Real Estate News: Seven Major Projects Approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority

7 Projects

BRA approves $40 million transit-oriented project in Dorchester’s Ashmont neighborhood.

According to the Boston Business Journal, seven large project proposals have been approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Spanned across neighborhoods such as the Fenway, Ashmont in Dorchester, East Boston, and South Boston these projects are expected to combine a total development cost of $490 million.
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The approved proposals make up 787 residential units spanning a combined 1.1 million square feet.

Located at the corner of Brookline Ave and Boylston Street in the Fenway neighborhood, the Point, is a 390,460 square foot, $290 million project. It will create a 30-story mixed-use tower with 240 rental units, 109 condominiums, 25,000 square feet of retail space, and 17,000 square feet of pedestrian open space.
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Located at 1961- 1981 Dorchester in the Ashmont neighborhood a $40 million transit-oriented project will include 87 housing units and span 106,000 square feet.

Located at 9 Channel Center, the $16 million next phase of Fort Point’s Channel Center Project will rehabilitate an existing structure including 66,000 square feet of office space and 6,700 square feet of retail.

Located at 248 Dorchester Ave in South Boston, an existing business will be demolished to develop a 33 unit residential building. This 43,650 square foot, $11.5 million six-story housing development will include on-site parking for every unit and 4,400 square feet of retail space.
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Lastly, in East Boston, Paris Village, an $11.5 million project will create 23 units of affordable housing.

The seven projects are expected to create 772 construction jobs during a two-year period with combined construction costs totaling $185.5 million.

Source: Boston Business Journal

Want to know the value of your home?

homevalueGiven today’s online technology, it is fairly easy to obtain a basic or rough estimate of what your home is worth online. However, automatic data can never put a true price on the value of your home like a real estate expert.
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Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty has been active in the Boston real estate market for over 50 years. Our team of experienced agents have the knowledge to provide you with an accurate, personalized estimate using current market trends as well as their intimate knowledge and experience in the industry.
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Citywide 35% of homes sold over asking price in 2014. Contact us today to find what the true value of your home is.

Visit gibsonsothebys.com/homevalue today to find out your home’s value.

Sotheby’s International Realty News: Brand Achieves Significant Gains in 2014

SIR

Sotheby’s International Realty ended the year with the highest sales volume performance in the history of the brand’s franchise system.


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The growth of the Sotheby’s International Realty brand in 2014 can be seen in all aspects of the business. Momentous achievements such as an increase in sales volume, global growth, and innovative marketing  resulted in one of the most outstanding years the brand has seen.
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Sotheby’s International Realty ended the year with the highest sales volume performance in the history of the brand’s franchise system. Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC reported that in 2014 its affiliated brokers and sales professionals achieved $70 billion in U.S. home sale transaction volume marking a 17% increase from the prior year (transaction sides multiplied by average sale price).

President and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC, Philip White, commented “The Sotheby’s International Realty network grew substantially in 2014. The luxury sector continues to outperform the overall market, which reflects the value consumers see in high-end real estate to grow their wealth, as well as the increasing level of international buyers in key luxury markets.”
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Other significant gains seen in 2014 include:

  • Globally, the Sotheby’s International Realty brand is represented in 60 countries and territories ending the year with approximately 760 offices, a gain of 8.5%, and more than 16,570 sales associates, a gain of 14%.
  • In 2014, the brand added 13 new residential real estate firms and 45 net new offices to its network across the United States. Some of the markets entered include: Houston, Texas; Steamboat Springs, Colorado; Santa Rosa Beach, Florida; Sunset, South Carolina; Richmond, Virginia; Marblehead, Massachusetts; Wilmington and Topsail Island, North Carolina; Kailua, Hawaii; Woodinville, Washington; Malibu, California; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Brookline and Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts; and Pleasanton, California.
  • Outside the United States the brand expanded in Belgium, Beijing, Belize, the Canary Islands, Luxembourg, India, Hainan, St. Martin, Poland and St. Moritz.
  • Last year marked the launch of the Sotheby’s International Realty Global Referral system, which was designed to streamline the transfer of referrals electronically within the brand’s worldwide network. This Global Referral system allows network members to assign referrals, manage them through closing, and run detailed reports with features such as language translation and currency conversion.
  • Marketing wise, the brand’s 2014 campaign delivered more than 800 million impressions. The 2014 campaign strategy was to maintain its relationships with pre-eminent media powerhouses in both the print and online arenas including: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Telegraph Media Group, Google, Architectural Digest, Bloomberg.com, the Hong Kong Tatler and the Financial Times, developed to showcase unique properties from the brand’s worldwide network.
  • A lifestyle video serious showcasing unique properties and lifestyles from around the world, “Extraordinary AnglesSM” was also launched by the brand in 2014. Each “webisode” takes viewers on inspiring tours through some of the finest properties represented by the Sotheby’s International Realty brand in the world’s most distinct locations.
  • For the eighth year in a row, the Sotheby’s International Realty brand won Franchise Business Review’s Best in Category for Real Estate Franchisee Satisfaction award. In addition, the brand moved to first in the overall top 50 from fourth in 2014, and first among the Top 50 “Systems with 250 or more units,” up from third in 2014.

These advances truly set the Sotheby’s International Realty brand a part from competition. Here at Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty we take pride in being part of such an extraordinary network. We are eager to see the brand’s continual growth  in 2015.

Source: Sotheby’s International Realty

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.
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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.

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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.
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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)
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.”
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.”
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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