Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Report: Cost to Rent Two-bedroom in Boston Rises 8.5%

According to a report released by Zumper on Monday, Boston is still the third most expensive place for renters in the U.S. Only New York City and San Francisco ranked higher. 

In metro Boston, the median price of a one-bedroom apartment increased 5.4 percent year over year to $2,530, while the price of a two-bedroom unit jumped 8.5 percent to $2,930.

Providence, Rhode Island ranked #18 on the list. The median rent for a one-bedroom in the Rhode Island capital remained stable at $1,480, while the cost for a two-bedroom rose 3.7 percent year over year to $1,700.

Nationally, rents have overall increased. The median rents for one- and two-bedroom units are up approximately 2.5 percent year over year — to $1,237 and $1,480, respectively. 

According to the report, these cities are the most expensive for renters: 

1.    San Francisco, CA  ($3,530)
2.    New York, NY ($3,000)
3.    Boston, MA ($2,530)
4.    Oakland, CA ($2,500)
5.    San Jose, CA ($2,450)
6.    Los Angeles, CA ($2,300)
7.    Washington, DC ($2,300)
8.    Seattle, WA ($1,880)
9.    San Diego, CA ($1,830)
10.  Miami, FL ($1,710)

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Why is Boston Traffic So Bad? Your Question Finally Answered

An early 2019 report crowed Boston with the title of the worst rush-hour traffic congestion in the U.S.A. Other reports have reached similar conclusions and proved that not only is Boston's gridlock particularly terrible, but that commutes are outrageously long. Why exactly does Boston have such horrible traffic? We have the explanation on exactly what led to Boston's reputation for having such terrible traffic. 

1. More than "Boston"

Boston isn't just "Boston". The city of Boston is part of a densely packed confederation of cities and towns that stretches for dozens of miles, and that united encompasses more than four and five million residents. In fact, if the Boston area were it's own city rather than a collection of municipalities, it would be more populous than any U.S city other than New York. 

2. Relatively Excess and Cheap Parking 

Several municipalities in the Boston region, including the city of Boston itself, give away free resident parking permits excessively. Or, they charge relatively low fees such as $25 per household for an initial parking permit. Furthermore, metered parking in Boston is some of the cheapest available in urban America. Condo and apartment developments often include parking as well. 

3. Constantly Increasing Population 

The population of Boston is expected to grow from 685,000 to 709,000 by 2030. Surrounding municipalities like Cambridge and Somerville are growing as well. Based on these recent trends, the Boston region could contain 5 million residents in the next few years. A large population will most likely lead to more drivers, and more cars on the road from car-hailing applications like Uber and Lyft.

4. The Demand for Car Hailing Apps

Car-hailing applications like Uber and Lyft have been growing in popularity throughout Boston and the surrounding areas. The number of rides completed through car-hailing applications increased about 25 percent in 2018, to 81.3 million, compared with 2017, according to a recent report from the state Department of Public Utilities. 80% of these rides began in Suffolk and Middlesex counties, which include most of the Boston region, including the city of Boston itself. In fact, 42.2 million, or more than half of all car-hailing rides, began in Boston.

Along with the popularity of Lyft and Uber growing, Amazon Prime has become super convenient for Boston residents who utilize Instacart and other home delivery services, which can drop off household goods with just a few mouse clicks. Although these vendors and services bring convenience to people's lives, these businesses translate to more cars on the road, and more congestion in daily Boston traffic.

Monday, November 25, 2019

5 Amazing Kitchen Upgrades Without Remodeling

Kitchen renovations can be strenuous, requiring a lot of time, money, and effort. However, if you don't have the financial resources or time for a full renovation, there are numerous affordable upgrades which will provide your kitchen with a brand new look. From refacing cabinets to replacing old lighting, a few cosmetic tweaks can give you the kitchen you always desired.

1. New Cabinets

The trend of refacing kitchen cabinets is growing among homeowners, who are looking for an easy and affordable way to modernize their kitchen. Refacing involves replacing the doors, drawers, and hardware, and covering the entire exterior of the cabinets with a brand new veneer. If you are happy with the layout and function of your kitchen, but desire a new aesthetic feel, cabinet refacing might be your answer. While a full kitchen gut and renovation may take several months to complete, cabinet resurfacing typically takes only 3-5 days.

2. New Backsplash

Installing a new backsplash is an easy and effective way to powerfully change the aesthetic of your kitchen. Be sure to choose a timeless material which will compliment your cabinetry.

3. Change Up Your Counter Tops

If you want to reinvent and look and feel of your kitchen even further, consider splurging on new countertops. If you are on a budget, head to your local stone yard and choose a granite at the lower end of the price range. Formica, a more affordable option than natural stone, has a variety of beautiful countertop pattern options and textures. If you are short on counter-space and are not looking to add more cabinetry, consider purchasing a pre-made island or bar-height table that you can float in the center of your kitchen. 

4. Add Shelving

Shelving is an overlooked yet brilliant way to powerfully change the look and feel of your kitchen, while adding functionality. If your cabinets don't have lip molding on the interior, remove cabinet doors to show off your beautiful serving dishes. Or, if you have an empty wall, introduce floating shelves from stores like Pottery Barn or IKEA, to add both style and more storage to your kitchen.

5. Introduce Proper Lighting 

Lighting can quickly and powerfully change the look and feel of any room. Get rid of harsh flourescent lights and replace them with soft can lights. Make food prep an easier experience by having an electrician install under-cabinet halogen fixtures, or ambient light tape. Also, over the kitchen sink is the ideal place for a statement piece like a sculptural pendant light. 

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Lowered Mortgage Rates Boosted US Home Sales 1.3%

As mortgage rates approach near historic lows, there has been a high increase in home buying. According to recent statistics, US home sales rose 1.3% to the highest level in 17 months. Furthermore, the National Association of Realtors stated that homes sold last month at a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 5.49 million units, the best performance since March 2018.

The recent increase in home sales are a sign of US consumer's strong resilience, despite a darkening outlook for overall economic growth. Cheaper borrowing costs have resulted in improved affordability for buyers, making them more eager to buy despite rising property prices and a shortage of properties for sale.

The median sales price rose 4.7% from a year ago to $278,200, outpacing average wage gains.

Overall, home buyers are benefitting from the recent economic uncertainty, due to President Trump's ongoing tariff war against China. The 30 year mortgage rate averaged only 3.73% this week. However, the upside is limited due to a shortage in properties available for sale. There were only 1.86 million properties listed for sale at the end of August, down 2.6% from a year ago. The inventory shortage appears to be most pronounced in starter homes priced below $250,000, while sales of homes priced between $250,000 and 1 million have drastically risen.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

5 Easy & Creative Ways to Upgrade Your Rental

Renting does not always provide the exact renovations and design decor you truly desire. However, we rounded up some of the best budget-friendly design tips to upgrade and spruce up your rental.

1. Enhance Your Lighting 

Lighting is an overlooked yet powerful way to completely change the ambiance of any room. Switching out light fixtures and adding a trendy chandelier, or even adding smart light bulbs that connect to a Google Home or Amazon Echo, can brighten your apartment and add instant coziness. 

2. Upgrade Your Bathroom

Many rentals have bathrooms that are mediocre at best. Luckily, you can easily swap out your shower-head for something slightly more glamorous and high quality. You can also upgrade your towel bars or replace your toilet seat.

3. Replace Old Knobs & Handles

Looking to add some design and style to your bland or outdated rental? Consider replacing any old-fashioned kitchen and bathroom knobs with more stylish alternatives. Just remember to keep the original hardware safely stored away so you can put the old ones back before moving out.

4. Spruce Up Your Walls

As a renter, removable wallpaper will be your best friend. A bit of removable wallpaper can instantly add color and style to your apartment. Also do not underestimate the power of large wall art, it can instantly add glamour and a pop of color to any space. 

5. Add Custom Shelving

Introducing custom shelving can be a game-changer to your apartment. You can even position shelves to cover unattractive and outdated radiators. Adding shelving will add style to your apartment while simultaneously giving you the opportunity to better organize your belongings.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Top 10 Design Tricks to Make Your Small Living Space Look Bigger

1. Built-in Storage

Furniture that comes with built-in storage is a great solution to make your small living space look brighter and bigger. One ideal example is an ottoman with hidden storage space. Furniture with built-in storage allows you to live in a clutter free space, which will open up your living area to look more spacious. 

2. Add Mirrors 

Mirrors do a great job of adding style to your apartment while also adding the illusion of more space. Large mirrors especially can add dimension to your space when they reflect and enhance the light. The best place for mirrors are either on white and well-illuminated walls, across from a window to let in natural light, or behind certain furniture pieces such as a chest or an end table. 

3. Use Light Paint Colors

Interior designers suggest painting rooms in light and calming colors to add the illusion of more space. Light paint colors will make a living area look bigger, brighter, and more open. 

4. Curtains 

Curtains can be strategically placed to make an apartment look more open and inviting. By hanging curtains higher than the window, you will instantly add more light and dimension to your living area. This technique is especially useful to spaces with low ceilings. It helps draw the eye upwards, making the space look less cramped and the ceilings look higher. If you are against the idea of curtains, you could use either Roman shades or blinds. They make the room look less crowded which leads to more space and openness. 

5. Create a Focal Point 

To make a space look bigger and more open, interior designers suggest choosing one aspect of the room to highlight something that is visually interesting. Eyes will be drawn to this focal feature immediately and people will pay less attention to the small size of the room. Some of the most common focal points used by homeowners are fireplaces, a wall, and artwork. When using a wall as a focal point, you can either paint it or cover it with wall decor or wallpaper. 

6. Rugs

A rug is the perfect decor accessory to make a room feel bigger while simultaneously adding style. If possible, use a large rug which extends beyond the furniture. This trick makes the room appear bigger, especially when the rug is placed under a couch, coffee table, and other furniture. A small rug will make the space feel limited and small. You can even use multiple rugs in one space to separate one room into smaller areas. 

7. Use Both Natural and Artificial Lighting 

Surprisingly, lighting has the greatest impact on interior design, and if it's done right, it can change the perception of a living space, making it feel larger than it actually is. Desk lamps, wall scones, and floor lamps are just a few example of lighting sources which will add space and openness to any room. You can also utilize natural lighting by placing a mirror across a window, it will enhance the sun by reflecting it from a window. 

8. Add Stripe Decor 

By incorporating striped decor into your interior design, such as striped rugs, you will help expand the room and make it look larger and more open. You can even paint the stripes onto the wall. Horizontal stripes make the room look expansive, while the vertical stripes will make it look taller. 

9. Creative Furniture Layout

Arranging furniture is one way to make a room appear more expansive and open. One way to do it is by adding separation between different rooms. For example, you can separate the living area from the dining room by arranging the chairs and sofa in a way that clearly outlines the distinction between the two spaces. Another way to make your space feel more open is by pushing your furniture against the wall. 

10. Multi-purpose furniture 

When living in a small space, you ideally want your furniture to serve many different purposes, allowing your space to be more open and inviting. The best options include a console table which also can be used as a desk, and a sleeper where you can sit during the day and sleep at night. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

As Summer Approaches, Boston & Cambridge Apartment Rents Rank Highest in U.S

According to recently published reports, Boston and Cambridge were among the most expensive U.S markets heading into July. These results aren't surprised considering Boston has consistently ranked among the likes of New York, San Jose, and San Francisco in terms of affordability. The report from real estate listings and research site Zumper calculated the median rent for a Boston one-bedroom at $2,450, up 0.08 percent from the same time last year, and calculated the median rent for a Boston two bedroom at $2,840, up 3.3 percent annually. The latest statistics come out as city officials discuss the increasing rental prices in Boston, and search for solutions. Many officials are interested in visiting the topic of rent control, or establishing private, independent dorms or other co-living arrangements.