BLUESTONE REPORT: More Cambridge housing needed

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By Erin Baldassari | The Cambridge Chronicle and Tab | November 28, 2012

As Baby Boomers age and the region continues to attract students and young professionals, the types of housing that renters and homeowners demand will change – and the pinch on housing in Cambridge will only tighten – according to a recent report on housing in the Greater Boston Area.

The report, by the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University released Nov. 14, predicts the five-county region around Boston may need to double or triple its housing production to meet demand through 2020. Dukakis Center director and lead author of the report, Barry Bluestone, himself a Cambridge resident – said that the problem in Cambridge is particularly acute precisely because the city saw barely a blip in demand despite a housing crisis that crippled parts of the country.

“Home prices have fallen very little because of the tremendous demand for housing from young professionals and workers,” Bluestone said. “This is a hot market in real estate, even in a recession.” Read More

Micro units: Perfect pad, imperfect price

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By Renee Loth | The Boston Globe | November 24th, 2012

AERON HODGES is a small woman, but if she stretches out both arms she can embrace the whole kitchen in the compact “innovation unit” Mayor Menino is promoting to attract young workers to Boston’s newest neighborhood. Designed by the architecture firm ADD Inc, the apartment is sleek and sculpted, with cool features like convertible storage and a wall mount for the inevitable Geekhouse bicycle. It’s likely to be popular with young, single employees of the biotech and financial companies coming to the Innovation District, and with retirees looking for an urban pied-à-terre. What it is less likely to be, regrettably, is affordable.

A full-scale model of the micro unit — all 300 square feet of it — was on display recently at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Hodges and her colleagues built the model in conjunction with Menino’s “ONEin3’’ initiative (named for the 30 percent of city residents who are between the ages of 20 and 34). “The most exciting part of the process is the collaborative nature of the construction itself,” she said, perfectly summarizing the culture of this demographic.

Over several months, the ADD Inc team asked young professionals what they would sacrifice to afford living downtown. Few wanted granite countertops or hardwood floors. Only 30 percent said they thought 300 square feet was too small; most would trade space for a shorter commute. They wanted to be close to public transit, hip restaurants, and their jobs. Read More

Mass. home sales rise 8% in Sept.

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By Jenifer B. McKim | The Boston Globe | October 26, 2012

Sales of single-family homes and condominiums kept climbing in Massachusetts last month as more buyers decided to take advantage of historically low interest rates, ­according to numbers released Thursday.

There were 3,791 single-family homes sold in September, an 8 percent increase compared with the same month last year, according to Warren Group, a Boston company that tracks local real estate. Between January and September, single-family home sales rose nearly 22 percent compared with the same period in 2011.

The condo market fared even better, with 1,609 units sold in September, a 23 percent increase compared with the same month in 2011. Year-to-date, there have been 14,641 condo sales, 27.5 percent more than during the first three quarters of last year, Warren Group said. Read More

August foreclosures fall to a low for ’12 so far

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By Jenifer McKim | The Boston Globe | October 3, 2012

The number of Massachusetts homeowners­ who lost their properties to foreclosure in August fell to 566, about 40 percent fewer compared with the same month last year and the lowest monthly total for 2012, figures released Tuesday showed.

It marked the third consecutive month of declining foreclosures, compared with the same period in 2011, according to Warren Group, a Boston company that tracks local real estate. But despite the August decline, higher foreclosure numbers earlier in the year resulted in a year-over-year increase of 8.4 percent for the January-through-August period. In the first eight months of 2012, the firm said, 5,975 homes were lost to foreclosure in Massachusetts.

Petitions, the first step in the seizure process, increased slightly in August­ to 1,456, a 4.2 percent rise, compared with the same month last year. Between January and August, the number of petitions delivered to homeowners increased by 46 percent, to 12,079. Read More

Mass. foreclosures drop 17% from 2011

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By Jenifer B. McKim | The Boston Globe | September 18, 2012

Fewer foreclosures were started and completed in July as the Massachusetts housing market and overall economy continued to slowly improve, according to data released Monday.

The number of foreclosure petitions — the first step in the seizure process — dropped to 1,198 in July, nearly 17 percent fewer than during the same period last year and the lowest monthly total recorded in 2012, according to the Warren Group, a Boston company that tracks local real estate.

Foreclosure deeds — which signal the completion of the process — fell to 648 in July, also a 17 percent drop compared with July 2011. That was the smallest number of foreclosures recorded in a month since May 2011.

The slowdown in home-takings comes as the state’s economy and housing market are doing better. The Massachusetts unemployment rate in July was 6.1 percent, a long way from its 2010 peak of 8.7 percent. Read More

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