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Beige Book Report - September 2015

First District--Boston

Residential Real Estate
Closed sales of both single-family homes and condominiums increased on a year-over-year basis in all six First District states in June. Contacts in the real estate industry say that sellers seem to be recovering from the harsh winter weather, and increased activity that began to show up in the last Beige Book continues. June represented the first year-over-year increase in closed sales of single-family homes for Massachusetts in 8 months. In Boston, where sales increased 10.2 percent, the volume numbers were near record highs. Median sales price increased from a year earlier on single-family homes in half the First District states and fell in Vermont, Connecticut, and Maine. Contacts in Massachusetts characterize the price appreciation as modest. Pending sales increased from July 2014 for nearly every state in the First District; the exception was condos in Maine. Inventory has decreased in every state but Connecticut. Massachusetts contacts say building and zoning laws continue to make new construction difficult. Contacts say low inventory has created a strong "sellers' market." Additionally, the available months of supply decreased in every state's single-family home market. The number of days spent on the market also decreased for both single-family homes and condos in most New England states.

Contacts express a generally optimistic outlook as the market continues to recover from the unseasonably slow winter. Some note that sellers may still be working on repairs before putting homes on the market and expect upward trends in sales and prices to continue into the fall. Many are weary of the inventory shortage and express concern that rising prices and potentially increasing interest rates will begin to present financing issues for buyers

Commercial Real Estate
Contacts in the First District give mostly upbeat reports concerning the region's commercial real estate markets. Extending trends reported last time, office rents in Boston continue to climb, office vacancy rates continue to fall, and investors are pushing prices for Boston's commercial properties to near all-time highs. A few Boston contacts note that, over the past couple of years, the pace of delivery of new office space has been slow relative to historical norms under similar market conditions, contributing to the recent surge in rents. However, contacts also report that there has been a modest uptick in office construction activity in Boston's Seaport and Financial districts, involving a combination of pre-leased space and unleased space, and in some cases incorporating additional uses such as retail and residential space. Construction of hospitals and related facilities also continues to expand in the Boston area.

In Providence, office leasing activity experienced only a very modest summer slowdown, maintaining a decent pace that is expected to strengthen come September; a contact in that city reports that the number of large blocks of vacant office space is down considerably in recent months. The Portland area continues to see strong leasing activity across the office, retail, and industrial sectors, pushing vacancy rates into the single digits, and the city's hotels are enjoying very high occupancy rates. In Hartford, leasing activity is light amid flat economic activity but the city's investment sales market remains strong and has recently attracted the interest of foreign buyers. A regional lender to commercial real estate notes that his bank saw a recent spike in loan payoffs resulting from an increased number of property sales among its borrowers; at the same time, it struggles to secure new lending opportunities amid fierce competition from insurance company lenders and from the commercial mortgage backed securities market.

The shortage of skilled construction workers and accompanying wage pressure continues to weigh on the outlook for construction activity in Boston--according to one contact, within the next six months relevant labor costs in the metropolitan area could rise to levels that would significantly curtail construction activity relative to current plans. With the exception of a Hartford contact--whose outlook is modestly pessimistic--most commercial real estate contacts are optimistic concerning leasing fundamentals moving forward, but Boston contacts continue to be "nervous" about current high sales prices and low capitalization rates.

Luxury Doorman Rental at The Macallen!

Rare opportunity to lease at the full service Macallen building!

Pristine two bedroom, 2.5 bath penthouse with all the right touches!  Spacious living room with vaulted ceiling,wet bar and wall-mounted linear fireplace.  Cooks eat-in kitchen with gas cooking, stainless steel appliances and granite counters.  Palatial private deck with Boston Harbor and Financial District views.  Master bedroom with marble accented bath en-suite replete with a steam shower.  Second bedroom with adjacent full marble accented full bath.  Includes garage parking, central air, washer/dryer and South East exposures.  


Built in 2007, the Macallen features 24/7 concierge and on-site professional management, elevator, garage parking and fitness center. 18,000 SF Garden with heated lap pool, gas grills and free Wi-Fi.  Located on the edge of the South Boston neighborhood at the corner of Broadway and Dorchester Ave., the Macallen is close to the Financial District, Seaport and South End neighborhoods, the new Whole Foods Market, many fine restuarants, public transportation and major routes.  The Macallen is Boston's first Gold LEED residential building!  NOTE: The Macallen is a totally smoke-free building.  Sorry no pets.


Rent:  $5,500 per month unfurnished.

Term:  One Year.

Contact Tim Marsh for more information or to set up a viewing of the property.  Cell:  617-548-7145.  Email:



Beige Book Report July 2015


First District Boston


Residential Real Estate
Homebuyer confidence is up across the First District, according to contacts. Accordingly, completed sales of single-family homes increased over-the-year to May 2015 in every state except Massachusetts, which posted a decline in completed sales for the same period. The decline in Massachusetts' completed sales is attributed in part to the state's long and harsh winter, which deterred foot traffic even into April. Record-low inventory levels in Massachusetts are reportedly causing changes in the contracting environment, such as an increased willingness of sellers to let buyers out of pending sales contracts and a trend of sellers' making a sale contingent on their finding a new home to purchase. Over-the-year to May 2015, supply of single-family homes decreased in every state in the First District while pending sales increased. Median Sales Price (MSP) of single-family homes increased over-the-year in four of six New England states, while in Connecticut MSP is flat and in Massachusetts MSP decreased. The latest decline in MSP is only the second for Massachusetts in 31 months and contacts insist that buyer demand remains strong. The condominium market saw mixed results. Completed condominium sales are down in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Vermont and up in Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine. MSP for condos increased in all states except Vermont and Maine. Massachusetts currently has only 1.8 months' supply of condominiums available, compared with 6 to 7 months' supply in a balanced market. Condominium inventory is down and pending condo sales are up in all six states. Contacts are generally optimistic about regional demand for residential real estate moving forward, despite voicing some uncertainty about the impact of eventual increases in interest rates.


Commercial Real Estate
Contacts report that office rent growth is accelerating in greater Boston, especially in urban submarkets. One contact describes Boston's office leasing market as the strongest in 50 years. Prices for investment properties in greater Boston continue to rise and, despite accelerating rent growth, contacts remain concerned that recent sales prices embed overly optimistic rent growth assumptions. In Portland, commercial leasing activity is steady at a solid pace and a modest amount of build-to-suit construction activity is reported. In Providence, deal volume is steady in both the office and industrial leasing markets and office vacancy rates are expected to decline moving forward amid lack of construction activity. Also in Rhode Island, business sentiment is described as optimistic in the face of modest improvements in current economic conditions and passage of a state budget that is seen as favoring job creation. Hartford's office leasing volume slowed in recent weeks, prompting one contact to downgrade his outlook for that market; however, Connecticut's investment sales market remains quite strong. Bank lenders in greater Boston are reportedly offering very low interest rates and generous terms for commercial real estate mortgages and construction loans. A common concern among contacts in the First District is the potential impact on investment demand for commercial properties once short-term interest rates start to rise.

Millenium Tower 70% Sold - Mostly to Local Buyers

Courtesy of Tom Acitelli of Curbed Boston

One of the understandable assumptions about Downtown Crossing's under-construction Millennium Tower was that foreign money would fill it. Who else would buy $9 million condos in Boston (or entire floors several times that amount)? Surely, Russian oligarchs, Saudi princes and English olde money would. Wrong. 

Click the link below to read the rest of the article.


Tim Marsh - Broker/Owner

Marsh Properties, Inc.

Marsh Properties closes on another Four Seasons Exclusive

Tim Marsh of Marsh Properties is pleased to announce that he has closed on the sale of his exclusive listing at the world-class Four Seasons across from the Boston Public Garden.

Listed at $3,875,000, he solicited four offers in four days and sold it at a price above the list price. This rare, front-facing 2,206 SF home offers stunning views of the Public Garden's Swan Pond from the 30' fireplaced living room and the eat-in kitchen! Features include two bedroom suites, den/3rd bedroom, powder room, laundry room and a deeded garage space.

Residents enjoy: One of Boston's most valuable and coveted addresses, complimentary fitness center and lap pool overlooking the Public Garden, available massage services, self-park or valet garage parking and 24/7 "white-glove" concierge services. The Four Seasons Hotel, rated AAA Five Diamond and Mobil 5-Star, sits below the condominium and offers in-room and pool-side dining. The Bristol Lounge and Bar is off the main lobby of the hotel.

NOTE: Marsh Properties focuses on the sale of luxury condominiums in Boston's top doorman buildings, townhouse condominiums along with single family homes.

Tim Marsh - Owner/Broker

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