Clip: Planting A Flag In The Back Bay

A Q&A feature I did with one of the youngest presidents of the Greater Boston Association of Realtors.

Q: Have you always been based in the Back Bay? I don’t know if it’s the first place I’d pick, if I were a young guy starting out, looking to launch a brokerage.

A: We have. It’s definitely a competitive market, but that’s what we were looking for. We looked at it as having the most opportunity. I think maybe going into it we didn’t quite realize the level of competition that there was, being so young. But we dove into it headfirst. If we were going to do it in Boston, let’s go downtown Boston. Let’s take the bull by the horns and go after it … it’s a tough market to crack, but we got a hold with some of the web-based marketing that we were doing that we were the first people doing at that time, and that helped us.

PDF of full article: Planting A Flag In The Back Bay

Link to article (paywalled):

Banker & Tradesman, Dec. 14 2014.

Clip: Boston Wants To Grow, But Tough Obstacles Stand In Its Way

Some same-day coverage I did of a lively panel discussion on Boston’s future growth plans.

[T]here remain many obvious obstacles to increasing density, and few obvious solutions. Boston’s outdated zoning code and slow slog of development approvals make it too tough to get new projects done, while the city’s outdated infrastructure makes it expensive.

But one of McMorrow’s suggestions – a wholesale reform of the city’s zoning, especially near transit – was met with demurrals from Dillon and Bigby, who said that in their experience developers prefer to tackle acquiring potential zoning variances on a project-by-project basis.

When a neighborhood spends years coming to consensus on a development plan, it can actually make it harder for developers to get projects done, Bigby explained.

PDF of full article: Boston Wants To Grow

Link to article (paywalled):

Clip: As Overall Sales Struggle, High End Soars

An article pointing out that apparently sluggish third-quarter sales figures concealed a surge in the luxury market.

When it comes to million-dollar sales, many think of tony Beacon Hill townhouses, luxury condos or the suburban spreads tucked into towns like Wellesley and Weston inside the 128 belt. But it’s not just the immediate Boston metropolitan area which has seen gains at the high end this year – while sales over $1 million are up 16.6 percent in Middlesex Country through the third quarter, and 24.4 percent in Suffolk County, they’ve also up 46.5 percent in Essex County and over 50 percent in Nantucket.

Even Worcester and Bristol counties – where million-dollar sales are far more rare at any time have seen more activity at the high end, with 36 million-plus sales in Bristol through the third quarter, compared to 18 last year (an increase of 100 percent) and 34 million-plus sales in Worcester County compared to 24 through the third quarter last year, an increase of 41.7 percent.

PDF of full article: High End Soars

Link to article (paywalled):

Clip: Cambridge’s Boom A Desert For Middle Class

A piece I did unearthing some revealing new stats demonstrating how despite an explosion of new units under construction in the city of Cambridge — and the city’s own stringent affordable housing laws — middle class families were still being squeezed out of the market.

The recovery from the housing crash has been spread unevenly among Massachusetts’ cities and towns, but metro Boston cities like Cambridge and Somerville have received a double helping of price growth – and, in the past few years, a wave of new supply, with millions of square feet of new construction currently in the pipeline. But a look beneath the numbers suggests that underneath the sunshine, the squeeze is on, and it’s middle-class families who are the lemons.
PDF of full article: Cambridge Boom A Desert
Link to article (paywalled):

Clip: From Perry Mason To Title Insurance

A Q&A feature I did with an attorney discussing how a childhood love of Perry Mason led to a long career in real estate law.

Q: You mentioned that you were the one who sort of pushed your old firm into high-volume conveyancing. What was the opportunity that you saw there?

A: Marketing. Marketing it as a business. Being something different from the stodgy attorney, so impressed with themselves for clearing up a title issue that they’ve got you on the phone for half an hour and the lender doesn’t care.

PDF of full article: In Person with Michael Krone

Link to article (paywalled):

Banker & Tradesman, April 26, 2015.

Clip: TRID Is Coming, But Agents May Be Caught Unawares

A piece I wrote on the practical impact for real estate agents (and home buyers) of a complex new federal regulation governing mortgage loan documents.

Big changes are coming to the closing process this summer, and while lenders and attorneys have been scrambling to get ready, it’s real estate agents who may be facing the brunt of the practical effects—yet they seem far less tuned in to what’s coming.
PDF of full article: TRID Is Coming
Link to article (paywalled):

Clip: Repeal 40B Efforts Have Mysterious Benefactor

Investigative piece I did revealing that an effort to repeal the state’s affordable housing law was being underwritten by a local businessman.

So far, more than $200,000 has been spent collecting signatures to put the repeal question on the ballot this year.

It’s a striking change for a grassroots effort which had raised less than $14,000 in its first go-round. More striking is the fact that the surge in funds appears to be the result of only one organization – a non-profit linked to groups which seek to reduce human population growth.

PDF of full article: Repeal 40B Efforts Have Mysterious Benefactor

Link to article (paywalled): Banker & Tradesman, Jan. 25, 2010