A scaled-back proposal to build a primarily residential tower over the Massachusetts Turnpike next to the Hynes Convention Center won a key approval from the Boston Planning & Development Agency on March 15.
Developer Weiner Ventures had originally proposed building two buildings where Massachusetts Avenue meets Boylston Street: One 566 feet and 39 stories, the other 283 feet and 24 stories.
The newly passed proposal includes plans for just one of those towers—and it would now reach to 484 feet and 27 floors. It would include 108 condos atop two floors of retail and restaurant space as well as two levels of parking.
Millennials are picking up the pace of moving into homeownership, but the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) says not all are finding a way. Its 2018 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study found that inventory constraints and higher housing costs have prevented some from leaving the more affordable confines of their parents' homes.
The study evaluates the generational differences of recent home buyers and sellers and found that slightly more than a third of home purchases over the last year, 36 percent, were made by Millennials, an increase from 34 percent in 2017, making them the most active generation of buyers for the fifth year. Gen X buyers accounted for 26 percent of sales, baby boomers for 32 percent, and the silent generation, those born between 1925 and 1945, 6 percent.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the survey findings reveal show what it takes for Millennials to be a successful buyer and why, even as sales to that age group reached an all-time survey high, slim inventories and other conditions are working against many. Yun said the overall share of those buyers remains at an underperforming level.
The typical Millennial needed a household income of $88,200 compared to $82,000 last year to purchase the same sized 1,800 square foot home which increased in price from $205,000 to $220,000. They were also carrying more student debt than revealed in last year's survey and slightly more of them said saving for a down payment was the most difficult part of buying a home.
"Realtors® throughout the country have noticed both the notable upturn in buyer interest from young adults over the past year, as well as mounting frustration once they begin actively searching for a home to buy," said Yun. "Prices keep rising for the limited number of listings on the market they can afford, which is creating stark competition, speedy price growth and the need to save more in order to buy."
Added Yun, "These challenging market conditions have caused - and will continue to cause - many aspiring millennial buyers to continue renting unless more Gen Xers decide to sell, and entry-level home construction picks up significantly."
Among other generational findings of the survey was that, as in previous years, younger boomers were the most likely, at 20 percent, to purchase a multi-generational home with an increase from 30 to 39 percent who said they did so to provide a place for their adult children to live. Providing a place for their parents was a reason given by 22 percent. This also applied to Gen X buyers, with those purchasing for multi-generational purposes rising from 12 percent in 2017 to 15 percent and many of those (35 percent) saying adult children were the reason, slightly more than those doing so because of their parents.
"Costly rents and growing student debt balances appear to make living at home more appealing, affordable and increasingly more common among young adults just entering the workforce," said Yun. "Even in situations where three generations are all cramped under the same roof, it can significantly help some millennials eventually transition straight to homeownership. Eighteen percent of millennial buyers in the survey said their family home was their previous living arrangement."
Regardless of the age group, the quality of the neighborhood was the most important factor in deciding where to live, followed closing by proximity to employment. Recent Millennial buyers were also as likely as other age groups to put a priority on living close to friends and family.
The share of millennial buyers with at least one child continues to grow, at 52 percent in this year's survey and up from 49 percent a year ago and 43 percent in 2015. With the need for a larger house at an affordable price, 52 percent of millennials bought in a suburban location while also being more likely than Gen Xers and younger boomers to choose a home in a small town. After climbing as high as 21 percent in 2015, only 15 percent of recent millennial buyers purchased a home in an urban area.
Eighty-six percent of Gen Xers and 85 percent of Millennials purchased a single-family home, while boomers of all ages were most likely to buy a multi-family home. Only 2 percent of millennials bought a condo.
"While there is an overall trend among households young and old to migrate towards urban areas, the very low production of new condos means there are few affordable options for buyers - especially millennials," Yun said.
The survey also found that both buyers and sellers in all age groups prefer to work with real estate agents. Millennials, at 90 percent, were most likely to purchase using an agent, but at least 84 percent of other generations did so as well. Close to the same percentages of sellers were also agent assisted.
NAR mailed its 131-question survey in July 2017 to a weighted random sample of buyers who had purchased a home between July 2016 and July 2017. The survey could be completed by mail or on-line and was available in both English and Spanish. Of 145,800 surveys mailed, 7,866 were returned.
A million dollars doesn't buy what it used to — especially when it comes to luxury real estate.
The Wealth Report, from London-based real estate brokerage Knight Frank, measured the top markets in the world and compared how much prime property $1 million would buy in each.
Monaco still reigns as the most expensive for top-tier property. For $1 million, you can only buy 16 square meters there, about 172 square feet — the size of a respectable walk-in closet.
Hong Kong ranked as the second most expensive market, with $1 million buying about 236 square feet. New York ranked third, nabbing about 270 square feet.
The report highlights how global growth has lifted the fortunes of the wealthy and hiked luxury real estate prices in the top cities. "2017 was a year when the economic stars aligned and relatively healthy growth was seen across most markets," the report said.
Indeed, almost all of the cities have become more expensive over the past year. In Monaco and New York, $1 million buys 1 less square meter than it did a year ago. In London, which ranked fourth, $1 million buys 28 square meters, 2 meters less than a year ago.
Los Angeles saw even stronger prices, with $1 million buying about 620 square feet, compared with about 657 square feet a year ago.
If you're looking for a bargain in luxury real estate, check out Sao Paulo or Cape Town, South Africa. In Cape Town, $1 million buys about 1,700 square feet. In Sao Paulo, $1 million lands more than 1,800 square feet. But even Sao Paolo has become more expensive: Last year $1 million could have purchased 1,900 square feet.
Federal Reserve Bank - First District Boston Posted from: Federalreserve.gov
Summary of Economic Activity Economic activity expanded at a moderate pace in the First District, with almost all retail and manufacturing respondents citing sales and revenues in recent weeks ahead of year-earlier levels. By contrast, staffing firms reported year-over-year revenue declines, reflecting ongoing difficulty finding workers to fill openings. Commercial real estate contacts offered generally upbeat reports. Residential real estate markets in the region saw sales declines and price increases, which respondents attributed to very low inventories. Outlooks continued to be generally positive.
Residential Real Estate Residential real estate markets in the First District showed declines in closed sales despite strong demand. Closed sales for single-family homes decreased in four out of the six reporting areas, while New Hampshire and Maine reported moderate increases. For condos, sales decreased in all reporting areas but Maine. (Three of the six states, as well as the Greater Boston area, reported data through December 2017; Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont reported results to January 2018.)
Median sales prices increased for both single-family homes and condos, except in Vermont. Low inventory continued to be a key constraint in the First District, with all areas except Greater Boston reporting substantial decreases in inventory.
Contacts expressed positive outlooks in terms of market activity, citing strong buyer demand and the prospect of rising mortgage rates as the reasons. A Boston contact noted "Despite these drops in overall sales, activity has remained strong and we're seeing an eager buyer population."
Commercial Real Estate Contacts offered mostly upbeat reports on commercial real estate activity in the First District. Office leasing activity remained robust in greater Providence, driving further increases in rents, although suburban office locations remained less sought-after. Rhode Island's industrial property market continued to experience strong demand. Boston posted an increase in office leasing activity, while leasing activity slowed across all sectors in Connecticut. Construction activity remained robust in Providence and Boston, but luxury multifamily construction continued to dominate in Boston where some contacts cited ongoing concerns about overbuilding in that submarket.
Respondents across the First District voiced concerns that commercial property values could fall in response to rising yields on long-term Treasuries, and cited both upside and downside risks related to recent changes in federal tax laws and the recently signed federal budget. A Connecticut contact said business sentiment remained very weak, leading to a pessimistic outlook for commercial real estate activity. A Rhode Island contact expected slower economic growth in the second half of 2018; by contrast, Boston contacts forecasted stable or strengthening growth despite risks in some submarkets.
A rate lock freezes an interest rate on a mortgage for a period of time. The lender guarantees (with a few exceptions) that the mortgage rate offered to a borrower will remain available to that borrower for a specific amount of time. The borrower doesn’t have to worry if rates go up between the time they submit an offer and close on the house.
Mortgage rate locks typically last from 30 to 60 days, though they can also last 120 days or more. Some lenders may offer a free rate lock for a specified amount of time. After that, however, the lender may charge fees for extending the lock.
When to lock in a mortgage rate
Borrowers can’t lock in a rate until after the initial loan approval. However, many borrowers wait until they have found a home to purchase.
Borrowers typically wait because they don’t know how many days it will take to find a home and have an offer accepted. They worry that by locking in too early, they may miss the opportunity for a better rate before they complete a purchase or get stuck paying extra to extend the lock once it expires.
A longer rate lock is more expensive. For example, a borrower who chooses a 30-day lock on a loan may pay a 4.875 percent rate and zero points, while a 60-day lock might cost 1 point (equal to 1 percent of the loan) or a slightly higher rate with a half-point.
However, with mortgage rates expected to rise, you might consider jumping on the lower rate as soon as possible. Even a small hike, such as a quarter of a point, can mean a difference of hundreds or thousands of dollars in interest each year.
“In this current environment, it makes the most sense to start the process quickly,” says Randy Hopper, senior vice president of mortgage lending at Navy Federal Credit Union. “The borrower would contact the loan officer and say, “Hey, I’ve got a contract on a place,” and then the loan officer locks in the rate as soon as they review the contract.”
What to ask your lender before you lock
Be sure to get a clear explanation of your lender’s rate lock rules. Find out if your locked rate can change in certain circumstances — for example, if mortgage rates drop, or if you change from a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to an FHA loan.
Finally, be sure that your rate lock is long enough to cover the entire homebuying process. For example, if you anticipate that your closing will take longer than a month, talk to your lender about locking in a rate for that period without paying fees.
Make sure you’re financially prepared
Before you lock in a rate, make sure your budget is in order and you are financially prepared to apply for a mortgage.
If you lock in a rate too soon and end up going with a different type of loan, your rate lock might be void. Borrowers also can lose a rate lock if their circumstances change — such as a shift in their credit score or in their debt-to-income ratio — before settlement.
Frank Lloyd Wright once proposed The Illinois, a mile-high skyscraper set on the shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago, a towering giant of a building powered by atomic elevators. It's clear symbol of the current race to raise skylines around the world that Wright's vision from the '50s, yet to be realized, is coming closer and closer to reality.
Developments in building technology and a surfeit of construction projects in Asia makes the title of tallest building more temporary than ever; only one of the buildings on this list of the ten tallest in waiting are in North America, and half of them will eventually eclipse the height of One World Trade Center. This list contains the tallest under construction based on data from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. There are many others on the drawing board, but this is meant to showcase the projects likely to be completed.
Jeddah Tower (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: 3,281 feet, estimated completion 2021)
This skyscraper is likely will become the first to break the one kilometer mark, not merely because it's already under construction and supported by the deep pockets of billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, but because it was designed by Adrian Smith.
An architect whose career highlights include the Hancock Center and Burj Khalifa, Smith designed the Jeddah Tower to be the next iteration of the Burj, a shard of steel and glass that, in its triangular shape, recalls a palm about to spread its fronds. The centerpiece of a new suburb, this skyscraper will shatter records, offer sightseers a perch on the 157th story (site of a proposed helipad), and even showcase an entirely new type of elevator, speedy double-decker cabins swept between floors by a new carbon fiber cord. Perhaps more incredible is that building was meant to be a mile high, but engineers discovered that the surrounding geology unsuitable to support such a structure.
Property developers are hoping this crystalline tower becomes as much of a catalyst for the city as César Pelli's Petronas Towers, still the tallest twin structures in the world. This is a massive project for Australian firm Fender Katsalidis Architects, which has been attached to a series of tall towers in Melbourne.
Wuhan Greenland Center (Wuhan, China: 2,087 feet, estimated completion 2019)
Another project being overseen by the firm of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, this in-the-works tower in central China offers a unique, curved profile, a tripod shape that tapers and forms a dome to reduce wind resistance. The entire structure, from the grand lobbies to the corners fashioned in curved glass, present a fluid profile, reducing the building's material footprint. To add an additional air of exclusivity, the summit of this multi-use super tall will include a private member's club.
A symbol of recent developments in the Thai capital, like the under-construction transit lines connecting outlying areas to the central business district, this supertall will be an exclamation point on Bangkok’s continued growth as a regional hub. Named after a famous Thai king, the future landmark, which will be southeast Asia’s tallest building, will include a six-star hotel and become a highlight of the city center, which features a master plan by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.
Global Financial Center Tower 1 (Shenyeng, China: 1,864 feet, estimated completion 2020)
Nicknamed the Pearl of the North, the 111-story, mixed-use skyscraper will feature a circular inset towards the apex as well as a luxury auto showroom towards the top floor and a smaller sister tower, both designed by Atkins. Set in the Golden Corridor in the city’s central business district, the tower also makes a nod towards regional history; the canopies were designed to resemble the tents of the Qing Dynasty.
Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to meet LEED Gold standards, this gently sloping tower features a crystallized facade that accentuates the curves of the building’s frame. There’s rhyme and reason to those subtle bends and arches: along with strategically placed vents, the shape reduces “vortex shedding,” which sharply decreases the wind forces impacting the tower.
China Zun Tower (Beijing, China: 1,732 feet, estimated completion 2018)
Modeled after a ceremonial “zun” vessel, a bronze or ceramic design meant to hold wine, this gently curving tower will soon rise over the new extension of Beijing’s central business district. Designed by the international architecture firm Farrells, with engineering help by Arup and KPF serving as design and executive architect, the unique, concave tower, split between office space, private club and an observation deck, provides additional high-rent space on the top floors and a dramatic lobby entrance on the ground floor. In addition to claiming the title of China’s tallest building, the Zun will also be the tallest structure in a high seismic zone when its finished, relying on steel-concrete composite braces and a solid concrete core for stability.
Also known as the Tianyu Tower, this 108-story project hasn’t released many official details, despite being on the CTBUH list. Some commenters on an older Skyscraper City discussion page where this photo was sourced have noted the building is named after the developer.
Evergrande International (Hefei, China: 1,699 feet, estimated completion 2021)
Originally designed by Atkins, with Thornton Tomasetti working as structural engineers, this unique tower mimics the contours of bamboo, with seven vertical sections set to utilize a “core-outrigger system.” The mixed-use structure will be the centerpiece of the central business district in Hefei, a city in east-central China.
Central Park Tower (New York City, USA: 1,550 feet, estimated completion 2020)
A rare U.S. structure to crack the top ten list, this forthcoming addition to Billionaire’s Row in Manhattan, another Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill design, has been the subject of speculation, especially over the highly anticipated additions to the city’s high-end residential market. According to a recent report in Curbed New York, the developer, reports suggest developer Extell will price 20 of the condos at $60 million or more.
Several benchmark mortgage rates moved higher today. The average rates on 30-year fixed and 15-year fixed mortgages both increased. On the variable-mortgage side, the average rate on 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgages also trended upward.
Rates for mortgages change daily, but they have remained in a historically low range for quite some time. If you’re in the market for a mortgage, it could make sense to go ahead and lock if you see a rate you like. Just be sure to shop around.