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      Compass Contemplations for Monday

      DID YOU KNOW? Bigger state and local tax collections, propelled in part by an acceleration in sales-tax receipts from consumer spending, is boosting capital projects and driving a municipal borrowing boom. Spending on transportation infrastructure in October was up 15% from a year earlier. State tax revenues grew 6.3% in the second quarter of 2018 compared with an average second-quarter growth rate of 2.5% for the previous eight years Local infrastructure spending may accelerate. (WSJ)

      DID YOU KNOW? Apple is also expanding its presence in San Diego as part of its plan to expand its operations across the country. While its $1 billion campus in Austin, Texas made headlines this week, it will also "establish new sites" in San Diego, Seattle, and Culver City, California. The San Diego, Seattle and Culver City sites would each have more than 1,000 workers, Apple announced. Apple will add 20,000 jobs in the U.S. by 2023. (10news)

      DID YOU KNOW? Approximately 80% of all population growth since 2000 in Texas has been in the four large metropolitan areas: Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin and Houston. Between 2000 and 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, Austin expanded its employment by over 50%, while Houston, Dallas and San Antonio grew above 30%, more than twice the growth of New York and three time that of San Francisco and Los Angeles. Texas added 3 million people between 2010 and 2016 - including 940,000 migrants from other states. In comparison, California lost more than 500,000 domestic migrants to other states and New York lost nearly one million.  Since 2000, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston grew by under 10%. (Daily Beast)

      “We don’t have any of the early signs of recession. Yet, we have a market where despite 20% earnings growth, the price-earnings ratios have fallen 20%. This tells us the market is pricing in recession in 2019. We just don’t think that is going to happen.” - Steve Chiavarone, Federated

       DID YOU KNOW? New York, Connecticut, Louisiana, California, Florida, and Massachusetts ranked worst in income inequality. The fastest growing income inequality is in Montana, California, Maine, Rhode Island and Idaho. (CNBC)

      The Net Worth of a Homeowner is 44x Greater Than A Renter!

      The Net Worth of a Homeowner is 44x Greater Than A Renter! | MyKCM

      Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts their Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. Their latest survey data, covering 2013-2016 was recently released.

      The study revealed that the median net worth of a homeowner was $231,400 – a 15% increase since 2013. At the same time, the median net worth of renters decreased by 5% ($5,200 today compared to $5,500 in 2013).

      These numbers reveal that the net worth of a homeowner is over 44 times greater than that of a renter.

      Owning a home is a great way to build family wealth

      As we’ve said before, simply put, homeownership is a form of ‘forced savings.’ Every time you pay your mortgage, you are contributing to your net worth by increasing the equity in your home.

      That is why, for the fifth year in a row, Gallup reported that Americans picked real estate as the best long-term investment. This year’s results showed that 34% of Americans chose real estate, followed by stocks at 26% and then gold, savings accounts/CDs, or bonds.

      Greater equity in your home gives you options

      If you want to find out how you can use the increased equity in your home to move to a home that better fits your current lifestyle, let’s get together to discuss the process.

      Dreaming of a Luxury Home? Now's the Time!

      Dreaming of a Luxury Home? Now's the Time! | MyKCM

      If your house no longer fits your needs and you are planning on buying a luxury home, now is a great time to do so! Recently, the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing released its Luxury Market Report which showed that in today’s premium home market, buyers are in control.

      The inventory of homes for sale in the luxury market far exceeds the number of people searching to purchase these properties in many areas of the country. This means that homes are often staying on the market longer or can be found at a discount.

      Those who have a starter or trade-up home to sell will find buyers competing, and often entering bidding wars, to be able to call their house their new home.

      The sale of your starter or trade-up house will help you come up with a larger down payment for your new luxury home. Even a 5% down payment on a million-dollar home is $50,000.

      But not all who are buying luxury properties have a home to sell first.

      A recent Bloomberg article gave some insight into what many millennials are choosing to do:

      “A new generation of affluent homebuyers powered by a surge in inherited wealth is driving the luxury-home market, demanding larger spaces and fancier finishes, according to a report heralding ‘the rise of the new aristocracy.’”

      Bottom Line

      The best time to sell anything is when demand is high, and supply is low. If you are currently in a starter or trade-up house that no longer fits your needs and you are looking to step into a luxury home, now’s the time to list your house for sale and make your dreams come true.

      4 Reasons Spring is a Great Time to Buy a Home!

      4 Reasons Spring is a Great Time to Buy a Home! | MyKCM

      Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting.

      Prices Will Continue to Rise

      CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 6.6% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.3% over the next year.

      The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

      Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

      Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage hovered close to 4.0% in 2017. Most experts predict that rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase by nearly a full percentage point by this time next year.

      An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.

      Either Way, You Are Paying a Mortgage

      There are some renters who have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

      As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.

      Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?

      It’s Time to Move on with Your Life

      The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

      But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

      Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer, or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

      If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

      If You're Considering Selling, ACT NOW!!

      If You're Considering Selling, ACT NOW!! | MyKCM

      Definitely an aggressive headline. However, as the final data on the 2017 housing market rolls in, we can definitely say one thing: If you are considering selling, IT IS TIME TO LIST YOUR HOME!

      How did we finish 2017?

      1. New-home sales were at their highest level in a decade.
      2. Sales of previously owned homes were at their highest level in more than a decade.
      3. Starts of single-family homes were their strongest in a decade and applications to build such properties advanced to the fastest pace since August 2007.

      And Bloomberg Business just reported:

      “America’s housing market is gearing up for a robust year ahead. Builders are more optimistic, demand is strong and lean inventory is keeping prices elevated.”

      And the National Association of Realtors revealed that buyer traffic is stronger this winter than it was during the spring buying season last year.

      The only challenge to the market is a severe lack of inventory. A balanced market would have a full six-month supply of homes for sale. Currently, there is less than a four-month supply of inventory. This represents a decrease in supply of 9.7% from the same time last year.

      Bottom Line

      With demand increasing and supply dropping, this may be the perfect time to get the best price for your home. Let’s get together to see whether that is the case in your neighborhood.


      Thinking of Selling? You Should Do It TODAY!!

      Thinking of Selling? You Should Do It TODAY!! | MyKCM

      That headline might be a little aggressive; however, as August 2017’s housing market data begins to roll in, we can definitely say one thing: If you are considering selling, IT IS TIME TO LIST YOUR HOME TODAY!

      In a recent article by CBS News, they explained that the number of existing home sales is shrinking, and Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors, said:

      “There should be 3 million homes on the market right now…Yet, there are only 1.9 million.”

      And this situation will be affected greatly by recent natural disasters. Yun continued by saying:

      “Before the hurricanes I would have predicted 1.35 million in new-home construction in 2018…I’ll have to scale that down now.”

      NAR, in their August 2017 Realtors® Confidence Index, indicated that:

      “Amid sustained job creation and sustained historically low mortgage rates, REALTORS® reported…that buyer demand is stronger compared to conditions one year ago… and that fifty percent of properties were on the market for less than one month when sold.”

      The only challenge to today’s market is a severe lack of inventory. A balanced market would have a full six-month supply of homes for sale. Currently, there is only a 4.2-month supply of inventory, which is down from 4.5 months one year ago.

      Bottom Line

      With demand increasing and supply dropping, this may be the perfect time to get the best price for your home. Let’s get together and discuss the inventory levels in your neighborhood to determine your next steps.

      Why the Back Bay, Boston is for You

      Why the Back Bay, Boston is for You

      Back Bay is Boston’s premier shopping and dining neighborhood. Back Bay is perfect for people watching and socializing, and provides ample opportunity to dine, shop, party, and vacation all at once, and all within close range of the T. There are plenty of things to do in Boston, but consider the Back Bay your one-stop-shop for all things high-end entertainment and relaxation.

      Before this part of the city was home to good eats and fashion-forward tourists, the area that is now Back Bay was home to a giant mill dam that birthed a swampland full of mosquitos on the bay. But thanks to some spare dirt laying around (shout out to the 1849 Boston health department), over 450 acres of steaming tidal area was filled to grade and re-sanctioned for development. In the years since, many magnolias have been planted, neighborhood associations formed, and new district names given to reflect the ongoing changes. Now, this area of the city is formally known as the Back Bay Architectural District.

      Highlights to Explore

      As you’re walking along Commonwealth Ave., take a second to absorb your surroundings. You’ll be amazed by the gorgeous Victorian brownstones in the residential areas, a marker of the old Boston wealth that settled here after the area was re-zoned for residential construction over one hundred and fifty years ago. Back Bay has long been considered one of Boston’s most desirable (and expensive) places to live, and notable buildings include the giant and ornate Boston Public Library and the tallest building in the city, the John Hancock tower at 200 Clarendon.

      If you’re exploring with children, take a two-hour tour of the bay with Capt. Berry on his floating classroom bay cruise tour. Your littles will learn all about how to hunt for jellyfish, identify bay-area birds, and hold a crab without getting pinched. Availability is limited, so make a reservation in advance to guarantee your spot with the Indiana Jones of the Chincoteague. If you’re looking for an exploration of the bay but don’t feel ready to dig around in mud, book a tour on one of the bay’s Swan Boat Tours

      Atmospheres to Enjoy

      After you’ve had your fill of walking and shopping, these are the places to go for a delicious drink or an evening of partying. Sonsie on Newbury Street offers a wide variety of cocktails and pairings, as well as a Gluten-free menu for guests with dietary restrictions. It gets packed during the late-night hours and is known to be a social hub, but it offers a more relaxed vibe before it fills to capacity in the evening.  For a more alternative drinking experience, Bukowski’s Tavern is where you should go. If all you do is write venomous drunk poetry and ramble about your own hopeless pit of self-loathing, you’ll be in good company with many other Charles Bukowski fans, but those qualities aren’t required for entry. Don’t expect to find the place empty (which is probably what Bukowski would have wanted). Bukowski’s Tavern is actually known for their peanut-butter burger and never-ending playlists of punk rock as much as for their great beer selection and has made its way onto a series of “Best Dive Bar in Boston” lists.

      Shopping to Appreciate

      The Back Bay is stocked with every high-end brand you’ve ever coveted, so whether you’ve been shopping Louis Vuitton for years or simply lusting over it, the Back Bay has every store can you think of along its avenues. Window shop or shop until you drop, run your fingers through some fine linens and silks at the stores of the Prudential Center, along Newbury Street, and at Copley Place. The shopping grid is easily decoded, and the more down-market stores like Urban Outfitters are located near Mass Ave. but as you progress eastward, you’ll notice progressively high-end shops (e.g. Lucky Jeans). You’ll know you’ve hit the boundary of the eight-block shopping stretch when you find yourself peering into the windows of Chanel and Cartier. For the most comprehensive list of stores, visit this list compiled by the Back Bay Association.

      Food to Adore

      The Back Bay is home to a variety of restaurants, and options cater to all price ranges and food preferences. If you’re looking for elegance and sophistication, stop into L’Espalier on Boylston Street for refined French-English fusion. Their calling-card is a gorgeous eight-course menu, which promises to entrance guests and leave them satisfied. If L’Espalier is a little spendy for what you’re looking for, try Stephanie’s on Newbury, an award-winning restaurant known for its sophisticated comfort food. The restaurant is close to some of the city’s most upscale and popular shops and art galleries, making it the perfect spot to grab a bite and continue exploring. Alternatively, Trident Books and Café is the perfect stop for those of us who enjoy a slightly less traditional pairing: great books and better coffee. Their café is well-known for their all-day breakfast menu and antioxidant rich smoothie selection. 

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