clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Five Worst Trends in Greater Boston Real Estate, Ranked

New, 12 comments

It's going to snow on this first day of spring, so we are (like you) in a foul mood. What better atmosphere, then, to rank the absolutely worst trends we're currently seeing in real estate in the Boston area. Shall we?

5. There are too many New Somervilles
We magnanimously take most of the blame for this, having started the string of trend pieces that run something like: "[Town or City X] is the new Somerville because it's increasingly hip and there are new apartments with bocce courts and electric-car-charging stations." The problem with this, of course, is that Somerville is the New Somerville; the city is changing—and changing fast—right before our eyes. Also: Chasing the young and the hip detracts from servicing other residents of the region, particularly families, which are getting priced out of everywhere but Framingham.

4. Everything getting built looks like variations on the same Legos
It's not easy to build in this region to begin with, what with the NIMBY-ists, the patchwork of municipalities dating from frontier times, the labor costs and the often myopic policymakers. But, please, when you do get the chance, strive for something more than squat, boxy numbers painted the most incongruous colors for their surroundings or shiny, glassy spires indistinguishable from the next one going up a block over. And, if you could, be a little more creative with the names. These things will stand decades, if not centuries, after all.

3. The 2024 Olympics that might never happen are animating much of the region's long-term urban planning
We're neither pro nor con re: the Summer Games coming here. But we are disturbed by the way that elected officials and private-sector executives are touting the 2024 Olympics as a major, if not definitive, way to plan for the future of the Boston region. The T basically broke down several days this past winter; there is a chronic housing shortage from Winthrop to Waltham; the existing stock is by and large aged or uber-expensive; traffic here is surely the worst in the nation; the sea is closing in around us; cats and dogs living together—and the answer from many influential people is a velodrome in Somerville. Greater Boston possesses perhaps the greatest intellectual capital of any region in the U.S. Come on.

2. There are no condos to buy and when there are they disappear like that [snaps finger]
This is a trend we've been banging on about for ages and it shows no signs of abating. Boston and surrounding areas are woefully bereft of condos available for purchase; and the construction of new ones seems to always proceed at a glacial pace (a glacial pace that tends to end on a huge pile of money). Thus! Whenever there are available condos, they go fast, sometimes for more than their asking prices and often after a bidding war. There is no end in sight to this trend. It will continue forever.

1. The rent is too damn high even though there are literally tons of new apartments
It's a curious thing: It's been eons—perhaps a generation—since the Boston area has seen so many new apartments going up. Yet rents remain positively Manhattan-like and the vacancy rates cartoonishly low (think below 5 percent always and without cessation). One big reason for this might be that a lot of the new apartments are on the luxury end (come on, Luxury Glutpocalypse!). Another—and probably the bigger reason—is that there is just too much demand for too little housing. This is the absolute worst trend in Greater Boston real estate right now, and it, too, shows no signs of ending. But at least we might host the Olympics in nine years.

Stay warm.
· Meet the Next Somerville: Everett [Curbed Boston]
· The Amenities of the Hub's Newer Apartment Complexes [Curbed Boston]
· Somerville Is Doomed to Be a More Desirable Place to Live [Curbed Boston]
· 1350 Boylston and the Battle for Building Boston [Curbed Boston]
· Southie Residents Want City to Up Its Game on Paint Jobs II [Curbed Boston]
· Millennium Tower? Hmm... Sounds Familiar [Curbed Boston]
· 18 Renderings and Maps to Explain the Boston Olympics [Curbed Boston]
· 12 Mind-Bending Ways Boston Could Confront Rising Seas [Curbed Boston]
· Boston, It's Time to Admit You Have an Inventory Problem [Curbed Boston]
· Where Are the New Boston Condos? Openings Scarce in '15 [Curbed Boston]
· Extreme Over-Asks in the Hub: Where They Happen the Most [Curbed Boston]
· Further Proof the Hub's One Big Condo-Bidding Warzone [Curbed Boston]
· The Biggest Greater Boston Apartment Openings in 2015 [Curbed Boston]
· Curbed Boston Awards '14: the Hardest-to-Avoid Trend [Curbed Boston]
· Cheapest, Priciest Areas in the Hub to Rent an Apartment [Curbed Boston]