OverAsk | Boston: Pandemic during a Bear Market

Bear Market, Pandemic and Boston Real Estate | March 2020

You're inundated with updates on the ever evolving COVID situation along with the equity market's wild ride so we'll spare you "updates" on these subjects. Instead, we're dedicating this edition of OverAsk to better understanding what impact these two pivotal events may have on Boston's real estate market. In line with our mission of providing continued value to our clients, we highlight four properties that we're bringing to market and are please to give you first access.  As real estate professionals, our business and way of effectively serving our clients and community has been impacted so we're pivoting to ensure we continue to deliver the excellent service and information clients have come to expect from us, allowing you to continue making informed decisions during these times of uncertainty.  We hope you find this information valuable and we're always open for feedback, ideas or questions, on any topic. You can send us a note here

The Immediate Impact and Our Pivot

The city is in full lockdown so we've hit the pause button for in-person showings and open houses. These are two important elements of our profession so we must pivot. The Impact: In-person showings and open houses are on hold for immediate future  The Pivot: We are doubling down on digital content and continuing to be your eyes and ears on the ground Digital Content

When meeting with prospective sellers or landlords, we emphasize that the first showing for their property will happen online. This has not changed! In fact, we're preparing for an increase in reliance on digital elements to showcase property. Moving forward, we will be doubling down on our digital footprint for all of our listings.

This will include an increased use and promotion of virtual tours (3D walkthroughs), video and photography. Paid digital placement for ads will be increased.  Eyes and Ears

We know Boston very well. The team has collectively lived in the city for 26+ years and during that time we've developed a keen understanding of the nuances of neighborhoods, streets, buildings and the lifestyle afforded by the combination of those elements. Now more than ever, we are here to be your eyes and ears. We have sold a dozen or so properties and rented countless apartments sight-unseen. While little beats the emotion of standing in a property, our communication combined with our hyper-local neighborhood expertise, experience in construction and renovation, allow us to paint a clear picture for prospective buyers or renters.

It's our continued commitment to ensure you're confident in the moves you're making. Just this past week, we secured housing for a handful of clients despite location and showing restrictions. 

Market Movement: Short and Mid-term

We've been asked many times how has the market is responding from a listing/inventory perspective. As you likely know, Boston has been running on a short supply of quality inventory.  We feel the shortage of listings is going to be exacerbated in the near future. We've seen listings being pulled from the market at an increased albeit not alarming rate. On the flip side, we're seeing a slow in new property coming to market as sellers feel out the new environment. The good news? People will need to sell, buy and rent in Boston, regardless of the economic, social or financial situations (elaborated in The Future section below).  The pace at which people rent, buy and sell may slow in the near-term as buyers are less likely to be out visiting properties.  We were on the cusp of the Spring market as the pandemic was striking so there likely are properties that have postponed listing of which we cannot account for. Delayed listings could result in an influx of inventory in a few months when the situation normalizes. 

The Future of Real Estate in Boston

Ok, we don't actually have a crystal ball so have to base our predictions on the information we do have at hand. Boston and the surrounding suburbs benefit from a robust economic trifecta consisting of education, medicine (+ life science) and tech (+ investment firms). This has historically helped to buffer the city's real estate market from major economic downturns both short and long.

Did you know that Back Bay has one of the highest equity-to-value ratios in all of the country? Roughly 1/3 of homes in Back Bay are owned outright, paid for in cash. As the saying goes, Cash is King, especially during economic downturns.   Education and medicine are particularly robust during time of economic uncertainty and are responsible for a certain basis of demand that seldom wanes. 

These industries represent continued demand from a rental and purchase perspective. Case in point, we spoke with clients this week who've accepted a medical residency in Boston and we're moving forward with their purchase plans. Life will continue in Boston and we will adjust the sails.

So how will values be affected? If you look at what creates value for a property, beyond the physical elements, you end up with lifestyle, community and  sentiment of the future demand based on the aforementioned aspects. 

Opportunities: Coming Soon Listings

We are excited to provide you with first access to four properties we are bringing to market. A few of these are great income generating investments and all have prime locations with quick access to public transportation, universities and hospitals.  Allston Investment

This renovated 1-bedroom condo is perched in the corner of a beautiful brick building that has stood the test of time, turning 100 years old this year. The unit itself has been renovated and boasts great light, a dozen windows and prime access Harvard, BU, Saint Elizabeth's Hospital and the green line is at the front door. Currently rented for $2300/month, this home will be offered at 400k.  Fenway Investment

Purchasing in the Fenway neighborhood provides investors access to one of the strongest rental markets in the country. The proximity to universities, hospitals and companies in Boston is unprecedented. This property received a gut-renovation combining two homes into a single 2-bed 2-bath penthouse duplex. The condo offers a dozen windows, three skylights and is tenanted at $3200/month. This prime investment property would be right at home in any savvy investor's portfolio. Pricing will be around the 800k mark. Tremont on the Commons Presenting a beautiful 1 bedroom condo that offers unrivaled views of Boston Commons from it's location on the 16th floor of Tremont on the Commons. If you don't know, TOC is located on the Commons and provides all of the benefits of living in Downtown/Theatre District: A plethora of restaurants and entertainment, access to all T lines within a few minutes as well as being walking distance from Beacon Hill, Financial District, South End, Back Bay, and Bay Village. Millennium Place

Millennium Place is the luxury condo building that served as a tipping point for full-service "lifestyle" properties in the city. A few had come before however when MP was delivered in 2016, Boston was on the precipice of solidifying itself as an international city with lifestyle property to rival offerings in NYC and beyond.  The condo we have coming to market has 2 beds and 2 baths with a corner placement on the quiet side of the building. You'll forget you're in the middle of a city living at Millennium Place. You'll enjoying the outstanding club room amenities such as the gym, theatre, spa treatment rooms, bar and lounge. All covered by 24/7 concierge, Millennium Place offers one of THE best value propositions for full-service buildings in the city. Pricing TBD  To learn more about these and other exciting pre-market opportunities, send us an email, text or call Andrew 617-417-2047