Archive for the 'Property Values' Category

Renovated Three-Families Can Fetch $100,000 More than Similar Non-Renovated Properties in East Boston

In March, 101 Chelsea Street, a renovated 3,440 square foot three-family sold for $373,000; similarly in May, 502 Sumner Street, an unrenovated 3,351 square foot triple-decker sold for $280,000. Both were 4-5-5 style three-family properties. While 101 Chelsea Street was on the market for just 20 days, it took 51 days to sell 502 Sumner Street, in the heart of Jeffries Point—one of the most sought after locations for East Boston real estate.

There is about a $100,000 range in sale prices between newer and older three family homes of the same size (4-5-5). While most sell for about $325,000, they can sell for much less (as low as $275,000) or much more (perhaps as much as $400,000), if necessary repairs have been made. Sought after improvements are new roofs, central gas heating systems, replacement windows, new or updated rear porches, de-leading, plaster walls and ceilings, and newer kitchens and bathrooms. Every seller should know that any improvements made will result in a higher selling price. Even if you are thinking of selling in a few years, replacing an old furnace, repairing rear porches, or updating a bathroom now will result in selling for a higher price when you decide to move.

Please check back as we continue to update you on East Boston real estate happenings.  To see all our listings, or to search MLS properties, head to the Tony’s Realty Website.

Email Tony with your questions or comments

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East Boston…Up and Coming?

There has been an ongoing debate over the past 25 years as to whether East Boston is “up and coming,” or not. While waterfront development has been slow, and Pottery Barn and Starbucks have yet to arrive, it is important to note that in the last 25 years East Boston has had a strong real estate market fueled primarily by our safe streets, five T stations that provide easy access to mainland Boston, and the continued development of green open space such as Piers Park, the Greenway, and Bremen Street Park.

In 1985, the average triple-decker sold for about $75,000. Today, a standard 4-5-5 three-family sells between $300,000 and $350,000. Unlike 25 years ago, most properties are purchased by owner occupants. In the late 1980s, about 1,000 East Boston condos were developed and almost all of them were sold to speculators. Today, about 98% of all well developed, well constructed condominiums sell to owner occupants, most of whom are young professionals—an almost nonexistent market 25 years ago. Today, older, rundown two, three and four family homes as well as commercial buildings such as the former GE building on Porter Street are successfully converted into high quality housing. While businesses were boarded up and vacant in the 1980s, there are almost no vacant storefronts in East Boston today. Similarly, the vacancy rate for apartments is almost zero. Hopefully in the next few years renovations and new construction will continue to meet the needs of business owners, apartment renters and homebuyers who have been steadily seeking and willing to pay for high quality housing and business space in East Boston.

Please check back as we continue to update you on East Boston real estate happenings.  To see all our listings, or to search MLS properties, head to the Tony’s Realty Website.

Email Tony with your questions or comments

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East Boston Condos Sell at Higher Price Per Unit than Triple-Deckers

In 2009, 83 three-families sold in East Boston. Of these, only 5 sold for over $400,000. Three were large and had ample parking, one was completely renovated, and another was a large Victorian on Webster Street overlooking Boston Harbor. There were only another 5 homes that sold for more than $350,000. Most of these were totally renovated and in excellent condition. The remaining 73 three-families sold for under $350,000, or for under $117,000 per unit.

In 2009, 99 condominiums sold in East Boston, many of which were 800 to 1,000 square foot condos in triple-deckers or small buildings. They sold between $180,000 and $220,000. Many wonder why triple-deckers don’t sell for similar prices per unit as condos (between $540,000 and $660,000 per triple-decker). The main reason three-families sell for much less per unit than condos is because the “average East Boston triple-decker” is in poor condition. Most condos have been totally renovated, but many East Boston triple-deckers are about 100 years old, and many have not had updates in 30, 40, or 50 years. It is not unusual to find apartments with 19th century layouts, walls covered in paneling, original ceilings covered with suspended cardboard, outdated electricity, heating systems with older furnaces, apartments without central heat but with “gas on gas” stoves and space heaters, porches that need to be rebuilt, lead paint that needs to be removed, basements that retain water, foundations and brick facades that need pointing, older windows that should be replaced, and kitchens and bathrooms that should be renovated. And many East Boston triple-deckers have not been painted or wallpapered in decades. If East Boston three-families placed on the market had repairs done to them for many of the above mentioned deferred maintenance issues, they could sell for more money, perhaps closer to the prices per unit of many of the newly renovated condos that have been steadily selling in East Boston.

Please check back as we continue to update you on East Boston real estate happenings.  To see all our listings, or to search MLS properties, head to the Tony’s Realty Website.

Email Tony with your questions or comments.

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East Boston 2009 Condo Sale Prices Remain Strong

In 2009, East Boston had a significant number of condominium sales. Of the 99 condos sold in 2009, only 13 were bank owned and 2 were short sales. Eighty-four of the 99 condos sold last year were sold by “regular sellers” to buyers, most of whom were owner occupants who chose East Boston as their home. While the East Boston condo market is supposedly more depressed than its 2004 and 2005 peaks, it has not taken as big a hit as one might think. The 2009 average condominium sale price was $226,031 with an average price per square foot of $243. In 2004, only 58 condominiums were sold with an average price of $224,467 and an average price per square foot of $253. In 2005, East Boston saw a condo sale price peak with 105 sales averaging $250,723 and an average price per square foot of $277.

East Boston’s average condo sale price in 2009 was only about a 10.5% drop from the average condo sale price in 2005. By contrast, the average sale price for an East Boston three-family plunged almost 50% from a 2005 high of $494,384 to a 2009 low of $248,266. It is evident there is a strong demand in East Boston for new or renovated properties in excellent condition, such as the many condominiums that have been sold and recently renovated, and there is less tolerance for older triple-deckers with poor layouts and deferred maintenance—unlike four or five years ago when buyers ignored many defects. The good news is that the overall demand and price paid for East Boston properties in excellent condition, as reflected in 2009 condominium sales, remains significantly strong.

Please check back as we continue to update you on East Boston real estate happenings.  To see all our listings, or to search MLS properties, head to the Tony’s Realty Website.

Email Tony with your questions or comments.

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Short Sales at Artificial Prices Hurt the East Boston Market

Two recent property sales in East Boston exemplify how short sales can contribute to a neighborhood’s plummeting property values. Recently, two of East Boston’s largest and finest triple-deckers were put up for sale and sold for about $100,000 less than market value in less than a week, without giving potential buyers an opportunity to bid or pay true market value for these properties. In both cases, the real estate agents listed and sold the properties quickly to their own buyers and then proceeded to negotiate with their sellers’ banks in order to have sale prices accepted and the sellers relieved of mortgage debt.

61 Homer Street is a large three-family with four parking spaces. It was listed on May 14 for $400,000; an offer was accepted on May 15. It sold on September 21 for $315,000. The City of Boston’s assessed value was $412,600. It could have sold on the open market for about $425,000. Similarly, 127 Princeton Street, a large three-family, was listed on August 21 for $499,000. It had an accepted offer on August 24. It sold on September 14 for $258,000. The City of Boston’s assessed value was $346,400. It could have sold on the open market for about $350,000.

By accepting artificially low sales prices of $315,000 and $258,000, lenders on these properties allowed sellers to walk away from debts and allowed real estate agents to limit sales to their own buyers and earn larger commissions than they otherwise would have. Meanwhile, neighborhood values were hurt. If lenders had required these properties to stay on the market for at least one to two weeks at somewhere near their market or assessed values, these properties could have sold for more money, creating documented sales at higher prices. It would then be easier for other buyers to obtain fair appraisals of properties purchased from “regular sellers” and easier for homeowners who are looking to refinance, the opportunity to obtain decent and fair appraisals on their properties. The sale of two of the neighborhood’s largest and finest triple-deckers at artificially low prices will have a lasting negative impact on homeowners throughout East Boston. While two homeowners might have been relieved of their debts, the neighborhood is paying the price.

Please check back as we continue to update you on East Boston real estate happenings.  To see all our listings, or to search MLS properties, head to the Tony’s Realty Website.

Email Tony with your questions or comments.

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Lamson Street Condos Sell with Right Pricing

Despite recent talk that the national real estate market has collapsed, there are indications that there is a strong demand in East Boston for excellent, well-constructed residential properties. This is evident in the recent sales of three Lamson Hill Condominiums located at 1 Lamson Street in Jeffries Point, which recently sold between $385,000 and $392,500. A fourth and final unit is currently under agreement.

Located in an almost entirely rebuilt fourplex overlooking Jeffries Point’s Brophy Park, these four condominium units offer fine amenities: gleaming hardwood floors, gourmet chef kitchens with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, central air conditioning, 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, rental parking (included in a reasonable condo fee), square footage between 1,684 and 1,757, and a top notch location. In 2008, these units went on the market with asking prices in the high $400,000’s; they did not sell. In January 2009, they were marketed with new prices between $389,900 and $409,000, and within several months they all sold.

While a current demand might not exist in East Boston for million dollar condominiums or homes, there is a steady and strong demand for well built, designed, constructed, and located housing. It appears that properties meeting these criteria will not remain unsold.

Please check back as we continue to update you on East Boston real estate happenings. To see all our listings, or to search MLS properties, head to the Tony’s Realty Website.

Email Tony with your questions or comments.

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Large Non Short Sale Three-Families Sell Quickly in East Boston

In East Boston, there is an increased demand for larger three-family homes in decent condition that are not short sales.  Most sales taking place recently have been short sales (in a short sale, a seller attempts to sell a property at market value, which is less than what is owed on a mortgage, and asks the bank to forgive the difference between the amount owed to the bank and the amount a buyer is willing to pay).  Short sales are sometimes not approved, and approvals can take three to six months.  There are many buyers unwilling to attempt a short sale purchase, but who instead want to buy a “non short sale property” from a “regular seller” so that a sale can take place in the normal 45-day time frame.

Recently, some larger three families in East Boston, which have not been short sales, have sold for higher prices than many short sales.  A large 4,128 square foot three-family with a driveway at 641 Bennington Street near Orient Heights recently sold for $350,000.  Another large 3,553 square foot three-family at 222 East Eagle Street sold in January for $320,000.  A large 4,764 square foot home at 358 Meridian Street was recently listed at $325,000 and went under agreement in just 24 days.  Similarly, a large 4,632 square foot three-family at 316 Saratoga Street was listed at $325,000 and went under agreement in just 6 days. (The last two properties have not yet sold; most properties that go under agreement within 30 days sell within 90% to 100% of asking price.)

East Boston has a shortage of large three-family properties on the market and in good condition that are not short sales.  Regular sellers will find that even in these tough economic times, there is a strong demand for large three-families in good condition in the $300,000 to $350,000 price range.  They tend to sell quickly.

Please check back as we continue to update you on East Boston real estate happenings. To see all our listings, or to search MLS properties, head to the Tony’s Realty Website.

Email Tony with your questions or comments.

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