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7 trends and milestones set to rock Boston-area real estate in 2018

Deals, records, and developments

You feel it? We’re in the home stretch of 2017. What will next year bring in terms of real estate, development, transportation, etc.?

Let’s take a look.


Boston home sales set a record.

Sara Colket Photography

This one’s a no-brainer. There is at least one penthouse in contract at Back Bay’s under-construction One Dalton with an asking tag of about $40 million (and maybe two).

If either goes for anywhere near that amount, it would both set a residential sales record for Boston and be one of the biggest home trades in New England history.

Rents plateau and maybe drop sharply. Maybe.

An apartment at Fenway’s new 212-unit Harlo
Jared Kuzia Photography

Yes, the region’s been here before in recent years. (Remember all that talk of an apartment glut in 2014 and 2015?) But rents really are plateauing in many areas, including in Boston proper overall.

Plus, major new developments are adding hundreds of new units, likely satiating demand a bit in 2018 and leading to lower rents.

The housing market cools considerably.

Michael Candelori/Shutterstock

What happens in Washington, D.C., during the next month or so could have profound effects on the housing market up here in 2018.

An elimination of, or a cap on, the mortgage interest deduction, especially for more expensive homes, could by itself lead to a cool-off in the Boston region’s notoriously red-hot market.

Tax changes such as eliminating the ability to deduct state and local taxes from federal returns could also have prospective homebuyers reconsidering their financial options.

At the same time, a greater number of less expensive rental options—see above—could have more tenants staying put rather than entering the sales market.

The region gets major additions to its skyline.

A building under construction. There is a crane and the windows are all entirely open. Sara Colket Photography

The Four Seasons Hotel & Private Residences One Dalton Street in Back Bay is already visible on the skyline. When construction (pictured) wraps toward the end of 2018, the 742-foot spire will be the tallest primarily residential building in the Boston area.

Other more modest towers are on their ways up as well, including the buildings of Bulfinch Crossing in downtown Boston, Mass + Main in Cambridge’s Central Square, and the main portion of the Wynn Boston Harbor casino-resort in Everett.

More streets close to vehicles, at least temporarily.

Shirley Leung via the Globe

The City of Boston three times this summer closed Newbury Street in Back Bay to vehicular traffic. Valhalla for pedestrians and ground-floor retailers ensued.

Such isolated events are likely not a harbinger of wider, longer closures, but the success of the Newbury shutdowns certainly serves as an example of what’s possible streetscape-wise in 2018.

And 2017 has been a year for blue-sky thinking about how to get around generally.

Big deals close for big develop-able parcels.

jpitha/Flickr

Two massive parcels will be on sale going into 2018 (assuming they don’t land buyers between late November and New Year’s).

One is the 38-acre former Wonderland dog track in Revere. It has been described as ripe for mixed-use development, especially given its proximity to the Blue Line.

The other is nearly 20 acres in Widett Circle between the South End and South Boston. That ridiculously prime spot is expected to draw a bidding war.

After all, such parcels can lead to remunerative mega-developments.

Boston lands Amazon’s headquarters.

Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Sure, why not? The smart money says that Boston’s pretty much the front-runner.

The e-commerce giant is expected to announce its decision in the spring. Stay tuned.