Archive for the 'East Boston' Category

East Boston Real Estate Market Heats Up

The East Boston real estate market has been crazy lately, especially for three-family buildings.  Traditionally, most buyers have been owner occupants intending to live in one floor and rent out the other two.  Lately, some real estate speculators, developers and investors have perceived East Boston as being “hot,” and this has increased the number of people looking at properties.  This can be helpful if you are a seller and it can be helpful if a developer or investor buys a property and improves it.  New facades, apartment layouts, and physical improvements can only help a neighborhood and improve the quality of life for those who live in the properties. But it can make it quite difficult for an owner occupant looking to purchase a first home. It can also be hurtful for a neighborhood if a speculator purchases a property simply to wait for it to appreciate in value while not making significant improvements.

Some recent Tony’s Realty sales and listings give a glimpse of what is happening in the Jeffries Point neighborhood.  In January, we listed 74 Everett Street for $379,000.  This was a decent three-family of average size that needed a lot of renovation.  Over two dozen parties viewed the property and we received multiple offers, two from speculators / investors and one from an owner occupant.  The house went under agreement quickly and sold to an owner occupant for $377,000.   Last December, a smaller three-family on Everett Street sold for $317,000. This also was purchased by an owner occupant.  More recently, 34 Cottage Street, a completely renovated, beautiful brick three-family went on the market for $549,000 and had over 15 interested parties view it on one day of showings.  It had multiple offers and went under contract in one day.

Currently there is no shortage of local renters wanting to buy properties in East Boston.  There is also a plethora of investors, developers, and speculators who have a more recently developed enthusiasm for East Boston. When properties are listed, it is almost impossible to make individual appointments for viewers, so instead, they are more commonly presented in “group showings.”  It is not unusual for properties to receive multiple offers, especially within the first few days of being listed.  Sometimes these offers are at or above asking price. This frenzy of buyers has created a sense of confidence among sellers who are “watching the market” and sometimes reluctant to “sell their property now” if they think the market is “improving.”  The result has been a complete lack of inventory, and sadly, not enough properties available for many home buyers who want to make East Boston their home.

Please check back as we continue to update you on East Boston real estate happenings.  To see all our property for sale 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 Immigrants Bring Vibrancy to the Neighborhood

A recent NPR piece brings up a theme that has much to do with the East Boston of the past 25 years.  When Tony’s Realty first began selling houses and renting apartments in East Boston, its population was less than it is now—many children and grandchildren of longtime residents had moved away, and lots of small businesses and storefronts were vacant.  The public transportation system was underused, and our T stations were often loitering areas for questionable activity.

But the surge of the immigrant community from places such as Brazil, El Salvador, Colombia, and Guatemala has led to the elimination of vacant apartments, vacant storefronts, and desolate T stations.   Storefronts that were once boarded up are now filled with shops, salons, restaurants and other small businesses.  Instead of establishments closing down at 4 or 5pm, store owners are open until 10 at night.  And instead of taking a T ride home to a station with no one around, there are hundreds of T riders every day and every night on the T.  Similar to what’s described in the NPR story, East Boston’s immigrant community has helped keep our T stations utilized and safe, our empty apartments rented, our boarded-up storefronts open for business until late in the evening, and ultimately, our streets more safe because they are filled with the same neighbors who, day after day, have things to do, places to go, jobs to get too, etc. That has helped eliminate the desolate feeling of East Boston a la 1980s and has helped give our neighborhood a safe urban-village feel.  Enjoy the NPR piece!

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

Email Tony with your questions or comments.

Our Sincere Condolences to Maverick Square’s Roticería Cancun

Early this morning, Maverick Square’s Roticería Cancun, site of East Boston’s first Mexican Restaurant, had a fire that has, unfortunately, temporarily left it without a home.  We are saddened by the loss of such an important part of East Boston history, the temporary loss of a business that has made a strong positive contribution to the life of Maverick Square.

While no one was harmed by this morning’s fire, we know the loss in livelihood for the Betancourts, our tenants and the owners of Roticería Cancun, must weigh heavily on their minds—our sincere condolences go out to them.  It’s our hope Roticería Cancun is able to get back on its feet as soon as possible so that it can do what it’s always done well:  provide good fare at a reasonable cost to all who commute to and from the Square.  We encourage all to patronize Roticería Cancun, from whatever temporary location it operates, while the Betancourts rebuild their business in the Square.

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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Recent Immigrant Community Plays a Strong Role in East Boston’s Revitalization

East Boston has changed considerably over the last 25 years. In the mid 1980s, East Boston was still suffering from the departure of most small businesses and middle class families who moved to the suburbs. Urban gentrification that was budding in areas such as the North End and the South End did not reach this side of the harbor. There were many vacant apartments and storefronts; subway stations were underused and in poor condition; many landlords told horror stories of poor quality tenants. And property values and rents were extremely low.

East Boston’s most recent immigrant population started growing in the late 1980s. By the mid 1990s, like today, most small businesses and most multi-family properties were being purchased by recent immigrants. The average triple-decker price might have been $75,000 in the 1980s; today it is close to $350,000. Apartments that once rented for $300 or $500 now rent for close to $1,000 a month. Similarly, the “corner store” and other neighborhood businesses were blocked up and vacant in the late 1980s. Today, immigrants have revitalized much of the small business scene in East Boston.

While the recent immigrant population is not East Boston’s only community (we have a vibrant long standing community in East Boston and a growing young professional community), it is important to note the positive role recent immigrants have played in East Boston’s housing demand and vibrant small business community. They have made a hefty contribution to East Boston’s strong property values, both on the residential as well as the commercial side.

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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City of Boston Should Consider Periodic Smoke Detector Inspections

Last week’s multi-family fire in East Boston that resulted in two deaths is a terrible tragedy.  Sadly, it’s not hard to imagine something similar happening in many East Boston buildings.  Because East Boston properties are densely populated and extremely close to one another, it might be time for the City of Boston to take pioneering steps in fire prevention, and perhaps as a community we should encourage it.  The City of Boston should consider requiring regular periodic inspections (annually or biennially) to make sure every residential unit has properly installed and functioning smoke detectors.

While the Gove Street property may have had adequately installed and properly functioning smoke detectors, it’s not hard to imagine there are East Boston properties that do not.  Most units are equipped with smoke detectors, but over time batteries are sometimes removed if an alarm sounds off while cooking or sometimes batteries are not changed on a regular basis.  And occasionally, smoke detectors are placed in wrong locations.  When faced with leaky roofs, falling snow, freezing pipes, or other property management issues, proper smoke detector installation and maintenance can often be overlooked.  The City of Boston should consider inspecting every residential unit on a regular periodic basis to make sure homes are in compliance with smoke detector laws.  While this might be considered expensive, an inspection cost can be passed on to a homeowner or landlord.  Property owners pay mortgages, taxes, water bills and insurance.  An extra $100 per year, or whatever a smoke detector inspection might cost, would be negligible when added to other annual expenses.  It would be no different than already required annual automobile inspections.  And perhaps the annual awareness about the importance of functioning and properly installed smoke detectors could save future lives.

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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Successful Sellers Disclose Home Defects Before a Sale

After a seller accepts a buyer’s offer on a property and it is considered “under agreement” there are still some hurdles involved before a deal actually closes…a common one is the home inspection. Buyers should always hire a professional home inspector to perform an inspection within a week after an offer is accepted. Sellers should always check over their home for any defects, before a property is put up for sale and marketed, and should disclose those defects to their realtor or prospective buyers in advance. While it is ideal to fix leaky plumbing and touch up peeling paint, there are some major repairs a seller might not be able to do…and that is okay. If a foundation needs additional support, a roof is older, bricks need pointing, or a basement has asbestos, there is nothing wrong with placing a house up for sale as long as those defects are revealed in advance. It is much better to present a property as older with some imperfections and to sell it “as is” than to say nothing and have a buyer discover those defects at a home inspection resulting in a buyer informing the SELLER of a property’s defects. When unknown issues are discovered in a home inspection, it is not unusual for a buyer to request a seller to either fix them or give fair monetary compensation towards necessary repairs. Similarly, if a seller is marketing a property as “totally renovated” or “brand new,” it is important a seller respond cooperatively and be willing to make repairs for any minor imperfections discovered during a home inspection such as a leaky faucet, a broken appliance, or poorly installed cabinetry. Only after a home inspection process is over and all issues have been resolved, can a buyer and seller then proceed with their deal.

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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