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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

‘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

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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