really afford what they want in housing? Reality check.

Read other posts about: General Housing News

The Arlington — with a little history

The Herald’s Paul Restuccia has a nice piece on the The Arlington, the recently opened and latest luxury apartment building in Boston. It looks great.

But what also caught our attention is the history Paul provided on the Renaissance Revival building.

Most people know the 14-story building as the former home of the Renaissance Charter School. But it was actually built in 1927 by Boston Consolidated Gas Co. – and in the 1960s and 1970s served as the home of UMass-Boston. Didn’t know that.

Today, it’s home to 128 apartment units, with prices ranging from $3,200 to $8,000. It started leasing earlier this year.

Photo via Related Cos., the developer.

Read other posts about: Back Bay Luxury real estate

‘What went wrong in Quincy’

The BBJ has a blow-by-blow account of how the huge redevelopment of Quincy Center came about — and how it unraveled.

It’s probably the biggest private-public partnership boondoggle in a while.

File: Get out the popcorn

Read other posts about: Massachusetts Economy, Massachusetts real estate

Those inventory blues …

The Warren Group is confirming the continued fall in single-family home sales last month — with the main culprit being inventory and lack thereof.

“This modest drop in sales was caused by the same lack of inventory that has plagued the market for months,” said Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group. “These February sales numbers represent closings on homes that went under agreement in December, for the most part. Cold weather and holidays are certainly factors in making February traditionally the slowest month of the year.”

Warren added:

“Low supply and high demand continue to create pressure that drives prices up. The 18.4 percent increase in condo median prices so far this year is an indicator that condominiums are increasingly popular and we have a strong mix of luxury condos in the sales totals. Empty-nesters are ready for a change in lifestyle and have the net worth to take the plunge.”

Chart above via Warren Group.

Read other posts about: Massachusetts real estate

February’s Mass. housing numbers: Single-family sales down, prices up

From the Massachusetts Association of Realtors:

WALTHAM, Mass. – March 25, 2014 – The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® (MAR) reported today that while home prices continued to increase in February, closed sales were down from the same time last year. Condominium sales and prices were both up in February.

“Even with the continued increase in home values, sellers are taking longer than normal to enter the market so far in 2014,” said 2014 MAR President Peter Ruffini, regional vice president at Jack Conway & Co., in Norwell. “The winter weather hasn’t deterred buyers, but the lack of homes for sale over the past several months resulted in a drop in closed sales in February.”

Note: Condo sales and prices were both up.

Read other posts about: Massachusetts 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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