Here's the latest installment of Bates By the Numbers, a weekly feature by Boston real estate agent David Bates that drills down into the Hub's housing market to uncover those trends and people you would not otherwise notice. Follow him on Twitter and check out his ebook, Context: Nine Key Condo Markets, 2.0.
I was looking at the Hub Real Estate Holiday Tree and I caved. Wondering what had been left for our fair markets, I picked up one of the presents wrapped in white and held it up to the brightest light in the room. On the carton beneath, I could make out the words "low interest rates." I thought, "How excited is the Hub condo market going to be when it opens this present!"
So I picked up another present, adorned in red paper. I gently peeled pack a piece of tape and looked inside, and saw the words "Multiple Offers." My heart jumped. Dozens of packages in the same shape, the same wrap littered the floor around the tree. "Man," I thought, "there's going to be a lot of Hub condo sellers that are happy about getting this!"
Then, I saw some small flat presents wrapped in gold. "Instant game tickets?," I wondered. With surgical precision I tore some of the gold paper and peered inside. Inside, it said, "$100K OVER ASK." It took everything I could muster not to yell out. True, a lot of gold-wrapped gifts were tagged for Brookline and Cambridge, but some others were for other markets that have been nice, not naughty.
When I was sure not even a mouse could be heard, I walked to the back of the room, to get a closer look at some very large, flat packages. Inside these packages I found blueprints for whole new neighborhoods. Incredible! That's a real expensive gift, perhaps picked up at the Tiffany's equivalent for real estate. The name tags on these packages read "Seaport District," "Assembly Square" and "Lovejoy Wharf."
Behind the large, flat packages were stockings with the names of Hub condo markets. Instantly, I noted a similar present in each. Clumsily, I opened the corner of one and saw that it read, "GREAT COMPS." Getting tight on time, and afraid of being observed, I wasn't sure if the great comps were for sellers, appraisers or buyers, but perhaps it didn't make a difference. In real estate, great comps are about as popular as chocolate.
I scanned the room and saw there were a few more presents for the Hub real estate market in in the corner. These hand-sized presents had some weight. They weren't from Santa, though; they were from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and addressed to several condo markets. I popped one of them open. It was a little replica train station with a big sign that read "INFRASTRUCTURE." "Wow! What a fantastic and thoughtful present." I carefully put the wrapper back as if it had never been touched.
The last thing I saw on the table top was a Hub real estate Menorah. There was one more present next to it, which of course had been recently opened. The present said "RESTAURANTS AND RETAIL." "That's exactly what a lot of our Hub neighborhoods need right now," I thought. And, besides, you never can have too many of these.
Then I heard approaching footsteps.
Happy holidays, everyone! And when you open these gifts in your neighborhood tomorrow or when the time comes, please remember to be as polite as possible and act like you didn't know that the real estate Santa was bringing them.
· Our Bates By the Numbers archive [Curbed Boston]