Real Estate Industry News
By Tim Logan
The Boston Globe
February 28, 2021
WATERTOWN — A aging mall in a hot part of Greater Boston’s exploding life sciences industry could soon be reconfigured as . . . what else? Lab space.
Heavyweight life sciences developer Alexandria Real Estate Equities has a deal in place to buy the Watertown Mall, according to four real estate industry executives familiar with the deal. The sale has not closed, and thus could yet fall through, but if it goes through, the deal would represent the latest burst in an explosion of life sciences development along Arsenal Street in Watertown’s East End.
By Tom Acitelli
August 2, 2019
Officials in the Boston area permitted an average of 2.3 new housing units per 1,000 residents from 2008 to 2018, according to a new report from real estate listings and research site Apartment List.
At the same time, though, the region slapped on 5.8 jobs per 1,000 residents, meaning that 2.5 jobs were added for every new housing unit in the Boston region.
By Daniel Calano
New England Real Estate Journal
July 12, 2019
The growing industry of self storage is another example of the power of baby boomers and millennial’s converging on the same interests. Boomers are retiring, typically downsizing, and wondering what to do with excess stuff. Their children often don’t want it, because as millennial’s they tend not to accumulate.
You have a stable job and a solid nest egg. Time to buy a home, right? Not necessarily.
Although homeownership can offer financial benefits like equity, appreciation, and tax deductions, there may still be good reasons to keep renting even when you can afford to buy, including more mobility and financial flexibility.
Presentation by Russ Thibeault at NHHFA Housing Conference
By Erika Morphy
October 29, 2018
After exceeding the 10% threshold for the first time ever in 2017, the average target allocation to real estate increased 30 basis points among global institutional investors to reach 10.4% in 2018, according to Hodes Weill & Associates and Cornell University’s sixth annual Institutional Real Estate Allocations Monitor. Moreover, institutions are forecasting a further increase of 20 basis points over the next 12 months.
There’s nothing magical about 10% other than it is finally a double digit allocation, Doug Weill, Managing Partner at Hodes Weill, tells GlobeSt.com. “It is not clear how large allocations will grow, but we are starting to hear people talk about 15 to 20% for real estate and real assets combined.” Weill says he doesn’t think that will happen in the near term but it is more of a long-term goal.
The construction of 280 apartments is expected to begin later this year at the site of the former Merrimack Hotel and Conference Center.
This week, private investor Robert Singer sold the large parcel on Executive Park Drive to SMC Management Corp. of Watertown, Mass., for an undisclosed price.
The real estate development company hopes to break ground on the project as soon as possible, building 280 apartments that consist of studio, one- and two-bedroom units next to the WoodSpring Suites Hotel near Cinemagic.
“This is going to be spectacular for Merrimack,” said Singer, president of Merchants Auto.
In one U.S. city, 70% of households are renting rather than owning
A decade after the Great Recession, homeownership is on the rise (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/homeownership-rate- reaches-three-year-high-as-rebound-from-crisis-gathers-pace-2018-01-30) in the U.S. But for many residents of the country’s largest cities, renting is still the reality.
The share of people renting their home, rather than owning it, increased in all 50 of the largest cities in the country between 2006 and 2016, according to a new report from real-estate website (ZG). Renter households now represent the majority in 29 of those 50 cities — back in 2006 at the start of the housing crisis, only 16 had renter-household majorities.
Some states shine in health care. Some soar in education. Some excel in both – or in much more. The Best States ranking of U.S. states draws on thousands of data points to measure how well states are performing for their citizens. In addition to health care and education, the metrics take into account a state’s economy, the opportunity and quality of life it offers people, its roads, bridges, internet and other infrastructure, its public safety and the fiscal stability of state government.
Believe it or not, Manchester, NH, has the same percentage of high-tech jobs as the well-heeled tech hubs of Washington, D.C., Boston and Austin.
Of course, a metro such as Boston has an employment base 10 times larger than Manchester’s with three million total workers, so that means a lot more tech jobs too, but the health of high-tech is just as important to Manchester as it is to Boston.
January 30, 2018
LeBron James. Serena Williams. Lionel Messi. New Hampshire.
The Granite State might seem like an outlier in a group of historically dominant stars, but it joins their prestigious company with a fourth straight year atop POLITICO Magazine’s quasi-annual ranking of the 50 states of the union, including its tie in 2016 with Minnesota. New Hampshire leads the nation with its low poverty rate and infant mortality rate, as well as its high reading test scores and percentage of its population employed in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields, while also cracking the top five in lowest levels of crime, income inequality and unemployment.
January 23, 2018
The Cross Point towers have changed ownership again in a $227 million sale, more than twice the price at which the property sold just three and a half years ago, documents show. Boston’s Anchor Line Partners sold the office buildings to CrossHarbor Capital Partners, a commercial real estate firm that has an office in Boston. The $227 million sale was executed by LLCs for the two businesses, both of which are based in Delaware, according to the official deed.
January 13, 2018
A majority of Americans are renting on the cheap — at least, compared to what they’d be paying if they bought a home.
Most Americans (64%) live in a county where renting takes up a smaller portion of one’s paycheck than buying, according to a report released Thursday by real estate data firm Attom Data Solutions. And yet in more than half (54%) of housing markets — 240 of 447 U.S. counties — buying a median-price home is actually more affordable than renting a three-bedroom property.
September 28, 2017
Conde Nast magazine named it the “#9 Most Underrated City for Millennials.’’ Wall Street Journal titled it one of the “New Silicon Cities.’’ Politico Magazine called it a “Millennial Marvel.’’ Men’s Health listed it as the “#2 Most Coffee Obsessed City in the U.S.’’
Manchester, N.H., a historic mill town with a scruffy, down-and-out reputation, is going through a slow renaissance. Infused with company start-ups, high-tech firms, and mega renovation dollars, this multiethnic city is buzzing with new energy.
“Manchester is on a really positive trajectory,’’ says Michael Skelton, president and CEO of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce. “There are a lot of jobs available right now, and we have a relatively low cost of living compared to Boston and other cities, so it’s very appealing.’’
On July 31, 2017 SMC consummated the acquisition of The Terraces at Western Cranston, an existing 216 Class A apartment complex for $31.1MM.
This property contains 216 residential units and a clubhouse | management | amenities building situated on 8.6 acres of well-landscaped grounds. The property sits on a knoll so that its attractive architecture and dramatic topography create very strong curb appeal. The property was sold by Aspen Square Management, a residential developer and investor with a national presence. Aspen Square acquired the property in 2013 from The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (“Freddie Mac”) who had acquired the property as the result of the well-publicized financial collapse of Fairfield Residential. As expected, the collapse of Fairfield was preceded by years of reduced capital budgets and staff turnover at the property level. Consequently, when Aspen acquired the property in 2013, it needed to invest a significant amount of “catch up” capital to restore the base property to market condition. Much of this capital was invested resulting in a spectacular new clubhouse/management office, a separate business center, and the renovation of 146 units. Since the time of the acquisition, Aspen has shifted its focus out of New England making the subject property an “outlier” in its portfolio. With a significant capital program already completed, Aspen selected SMC as the next owner.
Because the capital program was not completed, but results from the renovated units and upgraded clubhouse have already had a positive impact on the rent roll, SMC perceives additional upside potential in the completion of the capital program and an aggressive management style for the following reasons:
- The City of Cranston has strong demographics with above-average household income and an educated work force;
- Terraces is situated in close proximity to Providence and its major employers;
- Terraces is located close to Brentwood Apartments, a 240-unit complex located in North Providence which is owned by an affiliate of the sponsor. This property underwent a similar upgrade after its acquisition in 2014 and has performed well since its acquisition;
- The property is less than 20 years old and has been partially restored to a Class A property level;
- The property offers attractive floor plans and amenities which are very similar to the units at Brentwood as both properties were constructed by the same builder in the late 1980’s. Because of these similarities, the renovation program will be similar with both costs and timeline easier to track;
- The acquisition price reflects an approximate 20% discount to replacement cost;
- The redirection of the seller’s focus prior to the completion of the upgrade program results in an opportunity for SMC;
- Modest enhancements to the unrenovated units and common areas will keep the property competitive on the front edge of the market over time;
- According to the Q4 2016 REIS Report, the Providence market (which includes Cranston) will see an average vacancy rate of 2.9% for the next 5 years;
- According to the same REIS report, the 5-year inventory growth rate (new units coming on line) for the Providence market will be .8%. The absence of new product will keep rents in a growth mode;
SMC Management Corporation www.smcmgtco.com is a fully integrated, Boston‐based real estate investment, development and asset management firm. Located in Metro Boston with a satellite office in Manchester, New Hampshire, SMC acquires and manages commercial and residential properties in New England and other select markets on behalf of its investors.
By Micheal Cousineau
NH Union Leader
July 8, 2017
Rents in New Hampshire have gone up for a fourth year in a row while the vacancy rate continued getting worse for renters.
The statewide median gross rent, which includes utilities, for two-bedroom units clocked in at $1,263 a month, or more than 4 percent higher than last year, according to an annual survey by the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority.
By David L. Harris
Boston Business Journal
April 17, 2017
Taurus Investment Holdings LLC, a private global real estate investment firm based in Boston, announced that it had acquired the Wellington Parkside apartment complex in Everett.
The 12 Valley St. property, built in 2015, is a 190-unit, Class A apartment complex. SMC purchased the lot that houses the complex in 2013 for $4 million, according to Middlesex County deeds.
“We are excited about our recent acquisition,” said Taurus CEO Peter Merrigan in a statement. “The combination of major area developments, including Assembly Row, Station Landing, and the future Wynn Casino, coupled with transportation infrastructure providing access to Boston were attractive attributes to the opportunity. With modest property improvements, combined with Taurus management and marketing approach, we believe the property will be well positioned to take advantage of the positive changes to Everett and the overall dynamics of Boston’s urban-infill submarket.”
Terence Scott of TMS Real Estate Investment Advisors, Simon Butler and Biria St. John of CBRE New England marketed the property for sale on behalf of SMC Management.
By John Laidler
April 19, 2017
The casino era in Everett took another step forward when Mayor Carlo DeMaria and other local officials helped celebrate the first hotel to open in the city in more than 70 years.
The 101-room enVision Hotel Boston-Everett is located at 1834 Revere Beach Parkway, about 2 miles from the future Wynn Boston Harbor casino.
After the success of enVision Hotel Boston Longwood, enVision Hotels is excited to announce their second hotel in the Boston area opening in Spring 2017.
As a loyal guest of the enVision Hotel Boston Longwood, we want you to know first that we’re now accepting reservations for the new enVision location. We hope to see you soon.
New England Real Estate Journal
December 2, 2016
Fulcrum was selected by SMC Management Corporation of Watertown Mass. to construct the new Residences at Riverfront Landing project located at 62-70 Bridge St. Boasting scenic views of the Merrimack River, the project will include three separate residential buildings consisting of four floors of apartments above a deck of structured parking. Each residential building will consist of 76 units, for a total of 228, market-rate apartments and is a partnership between SMC Management and Master Developer Renaissance Downtowns. The site is commonly identified as the Bridge St. “skate park” site, and is situated adjacent to a levy that was constructed in 1947 and since has been maintained by the city. Read the full article
Housing Market Update November 2016
Increased employment and home prices signal economic growth.
One indicator of New Hampshire’s housing market recovery is rising prices in key areas of the state, specifically in Hillsborough and Rockingham counties. On a statewide basis, the inventory of
homes for sale has decreased and the pace of home sales has increased. Those New Hampshire households that are willing and qualified to take advantage of continued low interest rates may have an opportunity to get into homeownership. However, borrowers must still have an adequate
down payment and excellent credit to qualify for a mortgage under the tighter credit requirements in place since the Great Recession. Furthermore, the inventory of homes selling for under $300 thousand is very limited in those key areas of the state and there is little new construction.
By Catherine Carlock
Boston Business Journal
October 7, 2016
New York and San Francisco, the two cities with the highest apartment rents in the country, both saw negative rent growth in the third quarter from the second quarter. But Boston saw a 0.9 percent increase to an average effective apartment rental rate of $2,072, according to the third-quarter apartment sector survey by New York-based real estate research firm Reis Inc.
Boston’s $2,072 average rental rate is the third-highest in the U.S., the Reis report said. The city outstripped San Jose, California, which posted an average effective rent of $2,053 in the third quarter. New York’s average effective rent declined 0.1 percent in the quarter to $3,441, while San Francisco’s declined 0.8 percent to $2,481.
Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University – The State of the Nations Housing 2016
By MICHAEL COUSINEAU
New Hampshire Union Leader
MANCHESTER – Quartz countertops and balcony views of the Merrimack River will greet some renters of apartments rising next to Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
The first renters are expected to move next month into Riverwalk Apartments, where monthly rents will run from $1,050 for a studio (502 square feet) to around $2,000 for a two-bedroom unit (1,020 square feet).
Boston-area developer Stephen Chapman is putting his firm’s money where he thinks the market is.
SMC Management Corp. out of Watertown, Mass., is building 238 apartments in Manchester – including 88 apartments in the building that once housed Hesser College – with plans for another 228 units in Nashua.
“I’m very bullish on southern New Hampshire, and I’m very bullish in the area in and around Manchester because it has demographics superior to any other city in New Hampshire,” Chapman, SMC’s principal partner, said last week.
SMC also late last year bought Waterford Place Apartments, 384 units off of Hackett Hill Road in Manchester.
The vacancy rate for rental housing is running at less than 2 percent in Hillsborough County, which includes Manchester and Nashua, according to a study released last month by New Hampshire Housing, which helps people obtain affordable housing.
“Low vacancy rates suggest that there is a need for additional rental housing construction to meet demand,” said Executive Director Dean Christon.
Mike Skelton, president and CEO of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said the area’s economy is expanding.
“The growth in the Millyard from companies like Dyn, SNHU, PillPack and many others along with development around the airport and in Bedford are all fueling the need to ensure we have a diversity of housing options available to match the expectations of consumers,” Skelton said.
SMC is spending $31 million on Riverwalk Apartments, which borders the riverwalk and is near the footbridge that spans the Merrimack.
“I happen to like what Manchester’s doing in terms of the riverwalk, trying to make that a people-friendly area,” Chapman said.
That site was initially being developed by Chinburg Builders with property taxes from residences helping to pay for the $27.5 million ballpark. SMC purchased the property, with most of the permitting already done, for $1.05 million, Chapman said.
Three five-story buildings, each with 50 apartments and one level of underground parking, includes brick and vinyl siding with the last building scheduled for completion by year’s end. Renters in a few top-level apartments in the building closest to the ballpark will be able to see into right field, according to Sharon Breighner, senior regional manager at CP Management in Exeter, the property manager.
Chapman also is putting in 88 apartments in The Sundial Center of Commerce and Education off Queen City Avenue that should be finished by January. Square footage will range from 608 to 920 square feet with monthly rents between $1,200 and $1,700, though, they are subject to change, Brieghner said.
Chapman hopes to capture people taking newly created jobs in Londonderry, near Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, as well as those working within a few miles.
Meanwhile, another developer who built apartments units in the Citizens Bank building on Elm Street is asking between $1,400 and $3,000 a month, with the largest units covering 1,500 square feet.
“The cost of newer projects has not been a concern I have heard as I think everyone recognizes that we need a diversity of options that ranges from affordably priced units to higher-end luxury units,” Skelton said. “The higher-end units are newer additions to our housing stock but are in line with the expectations of the employees of quality, high-paying jobs being offered in the Millyard and the region.”
In Nashua, Chapman’s company hopes to break ground in a month or two on the first two buildings of Residences at Riverfront Landing at Bridge Street where it crosses the Merrimack River, immediately south of where the Nashua and Merrimack rivers come together, according to Robert Simonds, SMC’s director of capital projects.
The first 152 apartments should be finished by fall 2017. Work on the third building is expected to start in fall 2017 and be completed about a year later.
“People are choosing apartment living as a lifestyle choice,” Chapman said.
By Suzanne Woolley
July 28, 2016
We’re all looking for a safe but adequate income stream, and that includes the very wealthy. Like most investors, they’re having a hard time finding it. That’s clear in the latest portfolio update on the asset allocation of the “ultra-high-net-worth investors” that make up Tiger 21,1 a peer-to-peer learning network. They just can’t find passive assets that produce enough income to let them put their portfolios on autopilot, said the group’s founder and chairman, Michael Sonnenfeldt.
This is hardly a tragedy; there is that big pile of principal they can dip into. The group’s 440 members, whose average age is 54, are managing more than $40 billion worth of personal investable assets. Still, many are lowering their annual portfolio withdrawal rates and trying to work their assets harder.
Read the full article here
Housing Market Update July 2016
2016 Residential Rental Cost Survey
New Hampshire rents increase nearly 15 percent over last five years.
New Hampshire’s housing market continues to pose challenges for renters, a recent survey finds. New Hampshire Housing’s annual residential rental cost survey, which canvasses market-rate units across the state in order to gauge the condition of the rental market, found that vacancy rates dropped while rents increased – a continuation of a long-term trend. The state vacancy rate fell to 1.5 percent, while the median rent for a two-bedroom apartment, including utilities, is at $1,206. Seven of New Hampshire’s ten counties have lower vacancy rates than last year. Vacancies are significantly lower in the state’s most populous southern tier, where the bulk of New Hampshire’s rental housing is located. Hillsborough, Merrimack, and Rockingham counties all have vacancy rates below two percent and are lower than their 2015 rates.