NEW YORK (FORTUNE) - Ford Realty has been featured in Fortune Magazine, CNN Newsweek and several local newspapers as being a premiere web destination and authority on Boston Real Estate.
he economic downturn has taken its toll on Boston?s luxury real estate market.
Sales of downtown condominiums priced at $1 million or more have slipped by nearly half in 2009 compared to a year ago and median prices have fallen by 13 percent, according to the Listing Information Network, or LINK, a firm that tracks the city?s condo market.
?Potential buyers are waiting to see if these luxury projects will go to auction like the Bryant - where units sold at up to 40 percent off original list price,? said John Ford, the broker-owner of Ford Realty, referring to the 50-unit brick building on Columbus Avenue where units at auction last month fetched in the $1.3 million range after being listed for as much as $2.2 million. ?People are nervous about their jobs and they lack confidence in Boston?s housing market.?
For the first 10 months of the year, only 206 condos have sold priced at $1 million or more, down from 408 for the same period last year.
Three of the city?s largest luxury condo projects, which contain a total of 363 units, are struggling to find buyers, according to agents.
At the ribbon cutting for 45 Province in July, David Epstein, president of the Abbey Group, the project?s developer, said he had deposits on 27 of the 137 units. But a search of records at the Suffolk Registry of Deeds found only 15 condos have closed and only two units have sold since July.
At the W Hotel and Residences in the city?s Theater District - where 123 units are for sale priced from $500,000 to $5 million - the agent and the developer won?t reveal how many units are under agreement.
?It?s more than 45 Province, but that?s all I?ll say,? said Kevin Ahearn, the W?s listing agent.
In an about-face from the company?s previous policy of discussing sales, a spokeswoman for the Clarendon, a 103-unit high-rise on Stuart Street, said they no longer release specific sales figures.
So far this year, only two Clarendon units are listed as under agreement on the MLS Property Information Network, but none of the units have closed, according to Registry of Deeds records. MLS lists 14 units for sale from $695,000 for a studio to $4 million for a four-bedroom dwelling.
LINK president Debra Taylor Blair said luxury sales are at historic lows.
?This is the largest sales decline we?ve seen in 10 years,? she said.
Still, Taylor Blair said while the median price for condos selling for $1 million or more has sunk to $1.47 million this year, from $1.66 million a year ago, prices are not down as much as the rest of the market.
?It?s been grim that sales are down, but it?s remarkable that prices have held up so well,? she said.
Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/business/real_estate/view.bg?articleid=1212230
It?s the lease they can?t do
Boston faces rental glut
By Jerry Kronenberg
| Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Photo by Nancy Lane
Four of five units at the trendy Beacon Hill apartment building that Robert Matson manages are currently up for rent - an almost unheard of vacancy rate.
"Young people are unsure about their futures, so we?re seeing lots of vacancies in neighborhoods where college students and those just out of school are living," Matson said. "They?re moving back with their parents, doubling up with roommates or moving out of state and finding job opportunities elsewhere."
Experts say Boston is facing its worst apartment glut in years just when its key May-to-August apartment-hunting season should be peaking. Rental units are historically hard to find in August as incoming students move in, while recent graduates land their first post-college apartments.
But things are different this year.
Boston had 1,044 rentals listed on the MLS Property Information Network as of yesterday - nearly twice the 535 listed at the same time last year.
Vacancies are particularly soaring in areas popular with college students and young professionals. For instance, MLS currently lists 142 Back Bay rentals, vs. just 49 units available a year earlier.
Experts add that the glut is even worse than those figures indicate, as not all landlords list their apartments on MLS.
"The recession is finally starting to impact Boston landlords," said Beacon Hill real estate broker John Ford.
Ford and others partly attribute the glut to increased dorm space at Hub colleges, coupled with a slew of condos put up for rent because the units are unsellable in the current market. But mostly, experts blame today?s crummy economy.
"Our largest rental group - 18- to 24-year-olds - all appear to be living with the same roommates this year: mom and dad," Ford said. "Either young people can?t find a (post-college) job that lets them move out of the house, or they?re still in school but living at home because their parents can?t afford apartments or dorm rooms."
Broker Matt Bless had 511 Allston, Brighton and Brookline listings available for Sept. 1 occupancy this year, up from 346 a year ago.
"It?s taken awhile, but I think the effects of job losses and fewer new hires has begun to filter down to the level of rental applications," he said.
Bless said landlords haven?t had to slash prices so far, although some have trimmed rents by $100 or so per month.
But West Roxbury broker Kevin Monahan said there?s a big disconnect between what landlords want to charge and tenants want to pay.
Monahan has three clients looking to rent places for $800 to $1,000 a month, but can?t find them anything for less than $1,200.
"Homeowners see the news every day that the real estate market has crashed," Monahan said. "Landlords haven?t seemed to grasp that fact yet."
Date: 7/7/09: Boston Business Journal
Developers who banked on wealthy buyers? penchant for stainless-steel appliances, granite countertops, club rooms and in-house spa treatments continue to wait out an unfavorable market.
The luxury condo craze is over, at least for the time being, according to real estate experts who said the units are selling slowly, if at all.
According to the Listing Information Network, from January to the end of May, sales of condos in Boston priced over $1 million decreased 58 percent compared with the same period last year. So far this year 97 condos have sold for a median price of $1.5 million compared with 229 condo sales with a median price of $1.6 million last year.
The newest luxury condo building to open in Boston, called 45 Province, has sold 13 of 138 units. The property, which opened earlier this month, features an Exhale spa and gym, a community parlor where residents enjoy complimentary coffee and tea and a screening room for private functions.
?We had hoped to have a certain percentage of completion,? said developer David Epstein of The Abbey Group
. ?We haven?t achieved that.?
Epstein, who himself was slated to buy a unit on the 26th floor, has not closed on the purchase, according to the Registry of Deeds. He declined to discuss whether he would buy the unit ? which featured a large outdoor deck where a public event attended by Mayor Thomas M. Menino was held last year ? because it was a personal matter.
Developers like Epstein, who is holding prices and choosing not to rent, are banking on their location, high-end amenities and the relatively new concept of luxury, urban living, to get them through a rocky market. Condos at 45 Province start at $716,000 and go up to $4.3 million.
?We feel we have a complete, unique product in a market, even in a weak market, that is completely underserved,? he said. ?As soon as you start leasing you degrade the building. I?m not going to deny the fact that overall there?s a significant slowdown in real estate and overall velocity is slow.?
Such projects as 45 Province, The Clarendon
in the Back Bay and the W Hotel
and Residences in the Theater District, which were under construction during the peak and are opening in a market sinking toward bottom, are suffering from bad timing.
?People would be foolish to say they?re delighted to open during a time when there are economic challenges,? said Daria Salusbury, a senior vice president for The Related Cos.
, which along with The Beal Cos.
LLP is building the 243-unit luxury condo and apartment complex The Clarendon in Back Bay.
Salusbury is overseeing the 140-unit rental component of The Clarendon, called One Back Bay, which is 18 percent leased. Rents range from $2,000 a month for a studio to $8,000 a month for a two-bedroom. A source close to the project said 26 percent of the 103 condos are under agreement to sell but sales information is unavailable until the units officially open in the fall.
The supply of luxury condos in Boston will increase once The Clarendon and 123 units at the W Hotel and Residences open this fall. Currently there are 326 condos, listed for $1 million and up, on the market in Boston, said John Ford, owner and president of Ford Realty Inc.
Ford said he believed there was a glut of luxury condos on the market and it was unlikely the condos could be rented due to a lack of demand.
?I wouldn?t be surprised if some of these go up for auction,? said Ford.
Michelle Hillman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Boston Globe Magazine (11/30/08) named www.bostonreb.com
as one of Boston?s top must read websites. The article in entitled ?Sixty-four websites on Boston life that you should know
is a division of Ford Realty Inc.
Click in the link below to read the full article.
Boston Globe Magazine - Boston real estate
Thank you John Keith for your unique writing skills for Ford Realty's real estate blog. A special thanks to all my readers.
Marked down to move
A battered housing market is forcing sellers in top-tier communities to cut prices
The financial crisis and housing downturn are opening up potential buying opportunities in some top-tier neighborhoods and towns in the Boston area as home sellers cut prices to move their properties, new data suggest.
Towns such as Sherborn and Concord are seeing large percentages of homes for sale being marked down, according to a new survey by Redfin, the Seattle online real estate brokerage and data firm. The same is true for some of the hottest Boston neighborhoods in recent years, such as the South End, Charlestown, and Beacon Hill.
"Price reductions are certainly an indicator that a person is committed to selling," said David Brose of Boston's City Realty Group. "They are more committed to selling than to a particular price."
In the leafy suburb of Sherborn, 71 percent of the homes for sale have been marked down in the last three months. That's second only to Ayer. In Concord, 51 percent of listed properties have been reduced in price by their owners over the past few months. In similar towns in the western suburbs, the percentage of homes reduced in price ranges from 30 to 40 percent.
The price reductions, in turn, have encouraged some buyers to make a run at homes that would have been out of their range during the boom years, said Laurie Cadigan, the owner of Barrett & Co. in Concord. She is working with a couple in Concord who wants to trade up to a more spacious Colonial from their cramped Cape - a move that previously would not have been within their grasp.
"They can now buy up," Cadigan said. "As long as you feel confident with your own finances and with your employment situation, this is a great time to buy."
Single-family home prices in Concord have dropped nearly 13 percent so far this year, to a median of $697,500, Warren Group reports, compared with a 10 percent drop in prices statewide. Sherborn, meanwhile, has actually seen median prices increase this year - 18 percent. But there were also very few homes sold in the town so far.
There's another prevailing trend at work within communities - large numbers of properties are being pulled off the market altogether, the owners apparently choosing to sit out a market where sales prices are largely only going down. This is making it harder for buyers to find the perfect fit, or even just having enough of a variety to choose from. It also makes finding a bargain difficult.
Dr. Karyn Stern and her husband are looking in Concord. With a price range of $500,000 to $1 million, the couple should have plenty to choose from. They've seen many homes that have been reduced in price, commonly to the $900,000s from more than $1 million.
But in her view, those prices are still too high for some of the homes they have seen, many of which need extensive work and updates.
"For $900,000 you are getting a little, tiny house that would be $200,000 anywhere else in the country," she said.
"I think a lot of good houses per se are not being put on the market because they are afraid to sell."
Concord saw 87 homes pulled off the market over the past three months, according to Redfin. In Sherborn, 32 homes have been taken off the market recently; for the year so far, only 31 homes have sold there, according to Warren Group.
A similar story can be found in some of Boston's more coveted neighborhoods, where the number of price reductions works at a cross current to the number of properties that have been taken off the market.
In Charlestown, nearly half the homes on the market, 45 percent, have been reduced in price over the past three months. In the Back Bay and Beacon Hill, the number is 40 percent. But more than 500 homes and condos have been pulled off the market in the three neighborhoods during the same period.
Even in the South End, where values have gone through the roof, nearly one-third of sellers on the market, or 27 percent, have dropped their prices over the past three months, according to Redfin. But more than 268 condos and homes have also been taken off the market.
Some of the best deals may be found in the myriad of newly built condo projects in these neighborhoods, with developers ready to throw in a range of concessions to move units, brokers say.
That's what Boston broker David Crowley found when he helped a couple from California buy a $1.2 million condo in the South End.
The pair, who work for John Hancock, bought a two-bedroom unit at 285 Columbus Ave., the former Red Cross building that was recently converted into lofts. To seal the deal, the developer threw in a parking space, and slashed more than $140,000 off the price.
John Ford, the owner of Ford Realty, a downtown brokerage, said developers now routinely throw in a range of perks, from upgrading countertops to granite to offering to pay several months of condo fees.
Still, in the current market, only sellers who have to sell, because of a job shift or change in personal circumstances, are putting their homes on the market, Crowley said.
That can make for motivated sellers, but it can also reduce the number of choices available. In the South End, the inventory of available homes and condos stands at just over three months.
"The people selling now really have to sell," Crowley said. "It's definitely different from a few years ago when people would put their house on the market and see what happens."
Date: 9/15/08 - John Ford of Ford Realty Inc was mentioned in Jay Fitzgeralds real estate article on low priced condos for sale in Massachusetts.
?Fire sale? housing mostly in poorer areas
Photo by Jess Gately
all it the return of the $100,000 home.
Real estate observers are seeing a spike in the number of single-family houses and condominiums available in certain areas of the state for $100,000 or less, as the housing sector continues to grapple with a wave of foreclosures and falling housing prices tied to the subprime-mortgage meltdown.
Real estate agents say they?re seeing some eye-popping retro-like prices for some homes and condos in lower-income areas, often sold off by banks at bargain-basement deals just to get them off their books.
Gregory Burton, owner of Burton Associates Real Estate in Dorchester, said he recently sold a Dorchester two-bedroom condo on Jacob Street, just outside Codman Square, for $55,000. The same condo sold for about $179,000 three years ago.
The happy new owner is paying a mere $300-a-month mortgage for what Burton called ?decent property, very clean and basic.?
A similar apartment in the same building at 12 Jacob St. was on the market this spring at $129,000 - and sold late last month for $50,000, according to listings.
Real estate experts warn that, in general, similar low-priced deals should often come with a big warning: BUYER BEWARE.
Some homes are hopelessly tangled up in ?legal quagmires,? as one agent described it, caused by complicated foreclosure proceedings. Other properties listed to be sold ?as is? have been gutted by their old owners or vandals who tore out appliances, sinks, toilets, copper wires and other materials of value before units were abandoned.
?Some of these are fire sales, sometimes literally fire sales - they?re burnt-out shells,? said John Ford, a Beacon Hill and Brookline realtor who?s been showing investment clients properties in Dorchester, Mattapan and even Springfield.
According to real-estate listings, the number of single-homes in Massachusetts sold for $100,000 or less in the first eight months of this year hit 424, a 135 percent increase over the same period in 2003, before the housing market went south.
About 503 condos under $100,000 were sold statewide during the first eight months this year, up 34 percent for the same period in 2003.
Listings show that the vast majority of the units are in ?distressed? areas hard hit by foreclosures - such as Lowell, Lawrence, Springfield and other towns in western Massachusetts.
In Boston, there are very few single-family homes that have been sold, or put on the market, that were or are below the $100,000 mark.
But there are scores of condos in inner-city neighborhoods going for $100,000 or less in neighborhoods such as Roxbury, Mattapan and Dorchester, according to listings.
Listings show units - mostly bank-owned after foreclosures - that were once listed at more than $200,000 going for a fraction of their original asking prices.
A four-bedroom condo on Bowdoin Street in Dorchester was listed at $230,000 in May - and sold for $57,900 last week, listings show. A condo on Maywood Street in Roxbury was listed earlier this year at $205,000 - and sold for $50,000.
The super-low-priced deals represent only a fraction of the total sales in the city, where some neighborhoods have seen little or no price slippage.
Beacon Hill and Back Bay have continued to see slight price increases for condos - and listings show parking spaces in those areas are now going for well above what some condos are selling for in Roxbury and Dorchester.
John Anderson, a Dorchester real-estate agent and owner of the Real Estate Analyst, said he expects the number of bargain-basement deals to grow as long as foreclosures keep up their current pace. He estimated ?the bottom won?t be hit until sometime next year.?
Both Anderson and Burton note that condos under $100,000 are now being sold almost exclusively to investors, who can afford cash transactions demanded by bank owners. Average homeowner wannabes who nab such deals are rare, though there are the occasional winners out there, they say.
Real estate observers add they?re seeing another trend: price ?slippage? among condos previously listed near or just above $200,000 now selling in the $150,000 range.
Adam Day, an agent with Realty Executive in Watertown, said he recently sold a newly renovated three-bedroom condo in Chelsea, originally listed at about $200,000, for only $152,000.
?I do see the $200,000 barrier cracked more,? said Day, emphasizing that other cities such as Cambridge are still seeing strong sales figures.
Boston listings show an increasing number of condos in Hyde Park, Roslindale, East Boston and other neighborhoods being sold for $200,000 or less, though they, too, only represent a somewhat small fraction of overall sales in those neighborhoods, experts say.
Date: 8/5/08 - John Ford of Ford Realty comments on the new tax credit for first time home buyers.
Realtors laud tax credit
$7,500 credit may kick-start market
By Jay Fitzgerald
| Tuesday, August 5, 2008 |
eal-estate agents see a new $7,500 tax credit for first-time home buyers as a possible tipping point that could help change the dynamics of the struggling housing market.
The federal tax credit, which is effectively a 15-year, interest-free loan, was included in the massive housing bill signed last week by President George W. Bush.
Agents report there?s already a buzz about the tax credit, which could persuade some first-time home shoppers to buy before the credit runs out July 1, 2009, said Susan Renfrew, president of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors.
?I?ve heard a lot of people talking about it,? said Renfrew.
John Ford, owner of Ford Realty Inc. in Boston, said one potential home buyer he?s working with may end up signing a deal because of the tax credit.
?A lot of people in the industry don?t know about it, and I didn?t until just recently,? he said.
First-time home buyers are key to the struggling market right now, real-estate experts say. If they start buying as prices fall to levels they can afford, then others can sell those homes and move into larger abodes.
The $7,500 tax credit, which is retroactive to this past April, applies to singles making up to $75,000 a year and couples earning up to $150,000.
The size of the credit decreases for singles making more than $75,000 and is phased out at $95,000. The limit for couples is $170,000.
First-time home buyers can apply the credit against their tax bills next year, freeing up money and improving their chances of getting a loan from lenders, said Doug Azarian, owner of Century 21 Dream Homes in Falmouth.
The credit must be repaid over 15 years. That?s only $500 a year, said Azarian.
?What it amounts to is an interest-free loan,? he said.
Date: 7/29/08: Aliza Dash of Ford Realty Brookline was mentioned in the Globe about the shortage of Brookline homes for sale.
Foreclosure-plagued cities gain sales
For rest of state, June real estate deals hit slowest pace since 1991
June homes sales increased in Massachusetts communities that have been slammed by foreclosures, bucking the statewide trend of declining sales.
Massachusetts sales of single-family houses fell 14.9 percent last month compared with a year ago, Warren Group, a Boston real estate publishing firm, said yesterday. The sales activity - 4,663 transactions were closed - marked the slowest June pace since 1991. The statewide median price declined 8.6 percent, to $329,000, as the housing market continued to deteriorate.
For the first half of the year, sales were down 19.1 percent and prices fell 9.2 percent compared with the first half of 2007. "It's more of the same. It hasn't gotten worse, but it certainly hasn't gotten any better," said Timothy Warren, chief executive of Warren Group.
But a handful of communities that have been hit hardest by foreclosures - notably Brockton and Lowell - saw surprising sales gains last month. Real estate agents said buyers are suddenly eager to purchase houses being sold by banks that seized properties from delinquent borrowers, or through short sales in which the homeowner averts a foreclosure by selling the property and paying the lender an agreed upon amount.
Brockton has experienced one of the state's highest rates of foreclosure, depressing prices throughout the city even for homes not involved in the crisis. Janet Baxter, the Brockton office manager for Jack Conway & Co., said lower prices, combined with the prospect of higher interest rates, triggered the sales spurt. In June, Brockton had 71 sales, up from 41 a year earlier, according to Warren Group. The median house price in Brockton is $187,000 - down 28 percent since June 2007 - and Baxter said some buyers' monthly payments are half what they would have been five years ago.
"The rates are going to go up, and if you're waiting for another price drop, you're going to lose that in the rates," Baxter said.
The same phenomenon is occurring in Lowell, which has commuter rail service, making it attractive to people who work in Boston. Re/Max agent Dennis Page, president of the Northeast Association of Realtors, said there are 400 fewer houses for sale in Lowell this year than two years ago, and interest in some homes is high.
For instance, Page said, one client was outbid in an attempt to buy a four-bedroom house in one of Lowell's nicest neighborhoods, Upper Highlands. He said there were 10 bidders on the property, which was listed for $179,900 and sold two years earlier for $317,000. The owner had become delinquent on a subprime mortgage.
Page said he believes the inventory of foreclosed homes "is stabilizing. It's getting absorbed." But, he added, "It's going to take awhile to work out some of the subprime stuff."
Sales in Worcester, Randolph, and Lynn, which also bore the brunt of the foreclosure crisis, were stable in June compared with a year earlier.
The Massachusetts Association of Realtors, which also released its monthly sales report yesterday, said the number of homes on the market is shrinking. On June 30, there were 50,075 houses listed for sale, down from 54,497 a year ago. There is now an 8.3-month supply of homes for sale, which the association calls "a balanced market."
But many homeowners, responding to weak demand and lower prices, have chosen not to list their homes and wait for prices to rebound, agents said.
Boston metropolitan area sales in June were 15 percent below last year, and the median price dropped 7.6 percent, to $524,950, according to the Greater Boston Association of Realtors.
In Brookline, agent Aliza Dash (Ford Realty Brookline) said buyers don't have a lot of choice. There were just 70 homes on the market at the end of June, compared with 86 last year. She said that explains why sales, according to Warren Group, fell to 20 in June - nine fewer than a year ago. The median price rose to $1.33 million from $1.1 million.
The realtor association's statewide sales figures showed wide variation among regions during the second quarter. While sales were down across the state, they fell just 0.6 percent on Cape Cod, and the median price was down 11.3 percent, to $350,000. The western part of Massachusetts had the biggest decline in sales activity - 20 percent - but the price drop of 4.1 percent, to $210,000, was the lowest of any region. South Shore sales fell 11.9 percent, and the 11.4 percent price drop, to $310,100, was the state's biggest.
Massachusetts condominium sales plunged 28.3 percent in June compared with a year ago. Prices are holding up so far, though analysts believe slumping sales will eventually pull them down. The median price increased 1 percent to $295,000.
Date: 4/29/08: John Ford of Ford Realty Inc comments of the strong Back Bay condo and Beacon Hill real estate market. Average sales price over $1,000,000 in both Back Bay and Beacon Hill.
Can occupancy rule stop students from doubling up?
By Richard Thompson
Globe Correspondent /
April 27, 2008
It's been more than a month since city officials unanimously passed a zoning ordinance that makes it illegal for more than four undergraduate college students to live together in a leased apartment
While the new law has created uncertainty among property owners and real estate agents, some would-be tenants, like Suffolk University junior Ben James, are considering their options.
For James, the plan for next year appears clear. That's because the 20-year-old English and philosophy major has kept his name off the current lease by sharing a room with a friend from school, which leaves four students registered as residents in his section of a three-family home in Allston.
"There will be situations that'll be similar to mine, with one or two people living where they shouldn't be," he said. "I think they'll be able to avoid it."
The zoning change was proposed in December by City Councilor Michael Ross and was passed unanimously by the City Council before it made its way through the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the Boston Zoning Commission last month. Mayor Thomas M. Menino signed the limit into law on March 13.
Ross, who represents Beacon Hill, Back Bay, and Mission Hill, has said the amendment to the city's zoning code is intended to keep landlords from converting spaces in large, multibedroom homes, such as a dining room or a back porch, into additional bedrooms that could draw more students and a higher monthly rent.
The measure has gained ground with neighborhood groups and local universities, the latter of which, according to BRA figures, enroll about 13,000 full-time, undergraduate students who live off-campus.
Enforcement of the law will be driven by neighborhood complaints, city officials said, but the specifics of the policy have not been determined. Real estate representatives say they are concerned about potential consequences from the occupancy restriction, but several were hesitant in interviews last week to predict whether it already has affected the market.
"We're still not sure how the city is going to enforce it," said Gregory P. Vasil, chief executive of the Greater Boston Real Estate Board. "We've received absolutely nothing."
That's likely to change, Ross said, with the outcome of a lawsuit filed this month by four Allston-Brighton landlords who joined with a Boston College sophomore in an effort to overturn the ordinance.
"It literally takes property owners who were operating legally on March 12 and makes them operate illegally on March 13," said Stephen Greenbaum, a Boston-based lawyer who specializes in land use and serves as a partner at the firm Greenbaum, Nagel, Fisher, and Hamelburg, which is representing the group. The complaint, filed April 8 in state Land Court, challenges the constitutionality of the new law.
Ross contends that the landlords, who have purchased single-family or multifamily properties during the last two decades and already have signed more than four tenants to yearlong leases set to begin in September, have racked up dozens of violations on their properties over the years, for a variety of reasons, including putting the trash out early and overfilling barrels and dumpsters.
"It was expected," Ross said about the lawsuit. "I think you have a small group of people who stand to lose some of their profits, and I would expect them to exhaust their legal opportunities to try to prevent that."
Michael Savage toes the line as both a real estate agent and a student. A senior at Suffolk University, he has worked at Ford
Realty on Beacon Hill for three years. He hadn't heard much about the zoning change until owner John Ford mentioned it to him this month.
"I just don't think anybody knows about it, including my tenants and my friends," Savage said in an interview. The marketing major said he didn't expect occupancy limits to be a problem near his office because students are generally in the hunt for smaller, two- or three-bedroom apartments. He has noticed, however, that a few landlords each year have changed course and decided not to rent to students.
"There are less and less apartments for students," he said. "It just seems like every year some landlord has had an incident and then that student has ruined it for the rest of the kids who come through. But it's understandable because they have a nice place and they don't want it to get ruined or wrecked."
Ford, who runs three real estate agencies in the city, said he has "mixed feelings" about the new law. "I like the idea of it because it keeps the tranquility of Beacon Hill in place and it's not lost to a student population." On the other hand, he cautions that "students are going to have a very, very challenging time to find apartments."
"It's going to be more of a nuisance than have any major impact on the real estate market."
Date 4/17/08: John Ford the owner/broker of Ford Realty Inc., was mentioned in the Boston Herald today regarding the pending Longwood Towers auction in Brookline Ma. To read the full real estate story click the link below.
Article URL: http://www.bostonherald.com/business/general/view.bg?articleid=1087717
Student agents enter the real(ty) world
As a part-time dining hall worker, a Boston University student can make about $700 a month. At Starbucks, $640 a month. But if students follow several of their peers and earn real estate licenses, that number rises to $10,000 a month with the same hours.
STUDENT REAL ESTATE AGENTS
School of Management sophomore Matt Hayden currently works for Boardwalk Realities. After only a semester, he has already made around 10 sales.
"My dad is in the mortgage business; my grandparents own a real estate business," he said. "My realtor, who I booked with last year, was a student realtor as well. I thought, 'I'm a student, I'm up here a lot of the time, might as well give it a try.'"
Hayden said to receive his real estate license, he had to undergo 24 hours of classroom training and a grueling study week to pass the "intense" exam.
As a student real estate agent, Hayden said that most of his clients are students renting off-campus housing in the Allston area.
"There's definitely a lot of work," he said. "You have to make advertisements, find clients and work with them to find a place."
Hayden said that there are many young real estate agents at his agency, which makes for great environment where other staff members are his age.
NOT THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN
Like Hayden, Suffolk University senior Michael Savage became a real estate agent after experiencing his own off-campus housing search. After hunting for housing with his broker, he said he became interested in becoming a real estate agent himself.
"I went into the test thinking it would be easy and I failed it right off the bat," Savage said. "I took it again, flunked it again and I finally passed it the third time."
Savage, who works for Ford Reality, has been a real estate agent for two years and has made "hundreds" of sales. He said he works mostly with rentals in the midtown and Beacon Hill areas.
John Ford, owner of Ford Realty, said he enjoys working with the two student real estate agents on his staff.
Date 12/29/07: John Ford of Ford Realty comments to Business reporter Scott Van Voorhis on the Boston Real Estate
Boston apartment rentals hit $30G a month
By Scott Van Voorhis
Saturday, December 29, 2007
ncertainty in the condo market has meant rentals are growing in popularity among the super rich, who are shelling out anywhere from $20,000-to-$30,000 a month for deluxe downtown apartments.
In a deal that is turning heads among Boston real estate executives, a three-bedroom at the Ritz-Carlton Towers recently rented for $25,000 a month. While the furnished unit comes with its own balcony and ?spectacular views? of the city, heat is not included in the monthly bill.
Meanwhile, another unit in the same complex, close by Boston Common and the city?s Theater District, is now on the market for $30,000 a month. That four-bedroom penthouse includes ?imported marble bathrooms,? a ?rare fireplace,? and floor-to-ceiling windows with a view of the Charles River.
?That is silly, silly money,? said Michael Carucci, chief executive of ERA Boston Real Estate Group.
One key factor driving the trend has been the soft condo market.
While the Boston luxury condo market has performed well amid a statewide real estate downturn, there is still a general skittishness about real estate as an investment.
Some with money are choosing to ride out the current market before they buy again, said John Ford of Ford Realty, a downtown real estate firm.
?It?s a lot of money,? said Ford. ?People are writing $20,000-a-month checks.?
Such high-end rentals are also appealing to executives, athletes and even celebrities in town for just a few months to a year or two.
There has been an increase, for example, in high-priced rentals to film stars and executives, Ford said. He attributes the increase to a big jump in the number of movies being filmed locally with the passage of state tax incentives aimed at the industry.
The spate of $20,000-a-month-and-up rentals appears to be setting some new records, at least locally, said David Jacobs, publisher of The Boston Courant, which first reported the $25,000-a-month rental.
?By Boston standards, yes,? he said of the record rents. ?By New York, obviously not.?
Date: 10/20/07: Ford Realty was qouted in the newspaper regarding ball players real estate investments.
ot even star Red Sox
players are immune from the real estate market downturn.
Sox slugger Manny Ramirez
?s penthouse atop the Ritz-Carlton Towers in downtown Boston is still on the market after nearly two years.
, who takes the mound tonight for the Sox in do-or-die Game 6 of the American League Championship Series, is also likely to face a tough challenge selling his Medfield estate. Finding a buyer for a big suburban spread is very difficult in today?s market, says John Ford, a top downtown Boston real estate broker.
Ramirez?s real estate dilemma is as unique as the player himself. The Sox left fielder put his penthouse on the market for a hefty $6.9 million in 2005, and, despite two years with no deal, he hasn?t reduced the price.
Most buyers reassess their strategy after a year, and certainly after two years, Ford said.
?Manny may be hitting home runs on the baseball field, but he is apparently striking out in the real estate market,? Ford said. ?However, Manny being Manny, I wouldn?t discount him for hitting a luxury real estate home run out of the park.?
If Ramirez ultimately gets his price, he will hit a real estate ?grand slam,? said Ford, pointing to the $5.7 million the Sox star paid for his luxury digs.
Schilling faces the task of selling a big suburban estate that has had a history of languishing on the market. Former owner ex-Patriots
[team stats ]
quarterback Drew Bledsoe struggled for 18 months to sell the estate, dropping the price from $9 million to $6.5 million before he could get a deal.
Neither Ramirez nor Schilling should look to former teammate, current Yankees
outfielder Johnny Damon for inspiration on the real estate front. Damon ended up taking $5.05 million for his 11-room Brookline manse - down from the $5.85 million he had originally sought.
Sox owner John Henry
may have a few lessons to impart, such as buying, not selling, in a down market. The $16 million that Henry has agreed to pay for Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt?s Brookline estate is $11 million below the initial asking price.
Back Bay down, but not at all out
By Jerry Kronenberg
| Monday, October 8, 2007
ondo prices in toney Back Bay are falling at a time when the overall Boston market is showing signs of a rebound.
Preliminary Multiple Listing Service figures show median Back Bay condo prices fell to $509,000 during the third quarter, down 15 percent from a year earlier.
That?s a sharp contrast from median prices for Boston condos as a whole, which rose 5.9 percent to $363,633 in the latest quarter.
Broker John Ford, whose territory includes the Back Bay, blames the declines on increased competition from high-end downtown, waterfront and South End condos.
?There?s more selection out there,? Ford said, noting that high-end complexes like the waterfront?s Intercontinental have opened in recent years.
He added that foreign buyers - who purchase many of the Hub?s costliest condos in these days of a weak U.S. dollar - are often taking a pass on Back Bay brownstones.
Instead, many non-U.S. purchasers favor European-style high-rise units that builders developed downtown and on the waterfront in recent years, Ford said.
?Foreign buyers seem to be more drawn to luxury high-rises than to (the Back Bay?s) old Boston charm,? he said.
Still, preliminary MLS figures show the number of Back Bay condos changing hands actually rose to 123 in the latest quarter, up 6.9 percent from a year earlier.
Ford said the higher volume shows ?the sky isn?t falling down for the Back Bay. I just think there are more options for luxury buyers.?
Date: 9/13/07: Ford Realty is mentioned in the Boston Herald business section on the new trend of Boston real estate auctions.
Sign of times: Auctions join home listings
By Scott Van Voorhis
| Thursday, September 13, 2007 |
ocal real estate brokers may soon be taking home buyers out to auctions, not just open houses, after a big shift by the Bay State?s online property listing service.
MLS Property Information Network, the state?s main database for home and condo sales, will now also highlight upcoming property auctions in a sign of the times for the sluggish real estate market.
With home sellers and brokers scrambling in a down market to move their properties, auctions are on the rise, both nationally and locally.
MLS Property Information Network will soon begin providing information on upcoming auctions in its database, which is designed for use by real estate professionals, said John Breault, head of customer support for MLS. These will run alongside traditional listings of homes and condos that are either for sale, under agreement or have already been sold.
With an auction, a homeseller invites prospective buyers to show up at a certain day and time to submit bids, instead of relying on open houses and endless tours by brokers and potential buyers.
?People are seeing benefits to the auction method of marketing, especially in a troubled marketplace,? said Paul Zekos, vice president of the Massachusetts Auctioneers Association.
Still, the practice was little used locally, except for disposing of foreclosed homes, until just last fall.
In a move that made headlines, the developer of the Folio, a downtown Boston condo high-rise, sold off 31 condos in one day in a mass auction of his units.
Since then, other condo builders across New England have turned to auctions to unload unsold units, with some homeowners getting into the act as well.
Still, MLS does not intend to start listing foreclosure auctions, which still make up the majority of property auctions.
But the recent move could change how some brokers operate.
John Ford, head of Ford Realty in downtown Boston, said MLS? decision to list the auctions will give him a broader array of potential properties to show.
?It shows that the real estate landscape is changing and that MLS is recognizing that,? Ford said.
Date: 9/1/07: Ford Realty comments on the Boston real estate market.
John Ford disputes Economist predictions that the value of real estate will drop 50%.
Ford Realty will contribute to Boston Now newspaper as an independent real estate blog writer.
Date: 8/24/07: John Ford comments on the Red Sox owner paying $16 million for a real estate mansion in Brookline.
Date: 7/26/07: John Ford of Ford Real Estate comments on the Boston condo market. http://www.fordrealty.net/boston_real_estate_sales.html
LINK reports an upturn in downtown condo sales
By Jerry Kronenberg
Thursday, July 26, 2007
ucking Massachusetts real estate?s overall softness, Boston?s downtown condo market is beginning to show signs of life.
Property-listing service LINK reported yesterday that downtown condo sales during the second quarter rose at a 7.5 percent annual rate, while median prices added 3.9 percent to $472,750.
?I think the market has definitely turned the corner,? said LINK?s Debra Taylor Blair.
Perhaps most significantly, LINK said the number of unsold units listed for sale dropped 25.2 percent to 1,384, down from 1,850 a year earlier. Historically, falling numbers of unsold properties point to a market that?s turning around.
Blair attributed the reduced listings to increased sales, less new construction and sellers who?ve decided to take properties off the market until things get even better.
Real estate agents say LINK?s findings leave them cautiously optimistic.
Downtown broker John Ford said fewer listings ?show that we?re finally weeding through excess inventory.?
But Ford added that things ?are still a little on the slow side? in his area.
LINK also reported continued weakness in some downtown locales.
For instance, the firm said second-quarter sales fell 12.6 percent in the Fenway and 5.6 percent in midtown.
Date: 7/19/07: Ford realty comments on the Boston real estate rent increases for Boston apartments. http://www.fordrealty.net/boston_rents.html
Date: 7/6/07: Ford Realty is mentioned in Jay Fitzgerald article on how foreigners are buying up Boston real estate.
European and Asian investors are having a free for all.
Date: 7/4/07: The Boston Herald wrote a feature story on John Ford on how he markets real estate listings for sale.
Broker lets YouTube make pitch: Spurns open houses
By Scott Van Voorhis
Boston Herald Business Reporter
Wednesday, July 4, 2007 - Updated: 02:06 AM EST
owntown condo broker John Ford is celebrating the July 4th holiday in fitting fashion - by declaring independence from open houses.
At the same time, Ford is declaring his allegiance to YouTube, of all things.
Ford, who runs a thriving real estate shop selling high-end condos downtown and on Beacon Hill, hopes someday to say goodbye to open houses altogether. He argues they are increasingly ineffective and costly.
In a first step, Ford is cutting the number of open houses he holds each week in half - from four to two. Instead, he will post videos of the units on the popular YouTube Web site.
?I am declaring independence from open houses,? Ford said.
The move comes as his disenchantment with open house has grown over the last few years.
Too often, those who show up are not serious buyers, complains Ford, who launched his brokerage business eight years ago after years on the commercial real estate side.
He even has a name for those open house window shoppers: He calls them ?lookey-loo?s.?
?They actually go to open houses to get decorating tips,? Ford said, adding he sees lots of ?nosy neighbors who just want to see what it looks like inside.?
Ford said his Sundays are routinely filled running from one showing to another.
Along with the time involved, there is the expense. Marketing and advertising amounts to half a point to a full percentage off his brokerage fee, which ranges from 5 percent to 6 percent, he said.
Other real estate executives said they are not ready to give up on the age-old marketing tool.
?At the end of the day, it is a high touch business, and that is not going to change,? said Michael Carucci, president of the ERA Boston Real Estate Group.
But Ford is undaunted.
He cites a recent Texas study that found a dearth of serious buyers at open houses.
He also notes that luxury condo towers are increasingly barring or restricting open houses for security reasons.
And he believes his move is already starting to pay off.
On Tuesday, Ford brokered a deal to rent an $1,800-a-month one-bedroom on Beacon Hill to a young Brighton couple who had watched video of the unit just the night before on YouTube.
?You can?t really lie if you show a video,? said Chris Kursel, who rented the apartment after seeing Ford?s YouTube posting. ?It is a little easier to bend the truth about a place when you say ?gleaming hardwood floors.? ?
Date: 6/20/2007 - John Ford comments on a price record breaking Boston Condo in the Back Bay.http://www.fordrealty.net/boston_herald_June_20_2007.asp
Date: 6/17/2007 - John Ford comments on the strong luxury Boston real estate market. http://www.fordrealty.net/boston_herald_June_2007.asp
Date: 6/8/2007 - Ford Realty featured on Ezine Articles on the Boston real estate
Date: 4/3/2007 - Ford Realty was mentioned in the news regarding how crime impacts the Boston condo market. http://www.fordrealty.net/Boston_Herald_April_3_2007.html
Date: 2/19/2007 - Ford Realty was mentioned in the news regarding Boston real estate and the price for security. http://www.fordrealty.net/Boston_Herald_Feb_18_2007.html
Date: 1/29/2007 -John Ford comments on the tough Boston real estate market. http://www.fordrealty.net/Boston_Herald_Jan_29.html
Date: 12/15/2006 - John Ford comments on the Boston real estate housing market regarding poorer neighborhoods. http://www.fordrealty.net/Boston_Herald_Dec_12.html
Date: 11/24/2006 - John Ford was interviewed by the Boston Herald on the upcoming winter Boston real estate market. www.fordrealty.net/Boston_Herald_Nov_24.html
Date: 11/7/2006 - Aliza Dash from Ford Realty comments on the million dollar home sales in Brookline and Newton. www.fordrealty.net/boston_herald_aiza_dash.html
Date: 10/26/2006 - Ford Realty predicts that the Boston real estate
condo market will have a soft landing. www.fordrealty.net/Boston_Herald_Oct_26_2006.html
Date: 10/15/2006 - Ford Realty was featured in the local Boston real estate
section of the Boston Herald on how the condo
market priced $400,000 or under is still as competitive as ever for Boston real estate buyers . www.fordrealty.net/boston_herald_october.html
Date: 10/14/2006 - Kama Cicero of Ford Realty in Brookline Village
is featured in the Boston Herald with one of her Cambridge real estate listings. This rare gem of a single-family home www.fordrealty.net/boston_herald_oct_14_2006.html
Date: 10/6/2006 - Kama Cicero is featured in a real estate news article on the great benefits of buying or renting in Brookline Village. To read more on Brookline real estate www.fordrealty.net/boston_herald_-1.html
Date: 9/30/06 - Ford Realty is featured in the Boston Herald real estate section on how million dollar condos and single-family homes are getting tougher to market and sell www.fordrealty.net/boston_herald_-_2.html
Date: 6/21/06 - Janet Lamb of Ford Realty was interviewed by the Boston Globe on the Boston real estate rental market. www.fordrealty.net/Boston_Globe_Rents.html
Date: 2/13/06 - Ford Realty was featured in Fortune Magazine and CNN about the Boston real estate market.
Date: 5/4/06 - John Ford spoke to local reporters on how realtors are becoming more and more selective in accepting real estate listings in the changing Boston real estate market. http://business.bostonherald.com/realestateNews/view.bg?articleid=137805
Date: 1/26/06 - John Ford was interviewed by the Boston Globe on the current Boston Real Estate market. http://www.fordrealty.net/Boston_Globe_Jan_26.html
Date: 10/28/2005 - The Boston Globe mentions Ford Realty on how the Boston real estate market is changing from a sellers market to a Boston real estate buyers market. http://boston.com/realestate/articles/2005/10/28/suddenly_areas_housing_market_favors_the_buyers/
Date: 3/6/2005 - The Boston Globe Magazine interviewed John Ford on the pros and cons of buying versus renting. www.fordrealty.net/Boston_Globe_2.html
Date: 4/5/2004 - Ford Realty was mentioned in NewsWeek magazine on how Boston real estate brokers are using such tools as craigslist.org to lower their advertising costs. Ford Realty has saved thousands of dollars and has passed those real estate savings to their sellers. To read more. http://msnbc.msn.com/id/4615817
John Ford and Arlene Lehane and their associates are pleased to help you with all aspects of buying and selling real estate! Please call today for professional and courteous assistance! If you are in the market for Boston real estate
or a Brookline single-family home
give us a call and we will help you find your new home.
Phone : Boston Real Estate
Brookline Real Estate : 617-232-1049
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