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Boston-area real estate in 2018: The biggest question marks

Including Amazon, rents, and housing prices

The sand is rapidly running down on 2017. Here are the biggest real estate-related questions for the Boston area that 2018 might answer.


Is the Winthrop Square tower happening or not?

Handel Architects

↑ This approximately 700-foot tower in downtown Boston is still up in the air in terms of its development. Blame or credit concerns over its scope, including the shadows it might cast on Boston landmarks.

It could yet move forward in 2018, thanks to concessions from its would-be developer.

What about some other big developments?

Photo via Boston Magazine

↑ The Winthrop Square tower isn’t the only mega-development in the region presently in limbo for whatever reason.

Others still up in the regulatory air include the redevelopment of the 15.2-acre waterfront site of the long-shuttered New Boston Generating Station and whatever might pop up on nearly 20 acres in Widett Circle between the South End and South Boston (pictured above).

How will tax changes affect the housing market?

Back Bay from the sky Bill Damon/Flickr

↑ Federal changes to mortgage-interest and local/state tax deductions could impact the Boston area’s housing market considerably given its high costs. The long-term effects might not be clear for months, though.

Still, any slowdown in the pace of housing trades could mean a sizable drop in prices. Imagine that.

And what will that do to the rental market?

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

↑ If prospective buyers—and sellers—decide to sit on the sidelines in 2018, then that could mean that much more competition for Boston-area apartments.

That would translate into even higher rents and probably fewer concessions from landlords—who could end up having a particularly rosy 2018.

Will Boston or the Boston region land Amazon?

Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

↑ This is the gazillion-dollar question that only Amazon can answer. It plans to decide next year re: where it will locate its 8 million-square-foot second headquarters for up to 50,000 employees.

Boston and parts of the surrounding region are among hundreds of contestants for the big prize. Stay tuned.