Boston Luxury Real Estate: Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty Lists and Sells Highest Priced Single Family or Condo Thus Far in 2015

Over the past few months inventory has been at extreme lows tamping down sales leaving buyers with very few quality options from which to choose here in Boston. The spring real estate market however has begun and is undoubtedly heating up. In fact, 130 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston’s Back Bay has just sold for an outstanding 11.6 million.

Listed and sold by our very own Will Montero the sale of 130 Commonwealth Ave is currently the highest priced sale of any single family or condominium thus far in 2015.

CW2

Situated on Back Bay’s toniest residential street, the exterior of 130 Commonwealth Ave evokes timeless elegance of 18th century Parisian architecture. Part of the famed “Commonwealth Sisters”, this home is truly one of the grandest in Boston with its beautifully carved limestone façade setting it apart from others.

This spectacular single family home is a true mansion in the heart of Back Bay encompassing 9,908 square feet of elegant indoor living space with five bedrooms, six full bathrooms, two half bathrooms, and six parking spaces. The attention to detail throughout is stunning with finishes executed flawlessly in recent renovations by a skilled architect and artisans.

CommonWealth

Additional features include five fireplaces, a 2,200 bottle wine cellar, and a private elevator.

Listing and sale agent, Will Montero is a highly respected agent here at Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty and in the Boston real estate market. Currently he is ranked the number one broker in all of Massachusetts with a total sales volume sold of 23,300,000 for the past month. Also with a total sales volume sold of 47,001,000 in the past six months, Mr. Montero is ranked the number 2 agent in all of Boston. (Source MLS)

More buyers are making their move to purchase real estate and with this sale a great display of momentum in the Boston market has been shown. Despite the lack of inventory over the past few months the luxury market has proven to be a visible, dominating trend in Boston neighborhoods such as the Back Bay.

Westwood Real Estate News: Major Mixed-Use Development Set to Open in March 2015

University Station, Greater Boston’s newest, major shopping destination, is set to have their grand opening on March 8, 2015. This vibrant new community in Westwood is a 120-acre mixed-use development and will consist of retailers, restaurants, recreation, and residential housing.

Nora Loughnane, the town planner, is confident that Westwood residents will be thrilled with this opening, “I think people are looking forward to having somewhere close to home where they can shop and go out for dinner.”

Conveniently located along University Avenue at the junction of Route I-95/ Route128 in Westwood adjacent to the MBTA Commuter Rail/Amtrak Station this new and exciting shopping destination will hit a wide range of consumers.

With much more to come in future phases, store openings will include Wegmans (which was named for the 16th year in a row to Fortune magazine’s list of America’s Top 100 Companies to Work For), Target, PetSmart, Michaels, ULTA Beauty, Kay Jewelers, Starbucks, Smashburger, Famous Footwear, Panera Bread, and many more.

The initial residential component will be two buildings containing 350 luxury apartments set to open late spring along with an assisted living community on schedule to open this summer. Developed as a joint venture, this assisted living community will consist of a 64-units specializing in memory care.

Also set to open during the summer of 2015 is Life Time Athletic Westwood. This fitness center will operate with a renowned group of fitness instructors and personal trainers providing programs, a full-service spa, a café,  an indoor cycling studio, and cutting edge fitness equipment.

“We look forward to welcoming local and area residents to this new shopping destination,” said Douglass Karp, President of New England Development. “University Station will be an exciting new addition to Westwood and brings together a mix of popular stores, restaurants, housing, and more.”

University Station, this brand new development, is set to boost Westwood’s economy and commercial property value, all while adding 2,000 permanent job opportunities. Future phases will include additional restaurants, a hotel, office uses, and up to 300 additional residences.

Sources: University Station, Westwood Hometown Weekly

Sotheby’s International Realty News: New England Affiliates Achieve Significant Success in 2014

NE AffiliatesThe Sotheby’s International Realty brand is represented by 56 offices in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, and over 730 offices worldwide. The Sotheby’s International Realty network offers an unparalleled opportunity for each homeowner to reach a global audience of qualified homebuyers through innovative marketing tools.

Together with our New England affiliates we have achieved a significant amount of success during the course of 2014. On average more than 14 transactions were represented per day totaling nearly 5,000 for the year. Of those transactions represented, 825 were over $1 million averaging to be 69 sales per month. With this being said well over $3.8 billion in total dollar volume was sold in 2014.

Locally, Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty came out of yet again another successful year closing 2014 with $973 million in sales volume. In total we represented 1,203 sides and of these transactions 33.5% were over the one million dollar mark. A total of 200 sales exceeding $1 million were completed averaging 16.6 sales per month. The month of June hit an outstanding high of 27 sales over the one million dollar mark in 2014.

Here at Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty we work closely together with each member of our network particularly our New England affiliates to garner the best possible exposure for our properties. There is a vital relocation and second home market between the city, the suburbs and the mountains. We anticipate that the success of the Sotheby’s International Realty New England affiliates be not only repeated but exceeded in 2015.

Sotheby’s Partners with the Leading Auctioneer of Premium Collectible Automobiles

Cars

LOT 145, AMELIA ISLAND | 1960 FERRARI 400 SUPERAMERICA SWB CABRIOLET BY PININ FARINA

Sotheby’s and RM Auctions have proudly announced the formation of their most recent partnership. Sotheby’s acquired 25 percent ownership interest in the world’s leading auctioneer of premium collectible automobiles, RM Auctions, and will now operate as RM Sotheby’s.

Sotheby’s and RM have collaborated in the past on a number of successful sales, one including the Art of the Automobile auction which achieved nearly $63 million in just two hours. Sotheby’s will have opportunities to increase their ownership as the partnership evolves working together to drive growth.

Rob Myers, Chairman and Founder of RM Auctions added, “The partnership that has been formed between RM Auctions and Sotheby’s is undoubtedly the most effective way for us to reach the ever-growing worldwide audience of collectors who take a keen interest in the collector car asset class. No other organization in the world has a client base as far-reaching as Sotheby’s and since we have worked so closely and successfully with them in the past, it makes perfect sense that we form a strategic partnership that creates a truly worldwide platform for collector cars. It’s an exciting time in our company history, and for the hobby at large.”

Bill Ruprecht, Sotheby’s President, Chairman, and CEO, commented on the excitement that Sotheby’s has for joining such a clear market leader in the field. “RM has established a formidable position that will only be strengthened by this new phase in our relationship. Just last year, RM set a new benchmark for a collector car auction with their flagship Monterey sale totaling more than $140 million, eclipsing the previous record they had established in 2013. The incredible synergy between our businesses, including significant overlap of top collectors and a focus on new markets, will be further strengthened as we work together to expand the classic car collector base. RM’s ownership of the high end of the market coupled with our global client network positions us for great success at a time when the market for investment-quality motor cars has never been stronger.”

Sotheby’s Auction House was founded in 1744, the Sotheby’s name has earned renown as a marketer of the world’s most valuable and prestigious possessions. The Sotheby’s International Realty network was founded in 1976 to provide independent brokerages with a powerful marketing and referral program for luxury listings. From 2004 to 2014 over $1.2 Billion of sales have been referred to Sotheby’s International Realty from the Sotheby’s Auction House.

Source: Sotheby’s

News from our Director of Relocation

Millennials Entering the Housing Market
Nicole Rideout

millenialsMillennials, also known as Generation Y, are an economically integral population across the globe.  Millennials are defined as people born from around 1982 through the early 2000’s and are informally known for their student loan debt and use of selfies.  I coincidentally fall smack dab into the middle of this cohort, therefore I find this topic intriguing and immensely pertinent amongst my peers.

Although Millennials are making a delayed entry into the housing market, the potential impact is vital.  Historically, on average first time home buyers in this age range accounted for 38%-40% of consumers in the housing market.  After the recession, buyers in this category dropped roughly 28 percentage points.  Trends are now showing that this number is on the rise. Recent data reflected millennial buyers representing 36.3% of buyers in December of 2014.  This is a promising sign especially with the spring market on the horizon.

Baby Boomers, a cohort which is actually significantly smaller than Millennials, have had and continue to have a major influence on the housing market.  Millennials make up 25% of the US population totaling roughly 80 million individuals.  This makes the generation 20% larger than that of the Baby Boomers which most people tend to regard as one of the largest and most influential groups in recent history. This is a key indication of the power of the Millennials as a whole.

Millennials have a number of factors that have kept them from owning property up to this point including student loan debt, and all of the fears that come along with the recent recession.  The question would be, why now are we seeing positive trends in home buyers of this generation?  Simply put, our recent market conditions are allowing first time home buyers to enter the market.  Most millennials currently are renting or living at home, both predicaments eventually get old (no offense, Mom and Dad). Mortgage rates are down and regulations are becoming more flexible to allow this generation to start to build equity of their own.  Mortgage rates are currently in the high 3’s.  Studies show as much as a 1% increase in mortgage rates decreases affordability by 10%.  The current rates and regulations are indicative of the blatant attempt to include this crucial cohort in the Housing Market.

All in all, market conditions are creating an opportunistic environment for millennials that are renting or living at home to make their first home purchase and start to build their own equity.  Millennials being relocated for work have a great opportunity as many large employers offer to cover closing costs and other moving related expenses.  The opportunity is here. There are definitely hurdles but they are by no means insurmountable.  It will be interesting to watch how many millennials make home purchases as the market picks up through the spring and summer.  Overall, there is no way of predicting the future but we do know that when the time comes that this generation does start buying homes, it will play a major role in our economic environment.

Additional source: MSI

Real Estate News: Shell Companies Purchasing Elite Real Estate on Behalf of Hidden Buyers

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New York City’s Time Warner Center

Foreign wealth has been flowing into elite New York Real Estate. These buyers are not ordinary in the fact that they present themselves rather they keep their identity hidden shielding their names with a shell company when making a purchase.

The Time Warner Center for example in New York City has been increasingly opaque over the past decade. 80% of the units were said to have been bought by shell companies in 2014 growing significantly since 2003 when only one-third of the units were purchased by a shell company.

Many of these foreign buyers have been the subject of government inquiries around the world including Russia, Colombia, Malaysia, China, Kazakhstan and Mexico. Other mysterious owners represent American wealth many of which being chief executives, celebrities, doctors, lawyers, technology entrepreneurs, and Wall Street traders.

According to data from First American Data Tree analyzed by The Times, in recent years across the United States, nearly half the residential purchases of over $5 million were made by shell companies rather than named people.

Shell company ownership is not easily coded. In order to try and unravel who the true owners were in the Time Warner Center, the Times searched businesses and court records from more than 20 countries, interviewed dozens of people, and examined hundreds of property records trying to connect the dots. This process took over a year when successful yet some owners behind these shell companies were nearly impossible to establish with certainty.

In most cases shell companies can be registered in the names of accountants, lawyers, and relatives often with the purchase being made by not only an individual but on behalf of groups of investors or numerous family members. On many deeds, the line for the buyer’s signature is left blank, is illegible or is signed by a lawyer or other representative.

Tom Brady

New England Patriots quarter Back Tom Brady buys condo behind trust ‘Courage Under Fire’

Quarter back of the New England Patriots, Tom Brady, is behind the trust Courage Under Fire who bought a condo on the 74th floor of the Time Warner Center. Some of the owners have been identified as billionaires on Forbes magazine’s annual list of world’s richest people, 17 exactly, the world’s leading art collectors, five exactly, and former chief executives of major companies, eight exactly.

What is it like to live in New York City’s elite real estate such as the Time Warner Center? It has been reported that these buildings are very secretive and close guarded. With multiple entrances to the building, there are no door buzzers or mail slots with residents’ names. You are unlikely to bump into neighbors wandering the halls because only about a third of the owners live there at any one time, according to people familiar with their comings and goings. The building’s annual holiday party is said to be a lonely affair.

Names of each unit owner does not need to be listed in order to access the building. The building has a book listing names of those associated with units but they follow protocols that facilitate anonymity. Owners could walk alongside someone whose name is in the book or enter through the shops or the hotel if they are cleared to visit. A former manager stated that owners could be easily obscured from their view.

There has been heavy speculation on shell companies buying into real estate here in the United States not knowing who the actual buyer is. But as Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg stated, “If we could get every billionaire around the world to move here, it would be a godsend.”

Source: Towers of Secrecy

Cambridge Real Estate: Single-Family Home Prices Soar in 2014

Cambridge is currently thriving in home sales. According to a recent analysis on median home sale prices in Massachusetts, the price of a single-family home in Cambridge has significantly increased since 2005. The median sale price of a single-family home in Cambridge is now $1.2 million which sets a new peak to prices demonstrating an 80 percent increase.

Out of 46 Massachusetts communities  where home prices were higher last year than in 2005, Cambridge led the pack. Today, the average Cambridge single-family home sells for nearly double the price of the average seen nine years ago. The average Cambridge single-family home sold for $667,500 in 2006.

What sets these top communities apart from others? According to Timothy Warren Jr., CEO of the Warren group, “Proximity to good jobs seems to be the common thread among the top communities. Location matters in real estate, and here we see these key communities adding even more in terms of their home values.”

The Warren group analyzed communities that sold at least 50 homes in 2014 and saw that many Boston, Cambridge and other communities have seen positive gains in median home prices over the past nine years.

Cambridge

Some parts of the state have yet to approach their pre-recession prices unlike these neighborhoods in the thriving Cambridge and Boston markets.

More Information: Boston Globe

News from our Director of Productivity, Colleen Barry

The No-Pen Purchase
How Paperless Programs Are Changing Your Real Estate Experience
Colleen Barry, Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty Director of Productivity

If you were in the market for a new home recently, you were likely shocked to find out how fast the Boston real estate market was moving. Well-priced homes were under agreement in days or hours. There were sometimes bidding wars. Speed became critically important to help buyers purchase their dream homes.

Some agents turned to paperless technology to be able to react more quickly — eliminating the need for a fax machine or courier. I would like to share two of the more popular programs with you, in hopes that you might feel more comfortable using them.

dotloop

“dotloop links people, documents and tasks to help you work better, together. It’s easy, it’s hassle-free and it’s everything you need in one place.”

Dotloop and Docusign allow an agent to write up an offer so that you can sign it remotely — right on your computer, tablet, or phone. These programs create a signature for you using a script or italicized font. Then they retain the time, date, and unique identifiers for your chosen device. All of this is just as legal as a “wet signature” — one created by putting pen to paper. It is possible that each program will offer finger or stylus signatures in the future, just like the keypads we sign for credit card transactions at the grocery store.

Both Dotloop and Docusign have several benefits:

  1. Several parties can be included in the sharing and/or signing of a document, thus allowing the buyer, seller, both agents, attorneys, and the mortgage broker to receive the necessary documents.
  2. The documents are all stored in one central location. You can access your offer, addenda, the pre-approval letter, and more — all in one place.
  3. These programs provide version control. This means that changes made to a document AFTER you have signed will cause your signature to be voided.
  4. You can download the documents for your records. This makes it easy to find the HUD document you need for your taxes or to revisit your condominium documents for later reference.
  5. These programs provide remote access. Recently, one of our home buyers was able to sign an offer while he was waiting to board his plane. In the past, this would have been impossible. Now it is quite simple and is sometimes the edge you need to submit the winning offer.

This is one of the many ways we, as real estate professionals, are working to improve your experience as a client. I hope you find it helpful.

Enjoy the Snow From the Comfort of Your Home: A Feature of Cozy Listings from Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty

It is hard to ignore the recent snowfall that has accumulated in Boston over the past few weeks. The record for most snow fallen, set during the blizzard of 1978, has been broken this winter. Since January 15th, the Boston area has accumulated more than 75 inches of snow with predictions of more on the way. Boston has also set the new record for snowiest seven-day period with over 40 inches accumulated in just one single week.

When relocating or buying a new home in Boston what features are buyers in search for you may ask. With this tremendous amount of snow accumulation buyers are in search for homes that will ensure they are able to enjoy their snow day- whether it be nestled up next to their warm fire place or watching the snow fall in a lovely dining nook while they indulge on their favorite comfort food. Other features include large bay windows, cozy living rooms, wood stoves to warm your kitchen, and more.

Featured here are extraordinary homes we have listed at Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty. Each has cozy living space and allows you to enjoy the snow fall right outside your window.

–461 Main Street, Barnstable- $10,000,000

461 Main Street USE

–179 Newton Street, Weston- $4,545,000

179 Newton USE

–41 Chestnut Street, Beacon Hill- $4,295,000

41 Chestnut USE

–81 Lake Street, Sherborn- $1,720,000

81 Lake USE

–13 Pollock Drive, Middleton- $1,125,000

13 Pollock USE

–131 Sumner Street, Newton Center- Rental- $14,000

131 Sumner USE

Boston is not the only area being hit with these storms. USA today reported that areas in Maine recorded over 50 inches of snow setting a new record for snowfall that has not been broken in over 45 years. Meanwhile, meteorologist David Manning reported that southern Vermont and southern New Hampshire were being hit hard as well.

Looking to relocate to one of these locations in a cozy home further away from the city? Featured here are extraordinary homes listed by some of our New England Sotheby’s affiliates.

–Wind Horse Farm, Wilmot NH- $5,250,000

Wind horse USE

–Red House Lake Sunapee, Newbury NH- $2,995,000

Red House USE

–100 Quincy Wood Road, Anson ME- $1,445,000

Quincy Woods USE

–439 Island Avenue, St. George ME- $995,000

Island Ave USE
Make one of these properties your own before we have our next snowfall and enjoy your snow day from the comfort of your home. Do not hesitate to contact any of our agents today regarding the above properties.

Call 844.667.6663 or visit our website: Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty for more information.

Sotheby’s International Realty News: Luxury Brand Expands Presence in Italy

Appartamento via dell'Anima.

Rome Sotheby’s International Realty represents the newest member to our network.

Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC has announced that Rome Sotheby’s International Realty is now open and operating expanding the Sotheby’s presence in Europe. The office is conveniently located in Rome inside the renowned Palazzo Odescalchi whose façade was originally designed in 1665 by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

Rome Sotheby’s International Realty is owned and managed by Lodovico and Clemente Pignatti Morano who are also the managing partners of Milan, Lake Como and Tuscany Sotheby’s International Realty.

“Rome, the eternal city, has been attracting visitors for two millennia but it is still one of the most exhilarating and romantic destinations in the world,” says Lodovico Pignatti Morano. “The Rome real estate market represents a strong opportunity in Italy in terms of sales and rentals for properties, and we are thrilled to represent the Sotheby’s International Realty brand in such an important location.”

“Despite the economic crisis that hit the Italian real estate market over the last few years, property prices in many neighborhoods did not fall, especially in the historic center, where there are apartments and penthouses for sale with antique features including frescos and vaulted ceilings,” said Diletta Giorgolo Spinola, head of sales for Rome Sotheby’s International Realty. “Apartments with views on the picturesque squares and renowned fountains are the most sought-after.”

Philip White, President and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC, shared that “Our expansion across Italy continues our commitment to providing access to the Sotheby’s International Realty network’s exclusive real estate services in key cities around the world. Rome Sotheby’s International Realty enhances our presence in Europe, and provides a strong footprint in one of the most beautiful and historic cities in the world.”

The Sotheby’s International Realty network currently has over 16,400 sales associated located in approximately 730 offices in 56 countries and territories worldwide. We at Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty we would like to sincerely congratulate Rome Sotheby’s International Realty on this extraordinary achievement. We look forward to meeting and working with Lodovico, Clemente, and their multi-lingual team in the near future.

For more information on some of the brand’s other recent office openings, have a look at the various locations below.

More Information: Sotheby’s International Realty