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Boston's Top Broker on 1 Dalton, $20M Condos, Foreign Money

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.

Tracy Campion has consistently ranked as the No. 1 broker in Boston. I recently spent a few minutes with her discussing Boston's luxury market and some of the keys to succeeding as a real estate agent.

Can you give folks who might not know much about you a little information?
This is my 30th year, so that's how long it takes to get here. It's a lot of work. I love my job. I sell in downtown Boston, and, in 2007, I opened my own company called Campion & Co.

What does it take to really succeed as an agent in Boston?
I think you really have to be disciplined and driven. Driven is the word that I would say for this business. You have to be driven. There are a lot of ups and downs, and you can't let it get to you. You have to keep on focusing on yourself and keep your ethics about you. … And, you know what else? I take it very seriously when someone sells their home.

What has changed about our market?
I think we're in a very exciting time downtown because we have so many new developments coming online. We were stagnant for a long time and as you see we have the Millennium Tower coming on, the Four Seasons coming on. … It's just great. There's so many options for people when they come downtown. You might want to be in a beautiful, historic townhouse. You might want to be in a high-rise, so it's a great and a wonderful time. … It just feels so lively and everyone wants to come downtown. I mean, I grew up when everyone was leaving town. For me, I see it as so exciting, so vibrant.

It seems the amount of full service buildings has changed in the city since you started?
Before, we could count them on your hand. And they still are our crown jewels around the Public Garden: the Heritage, the Four Seasons. … So you didn't have a lot to choose from. And it has just skyrocketed. And, I think, for the age of some of my buyers now, they need those services. And you know what's another interesting thing is that when I get buyers in my car now and we go out to do a sampling of everything that's downtown, they now are [saying], 'What's the building offering?' Do you know what I mean, what other amenities? It isn't just the condo [anymore].

Do you think Boston is going to see a $20 million sale this year?
I hope I can do it for you.

Are the city's luxury demographics changing?
We always have our empty-nesters coming back from the suburbs, but we also have a lot of young families that are staying in. I think that people are trading up. People are staying in the city. They love our city. And I think our international market is going to increase with all these planes coming in, from Dubai and China and all those direct lines. That makes a big difference, when they come and they don't have to stop in New York. They can come here directly. And I think new buildings are going to attract more of an international buyer because that's what they're used to.

What do you think of pricing in Boston?
I honestly feel that our city has been undervalued, for how beautiful our city is. So, if you compare us to these other international cities, I think we are undervalued and we're catching up.

Is there a sale out there that reflects the new pricing of the luxury market in Boston?
I think the Mandarin has done that. I think that Mandarin sales have been quite significant, just reaching that threshold to hit over $2,000 a square foot. I think those sales. I don't think it's one in particular.

I'd like to name a few of your listings. Please say the first thing that comes to mind. The new Four Seasons [a.k.a. One Dalton]?
I see it as very exciting. To be able to work with Harry Cobb, the same architect who did the Hancock. I mean, what building's prettier than the Hancock downtown? I just feel so fortunate.

The Harvard Club?
The Harvard Club is great because you are in a small boutique building and you get all the amenities of the Harvard Club, which is upgrading their building.

Ten Farnsworth?
Ten Farnsworth, I love. I have never seen a more impressive marketing book in Boston. … The finishes at 10 Farnsworth are so way above the whole market. They really are.

Do you think there are any risks to Boston's luxury market?
Depends on how many luxury projects get off, but I think we really need a lot of units. I think it's going to be fine. I don't see anything right now.

What's important in this next development phase in Boston?
I'd love to see more green space. I'd love to see more trees out there. What makes Comm. Ave. great? The Commonwealth Mall, right? What's our crown jewel? The Public Garden. So I hope, in the city planning, that we pay attention to the green space. That's what really makes the city beautiful! I am a true believer in that.

What is your goal in 2015?
My goal is to make sure that all my clients are happy.
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