Under Pressure

The following is a

Unique Homes Online Exclusive

During the mid-year height of the Covid-19 pandemic, real estate agents comment on how the market stood, and in some cases prevailed, under enormous pressure.

 

This past Fall, luxury real estate agents from across the country spoke on Unique Homes’ first Zoom panel to discuss topics from the recent article “Space: The New Currency,” from Unique Homes Magazine’s recent Fall issue, written by Camilla McLaughlin. On this exclusive virtual panel, agents were able to discuss how the real estate markets of America endured (and continue to endure) through the turbulence that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused. Throughout the discussion, these experienced panelists spoke on the changes their area(s) have undergone and the how the pandemic has affected the homebuying process. We’ve highlighted some of our distinguished panelists and their unique experiences below.

 

Mauricio Umansky, Founder/CEO of The Agency

Los Angeles, CA

In the beginning of “Space: The New Currency,” Mauricio Umansky, Founder and CEO of The Agency, notes that in the midst of the pandemic, consumers who were staying at home also found themselves asking impactful questions regarding their homes and their futures: where am I sequestering versus where am I at home? What do I want my home to look like? What do I want my second home to look like? 

As one of the opening speakers, Umansky adds that though many of these questions may not be answered right away, the pandemic proved to be a catalyst for many potential home buyers to start a dialogue with their local real estate agents. “Sequestering at home, stay in, shelter in place, whatever it is we want to call it, has caused a conversation that is equal amongst everybody, whether it’s politically driven, whether it’s answering ‘what do I want to do with my life?’ and understanding that we can now work and operate from anywhere.”

 

 

Courtney Hampson, Vice President of Marketing

Palmetto Bluff, SC

Palmetto Bluff is a community in coastal South Carolina that caters to a mix of primary and vacation homeowners. Courtney Hampson, Vice President of Marketing for Palmetto Bluff, says on the panel that at the beginning of the pandemic many residents were already staying in Palmetto Bluff due to Spring Break, and were mandated to stay due to the shutdown. Many stayed until May when the state began opening up again, and there were several instances where those who extended their stay ended up moving to Palmetto Bluff full time. About a particular couple from New York with young children, Hampson says “They literally walked down the street into our real estate office, went on our tour, looked at available homes, closed two days later, our fastest closing ever, and that was it. ‘This is where we are,’ they said, ‘This is the plan now.'”

During the panel Hampson also stated that the utilization of virual tours and showings became more widely utilized, so much that they had to include the option on their website right away on their website.” She also noted that in the midst of everything, they found that buyers were buying almost like they were suffering from FOMO, or a Fear of Missing Out. “[Clients] are booking their stay at the hotel first, and … they have almost a fear of missing out. They’re not waiting to get here to look at real estate — they’re doing that virtually, going under contract and seeing their property the first time they come to visit.” 

Carrie Wells, Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate

Aspen, CO

Though located on the opposite side of the United States, Carrie Wells of Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate in Aspen, Colorado experienced similar situations as Hampson had in South Carolina. March is typically the latter part of the state’s skiing season, but due to the pandemic the season was cut short, and those visiting found themselves sequestering in Aspen — and staying. She remarked that you can see this reflected in the school district alone, where 175 new students were admitted and a weight list was created for the Aspen Country Day School, Aspen’s main private school. She also noted that with the help of Matterport virtual tour technology many sales were able to happen, as clients wanted to be able to visit openings safely. 

Wells remarked about her own experience with a New York family who stayed in Aspen until the summer. “He said, ‘I never realized that Aspen is so enjoyable in April and May,’ which are normally our off-season months. … People have experienced being here year-round, when they normally would not be here, and there’s so much to do other than downhill skiing that I think regardless of what happens with our winter, we’re still going to see our market continue to be strong.”

 

 

Frank Aazami

Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty

Scottsdale, AZ

The title of the article “Space: The New Currency,” as well as the main point of discussion for the panel, was inspired by profound statement by Frank Aazami of Russ Lyon Sothebby’s International Realty. During the panel Aazami notes that when the pandemic began and people were sequestering, he noticed that areas that were previously difficult to sell beforehand, regions outside of Phoenix and Scottsdale such as Fountains Hills, Cave Creek, etc, were now like beacons that buyers were gravitating towards. Before there were no sales north of $3 million, but eventually there were closings reaching upwards of $4 and $6 million. The reasoning for this market change? Space!

In the article Aazami notes that from his region of Scottsdale, Arizona, his experience during the pandemic that no matter what buyers were generally looking for, a vacation home, relocation refuge, etc., the key point he saw was that consumers were looking for a safe haven, with plenty of space. Not only that, but consumers are also requesting specifics when it comes to this space in order to make their purchases personal and customized to their lifestyles, from multiple offices and indoor gyms to view decks and larger patios. 

 

 

Chris Bernier, Churchill Properties

Boston’s North Shore, MA

Located just 30 minutes outside of Boston, Chris Bernier of Churchill Properties notes during the Zoom panel that despite the usual trends of buyers looking for smaller, more minimalistic style homes, space really is the new currency. He affirms that many buyers in his market are flocking toward the larger homes. These market shifts are no doubt due to the pandemic shifting priorities, and continues to show 

“Our listing inventory is down 52 percent for single family homes in Massachusetts, so we’re running on half of what we were this time last year. And it’s just made a tremendously imbalanced seller’s market. Prices are up in Massachusetts, it’s just driving the market up.” With as much uncertainty, he adds that it’s also been hard to know exactly what the real estate cycle looks like, even though it’s always been a very predictable real estate cycle in Massachusetts. That all being said, he notes that from the pandemic to American politics at play, “with everything that’s going on, it’s been one of the best years in Massachusetts for residential real estate.” 

 

James Torrance, Keller Williams Luxury International

Palm Beach, FL

James Torrance from Palm Beach, Florida has much to say about the pandemic has shifted Florida into more than just a retirement or snowbird refuge, seen in these clips from the Zoom discussion. He notes further that in fact a large wave of buyers from California and more specifically Chicago brought interest to the area and helped close several sales, a rarity in his area. What was also interesting that he notices are the importance of the private schools and districts in South Florida, as he mentions that many buyers were shopping around different homes once they had found a school system they liked, then picking from available homes nearby.

This, alongside his points about the importance of homes with multi-functional spaces such as guesthouses and just the overall outlook on how the market has shifted, highlight just how much action Florida has seen in the past several months due to Covid-19’s effect on real estate.

 

 

Roxann Taylor, Engel & Völkers Dallas Forth Worth

Dallas, TX

As an real estate agent with 40-plus years of selling experience, Roxann Taylor of Engel & Völkers Dallas Forth Worth was a fountain of wisdom toward the end of the virtual panel. She highlighted much of which was similar to what the other panelists had noted, including buyers prioritizing homes with large space as opposed to downsizing, putting houses on the market through a near fully-virtual process, and much more. 

 

 

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Craftsmanship and design combine with state-of-the-art construction in this four-story home — built by Silva Brothers Construction and designed by Bechtel, Frank, Erickson architects — in one of Lexington, Massachusetts’ finest neighborhoods, Merriam Hill.

“It has an aura of grandness, impeccable taste, and a quality rare in newer homes,” says listing agent Lester Savage of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Commonwealth Real Estate, who is listing the property for $3.75 million. “In particular, the kitchen and family room have extraordinary warmth and intimacy, with a heart-of-the-home design.”

The lower level rooms include a play stage, wine grotto, media room and playroom.

 “The home emits comfort with a south-facing eating area overlooking a tranquil, spacious yard and bluestone patio area,” says Savage.

 The estate has easy access to Lexington Center, town conservation areas, and the Minuteman Bikeway.

Photo courtesy of Krissy Preble. 

Sophistication abounds in this property, which has sweeping views over all of Plum Island sound and the Atlantic Ocean in Ipswich, Massachusetts. With this direct oceanfront property, you can step down to the beach into a boaters and swimmers paradise, which features a deep water channel for mooring. 

Inside features include soaring columns, cathedral ceilings, a marble fireplace, Brazilian hardwood floors, Venetian tile kitchen countertops, and a tremendous amount of glass to enjoy the views and natural light. 

The master bedroom suite has a private deck and tile bath with whirlpool tub overlooking the water.

The property is listed for $1.495 by Andrea Osbon of Churchill Properties. Escape from the city into your own sanctuary just 33 miles North of Boston.

Churchill Properties was recently featured in Unique Homes Ultimate 2020. Click here to view this year’s edition!

This newly constructed shingle-style home on coveted Smith’s Point in Manchester by the Sea, Massachusetts, is strategically set on 3-plus acres.

The property has been artfully designed to provide magnificent water views from all major rooms. The home is exceptionally well-appointed with soaring ceilings, crown moldings, wainscoting, and hardwood floors throughout. The sprawling entry way leads to an open floor plan that allows for sophisticated and comfortable entertaining — highlighted by an exquisitely appointed kitchen. The master suite has stunning views, a barrel ceiling, a luxurious marble bath/spa, dressing room, and sitting area for relaxed enjoyment.

Other amenities include a guest suite, service pantry, a three-story elevator and a heated three-car garage with an inclusive mud room. Plans for a dock have been started. The property, listed for $5.95 million by Anthony Bullock IV of Churchhill Properties, is a short walk to Singing Beach, one of the top ten beaches in the U.S., and to downtown.

 

Churchill Properties originally appeared as an Elite company in the Unique Homes Spring ’20: Elite edition

Heather Stewart Kaznoski and Mary Stewart:

Offering Integrity, Trust and Consistent Communication

Representing home buyers and sellers in Marblehead, Massachusetts and the surrounding North Shore communities, Heather and Mary (Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate Agents) bring over 60-plus years of real estate experience.

They are trustworthy negotiators offering a high level of service, consistent communication, integrity and trust. Heather and Mary are well known in the real estate industry and have long-standing relationships —  not only with loyal clients, but with fellow agents, attorneys, and lenders — which ensures that your sales transaction will have a successful and positive conclusion. 

 

Heather Stewart Kaznoski and Mary Stewart originally appeared as Elite agents in the Unique Homes Spring ’20: Elite edition

On 4.4 acres on a pristine hilltop in Beverly, Massachusetts, this stunning 6,000-square-foot Colonial revival is surrounded by manicured lawns, meadows, extensive gardens and stone patios.

The home features six bedrooms, three full and two half baths, four wood-burning fireplaces, and many Victorian-era architectural details, including detailed moldings and plaster ceiling medallions. Additionally, the wraparound covered porches are a perfect gathering spot overlooking the outdoor garden spaces

“This home is elegant, but not overly formal,” says Patricia White of Century 21 North East who is listing the property for $2.299 million. “It has a feel for a country estate with accessibility of a neighborhood home — perfect for a growing family.”

Churchill Properties

123 Brimbal Ave, Beverly, MA | 122 Main Street, Suite 4, Gloucester, MA | 49 Union Street, Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA | 169 Bay Road, Hamilton, MA 01982

1.833.MOVING.9 | www.churchillprop.com

Churchill Properties is a full service residential real estate firm offering excellence in brokerage services to Boston’s North Shore communities through our offices located in Manchester-by-the-Sea and Hamilton, Mass.  We are members of the elite Leading Real Estate Companies of the World network including 4100 offices and 130,000 agents in 65 countries worldwide. Our unique marketing and sales program utilizes multiple media channels and promotional activities including:

 

Featured Property: Annisquam, MA

The Stage Cove House is a direct waterfront property in Annisquam Village, just steps to the Cambridge Beach, including a private dock. Sweeping views over Wingaesheek Beach and the Annisquam Yacht Club. $2,500,000. 

 

 

Churchill Properties originally appeared as an Elite company in Unique Homes Spring ’19: Elite edition. See the ad here.

Massachusetts continues to attract settlement, centuries after drawing its first dwellers.

 

By Kristen Ordonez

 

Much like the early pilgrims who ventured across the ocean to towns like Plymouth, Massachusetts, homebuyers can find the journey to settle in a new home to be an arduous one. From the historic, scholarly cities of Boston and Wellesley to the island region of Nantucket, luxury agents are helping buyers discover the growing real estate prospects within Massachusetts.

 

Within the metropolitan areas of the state, including towns like Wellesley, Weston, Dover and Needham, businesses are the main attractions bringing people to the Metrowest section of Boston.

 

“This region has the largest amount of biotechnology companies in the country, in addition to superior healthcare, highly ranked hospitals, colleges and university,” according to Joni Shore and Jon Shore of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Wellesley.

 

Plus, colleges like Wellesley offer cultural events, lectures and opportunities, as well as the acclaimed Davis Museum. The Shore team notes that its clients come from all around the world looking for this type of access to culture. “The highly ranked schools and universities are a draw to the area,” says the duo. “Often families who send their children to school in the area prefer to invest in real estate.” These investments tend to be in new or updated homes with technological and sustainable living qualities. Homes like these at the top of the market are usually priced much higher than other suburban areas, with the highest listing at $18.5 million.

Sold for $4,000,000

Sold for $4,150,000

Sold for $5,770,700

Apart from the collegiate neighborhoods, the coastal regions of Massachusetts have their own enticing attributes that attract homebuyers, specifically outdoor living and recreation. Whether buyers prefer sailing around the bay or fishing in the ocean or lake, real estate along the water perpetuates both luxurious comfort and relaxed entertainment.

 

“When living on the South Shore you experience life as if you are on vacation 12 months a year but without vacation traffic,” says Liz Bone of MacDonald & Wood Sotheby’s International Realty, who works primarily within cities like Duxbury, Marshfield and Pembrok. This staycation-style of living is ideal for the market, Bone says, as it has brought a more diverse demographic of buyers to the region. “I find that we are being discovered every day and when someone drives through our quaint communities, each community offers a different experience and appeal,” she notes.

 

In terms of pricing, Bone adds that though each community differs, generally homes below $500,000 are bought by first-time buyers, while properties sold at $900,000 are bought by people moving west from the city areas. “[They] find that you can purchase more for your money the further south you travel away from the bustle of Boston,” says Bone.

 

Outdoor amenities and resort-style living dominate Nantucket Island, a premier resort area of New England, which attracts a wide international market, according to Gary Winn of Maury People Sotheby’s International Realty. “Each area on Nantucket has its own distinct and different market and price points,” says Winn, who notes the market offers a variety of properties within a larger spectrum of price points. For example, a beautiful house with a guest cottage, pool and cabana in the highly sought-after Cliff area can be available for about $8 million, which is quite low compared to other top Nantucket properties priced at around $30 million.

 

Photos courtesy of Gary Winn

Churchill Properties

49 Union Street, Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA 01944 | 169 Bay Road, Hamilton, MA 01982
1.833.MOVING.9 | www.churchillprop.com
Churchill Properties is a full service residential real estate firm offering excellence in brokerage services to Boston’s North Shore communities through our offices located in Manchester-by-the-Sea and Hamilton, Mass.  We are members of the elite Leading Real Estate Companies of the World network including 4100 offices and 130,000 agents in 65 countries worldwide. Our unique marketing and sales program utilizes multiple media channels and promotional activities including:

Featured Listing by Churchill Properties

MANCHESTER-BY-THE-SEA, MASSACHUSETTS

Owl’s Nest

Owl’s Nest is a grand residence set on 4.7 acres, with commanding ocean views. Magnificently renovated, this residence has spacious rooms with high ceilings and spectacular original details including finely carved mantelpieces over each of the 6 fireplaces.

$3,700,000.

 

Churchill Properties originally appeared as an Elite company in the Unique Homes Spring ’18: Elite edition. See the page here.

With leasing and construction progressing swiftly at Greater Boston’s newest waterfront development, the property’s North Building is over 65 percent leased.

Hines, developer of Meriel Marina Bay, the newest and most dynamic luxury waterfront apartment community in Greater Boston, has announced the launch of leasing for the South Building portion of the development with immediate move-ins available. The South Building features the remaining 163 units of the project’s 352 luxury apartments. Leasing at Meriel Marina Bay is progressing at a steady rate, with the North Building over 65 percent leased.
Located on a scenic seaside peninsula just a few miles south of Boston, Meriel Marina Bay is a mixed-use development comprised of two, 5-story buildings. The development includes garage parking, approximately 20,000 square feet of premier ground-level retail space, a newly-completed extension to the Marina Bay Boardwalk, four elevated courtyards and over 10,000 square feet of diverse amenity offerings housed in both the North and South Buildings.
The South Building’s interior amenities include a state-of-the-art fitness center, a club room with lounge seating and a catering kitchen, a private conference room, and indoor bike, paddleboard and kayak storage. All Meriel Marina Bay residents will have access to amenities in both the North and South Buildings including an extensive array of outdoor areas for residents to entertain and unwind, including three courtyards overlooking the marina that are equipped with a heated outdoor pool, outdoor kitchens, numerous barbecue grills, wet bars, fire pits and deck swings.
Meriel Marina Bay is pet-friendly community that offers residents a range of activities to enjoy with man’s best friend. Take advantage of Squantum Point Park, located directly adjacent to the property, serving as an added neighborhood amenity that welcomes pets and features a two-mile Riverwalk trail. Pets will also be pampered at Meriel Marina Bay with the fully equipped Bark ‘n’ Bubbles pet spa located within the South Building.
“Meriel Marina Bay’s North Building is seeing a fantastic response from renters attracted to the property’s extraordinary views and easy access to Downtown Boston, and we are confident that leasing will continue at a strong pace with the release of the South Building,” said Sean Sacks, director at Hines. “The launch of this next phase is a key milestone for the project and the continued evolution of the Marina Bay community.”
Featuring a wide variety of thoughtfully designed layouts including studios, 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom homes, the apartments at Meriel Marina Bay offer breathtaking views of the Boston skyline and Boston Harbor.
Each home includes spacious open layouts with oversized windows and wide plank flooring throughout the main living areas. Bright kitchens feature stainless-steel appliances, center islands with breakfast bars, quartz countertops and European-style soft-close cabinets. Apartments also include large walk-in closets, soaking tubs, walk-in showers, and a full-size washer and dryer. Most apartments also feature oversized balconies or private patios.

Meriel Marina Bay is move-in ready and features a wide assortment of apartment homes ranging from around $2,100 to $4,600 per month.

Photos courtesy of Meriel Marina Bay

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