This week, members of our real estate team attended Bisnow’s “Emerging Markets” panel. The expert panel covered Greater Boston’s hot submarkets and the factors that contribute to successful office and residential projects outside the city.

The conversation covered how developers and investors are re-imagining properties in Boston’s suburbs, transforming them to offer amenities that encourage a balanced lifestyle—a lifestyle that is often associated with the city.

Below are seven takeaways from the event:


  • Some towns are not receptive to developments with three bedrooms, as they hint at more families coming into town, which can in turn stress the school system. Although affordable housing is needed, developments with an affordable component – even if it falls under Chapter 40B – can take a substantial amount of time to pass, depending on the town.
  • More affordable housing is needed in both Boston proper and the city’s surrounding suburbs, and the definition of affordability changes based on location.
  • It is likely that millennials will eventually move into the suburbs, but that rate at which they’ll relocate is unknown. They are attracted to residences that provide a “one-stop-shop” for a balanced lifestyle. Amenities are also more important than ever. Dumbbells won’t cut it in the gym–you’d better invest in a TRX


  • As always, access to transit is key, both in residential and commercial development. Suburban residents are attached to their cars, so parking is viewed as an amenity.
  • Amenities that are associated with the city – immediate access to green space, fitness center, and flexible floorplans – are needed to attract tenants that want to retain young talent (basically everyone).
  • Companies are attracted to the suburbs because they offer a relatively lower price point.
  • The hot real estate market spurred a lot of unexpected opportunity for opportunistic transactions. The slight slowdown in the first quarter of 2016 was actually good for the market, as it allowed it to stabilize.

What trends are you seeing in Boston’s emerging markets? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter at @SMCRealEstatePR.