Boston Real Estate and Boston Condo Thoughts

While taking the bus home this evening, from the Boston Public Library to the Broadway T-stop, I realized how lucky I am to live in the city. Even though the bus ride took 25 minutes for what was about a two-mile trip, it was still a lot better than the commute so many people put themselves through on a daily basis. I mean, an hour INTO the city in the morning, and then ANOTHER HOUR OUT OF the city in the evening. People are concerned about how much road rage there is? I’m shocked there’s not more. Who can handle having to drive that much???

There’s two things that people are doing to combat this daily misery. One, many people are, of course, relocating into urban areas, in order to improve the quality of their lives.

Single people have always lived in Boston, be they post-graduates or young professionals. But, now, more and more couples, including those with kids, are either moving in or staying in the city, because they want to be able to have an easy commute, along with all the other amenities the city offers to them (nightlife, social events, sports).

In addition, a lot has been said in the press recently about empty-nesters moving into cities. They want an easier life, with no yards to cut or homes to keep up(?). They are moving into full-service, luxury condos and enjoying the easy life.

Of course, in both cases the new arrivals have had to deal with sticker shock. I mean, they’re going from a 3,000 square foot home in Weston to a 1200 square foot, 2-bed 1-bath, South End condo, and it costs the same amount (in some cases it does, but not in that comparison).

Unfortunately, for them, more and more people are coming, every day, which is sending the prices of available properties up, by the day, hour, and minute. (Of course, there was the statistic that came out the other day about how Massachusetts was the only state in the union to actually lose residents over the past ten years…and everyone jumped on this to say it was due to the high cost of living. I think things are more complicated than that, seeing as San Francisco and New York City both have a high cost of living, and people are moving INTO
those areas).

But, that brings up the second thing that is happening. In Business Week this week, there was an article about how some people are cashing in (while others move out?) on their urban (and suburban) gold mines and running off to cities and towns with much lower costs of living – for example, from suburban Connecticut to North Carolina, or Phoenix, or parts of Florida, or even Texas. They have built up so much equity in their current homes that they are able to pay off their current mortgages, trade UP to a bigger house, take out a LOWER mortgage, and put money aside for future expenses. Meanwhile their daily commutes are reduced because they
aren’t having to sit through an hour of traffic twice a day.

Very interesting statistics, and two pieces of information that don’t exactly contradict each other, although some very disturbing trends could be developing. Like, could it be that those people who are moving into the city are at the tail-end of some migration, and that they will be the ones left holding the bag (high mortgages with no one to sell to)? And, will there be enough empty-nesters moving into the cities to justify charging $1,400 / square foot for their new homes or will developers end up with financially unstable projects? And, will all those people who are moving out of urban areas change their minds, and want to come back, only to find out that they are priced out of the markets in their old home towns? What will they do then?

I have no idea.

That’s the beauty of writing in a blog. I’m not held accountable for anything!

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