Boston’s Seaport District Is Fast Becoming a Neighborhood

Discover Boston’s Booming Neighborhoods:  Spotlight on the Seaport District

Boston Seaport has been riding a wave of phenomenal growth over the last five years that has given rise to exciting new development and transformation in the area. Once a dead zone of parking lots located along the prime real estate of Boston Harbor, the Seaport District is now blossoming into one of the city’s hottest neighborhoods—for residents, businesses, and visitors alike. Amidst the ongoing construction, this special part of the city now boasts everything from top restaurants and retail to green spaces and waterways, with much more coming down the pike.

Upcoming: More Greenery and Shops

The Boston Globe recently reported on new plans for added greenery to the Seaport district area—“Harbor Way,” a one third of a mile long tree-lined walkway for pedestrians that is expected to add to the area’s blossoming neighborhood appeal. Harbor Way would not only bring more green space to the Seaport, but would host new restaurants, stores, and buildings, helping to create a lively spine in the business district. In addition to a walkway, the new development would also be a waterway, extending from Summer Street to the edge of the Boston Waterfront.

As Yanni Tsipis told the Boston Globe: “Our vision for the Seaport is focused on creating soul for the district. This means building buildings whose beauty and elegance will stand the test of time, and infusing every city block with restaurants, boutiques, residents, workplaces, and most importantly with diverse civic and cultural uses, all set amidst an extraordinary public realm.” Tsipis is leading the Harbor Way project for WS Development, which includes a larger plan for the undeveloped section of Seaport Square, located in the heart of the district. That plan envisions replacing the current mix of parking lots and construction sites with nine blocks of new residential buildings, shops, offices, and hotels. The street and lower levels would enjoy more than 100 new storefronts.

To help make the Seaport district more friendly to neighborhood foot traffic, plans are in place to cut down on the number of parking spaces in the area while investing in bike lanes, shuttle service, and other pedestrian improvements. The Seaport will also be getting its first grocery store, a neighborhood market called Frank Anthony’s Gourmet Market at 11 Fan Pier Boulevard.

And at BISNOW’s “State of the Seaport” event held on February 23 at the Westin Boston Waterfront, speakers referred to the continuous evolution of “Boston’s most happening neighborhood” as the first Master Plan Development that Boston has experienced since the filling in of the Back Bay. At the event, Boston-based business leaders including keynoters Matt O’Toole, president of Reebok and Michael Phillips, President of Jamestown LP considered big questions that Bostonians have long pondered about the area, from whether Boston Seaport has become a true live, work, and play neighborhood, to transportation issues, to the latest buildings planned for development.

Alex Twining, CEO of Twining Properties, was one of the speakers to address the question about whether the Seaport is in fact morphing into a real residential neighborhood. In a recent interview for BISNOW, Twining answered strongly in the affirmative: “the Seaport is transforming Boston, by emerging as a new mixed-use neighborhood that has physically connected Downtown, Fort Point Channel, the Fan Pier and the World Trade Center.”

Twining should know, since his firm was the one responsible for developing the master plan of Seaport’s residential redevelopment, including the first apartments as well as retail. The new development, Watermark Seaport, was completed last year and is located at the new subway station, surrounded by more than 500,000 square feet of new retail stores. Other plans for retail growth in the Seaport include Kings Bowling and an ICON movie theater at Seaport Square.

In addition to close proximity to shopping and restaurants, neighborhoods thrive when they offer residents opportunities for a critical mass of uses, including easy access to health and fitness centers. Equinox Gym is on the way to the area, and Reebok recently helped out on this front as well, choosing the Seaport for its new global headquarters along with a 30,000 square-foot gym that features CrossFit, boxing, fitness studios, a mile-long track, and more. The growing popularity of the Seaport as a neighborhood destination is visible in the rise in community events, such as the first-ever Seaport Christmas tree lighting—Light Up Seaport—which took place near the waterfront last December. An expanding list of new restaurants will be opening up in the Seaport as well, including Aceituna Grill (there’s currently a location in Kendall Square), Better Bagels, the vegan NYC-based By Chloe, London-based Yo! Sushi, and the national steakhouse chain Mastro’s, all scheduled for fall arrival.

Residential Developments

But the biggest indication of how hot Boston’s Seaport District has become is its burgeoning slate of residential developments. Besides Watermark Seaport, other major developments are on tap for completion in 2017. These include the largest mixed-use development project that Boston has seen in the last three decades, The Benjamin (scheduled to open this month) and VIA (scheduled to open this summer in July) at One Seaport Square. At 1.5 million square feet on three acres between Seaport Boulevard and Northern Avenue, the property contains 832 modern residential units, from studios up to three-bedrooms . The Benjamin will be 22 stories tall and VIA will be 20 stories tall, showing off a new standard in modern luxury for the Seaport District. Not only will both new amenity-packed buildings offer their residents sweeping views of the Boston skyline and Boston Harbor, but they will also qualify for LEED Silver sustainability certification, reflecting the fact that they are environmentally friendly. Additionally, 96 of the apartments in the two buildings will be designated affordable.

This growth is the tip of the iceberg for Boston’s Seaport District, with numerous other major residential developments (as well as office developments) scheduled for 2018 and 2019. The Boston Globe recently reported that more than $1.5 billion is currently invested in Seaport construction projects—from apartments and condos to storefronts and office space—with an additional $850 million scheduled to begin construction in the near future. Tucker White, a research analyst from Avision Young, told BISNOW recently that these completions “will open the floodgates in regards to foot traffic, disposable income and commuting, making 2017 more of a preparatory year compared to [2016 and 2015]. In short, the stage will continue to be set for the main performance commencing in 2018, starring GE and a wave of construction deliveries.”

White’s mention of GE refers to the electric company’s planned move to Seaport, with three new buildings comprising new corporate HQ, which will provide 1.5 acres of public space and incubator space in addition to offices for GE employees. Other major firms are flocking to Boston Seaport as well, including PWC, Vertex, Goodwin Procter, and Boston Consulting Group, the latter of which has a move planned from downtown Boston to the Seaport next year. Even the Seaport World Trade Center, current home of Fidelity Investments and 565,000 square feet of office space, is scheduled for potential redevelopment, which could bring even more retail to the area as well as more office space.

Looking to Discover What Boston Has to Offer?

To learn more about your options for temporary furnished apartments and corporate rentals in Boston including in Boston’s Seaport District, contact Furnished Quarters at 1-800-255-8117.

Corporate Housing Providers & Real Estate Agents: The Benefits of Joining Forces

At first glance, it might seem like real estate brokers would simply be competitors with corporate housing providers. After all, both realtors and temporary furnished housing providers court clients in need of housing.

But upon closer examination, there are some notable ways that agents and providers can effectively collaborate rather than compete, since they ultimately serve clients at different stages along their housing journey. Here are a few ways that this type of arrangement can benefit both sides—and even more importantly, can benefit their clients by helping them to secure housing at the right time:

Benefits of Agent & Provider Collaboration

  • Realtors become problem-solvers for their clients. Sometimes a real estate agent’s clients just aren’t ready to buy a house—yet. But guidance from the realtor about how to solve their clients’ current housing dilemmas can position them well for future sales. For example, realtors may be working with clients who need temporary furnished housing before a home purchase, for reasons that might include construction hold-ups, closing delays, testing out a new area, or renovations. If the agent can point such clients toward a short-term corporate housing solution through a partnership with a corporate housing provider, it becomes a win-win-win: the agent becomes a valued problem-solver in the eyes of the client, the corporate housing provider has a new customer, and the clients have a solution to their housing dilemma to help them bridge the gap in their home-buying efforts.
  • Financial incentives on both sides. It’s clear that when partnering with real estate agents, corporate housing providers stand to benefit from new business leads. But realtors have something to gain as well from a close and non-competitive arrangement with housing providers: they can pocket some additional cash while helping to solidify their existing client relationships. Realtors generally can expect to receive some attractive extra fees for helping their own clients identify short-term corporate housing when these clients are in between homes. For example, realtors usually receive commission from corporate housing providers for their referrals; 5-10 percent is a good benchmark for licensed realtors. Providers might also pass along preferential rates to their realtor partners, which realtors can then pass along to their clients depending on the length of stay.
  • Clients get double the service. Joining forces allows real estate agents and short-term corporate housing providers to offer added value to their customers. At the same time, there’s virtually no work involved for the agent. The temporary housing provider generally handles the booking process from start to finish, taking care of the touring and the paperwork (while linking it back to referring brokers and ensuring that they receive their referral fee). By providing a referral, agents can strengthen the relationship with their own clients who might need last minute temporary furnished housing. The agent has the option to stay closely involved in this process, but doesn’t have to since the temporary housing provider has the most relevant expertise to manage finding short-term housing for the realtor’s client. That way, each party can stay focused on doing what they do best—whether that’s helping clients with the bigger picture of buying or renting a home, or helping them arrange for their temporary housing needs. Realtors clearly benefit from the extra support when corporate housing specialists tour their clients through temporary properties on the agent’s behalf, and corporate housing providers earn new business by allying with real estate agents who have clients needing temporary housing.
  • Referrals go both ways. So far we’ve only discussed the referral benefits that short-term corporate housing specialists receive by working with realtors. But the fact is that corporate housing providers often refer business back to their real estate broker partners as well. A good example of this is when temporary housing companies have international clients who are planning a move to the United States—when these clients are ready to start looking for a permanent home, providers frequently refer them to their broker partners.

Learn More About Our Real Estate Partners

To learn more about how Furnished Quarters partners with real estate brokerages by handling their clients’ headaches related to short-term corporate housing, contact maria.sorrentino@furnishedquarters.com or call 617.236.4908 ext. 1005.

Boston Short-Term Furnished Apartments: A Parent’s Checklist

In a hot housing market like Boston, whether you’re looking for a furnished apartment, short-term rental, corporate temporary housing, or other rental, it can be challenging to find a place to call home. For families, such a competitive market can be particularly tough, since parents have specific criteria to consider in choosing a property and location that fits both their children’s needs and their own.

On the bright side, unlike the housing situation for Boston-based pet owners, all locations welcome kids. The issue that many parents face, however, is that most buildings don’t offer many (or any) particularly kid-friendly amenities.

Some Boston short-term furnished apartments or corporate temporary housing can offer family-friendly amenities—but you need to know what you’re looking for. Here is a checklist of the top five considerations that families should think about when house hunting for Boston short-term apartments, followed by a few suggestions on where to find the amenities that your family needs:

Kid-friendly Considerations

  • Safety features. Safety and security top many parents’ lists when considering moving to a new home. Some buildings have added protection through a doorman or concierge. Other safety considerations that parents should confirm before selecting a residence include whether there are secure locks on apartment doors and terrace gates, security cameras in common spaces, and a designated area for school bus pick-up and drop-off that is directly in front of the building.
  • School district.As the most educated state in the U.S., proximity to a well-ranked school district—from preschool on—is also a top priority for many families. Whether you’re targeting a specific public school, a private school, or an international school, the school system that serves the district where your home is located often makes a difference in your ability to secure a spot for your children. With more than 100 districts to choose from in Boston’s public schools alone, it’s important for parents to do some research on their school district preferences as part of their housing decision.
  • Common play areas. Though not easy to find, a growing number of apartment buildings offer onsite playrooms so that parents have a place for kids to run around that’s on the premises yet out of the residence. Other types of common areas that parents might look for are party spaces to host birthday gatherings or play dates, or common areas where older kids can safely study. You might also ask about whether a building provides safe outdoor spaces where children are welcome, such as playgrounds or a swimming pool.
  • Kid-friendly things to do nearby. Since many buildings won’t have all the amenities you’d like for children, you can target the next best thing: having fun things for kids to do close by your apartment. Check for proximity to neighborhood parks and playgrounds, local libraries, kid-friendly restaurants, museums that cater to kids of different ages (such as Boston Children’s Museum and Boston’s Museum of Science), and other types of events, services, groups, or resources aimed at children and/or parents.
  • Family feel. This item is a bit harder to determine at a glance, but if you’re working with a provider of short-term furnished apartments, you can ask about which buildings are known for being family friendly. A provider, real estate broker, or building concierge of Boston short-term apartments should be able to give you an idea about whether there are many other families in the building, if kids close in age to your kids would be among your neighbors, and whether there are organized social activities either within the building or nearby to meet other families.

Boston Short-Term Apartments for Families

Here are three family-friendly short-term furnished apartments to get you started on your search:

  • The Towers at Longfellow Apartments, with a coveted location near the Boston Waterfront, will make parents happy with both indoor and outdoor onsite options for kids that include a children’s playroom and a large heated outdoor swimming pool. The community amenities also feature concierge service, 40 acres of green space that families can enjoy together, outdoor grilling areas for picnics, resident events, and a clubhouse with a game room. Older kids (and certainly parents) can make use of onsite basketball and tennis courts. When kids are in school, parents can relax at the building’s 24-hour fitness center, check out the media room, or just catch up on laundry at the building’s convenient card-operated laundry facility.
  • In a desirable Back Bay location, Garrison Square is coveted by families for its playground, beautifully landscaped center courtyard, rooftop grilling area, and a dog park right behind the building. (Yes, the building is pet friendly.) What’s more, parents appreciate the safety offered by a controlled-access parking garage, and the convenience of in-home washers and dryers, concierge services, and 24-hour package pickup. The residence is also in close proximity to the Duck Boat tours and the Boston Common, where kids can enjoy the Swan Boats and carousel in the summer and ice skating in the winter.
  • Families love Third Square—whose concierge-serviced apartments are located in the heart of Kendall Square—because of the building’s outdoor center courtyard, heated indoor swimming pool, and Game Room with options to play Air Hockey, Ping Pong, and Wii. Another parent pleaser is that the onsite 24-hour fitness center offers a kids’ play area. There’s a laundry facility onsite, and for the tons of gear that inevitably comes with parenthood, the building offers the option for additional storage.

Find the Best Short-Term Furnished Apartments for Your Family

To learn more about your options for family-friendly temporary furnished apartments in Boston, call Furnished Quarters at 1-800-255-8117.

Pet-Friendly Pads in Boston? They’re Rare, But You Can Find Them

About half of all households in Massachusetts own a pet, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. If you’re among them, finding a place to call home that welcomes both you and your four-footed friend is important. Yet Boston has notoriously slim pickings when it comes to pet-friendly places to live, whether for Boston furnished apartments, short-term rentals, corporate apartments, or other types of rentals. In fact, a 2015 Trulia study found that:

  • Only 20% of Boston landlords allow cats
  • Only 9% of Boston landlords allow small dogs (under 40 pounds)
  • Only 1% of Boston landlords allow large dogs (over 40 pounds)

With this in mind, it’s important to know where you are welcome with your furry family members. Annette Clement, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Furnished Quarters in Massachusetts, noted that for many years, Boston and Cambridge apartment locations weren’t allowing pets. While she said that has started to change now, she added that only about 10 percent of Boston apartment buildings are pet friendly.

Buildings that do allow dogs have weight restrictions,” explained Clement. “Some allow only smaller dogs and some up to 60 pounds or so. Some also have breed restrictions prohibiting breeds that are considered more aggressive, like Pit Bulls and Dobermans.”

Boston Pet-Friendly Housing

Here are some Boston-based rental buildings that allow pets to be part of the family:

Dog-Friendly Digs

In Back Bay, The Arlington not only accepts pets but also pampers them. The historic luxury residence near Boston’s Public Garden offers a unique on-site Pet Spa, where guests can bring their dogs to be washed, blow-dried, and styled. The historic landmark building features designer apartments with custom kitchens and in-unit washers and dryers, along with other amenities from a fitness center/basketball court and a private residents’ lounge.

In Boston’s historic West End, The Towers at Longfellow opens its door to most pet owners, though the building prohibits Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Cane Corsos, and any cross-breed or related breed. (Under the company’s policy, English Bulldogs are not a prohibited breed.) If your canine or feline fits the policy, you’ll find several community amenities that help pets thrive, including an on-site dog park and 40 acres of green space. There are plenty of perks for people here as well, from concierge service to basketball/tennis courts and outdoor grilling areas.

Near Boston’s Financial District, Radian is another pet-friendly option for both dog and cat owners. This is a rare find downtown since many luxury buildings in this area do not accommodate pets. The distinctive 26-story glass tower residence offers pet care services as part of its Concierge program, alongside housecleaning and dry cleaning. Radian features a host of other amenities as well, such as an onsite access-controlled garage, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and a fully furnished Guest Suite for out-of-town visitors.

The Viridian gives pet owners in the Fenway/Kenmore District a chance to experience the world-class cultural offerings and a flourishing restaurant scene. Whether you have a dog or cat, you and your pet will enjoy the open floor plans and expansive living spaces afforded by The Viridian, along with two rooftop spaces to relax, grill, and dine.

Cat-Friendly Quarters

If your animal companion is a cat, you’ll have an easier time finding a great place to live than dog owners. While all of the buildings above are available to those with both dogs and cats, the residences below are cat-friendly only:

  • With its convenient downtown location, Devonshire offers entrée to guests with cats, providing them with smoke-free living, a 24-hour doorman, and concierge service.
  • It doesn’t advertise its cat-friendly status, but those in the know are aware that Church Park, which neighbors the Back Bay waterfront, caters to kitties (but not dogs). Cats will feel right at home, as will their owners.

If you’re looking for rentals in the Greater Boston Area that allow pets, Cambridge has offerings as well, including those at The Holmes Building, Watermark Kendall East, and Watermark Kendall West.

To learn more about your options for pet-friendly temporary furnished apartments in Boston, call Furnished Quarters at 1-800-255-8117. To ensure the comfort of every guest, Furnished Quarters requires guests with pets to pay a minor nonrefundable Pet Fee to cover the costs of deep cleaning after a pet has been in residence.

Boston-Based Luxury Apartments are an Amenity Heaven

With the ongoing boom in new development for luxury rental buildings in and around the city, renters of Boston furnished apartments now have their choice of cushy perks. The Boston Globe reported recently that with “doormen, large-scale lobbies, and 24-hour concierges, renters are getting far more than they could a few years ago.” The Globe added that a wider range of people—not just students and younger people—are renting in the current market because of the flexibility and convenience it offers, and luxury amenities are an additional lure.

“Amenities are hot and have gotten even more competitive this year,” said Annette Clement, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Furnished Quarters in Massachusetts. “The push right now seems to be to create fantastic amenity spaces and smaller apartment spaces, though you can certainly find a spacious apartment with top amenities. Whether an on-site pet spa strikes your fancy, a movie-viewing room, or a state-of-the-art fitness center with virtual trainers, you can select the perks you prefer to create the lifestyle you want.”

Radian Lounge | Boston Rental Apartments

If you’re curious about what comes included with the price of a luxury short-term rental or corporate apartment these days, here are some buildings that go far beyond a bed and bath:

  • Radian. Fitness buffs will rejoice to discover that the Radian’s Fitness Center is much more than a gym. From on-demand virtual fitness classes and Technogym® cardio equipment to studio space for yoga, Pilates, spinning, and more, residents will find a wealth of health and wellness possibilities at their fingertips. Radian also offers a fully furnished Guest Suite for out-of-town visitors, a 24-hour concierge program with services from housecleaning to dry cleaning, and luxuriously designed entertainment rooms.
  • The Viridian. This building’s two special rooftop spaces allow residents to enjoy the best of both worlds, indoors and out. With sweeping views into Fenway Park, the Sun Deck offers outdoor television, a grilling station, and a reserveable Greenhouse complete with catering kitchen, while the Sky Deck offers spaces for relaxation on chaise lounges among greenery, dining furniture, and showers. The Viridian’s Health Club rivals Radian’s, with digital workout personalization and Fitness On DemandÔ interactive group fitness stations. A resident lounge, work lab, and conference room are also available on the premises.
  • The Arlington. This Back Bay landmark stands out for many reasons, but one is surely its on-site pet spa, complete with tub stairs to help guests’ furry friends ascend into the bath, and blow-drying platforms for grooming after a warm dunk. The luxury building also comes equipped with basketball court and fitness center, game room, private residents’ lounge, on-site storage, and 24/7 attended lobby, as well as a move-in coordinator and personal assistant service.
  • The Victor. Situated atop North Station T, The Victor offers a wide range of amenities, from an 1,800-square-foot strength and cardio club to a 5,300-square-foot outdoor terrace. A private rooftop lounge is available for residents on the penthouse club levels. You’ll also find an indoor sports court complete with basketball hoop and space for group exercise classes, a business center with computers, and a conference center with multimedia equipment.
  • The Kensington. If you value professional services, The Kensington has you covered. The building offers residents not only a 24-hour concierge and doorman service but dry cleaning and laundry service, package service, grocery acceptance, dinner reservations, theater tickets, dog walking and grooming, pet sitting, car cleaning and detail services, and 24-hour maintenance. Other amenities include a fitness center, sun deck with pool, pet spa, and private parking garage.

For those who prefer to indulge in amenities such as these without getting locked into a long-term lease or mortgage, temporary apartments offer a way to enjoy upscale buildings. Corporate apartments also allow potential buyers or longer-term renters to get to know various neighborhoods in advance while enjoying amazing perks. Call Furnished Quarters at 800-255-8117 to learn more about your options for furnished apartments in Boston.

Radian Fitness Center | Boston Rental Apartments

Housing and Buying Inventory Finally Opening Up in Boston

For the last few years, there has been a repetitive chorus about low inventory in Boston’s housing market. In mid-2014, CNBC labeled the extended trend as a “severe inventory shortage,” and last August, Boston Agent magazine went so far as to report that “housing inventory never rises in Greater Boston.”

However, there are now signs of change appearing in the market. At the end of October 2015, the Greater Boston Association of Realtors (GBAR) reported that inventory levels are finally starting to slowly creep upward. Here are some market indicators to support that observation:

  • In September 2015, the decline in the number of single-family homes and condos for sale was smaller than for any other month of the year.
  • That trend resulted in the number of home listings dropping 10 percent and condo listings dipping 6.4 percent.
  • New listings rose for both detached single-family homes and condos, with improvement on both a year-to-year and month-to-month basis.
  • The number of homes and condos listed for sale in September 2015 each rose 11 percent compared to September 2014.
  • These numbers climbed even higher from August 2014—by 41 percent or almost 600 homes—in the market for single-family homes. The condo market saw a rise of 56 percent, or approximately 500 units.

“In 2015, Boston added seven major rental apartment communities and over l,800 new apartments to its rental inventory, with more to come in 2016 and 2017,” said Annette Clement, Executive Vice President and General Manager at Furnished Quarters in Massachusetts.  Clement added that the additional apartment inventory also means that Furnished Quarters—the largest provider of temporary furnished apartments in Boston—has been able to find a greater variety of new apartment types and locations for the company’s furnished inventory.

A look at Boston’s luxury market gives a hint of the softening that may be to come for other sectors as well. Curbed Boston reported in September 2015 that up to 2,200 luxury apartments opened in downtown Boston during the year, creating something of a glut in availability of these higher-end units. With so many of such apartments now available, it has now become a tenants’ market, with landlords and brokers scrambling to fill these pricey digs. Evidence of this shift includes a plethora of incentives now being offered to potential renters, from free months to no broker fees.

Why the Change?

To understand further what’s behind the slight turnaround in Boston’s overall inventory, it’s important to evaluate what market forces led to the city’s longstanding shortage of homes and condos in the first place. A few of the reasons that led to the deficit included:

  • Imbalances in new construction. Boston Agent noted in the spring of 2015 that 90 percent of new construction was directed toward rentals, with the majority targeted to multi-family rather than single-family housing. What’s more, new construction, as noted above, has focused mainly on the luxury market, which remains unaffordable for less affluent consumers.
  • Equity issues. RealtyTrac reports that there are still over 7 million homeowners who are delinquent on their mortgage, with millions more remaining too deep underwater to sell their home. It is estimated that around one-third of homeowners currently face such equity issues, which prevents many homes from getting listed.
  • Chicken and the egg. When inventory is low, potential sellers may be reluctant to part with their current home due to fear of not finding a property of comparable quality. If homeowners with the necessary equity and the desire to sell won’t sell their homes for this reason, the inventory stays low.

Fortunately, these forces are beginning to shift. MarketWatch reported in October that “the greater Boston real estate market appears to have reached a level of stability—or altitude—where buyers and sellers can confidently achieve their goals.” GBAR noted that as supply levels begin to build back up, the increased inventory will start to create additional opportunities for buyers.

“When there was a dearth of homes available for sale, many potential buyers chose to live in temporary furnished apartments until they could find just what they were looking to buy,” said Clement. “With the recent increase in inventory, brokers who assist our relocating clients now are having an easier time finding their clients apartment rentals or homes to purchase.”

Such trends are in fact already in the works, as evidenced from the latest pending sales data. September 2015 figures showed that the number of contracted single-family homes increased six months in a row, increasing nearly 30 percent over the past year. This led Boston to a new record-high for September of 1,350 homes placed under contract. Pending sales in the condo market showed similar improvement registering seven straight months of increase, with the number of contracts rising 7 percent during 2015 to 895 in September.

More Housing Opportunities in Boston

With more inventory becoming available throughout Greater Boston, more buyers and renters alike are finding this to be the right time to start thinking about how to take advantage of this growing real estate market. Because competition for housing in Boston remains very high, many considering buying or renting in this area choose to begin with temporary furnished housing.

The search for a permanent residence can often take longer than expected in this part of the country. Having a place to call home during your house hunt that’s conveniently located in the area that you plan to settle down in can ease stress both before and during moves.

The bottom line is, you don’t have to decide today how you want to invest in Boston’s thriving real estate market—you can get to know the city first by starting with short-term apartments in Boston to discover the best neighborhood for you. Call Furnished Quarters at 800-255-8117 to learn more about your options.

Development in Back Bay, Boston: The Highlights

An easy way to tell that a neighborhood is getting hotter is to look at its slate of real estate development. A glance at recent headlines about the large number of development projects in Boston’s Back Bay shows that this desirable section of the city—which incorporates the fashionable Newbury Street, Boylston Street, and Commonwealth Avenue—is rapidly elevating its status from “trendy” to “coveted.”

At-a-glance, here are some highlights of construction projects underway, new buildings going up, and significant renovations that exemplify the changing face of the Back Bay.

Eataly Signs Lease at the Prudential Center

It’s out with the old and in with the new at Boston’s Prudential Center, where the three-level Italian food complex Eataly will replace the Prudential food court in late 2016. The world-renowned “galleria of Italian gastronomy” from Mario Batali and partners will stretch 45,000 feet, and will include space in a newly constructed building. The Italian food emporium will feature a new entrance into a café from Boylston Street, a rooftop restaurant and brewery, multiple quick and full-service eateries, and a gourmet marketplace. The addition of Eataly is expected to draw other new stores to the Prudential as well.

17-Story Office Building Under Construction at Prudential Center

In other news at the Prudential Center complex, construction began last summer on a 17-story office building at 888 Boylston Street. The project will lure new shops to the plaza next to the Hynes Convention Center, which incorporates about 60,000 square feet for retail stores. Natixis Global Asset Management signed a lease to occupy up to 150,000 square feet of the total 422,000 square feet of space. The new building will be the fourth office tower in the complex, filling the last vacant parcel that had been available alongside Prudential Tower, 111 Huntington Ave., and 101 Huntington Ave. Project completion is scheduled for June 2016.

Four Seasons Hotel and Residential Building Coming to Back Bay

More construction is in progress not far down the road, where real estate developer Carpenter and Company is erecting a $700 million skyscraper bordering the Prudential Center and the Christian Science Plaza. The resulting 61-story building will become home to a Four Seasons Hotel as well as private residencies—and standing nearly 700 feet tall will become the tallest residential building in all of Boston. In fact, 1 Dalton will actually be the highest skyscraper built in New England since the early seventies, with only the John Hancock Tower and the Prudential Center standing taller. The new Back Bay addition of the Four Seasons will be the second Four Seasons Hotel in Boston. Construction is scheduled to wrap up at the end of 2017. The private residencies are expected to be pricey, offering views from the upper levels of the Charles River, Back Bay, and Fenway.

New Residential Tower Planned for 30 Dalton Street

Another new neighbor to the Four Seasons at 1 Dalton will be the 30 Dalton Street Residencies, designed in collaboration by architects Cambridge Seven Associates and Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, teaming with the Pritzker Realty Group. The residential tower will stand 26 stories high, featuring 218 luxury rental units. The lobby of 30 Dalton will face a new park on Dalton Street, which is being constructed in conjunction with the project. The address will also be home to ground-level retail space facing Belvedere Street.

Upgrades at Avalon at the Prudential

Last summer, the opening of Avalon Exeter became AvalonBay’s first luxury Back Bay Boston apartment development. Overall, the Prudential Center residential development added not only 1,000 apartments to the Back Bay, but also 1,300 feet of retail space. The 28-story development of Avalon Exeter itself offers 187 apartments. The addition of Avalon Exeter kicked off a series of upgrades at Avalon’s other towers, including Avalon at the Prudential Center (Gloucester Building) at 770 Boylston Street and Avalon at the Prudential Center (Boylston Building) at 780 Boylston Street. Avalon at the Prudential also recently created their new AVA brand, AVA Back Bay, at 790 Boylston Street.

“The Avalon—which has the best location in all of Boston—has undergone multiple renovations over the last two years, with wonderful results,” said Annette Clement, Executive Vice President and General Manager at Furnished Quarters in Massachusetts.   “The AVA building has had the entrance, lobby, hallways, and common areas redone, with the addition of a resident’s lounge and direct access into the Prudential Mall. Next they will begin renovating the apartment interiors.”

Clement added that Avalon’s other two towers at 770 and 780 Boylston are also being revamped with a renovated hallway and entrance area, as well as a new state-of-the-art fitness center, and the coming-soon addition of in-unit washers and dryers. “All of these renovations make Avalon an even more desirable address,” said Clement.

These highlights of recent Back Bay development represent the tip of the iceberg. As reported in Metro, people are clamoring for Back Bay addresses—the Avalon Exeter was 30 percent pre-leased before construction even started. “Homes in the Back Bay virtually sell themselves,” reported Metro in 2014. That observation holds even truer today, as the new residential and commercial additions bring a level of luxury and opulence to the neighborhood that has never been seen before.

Looking to Settle Down in Back Bay?

If you’d like a taste of Back Bay before making your final decision, why not try a temporary furnished apartment in the area?  This way, you get to explore your future neighborhood while also finalizing the last details of your move.  For more information about short-term apartments in Boston’s Back Bay, call Furnished Quarters at 888-907-4109.

Cambridge Joins List of Boston’s Boomtowns

As reported in my last two posts on Fenway’s Boom and Boston’s Building Spree, “growth and development” is the name of the game in the city and surrounding areas. Cambridge is another hotspot that’s only getting hotter, fueled by the fact that the locale is the center of a statewide biotech boom.

“Cambridge has definitely benefited from the growing trend of high tech and biotech companies moving closer to the talent pools they want to recruit,” said Boston real estate agent David Bates. “There is significant development occurring in Cambridge right now to accommodate these companies.”

In August, Chemical & Engineering News called Boston “the hottest place on Earth for biotech,” noting that Cambridge is the epicenter of the action. Some facts behind this claim include:

  • Global pharma giant Pfizer announced in July that it will consolidate its operations in Cambridge to a 500,000 square-foot campus for about 1,000 employees in Kendall Square.
  • To create the Kendall Square research facility, Pfizer will be expanding its lease agreement with a subsidiary of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
  • Industry insiders gathered soon after Pfizer’s announcement at the RealShare Boston 2015 conference to discuss the expanding biotech real estate boom and how it will affect trends in the rest of the state.
  • Eli Lilly recently announced plans to establish a new drug delivery and device innovation center in Cambridge to enhance the global healthcare leader’s local presence and help attract top scientists and bio engineers. The Lilly Cambridge Innovation Center will be located in Kendall Square.
  • The influx of biotech firms into Cambridge has led to other companies being drawn into the area as well, including those that provide services to the tech industry.
  • The Worcester Business Journal Online reports that 15 of the top 20 global biotech/pharmaceutical companies are present in Massachusetts—but many are getting priced out of Cambridge and Kendall Square because of the competition for space.

With biotech becoming such big business, Cambridge’s growth is flourishing in other ways as well. The Cambridge City Council has been reviewing recommendations for the site of a potential 500-foot skyscraper in Kendall Square—which would be the first of such towers in the square, where the tallest building currently (the Department of Transportation’s Volpe Center ) stands 13 stories high.

Needless to say, along with Cambridge’s commercial growth comes residential growth. Bates noted that while median condo price points in Cambridge (2014: $580K) are tame compared to Back Bay, Midtown, and the South End, his research has shown that nearly three-quarters of Cambridge condos sold for more than the list price, and almost 20 percent of buyers paid at least 10 percent more than list. “The sparse inventory has sparked Cambridge buyers to go to extreme lengths to buy the homes they want in Cambridge,” said Bates. In 2013, Bates reported in Curbed on a buyer—rumored to be a billionaire—who famously paid more than a million dollars over the asking price to secure the Cambridge home he wanted.

Yet while Cambridge is the only Hub condo market to sell more than 1,000 condos in a year (1,041 in 2005), Bates noted that the number of Cambridge condo listings in recent years has been a “bust rather than a boom” due to inventory shortage. In the first seven months of 2015, Cambridge only sold 336 condos—around 20 condos fewer than it sold in the first seven months of 2014, a year in which only 661 Cambridge condos closed.

In his e-book Context 2015: 14 Hub Condo Markets, Bates reported that since 2011, median prices have increased nearly 40 percent in Cambridge. He also noted that the real estate market in Cambridge stands out for being “the most insane of all markets” when it comes to buyers paying substantially more than the asking price. In 2014, nearly 20 percent of buyers in Cambridge paid $50K over-ask. “As a result of the hysteria over newly listed condos, Cambridge brokers often hesitate to put out a full market price as the listing price and instead often opt for ‘restrained’ list prices that will provoke showings, offers, and extreme over-ask bids,” Bates wrote in his e-book.

As interest in the Cambridge area continues to surge, developers will increasingly cater to the preferences of their future residents. “Developers in this area typically use the mantra that residents want to live work and play in the same area,” said Bates. “For example, a lot of Cambridge residents use their bike as their main form of transportation. This might provoke a Davis Square BBQ restaurant to use a bike valet.”

From 2009-2014, the House Price Index (HPI) shows home prices for Cambridge saw a total appreciation of 10.6 percent. This hot market is not expected to fizzle any time soon. Real estate industry analysts predict the house price trend to continue its upward trajectory until at least the third quarter of 2017.

Cambridge Housing Opportunities

If you’re wondering how to get a foot in the door in the coveted areas of Cambridge, including Kendall Square, temporary furnished apartments in Cambridge are a smart way to go. Furnished Quarters offers convenience and style if you need short-term rentals in Boston, from our Watermark Kendall East, Watermark Kendall West, and Third Square residences in the heart of Kendall Square, to The Holmes Building and Landsdowne in the nearby Central Square and University Park areas. You can experience a short-term stay in Boston at these superior residences by contacting Furnished Quarters, the largest provider of temporary furnished apartments in the Greater Boston and the Greater NYC area. Call today at 800-255-8117 for more information.

Boston’s Real Estate Market: Fenway’s Boom

The Boston-based building spree is nothing new—but the rapid pace of its current acceleration of construction projects has now reached historic proportions. Earlier this year, The Boston Globe dubbed the current transformation of real estate in Boston as one of the city’s “great ages of development,” whose “enormity, pace, and geographic sweep are redefining the skyline faster than any period since the early Industrial Age.”

Boston Neighborhoods: Fenway

One of the neighborhoods experiencing the most growth is the Fenway. Home to Fenway Park and the Boston Red Sox, as well as to many of the city’s top cultural institutions like the Museum of Fine Arts and Symphony Hall, this central thoroughfare encircling the Back Bay Fens green space is becoming unrecognizable from its earlier incarnation. Just a few years back, Fenway’s Boylston Street was lined mainly with gas stations and fast-food franchises; today, towering luxury apartment buildings and trendy new restaurants are notable additions that have completely changed the neighborhood’s flavor.

Recent Zoning Changes

Boston real estate agent David Bates notes that the biggest reason for Fenway’s boom is the area’s recent zoning changes. “The single-story buildings on Fenway’s Boylston Street received a change in zoning a few years back and as a result, many of these buildings, like the former McDonalds, are being replaced by low-rise buildings,” said Bates. “This zoning change made it possible to put up larger, more exciting luxury apartment buildings with concierges and buildings with new and exciting retail, like Target,” said Bates. “What would you rather have, a McDonalds and parking lot or an 18-story luxury apartment building that has retail, restaurants, and a community center?”

Boston’s Luxury Real Estate: The Viridian

Fenway Triangle Trilogy kicked off the boom in luxury apartments, followed by 1330 Boylston. Construction began on The Viridian in January 2013 and the stunning upscale residence opened this May, with some units offering views directly into Fenway Park; not far down Boylston Street is Van Ness, another new development soon to begin serving residents. A flurry of posh new restaurants and retail shops—including the first Target in downtown Boston—have followed on the heels of these openings, increasing the area’s offerings and desirability for residents.

A Support to Boston’s Medical Community

According to Bates, the redevelopment of Fenway is not only good for people who live there, but for the medical community and students. Recently, the state of Massachusetts added a commuter rail in the Fenway, Yawkey Station, which helps many doctors, nurses, and researchers get to the nearby Longwood Medical Area. “I think growth of Fenway helps the medical community most, and the excellence of medical research and care is an important part of Boston’s economy and identity,” said Bates. “Fenway is also walking distance to numerous Boston colleges and universities. Fenway evolving also helps improve the quality of life of many students, and higher education is another internationally recognized strength of Boston.”

A Tight Market

As the neighborhood gets hotter, it becomes more difficult to get a foot in the door in Fenway. Bates notes that while the housing stock is dominated by rentals, in the part of Fenway that is “West of the Fens,” it has become increasingly difficult to find for-sale condominiums in recent years. “When they do come up, small one bedrooms around 550-650 square feet have been going in the high threes and low fours,” said Bates.

New Opportunities in Boston’s Real Estate Market

But the flurry of new luxury residences that have taken root on Boylston offer an opportunity for some prospective buyers that was previously missing. “It’s almost impossible to get a mid-rise building in the surrounding neighborhoods of Back Bay or South End or even Brookline,” said Bates. “The zoning changes in Fenway, however, opened up the opportunity to get several of these buildings into the Fenway.”

Curious about the Viridian?

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Boston’s Building Spree Continues

Anyone who lives in or visits Boston can’t help but notice one thing: almost every corner seems under construction. With cranes and work-in-progress steel structures seemingly everywhere that you look, the city is teeming with development.

A recent story in The Boston Globe reported that Boston’s current “building spree” has become historic, stating that its “enormity, pace, and geographic sweep are redefining the skyline faster than any period since the early Industrial Age.” The article identifies the Seaport District, the South End, North Station, and Dudley Square as neighborhoods that are experiencing some of the most rapid transformation.

Boston real estate agent David Bates recently referred to these sweeping changes as the “Boston real estate Kool-Aid,” noting that Boston real estate is undergoing a renaissance period. “Companies are coming, people are coming, families are staying and innovators are innovating,” Bates wrote in Curbed.

Here are some recent stats that reveal just how much Boston’s population, housing market, and businesses are on the rise:

  • In 2014, World Population Review reported that Boston’s population rose nearly 2% (adding nearly 30,000 people to reach about 646,000) in 2013 from its last recorded population in 2010—more growth than the city experienced in the eighties and nineties combined.
  • The Greater Boston area is home to around 4.5 million people, which makes it the 10th-largest metro area in the U.S.
  • At the end of 2014, 14.6 million square feet of new buildings were on the rise across the city of Boston.
  • Boston is gradually developing a taller skyline with five proposed towers of more than 600 feet, defying a 19th-century zoning code with height limits of 80-120 feet.
  • An unprecedented amount of new housing construction is underway in Boston, with 72 projects in progress, nearly 70% of which are residential buildings.
  • By 2018, about 8,000 new apartments are expected to be completed in Boston. This doubles the number built in large luxury buildings since the sixties.
  • The median selling price of condos rose to $619,000 in downtown Boston in 2014, up 12% over the previous year.
  • In the first 10 months of 2014, a survey conducted by Bates found that about 60% of Boston-based condos sold for at least their asking price, with buyers paying at least 1% above list price on close to half (43%) of these sales. One in five buyers surveyed paid at least 5% over the asking price, and one in 10 paid at least 10% over ask.
  • Foreign investment in commercial properties in Boston rose to $10.4 billion in 2014—more than doubling since 2013—ranking Boston sixth in the world in funds attracted from foreign sources.

Bates sums up how this total picture of Boston’s boom will affect real estate in 2015: “New neighborhoods will be created and old neighborhoods will be transformed; some commercial areas will become much more residential and some residential areas will become much more commercial. The skyline will grow and the infrastructure beneath will be improved. Retail, restaurants, pharmacies and supermarkets will arrive in their new city locations.” Boston Globe staff writer Casey Ross adds that “With our health care and academic institutions, we have a very compelling story to tell. I think we have a strong outlook for the next 10 years.”

More Housing Opportunities in Boston

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