Monday, June 3, 2019

Here Are Average Rents near Boston Universities

Renting near Boston Universities can vary, but can offer relatively good deals. Northeastern, Boston University, M.I.T, and Harvard have the highest apartment rents within a one-mile radius of their campus. According to newly released data, average rents near Northeastern, BU, and M.I.T, were particularly expensive: $3,335, $3,321, and $3,286 a month, each. Meanwhile, the average rent within one-mile of Harvard was $2,780. Although very pricey, this is still cheaper than the overall Cambridge average of $3,031 a month.

For Chestnut Hill, the general average rent is $3,103. Thus, renting within a one-mile radius of Boston College is significantly cheaper than renting in Chestnut Hill overall. The average rent within one-mile radius of Boston College is $2,137 a month.

Renting near Brandeis University also appears to offer a discount over Waltham rents on average (more than $100), and renting near Tufts University can also provide a generous discount against renting Medford in general.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Boston Affordable Housing Program Kicks Off Best Year Yet

Boston policymakers and developers have been making serious strides to ensure Boston is a more affordable and inclusive place to live. Statistics shown on the city's Inclusionary Development Policy, reveal there were 546 new units of affordable housing created in Boston in 2018. Despite these strong developments, Boston's real estate community has been stressing the importance of everyone's involvement in continuing to fix the city's housing crisis and achieve housing targets set by numerous Boston lawmakers. 

Developing housing in Boston is no easy task. One-bedroom residential units can cost upwards of $450K to build, and the median rent for the same units runs $2,400 per month on average. By utilizing a mixture of federal and local programs, the state has been taking steps towards creating more affordable housing. Nationwide, one of the most effective ways to create and sustain affordable housing, has been the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. Developers have had the incentive to construct and build affordable housing thanks to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and tax-exempt bonds. 

Furthermore, Boston has its own tax credit program in place to further encourage affordable housing opportunities. There are programs like the Affordable Housing Trust Program, the Housing Stabilization and Investment Fund, the Capital Improvement and Preservation Trust Fund, the Housing Innovations Fund and the Facilities Consolidation Fund. Also, Mayor Marty Walsh introduced a 14-bill legislative package in January in an effort to build a more inclusive and equitable city, which called for more affordable housing funding and stronger protections for low-income residents facing eviction. He also signed a law into measure which regulates and restricts short-term rentals for units listed on Airbnb for free up more housing in favor of people signing a yearlong lease.  

Mayor Marty Walsh hopes to see 69,000 new units of housing created by 2030, while Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker wants 135,000 new houses statewide by 2025. Along with the creation of more affordable housing units, many Boston lawmakers want to address the issue of affordable housing by enacting rent control in Boston. A group of state lawmakers, including representative Michael Connolly, intend to file a bill to allow municipalities in Massachusetts to enact rent control, which was officially banned by voters statewide in 1994. However, rent control imposes many issues and hampers the desire for investors to build housing. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

How To Master Running a Rental Property

1. Understand the Market

Knowing the market is a very simple step which many property investors and property managers skip. By researching your market and city, you can make notes about essential factors including the local economy, employment sectors, and the average rent for specific areas. Knowing this information will allow you to manage your rental property with more expertise and rise to meet certain expectations. 

2. Properly Screen Tenants

Properly screening tenants is imperative to running a successful and profitable rental property. By properly screening tenants, you can avoid tenants who will miss rent payments, destroy your property, and make you undergo the eviction process to remove them from your property. By background checking your tenants, running thorough credit checks, and confirming their employment records, you can make the management of your property flow smoothly and successfully. Finding the right tenants also requires intuition and sometimes interviewing the potential tenants to get a feel for their personality. 

3. Educate Yourself With Current Tenant-Landlord Laws

Another imperative key to running a successful rental property is keeping current with the updated tenant-landlord laws in your state. Becoming fully aware of all relevant regulations and statuses governing real estate is extremely important and will prevent complicated issues in the future. Often consulting a local real estate attorney to help you navigate the real estate laws will be worth the money and effort. 

4. Perform Routine Maintenance 

Performing regular and routine maintenance on your property is one of the most important factors required to run a successful rental property. It's also highly suggested you check certain areas to prepare for the summer and winter months accordingly. By making routine maintenace on critical areas a priority, you will highly improve your rental property and prevent small issues from developing into large and expensive repairs. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Massachusetts Undersupplied with Demands for Low-Income Housing

The housing outlook for low-income residents in Massachusetts is beginning to look bleak, as new reports reveal Massachusetts is seriously undersupplied when it comes to housing for its low-income market. Massachusetts has less than half the needed apartments extremely low-income households can afford, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston expects the gap to widen in the coming years if the affordable housing policy does not undergo serious changes. The low-income category is defined as households earning less than $29,150 for a single family of three, or $22,650 for a single person.

According to recent reports by the Boston Globe, Massachusetts currently has 274,842 extremely low-income households, but there are only 128,037 apartments in the state with rents they can afford. The low-income renter segment of the Massachusetts population has grown since 2011, but not as fast as the higher-income segments. The number of residential units low-income residents can afford without being rent-burdened has declined, and the situation is only expected to grow worse. Being rent-burdened is defined as spending more than a third of one's income on rent.

Furthermore, over 9,000 subsidized residential units are expected to lose low-income subsidies in Massachusetts by 2025. This means more than 25 cities and towns across Massachusetts wouldn't have any subsidized housing at all. Numerous municipalities have looked into buying or refinancing the units with expiring subsidies, however the federal government forecasts it could cost between $843M and $1B annually to maintain and develop affordable housing in Massachusetts by 2035.

Overall, affordable housing solutions have become a much-discussed concern for Massachusetts policy makers and real estate developers. Boston lawmakers are revising changes to its Inclusionary Development Policy that would require market-rate developers to create affordable residences in developments with 10 or more units. In addition, municipalities have set targets to build more housing to bring down high prices.

How Does Boston Rank in Terms of Affordability for Home Buyers?

Boston has consistently ranked as one of the most expensive cities to rent a home in the United States, so how does the city rank in terms of affordability for prospective home-buyers? According to a newly published report from RealtyHop, Boston is still ranking high in terms of affordability. The listings and research site analyzed data on property prices and taxes as well as median household income, and then compared the 100 most populated U.S cities. According to their research, Boston ranked as the eighth least affordable city in the United States for buying a home.

According to the RealtyHop study, buyers in Boston have to spend 56.34 of their monthly income on home-ownership. That is one of the highest shares in the eastern United States. California cities accounted for half of the 10 least affordable cities. Los Angeles ranked as the number one most expensive city for home-ownership, followed by Miami, New York, San Francisco, Oakland, Jersey, Irvine, and Boston. The median household income in Boston is listed at $62,021, while the median home price is $625,000.

Boston ranking high in terms of affordability is no surprise. Thus, the increased legal efforts to bring down or freeze housing costs to make buying and renting in Boston more accessible will most likely continue to grow.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Boston Lawmakers Are Considering Implementing Rent Control

As rental prices continue to skyrocket in and around Boston, Boston lawmakers have revisited the idea of rent control. In January, Cambridge state representative David Rogers proposed a rent control bill that has since been passed to the Housing Committee. Most recently, the Boston Globe reported that other state lawmakers are intending to propose another law which would include other ways to assist tenants, including rent control. 

State representative Michael Connolly spoke about the issue to the Boston Globe, stating, "The burden of renting in so many of our communities has become so extreme. People are asking what can we do about it.”

Boston currently holds the title for the fourth most expensive city to live in throughout the entire United States. In April, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment is expected to be about $2,400 per month.

Is rent control the answer to Boston residents struggling with high housing costs? Governor Charlie Baker disagrees. Charlie Baker believes rent control will slow down the production of new housing, which will ultimately have a negative affect on the Boston housing situation. 

What exactly is rent control? Rent control is a legal precaution that stops property owners from being able to raise rents or puts a cap on how much rents can be raised. The goal of rent control is to ensure affordable housing and prevent landlords from profiting off of extreme market pressure. 

Although the goal of rent control is to protect affordable housing, it often has unintended negative consequences on those who manage or own the properties. Some consequences include rents being higher for apartments that are not regulated, owners failing to maintain their buildings properly because the lower rents aren’t enough to help pay for maintenance costs, and renters staying in apartments because of the affordable cost, even though the home may no longer meet their needs. Although in the short term rent control appears to assist in affordability, it poses long-term affects included decreased affordability down the road, encourages gentrification and poor property management, and lowers the value of neighborhoods overall. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Upgrade your Rental Property

The importance of always challenging yourself to improve and progress is vital to living your full potential. As spring approaches, now is a perfect time to upgrade and renovate your rental property. Renovations can appear intimidating, because they sometimes take a toll on your finances and time. However, there are plenty of affordable ways to upgrade your property in powerful and noticeable ways. These simple changes will keep your tenants happy and increase revenue. Here are 5 renovation ideas for you to try in 2019:

1. Fresh Paint 

A fresh coat of paint has the remarkable power to liven up any drab room. You can simply touch up the walls with the current color, or give each room a fresh paint job. Neutral colors tend to have have a calming and inviting effect, and are universally appreciated by most tenants. If you plan to paint multiple rooms, paint each room one at a time to simplify the task and reduce labor costs.

2. Install Light Fixtures

Attractive light fixtures have the powerful ability to change the entire ambiance of a room. Modern, crystal chandeliers will add a touch of elegance and grace to any apartment. If you are electronically experienced, you can install the light fixtures yourself to save money. If you choose hiring a professional instead, finding a handyman is much less expensive compared to hiring a electrician. Overall, light fixtures are small accents that make an impressive statement for new or current tenants.

3. Upgrade Windows

New windows can enhance the outside exterior of your rental property, as well as the inside aesthetic. Installing new windows has numerous benefits, including reducing sun or glare activity, enhancing privacy, keeping pesky bugs out, and enhancing the appearance of your unit overall. 

4. Enhance Curb Appeal 

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. By vastly improving the exterior appearance of your apartment units through diligent landscaping maintenance, you will make an impactful improvement on your properties and boost tenant retention rates. Plant attractive seasonal flowers, perennials, or hedges. Another simple yet powerful way to boost your apartment's curb appeal, is to build a walkway. Using stepping stone, gravel, or mulch, you can create a beautiful exterior appearance. Stepping stones are very cost-effective because they require minimal digging, and you don't need to purchase large quantities to cover a stretch of your front lawn.

5. Make Small and Steady Improvements

Finally, making small and steady improvements will improve the overall aesthetic of your rental unit and continuously increase value. Gutting the floors and re-tiling the bathrooms can make a large and drastic improvement, however these projects require time and a considerable price tag. If you do want to make some noticeable improvements, start with small upgrades that still make a huge difference. For example, by replacing old sink fixtures or fixing and re-painting cabinets, you can highly improve your kitchen. Consider whether you need to fix something because it's not working or it is not physically appealing, and start with small improvements as you gradually transform and upgrade your property.