Boston Real Estate 

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Boston Affordable Apartments

  • Real estate developers are buying distressed hotels for bargain prices and converting them to more lucrative and much-needed affordable housing.
  • The shortage of affordable housing is now critical: so-called Class C housing stock is now 96% occupied nationally and 99% occupied in the Midwest, according to RealPage, a property management software company.
  • The share of hotels currently behind on their mortgages rose to just over 18% in December, up from less than 2% a year ago, according to Fitch Ratings.

Communities are desperate for more affordable housing, but the cost for developers is just too high. Land, labor, and materials were pricey before the coronavirus pandemic, and they are even more so now.

That is why some creative developers are now turning to hotels – and it appears to be a match made in real estate heaven.

The stay-at-home culture of the pandemic has hit the hotel sector hard. The share of hotels behind on their mortgages rose to just over 18% in December, up from less than 2% a year ago, according to Fitch Ratings. Hotels are suffering even more than retail real estate.

But that creates an opportunity for investors, who are buying distressed hotels at bargain-basement prices, and converting them to affordable apartments.

Suite hotels are cheaper to convert, as they already have kitchens. Standard rooms don’t require all that much work, either. The demand for these affordable units is only getting stronger.

The “downtown urban housing crisis”

It’s always interesting to read about the “urban housing crisis” or whatever you want to call it.

Basically, the question is, how do you best provide safe, affordable housing to poor people who live in urban areas? Well, how does the government provide this, is the real question. If you don’t buy into the idea that government should have a role (and I guess I don’t), that’s a whole other conversation, isn’t it?

Downtown Boston Real Estate

There is a housing affordability crisis in the downtown Boston real estate market and all over the country. I think that tiny Boston condos for sale and micro-apartments might be a solution.

There isn’t really an agreed-upon definition for a tiny Boston condo.  I think of condos that are less than 300 square feet and have found many that are less than 300 or even 200 square feet of finished living space. When they get down to 100 square feet they seem too small to call home.

These dwellings are much less expensive than a more standard size downtown condo. The idea is to spend less on housing and have fewer belongings and more time to spend doing something besides working for money and accumulating stuff that requires space.

Smaller condominiums also cost less to heat and cool and to insure. They require less maintenance and less furniture.

On average people who own tiny homes have money in the bank and many of them have no mortgage.

Downtown Boston real estate and first-time condo buyers

Today isn’t at all unusual for first-time homebuyers to be looking for smaller condos with fewer square feet  They don’t have enough stuff to fill it up so they start acquiring and accumulating.

Some studies have suggested that families who live in tighter quarters get along better because they spend more time together. Yet the most common reason for wanting a bigger house is to have room for children.

Having a tiny home far away from the city isn’t as sustainable as having it in the city close to amenities and jobs and perhaps using public transportation.

Accessory dwellings units, which are tiny houses in people’s back yards have been permitted in St. Paul, since 2016. I have seen a few. They can only house relatives or be used as offices or studios.

I think there is a market for tiny condos in downtown Boston. There are spaces that are less than 300 square feet. They are never marketed as tiny condos but they should be. Most have full-sized kitchens which really seems like a waste of space. Why not have a galley kitchen? I like the idea of a Murphy bed too or a sleeper sofa that can double as a place to sit.

When something comes on the market in an area that is small I usually go see it. We all have the idea of a dream house, I dream small.

Boston real estate and the bottom line

There are numerous websites dedicated to tiny houses and they can be built from kits that can be ordered online but there aren’t any kits for tiny condos. 🙂 We are not seeing micro-apartments yet but they are sure to travel from the coasts and make it inland in the next decade or so and eventually maybe we will be able to put some tiny houses on city lots.

Boston Real Estate 

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