Bisnow’s 2014 Boston Real Estate Forecast

I recently attended Bisnow’s “2014 Boston Real Estate Forecast” at The Sheraton Boston Hotel. The panel consisted of Justin Krebs, Partner at Normandy; Peter Spellios, Executive Vice President at Related Beal; John Frey, Managing Partner at The Davis Companies; and Merrill Diamond, Managing Partner at Diamond Sinacori. Michael Ross, Of Counsel at Prince Lobel, moderated.

The panel presented their 2014 outlook for both the commercial and residential real estate markets in the city of Boston. What was most interesting was to hear what issues they agreed on and disagreed on.

All agreed that companies are stepping up efforts to attract young, talented members of the workforce. The millennials they are looking to appeal to are generally transient in nature and flock towards urban environments, making them increasingly reliant on public transportation. For this reason, the belief is that accessibility to public transportation will be a major trend in 2014.

As a result, many companies, like Converse, are moving their offices to metro Boston. Those companies opting to stay in suburban locations are increasingly interested in taking up office space in Needham, given its accessibility to public transportation and close proximity to the city. As new technologies continue to emerge allowing for more employees to work remotely, companies are downsizing their office space by square footage per person.

Major trends in residential real estate were identified as well, and these were more heavily debated by the panel. With the generational shift underway, some panelists have been seeing an increased interest in renting over the traditional ideal of home ownership. Still others believe 2014 will be a tipping point, where people realize that they can own for less than they can rent, which will cause a surge in the condominium market.

All the panelists seemed to agree that there is a lack of inventory in the Boston condo market, and that any new condominium projects coming online in the next few years will be successful. This will inevitably lead to a “rebirth” in public relations and marketing efforts as developers feel the increasing need to differentiate their projects from others.

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