2018 was a wild year. In the realm of real estate, Amazon’s HQ2 search, the impact of a fluctuating stock market and ongoing trade disputes on investment and development, and the squeeze of the housing market dominated headlines. As we dive into the second month of 2019, we anticipate that this year will prove just as exciting.
In the meantime, here are some of the many hot-button trends that our Real Estate team expects will shape the local discourse.
Commercial and Mixed-Use
In Boston, Mayor Walsh’s agenda continues to focus on protecting commercial properties and workers from the impacts of a rapidly changing climate. As the commercial real estate industry increasingly places resiliency and sustainability at the top of its agenda, more developments will include robust and lush public spaces that serve as a mechanism of environmental protection. There will also be an across-the-board effort for all new developments to be future-proofed, meaning that we’ll start to see creative strategies for protecting buildings’ mission-critical digital and mechanical infrastructure.
– Michelle Cassidy
While innovative and impressive design will continue to be the main factor that defines the success of luxury residential projects in their markets, experiential program offerings are slated to be an essential property differentiator in 2019. According to Forbes, property management companies are introducing top-of-the-line concierge services that resemble those spearheaded by the hospitality industry, as well as personalized neighborhood “perks,” such as gym memberships and discounts with local daycare services, to bolster the bond between residents and their property managers, and to promote lease longevity.
– Nick Courtois
Driven by business travel and a thriving tourism industry, demand continues to rise in Boston’s hotel sector. This year, nine new hotels will add 1,500 rooms to the city’s market supply. As we saw in 2018, developers are delving more deeply into creating a diverse pool of hotel options for all types of travelers – from the luxury-seeking to the value-driven millennial. One way in which developers are addressing the evolving tastes and needs of their customers is through the design and functionality of their hotel lobbies. In Boston and beyond, boutique and chain hotels alike are reimaging their lobbies as flexible, shared spaces that serve as social, professional and personal oases.
– Samantha Trombley
Across the Commonwealth, a lack of affordable housing and ever-climbing living costs continue to burden low- and middle-income residents. Mayor Walsh has recommitted to growing accessible homeownership and rental opportunities, as well as financing for such developments. His administration has done so by filing a 15-bill package focused on housing security and economic mobility through proposed adjustments to the Inclusionary Development Program and the Community Preservation Act, among other initiatives. Alternative solutions that have also been brought to the forefront this year include proposed taxes on the sale of luxury residential and commercial properties valued at over $2 million dollars, and those that are “flipped” within two years. Whether or not any of these proposals move forward remains yet to be seen, although the climate for addressing Massachusetts’ housing crisis is extremely favorable.
– Katie Daigle
According to a 2017 report from the National Association of Realtors, millennials (born between 1980 and 1998) constitute 66 percent of first-time home buyers, with 99 percent of millennials searching for homes online. As the percentage of first-time buyers using the internet to search for homes continues to rise, it’s important for real estate brokers to be active on home search sites and social media. We expect to see an increased number of listings on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, with hashtags utilized as a means of reaching the largest audience possible.
– Ally Lustbader
Stay tuned for further observations as the year takes shape!