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Elad Bushari Named Chair of GBAR’s Professional Standards Committee

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Elad Bushari, co-founder of of Bushari Real Estate, is honored to be appointed as the 2016 Chair of the Professional Standards Committee of the Greater Boston Association of REALTORS. Elad served as the Vice Chair of the Professional Standards Committee in 2015 and as Chair and Vice Chair of the Grievance Committee in prior years.

The Professional Standards Committee impanels ethics and arbitration hearings with experienced, well-trained members, and provides fair, ethical and consistent decisions. The committee is also tasked with implementing and assessing performance of the associations mediation and ombudsmen programs to ensure timely processing of professional standards cases.

Elad looks forward to serving the Greater Boston Association in this broadened capacity.

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Eric Tam Places #3 Among All Agents in Brookline for November 2015

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Congratulations to Eric Tam for placing #3 on Brookline’s Top 20 list of real estate professionals for the month of November 2015, with $5.2 million in sales volume, according to MLS-PIN!

Eric is a sales specialist who strives to exceed client expectations. He seeks to build lasting relationships with his clients and utilizes his sales skills to help his clients achieve the best value for their home – whether they’re buying or selling. From the savvy investor to the first time homebuyer, Eric believes all home owners should have the opportunity to build wealth through real estate.

Born and raised in Newton, Eric has studied the art of negotiating and majored in sales and marketing at Babson College. Before turning his attention to the real estate market, Eric was a successful sales professional; managing his family’s residential and commercial properties. Eric’s sales background and negotiating skills have helped him to become a strong advocate for his clients and close countless real estate transactions.

Eric speaks Cantonese and Taosanese and his family’s roots in the local Asian community run deep. Eric now resides in the South End and enjoys spending time with his family.

 

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Bonnie Lombardi Places in Boston’s Top 20 Agents for September 2015

Bonnie Lombardi of Bushari Group Real Estate

Bonnie Lombardi of Bushari Group Real Estate

 

Congratulations to Bonnie Lombardi for placing in Boston’s Top 20 list of real estate professionals for the month of September 2015, with $8.7 million in sales!

Bonnie has nearly ten years of experience in real estate and her clients appreciate her outside-of-the-box thinking and deep market knowledge. Before setting out on her career in real estate, she graduated from Stonewall College and spent time working in corporate human resources. This experience adds a well-rounded dimension to her work with individual clients as well as organizations relocating employees. Her understanding of both the personal and professional needs of the real estate market make her a versatile agent capable of successfully servicing a variety of clients.

From starter condos to multi-million dollar deals, Bonnie’s significant experience and commitment are a valuable resource to everyone she works with.

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Boston Real Estate Market Report – 2015 Q3

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Our 2015 Q3 Boston Real Estate Market Report is now available for free download. Filled with the most comprehensive and up-to-date market statistics, this report is a valuable resource for buyers, sellers and agents alike.

The third quarter saw Boston’s home values continuing their upward trajectory with overall sales up 7.58% over 2014 with a 6.37% higher average selling price. Download our report today to see what the market looks like in your neighborhood.

download your free report

 

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Bushari Group Real Estate in Boston’s Top 10 For Year-to-Date Sales

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We are very happy to announce that Bushari Group Real Estate has entered the Top Ten Real Estate Firms for residential transaction volume year-to-date in Boston, according to MLS-PIN. Our agents have participated in more than $110 million worth of real estate transactions so far in 2015, with almost $84 million of that in Boston proper. The Boston real estate market is highly competitive and we would like to thank our agents and clients who have helped us become the strong, independent company we are today.

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What’s Your Home Worth? Check Out Our Latest Boston Real Estate Market Report

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Buying and selling a home can be a difficult process—but it doesn’t have to be. Access to the right tools and information can make for much smoother sailing in Boston the real estate market which is why we release a comprehensive market report after each financial quarter.

Broken down by neighborhood, our reports contain all of the data and statistics you’ll need to make a more informed decision when it comes to your next real estate transaction. Whether you’re curious about the current market value of your home or you’re just curious about the current market conditions in your neighborhood, our report will provide you with a better understanding of local trends and home values.

Our 2015 second quarter market report is now available for download, so go ahead and get your copy today.

download your free report

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PABU: Chef Michael Mina Brings Boston a Restaurant for the New Millennium

Photo courtesy of Millennium Partners.

Chef Michael Mina (left) and Sushi Chef Ken Tominaga (right) have Boston buzzing about PABU.  Photo courtesy of Millennium Partners.

 

As the Millennium Tower inches closer to completion with each passing day, more details are beginning to emerge about the businesses set to move in once the building opens next summer and a recent announcement has the Boston restaurant scene buzzing. Millennium Partners, the New York-based developers of the tower, are teaming up with celebrity chef Michael Mina and sushi chef Ken Tominaga to bring an exciting new dining concept to the city. Set to open Fall 2016, PABU is a Japanese-style izakaya that will operate on the first two stories of the Millennium Tower and promises to offer a unique dining experience to Boston foodies.

In Japan, izakayas are typically known as casual, after-work drinking establishments where food is served to accompany the drinks. Encouraging a social atmosphere, a typical izakaya menu is comprised of small plates meant to be shared and ordered continuously throughout the meal. Essentially, izakaya is the Japanese version of Spanish tapas.

Spanning 7,800 square feet, PABU will feature compartmentalized dining spaces, as well as communal tables where patrons may sip sake and socialize. The concept has been very well-received in San Francisco, where PABU consistently ranks among the city’s top restaurants and Mina believes that success will translate nicely to Boston. Like its sister restaurant, PABU (“pub” in Japanese) won’t be limited to small plates as the concept allows for guests to customize their own experiences. Mina also plans to serve a 16-course chef’s tasting menu that will highlight the freshest ingredients available on any given day, with a heavy focus on seafood, which will come from New England’s own waters, as well as the world’s largest fish market—Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market.

Mina is no stranger to working with Millennium Partners; in 2009, the acclaimed chef’s RN74 opened in San Francisco’s Millennium Tower, where he is also a resident. In addition to operating PABU, Mina will also spearhead the residents-only private dining options on the Millennium Tower’s 23,000 square foot Club Level. In addition to the dishes offered at PABU, Mina plans to create an exclusive menu featuring some of the “greatest hits” from his restaurant empire, which currently spans 21 different locations around the world.

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Copley Place Tower Given the Go-Ahead

Artist rendering, courtesy of the "Copley Place Retail Expansion and Residential Addition Project Summary"

Artist rendering of the newly-approved Copley Place Tower, courtesy of the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority last night approved several projects with the aim of fulfilling Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s plan to greatly expand the city’s housing inventory by 2030. Among the projects approved by the BRA’s Board of Directors was a revised plan for the expansion of Copley Place, which includes a new skyscraper that will deliver 542 new residential units to the heart of the city.

The residential and retail expansion of Copley has been on the table since 2006, but the project has been held back due to various issues, most recently that overhangs from the building were encroaching into “non-approved spaces.” With last night’s approval, however, those issues have been resolved and Simon Property Group, the project’s developer, can move forward with their $500 million construction.

According to the project summary, the forthcoming Copley Place Tower will rise to heights of 569 feet and plans to “successfully meet the needs of Boston and its residents.” Simon Property Group and their development advisers have carefully studied Boston’s evolving housing market.

The developers want to ensure that their project will improve the lives of all Bostonians and not just residents of the tower. Plans call for “carefully executed design strategies” with the goal of improving the location’s overall pedestrian experience and aesthetic. Some of the expected benefits include improved public transit and a reduction in the number of commuters in single-use vehicles, as well as the creation of 1,477 construction jobs and approximately 250 permanent jobs.

The residential tower at Copley Place will follow the likes of the Millennium Tower and One Dalton as the most recent additions to Boston’s quickly transforming skyline.

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Top 3 Up-And-Coming Areas for Boston Real Estate Investment

Boston Housing InvestmentOur agents at Bushari Group are asked daily about investing in Boston real estate. There are multiple kinds of real estate investments, and each investment will depend on your personal financial situation, risk tolerance and exit strategy, as well as long-term and short-term ROI goals (among other things). You may choose to go the route of “blue chip” neighborhoods like Back Bay and Beacon Hill, or high-return student areas like Allston and Brighton…or, you may be one of the more risk-tolerant investors looking for a big win. If you fit into the latter category, then acquiring assets in up-and-coming neighborhoods may be for you.

After a long lull in development and construction in Boston, there is some promising investment in infrastructure and neighborhood planning on the books. There are quite a few towns, neighborhoods and sub-neighborhoods on my radar, but the three below make the top of my list.

1. Somerville – Yes, Somerville was recognized as the “Best Run City in MA” by the Boston Globe in 2006, and yes, it won the “All-America City Award” in 2009 – but that is not why I like it. I am optimistic about Somerville because of the Green Line MBTA Extension Project (or GLX). The extension is part of the 5-year Capital Investment Plan by MassDOT, which proposes $1.3b in spending to complete Green line T service from a relocated Lechmere Cambridge stop to Union Square in Somerville and Tufts University in Medford. This is a big deal. The project calls for seven new T stations with a planned completion by 2020. Now is the time to scout condos and land development projects near the new T routes.

2. Quincy – It has not been a smooth ride for the developers of the massive Quincy Center project. That said, how smooth did people really think it would be? I mean, with more than 3.5 million square-feet of mixed-use development proposed, it is only one of the largest historic downtown revitalization projects in the country. Quincy was the first city in MA to receive District Improvement Financing, which allows the city to create a DIF zone in Quincy Center and use “new” tax growth generated within the defined area to fund new public work projects such as roads, parking, green space and the long awaited final phase of the Quincy Center concourse. The project includes high-rise office buildings, 200,000+ SF of street retail space, 4,000+ new parking spaces, 1,400+ new loft style apartments and more than 300,000 SF of retail space in the new Market Center. Once complete, Quincy may become one of the hottest Boston suburbs for professionals. New tax incentives for business growth and a zoning flexibility also make Quincy an ideal opportunity for commercial investment.

3. South Boston – With many three-bedroom condos selling for more than $1m, it is hard for me to say that South Boston is still an up-and-coming neighborhood, but it is. Buyers are flooding to South Boston as they are quickly being priced out of Boston’s South End, Charlestown and the North End neighborhoods. It is one of the few areas of the city offering some new construction, and townhouses are particularly popular. Land is selling quickly and with multiple bids as developers take note (think 16 offers on a plot Bushari Group listed for just under $4m). South Boston also offers opportunity for all you fix-and-flippers. There are still a few diamonds in the rough.

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Rent: Up, Up, & Up Some More

This is probably what your rent looks like if you live in Boston. If it doesn't consider yourself to be one of the chosen people.

This is probably what your rent looks like if you live in Boston. If it doesn’t, you should consider yourself to be one of the chosen people.

If you’re a renter in Boston, perhaps you’ve noticed that this year has been just a tad more difficult to find your dream space…or any space for that matter, than times past. I’ve heard from multiple friends that their landlords are basically forcing them to move out due to the current market. Landlords know that they can find tenants willing to pay asking price, so that’s exactly what they are doing. According to market trend spotting brokerage Rental Beast, the average monthly rent jumped more than 7 percent to $1,881 in the past year. In a hot spot like the Back Bay, you should expect the average rent to run you a whopping $2,857 a month; in another trendy spot like Jamaica Plain, a modest $1,536 by comparison.

This rent escalation isn’t just happening in Boston though. According to New York data firm Reis Inc., Boston is only the fifth most expensive rental market in the states. We in Boston got beat out by the two other obvious contenders, New York City and San Francisco. To be honest, I’m personally quite content letting them win that race. Landlord’s and rental property managers however are enjoying this immensely, because they know that when tenants vacate, it’s a golden ticket for them to reap some monetary benefits.

Rental Beast says the vacancy rate, already low last year at 3.8 percent, has dropped to 3.1 percent. In high-end neighborhoods such as the Back Bay and South End, not even 1 percent of apartments are vacant. That’s making the apartment search nearly impossible. If you’re looking for places with pre-existing roommates, the search becomes even more difficult because this whole process is similar to that of a nerve wracking blind date combined with a job interview. People are now looking for utopian roommate conditions and are willing to expend the extra time and effort to find the perfect candidate as oppose to allowing the first decent visitor to take the vacancy.

Real estate brokers feel that the rental increase is in part due to Boston’s successful economy in the ever growing tech and biotech industries. Because more people are now moving to Boston to work in these fields, said industries are expanding to downtown areas. See: Innovation District.

Why else is this rent increase happening in Boston? Well three probably causes. Older couples are choosing to live in the city rather than the suburbs, probably because even they know that the city is clearly where all the action is at.

Young professionals are still choosing to rent vs buy even when rent is obviously a more temporary solution and doesn’t give your future housing a whole lot of stability. But really it’s not about the rent, but moreso about the freedom from mortgage and being tied down to one location. Boston also has tons of higher education institutions and students don’t want to live on campus anymore, sharing their room with some stranger who will most likely  sexile them during exam time.

According to an article in Boston.com, Boston officials said they have permitted construction of 3,256 apartments so far this year in central neighborhoods such as the Back Bay, Fenway, and the Seaport District, where rent pressures are at their most extreme, and another 1,077 affordable units citywide for lower-income tenants. The city has numerous other initiatives that encourage developers to build or preserve subsidized housing, especially for populations like the elderly.

But many of the new market-rate units have been high-end apartments in the city’s more expensive neighborhoods — downtown and the waterfront, for example — that end up reinforcing higher rents throughout the market.

What IS available for rent are more upscale luxury-style apartments, which obviously targets only one demographic. A future solution to the overwhelmingly high rental demand is those tiny, micro Manhattan style apartments (see below) that have just enough room for you to sleep. Expected size of these units will be approximately 350 square feet, will be located near the Seaport District and the projected rent will range from $1,200 to $1,600 a month. Gotta love shoebox living.

Coming Soon: Shoebox living in Boston

So let’s put this all into perspective, shall we? If you spend 40-50% of your hard earned blood sweat and tears income on your housing, you are looking at more stay-cations, not going out nearly as much, shopping at Good Will and probably forgoing that overpriced gym membership. Awesome. If you look on the bright side however, You will probably  be able to fit into your middle school skinny-jeans again, living off that lettuce leaf and unfiltered tap water. It’s high time that Boston look into constructing more affordable housing by perhaps eliminating minimum lot sizes and easing restrictions on multi-unit buildings.

Here’s what I propose: As rent goes up, your employer should increase your pay (which should be done regularly anyway if you have half a brain and show any promise in your field) the same percentage of expected rental increases so that you can in fact pay this inflation and you won’t be homeless. No one wants to have to move back in with their folks against their will (insert noose here). I don’t recall that being a part of the American Dream. Granted if you look at the bigger picture, higher rent = higher taxes, which, if used correctly, means better city living conditions overall. So let’s try to look at this as a glass half full, mmmmk?