FHA Plans to Back More Condo Loans - What Will the Effects Be?

The FHA plans to back 60,000 additional condo loans each year on top of the roughly 16,000 it already backs. So what exactly does that mean? In short, an FHA-backed loan only requires a 3.5% down payment and they often lend to people with lower credit scores. Both of these things combined will allow more first-time home buyers to enter the market because they don’t need to save as large a down payment or build up their credit history. This is especially true in larger cities across the US where home prices are rising and preventing many from entering the market. Read this article from the Wall Street Journal to discover what experts are saying the pros and cons of this policy are.

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Boston Luxury Condos: Rising Prices as Number of Sales Drops

When you take a look at the luxury condo market in Boston, there is no sign of prices stagnating or dropping anytime soon. A recent market report from the second quarter of 2019 showed that the average sale price of luxury condos in the downtown area is up 22.8% annually and the median sale price is up 21% annually. The report attributes the rise in prices to a decrease in the number of sales which is down 14.9% annually. To read more, click here.

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A New Type of Rental Investment

Roofstock, a California-based company founded in 2014, is offering people a new type of of investment opportunity in which accredited investors can buy partial ownership in single-family rental homes. Since the crash more than a decade ago, people have become more interested in owning rental properties, but that is often accompanied with many headaches being a landlord. Roofstock takes those headaches out of the equation by acting as the property manager and investors are able to enter the rental ownership market at a lower cost. To read more about this interesting idea, click here.

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Is Renting Cheaper Than Buying?

Despite the cost of rent rising 3% nationally in the past year, 82% of renters say renting is still more affordable than owning a home, according to a recent article from CNBC. This is especially true in major cities such as New York and Washington DC. To find out more about why renters feel this way, click here.

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Garrett Hogan
Boston's Housing Crisis Is Attracting Investors

Boston is facing a major housing crisis due to the lack of housing supply. Rents are on the rise not just in Boston, but in the suburbs around Boston as well and vacancy rates are around 3%. While it is a bad situation for renters in the area, investors from all around the country are looking to take advantage of the market by purchasing multifamily properties. To read more, click here.

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Can Millennials Afford Homes?

Millennials are in quite a different position than their parents and grandparents were when it comes to the prospect of buying a home. A recent report showed that in 1975, it took 9 years for someone earning the median salary to save up for a 20% down payment on a home (assuming they saved 5% of their income per year) and now it takes 14 years. This change is even more extreme in well-known cities across the US - 43 years in Los Angeles, 40 years in San Francisco, 36 years in New York, and 30 years in Boston. There are many reasons why this is the case such as a scarcity of housing and restrictive zoning laws. To read more, check out this article that summarizes Unisom’s report about the increasing gap between income and real estate prices.

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The Problem with Boston's Zoning Approval Process

If you ask any developer in Boston what they think of the zoning approval process, I would guess that one of their first comments would be about how “political” it can be. A recent report by researcher Amy Dain looked at the zoning laws of 100 communities around Boston and found that “over a two-year period from 2015 to 2017, only 14% of multifamily units in the greater Boston communities Dain studied were permitted "by right".” That means the other 86% of projects were subject to the discretion of zoning boards - zoning boards that are often influenced by local politics. For a quick overview of the report’s findings, check out this article. For the full report, click here.

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A Guide to Pre-Fab Building

There is a lot to consider when building a home and one of the first questions you might ask is whether to build directly on-site or pre-fab. Of course there are pros and cons to both options and if you are not in the home building business yourself, it might seem like an even more daunting decision. While a bit lengthy, this article does a great job of going through the decision making process and what to do if you ultimately want to buy a pre-fab home.

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Does Rent Control Work?

The thought of rent control often evokes strong emotional reactions regardless of whether you support or oppose it. Anyone who has ever rented a home can relate to the feeling of disappointment (or even frustration and anger) when you receive notification of an impending rent increase. Rent control is often discussed in politics as a social issue. But when you take a step back and look at the bigger picture, there are many economic consequences when rent control is implemented and/or ceased, many of which end up hurting the very people that rent control was intended to help. This Freakonomics episode discusses exactly why rent control does not work and we highly recommend you take a listen.

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A Good Month for Home Building

After a few down months at the start of 2019, the construction of housing finally saw an uptick in April. Housing starts rose 5.7% across the country and “building in the Northeast increased at the fastest pace in nearly two years.” Take a read through this article for more commentary on these statistics.

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Where Are First-Time Homeowners Buying in Boston?

Many are saying that there already is and will continue to be a wave of first-time homeowners looking to plant some roots in Boston. The economy is diverse and let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to live in the city of champions? But a bustling economy comes with a competitive real estate market and homes are often selling above the asking price. Check out this article to see what neighborhoods in and around Boston first-time homeowners are looking to buy.

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Tension in Eastie - Can It Be Resolved?

Every developer in Boston knows what a hot market Eastie has become in the past five or so years. Every developer in Boston also knows that this development has been met with a lot of pushback from Eastie locals. But is that pushback merited? This article in Boston Magazine provides some great insight into the dynamics between locals, developers, and millennials and explains why a little understanding and appreciation of Eastie’s past might go a long way in bringing everyone together.

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2019 Home Design Trends

With 2019 already well underway, we are taking a moment to get acquainted with some of the design trends we are seeing this year. From paint colors to kitchen design to tile options, there are a lot of decisions to be made when designing a home. Here are what the experts we like to follow are saying about 2019 design trends…

Scout & Nimble: Interior Design Trends of 2019

Emily Henderson: Kitchen Trends for 2019

Decor Aid: 20 Home Design Trends for 2019

Elle Decor: Top Color Trends of 2019

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Solutions to Boston's Housing Shortage

As many people living in and around Boston are aware, there just doesn’t seem to be enough housing to accommodate all the professionals, students, families, and longtime locals that live here. While it’s easy for all of us to get frustrated with increasing costs of housing and the seemingly shortage of it, we should all take a second to read what local officials, zoning boards, developers, activists, and private institutions are already doing to address this issue. This article summarizes a few solutions already underway.

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The Low-Down on Pre-Fab Homes

With escalating costs associated with building on-site, we have decided to work with a modular home builder for our project in Chelsea, MA. But before making this decision, we spent a lot of time researching the pros and cons of shifting from on-site construction to this pre-fab option.

The US is far behind other countries in adopting this way of building, partly due to the stigma associated with “pre-fab” homes. However, the time and cost savings far outweigh this drawback. Take a look at this article to get the low-down on the various types of pre-fab homes and the benefits of each.

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