First in a two-part series on luxury homes. Next week: What $3 million gets you in the suburbs.
The hottest topic in real estate, at least among the upper echelon, is how the federal tax overhaul will affect buyers and sellers. We won’t get into the nitty-gritty, but we will say that the high-end housing market doesn’t seem to be faltering here.
“The $3 million-plus price point has been very strong,’’ said Ricardo Rodriguez, an agent with Coldwell Banker.
“Everyone is trying to understand how the tax bill will impact them,’’ said Jillian Reig, an agent with Campion and Co., who says she’s had one seller hold off on putting his place on the market until he sifts through the tax rules.
Mostly though, Boston’s luxury market is rolling merrily along, fueled in large part by new construction. Buildings like Millennium Tower in Midtown boast some of the priciest condos sold in New England (one sold for $35 million).
Neighborhoods not known for sky-high pricing are seeing increases, too.
“There were 10 condos in The Lucas that sold for over $3 million during a 15-month period between the end of 2015 and mid-2017,’’ said Rodriguez. “That’s new for the South End.’’ We’ll start seeing similar pricing in the Fenway soon, too, he said.
Inventory is tight overall, but data from Javier Vivas, director of economic research for Realtor.com, show the number of properties for sale in the $3 million category increased by 3.3 percent.
And they’re selling. The real estate site Redfin reports that in Boston, 181 homes at or over the $3 million mark were sold in 2017, compared with 170 in 2016 and 112 in 2015.
Unfortunately, finding affordable prices will be increasingly challenging nationwide. The real estate site Trulia notes on its blog that if the current trend continues, “the market will become more and more saturated with homes that are unaffordable to even the top income brackets.’’
Rodriguez tells developers people from every walk of life want to live in the city, and some are listening, he said. “As exciting as these price points are, we need to meet housing needs for everyone.’’
Year built 1832/converted 2014
Square footage 3,435
Baths 3 full
Taxes $31,443 (2017)
Last sold for $2,705,000 in 2014
For those craving privacy, the absence of a concierge — combined with direct elevator access — is appealing. In fact, top Hollywood talents have rented this unit while filming in Boston.
The largest of the six condominium units in the Greek Revival building, which was the site of Boston’s beloved Locke-Ober restaurant from 1875 to 2012, this single-floor spread is more than 3,400 square feet in size, with an additional 400-square-foot private roof deck.
Casual living this is not.
The magnificent entertaining space incorporates the restaurant’s famous Ober Room, with its original woodwork.
That means gilded moldings, glass-front china cabinets, and the original black marble mantel, with a statement-size mirror in an ornately carved frame. (The mirror stays.)
In size and style, the kitchen rivals those found in Wellesley and Lexington. The wood island contrasts with white inset cabinetry and a tiled backsplash. High-end appliances offer gas, electric, and induction cooking.
When it’s time to relax, there’s a family room nestled in a corner off the kitchen and living space, as well as a master suite with a gas fireplace and a generously sized guest room. (A third bedroom is currently used as an office.)
The en-suite baths have radiant-heated floors and soaking tubs.
Collin Sullivan, William Raveis Real Estate, 18 Arlington St., Boston, 617-529-6622, raveis.com.
Year built 1890
Square footage 2,377
Baths 2 full, 1 half
Taxes $24,145 (2017)
Last sold for $2,180,000 in 2015
The front garden and refurbished foyer provide a warm welcome to this four-unit town house in the Back Bay, where the duplex penthouse is for sale.
The recently renovated floor-through feels like a single-family home — complete with a pet-friendly policy and bicycle storage.
The kitchen is on the smaller side, but it’s nicely appointed, with glass-front cabinets, quartz counters, high-end appliances, and a pass-through breakfast bar.
Living rooms on either end have wood-burning fireplaces (one of three that need to be re-lined) with marble mantels.
The front room has a bay window.
The back one, which has a view of 200 Clarendon (formerly known as the John Hancock Tower), features built-in cabinetry and a ceiling with lattice-like molding.
Upstairs, the generously sized master has another fireplace, a charming Back Bay view, a walk-in closet, and a striking en-suite bath with a walk-in shower and separate tub.
The other two bedrooms probably were a single larger bedroom, but would work fine as cozy city spaces for kids or dual offices.
The pièce de résistance is the private roof deck — with a retractable top.
It offers views that stretch across Back Bay. Take the 3-D tour.
Robb Silva, The Robb Silva Team, William Raveis, 18 Arlington St., Boston, 617-312-3509, robbsilva.com.
Year built 2017
Square footage 2,125
Baths 2 full, 1 half
Taxes Not yet assessed
Last sold for First time on market
10 Farnsworth simultaneously blends in and stands out from its brick-built neighbors. While its glass curtain-wall façade helps stake its claim as luxury development, its height and setback maintain a uniform swath along that stretch at the corner of Congress Street.
The nine-unit building offers an alternative to those to whom factory loft living doesn’t appeal but love this historic neighborhood, replete with eateries and artist studios. Four units, including this one, are still available, each with direct elevator access, parking in the on-site garage, and use of the communal roof garden.
The open-plan living space will have floor-to-ceiling windows, wide-plank European oak flooring, recessed lighting, and a contemporary gas fireplace.
The kitchen will be defined by a wall of floor-to-ceiling lacquered cabinetry accented with Greek marble countertops and an island that seats four. Appliances will be high-end.
European styling will be carried into the master bath, with an oak-veneer floating vanity. Statement-making large-format wall tiles will contrast with mosaic floor tiles, which continue into the curbless walk-in shower.
Overall, 10 Farnsworth aligns with the kind of upscale new construction that has become commonplace in the city in terms of interior schemes, but trades big-building amenities for the intimacy of a small boutique property.
Jillian Reig and Steve Losordo, Campion and Co., 172 Newbury St., Boston, 617-960-6080, campionre.com.
Year built 2016
Square footage 1,486
Baths 2 full
Taxes $12,052 (2017)
Last sold for $2,850,000 in 2016
Short on square footage but high on amenities, this 37th-floor unit in Millennium Tower slots two modestly sized bedrooms and a living room side by side to take advantage of the killer views, including the Charles River and the Blue Hills.
The motorized window shades are a handy upgrade — compliments of the homeowner, who was one of the first occupants of the building.
The tower’s signature angled windows render the view from the living room practically panoramic.
Pale wood floors and crisp white built-ins flank a gas fireplace, anchoring the sun-filled seating area.
The space opens to the kitchen, which is comprised of two islands topped with honed marble. High-end wall ovens, a full-size wine fridge, and a glossy white-paneled refrigerator are set flush in the side wall.
A dining area (or a den) is tucked in back.
Spa-like amenities in the master bath include radiant heat beneath marble tiles, a soaking tub, and a glass-enclosed shower. The chinoiserie-style wallpaper is fresh, though fairly traditional and not particularly in keeping with the overall urban vibe. Same goes for the whimsical wallpaper in the second bath.
The second bedroom is outfitted as an office, with built-in cabinetry on both sides, made cozy with leopard-print carpet.
Millennium Tower’s amenities include 24-hour concierge service, a two-story club, lap pool, fitness facility, movie room, and terrace.
Valerie Post, Post Shirley Team, Engel & Völkers, 46 Gloucester St., Boston, 617-908-4000, boston.evusa.com
111 Beach St., Unit 2H/I
Year built Circa 1899/converted 2004
Square footage: 4,189
Bath 4 full
Taxes $22,153 (2017)
Last sold as two units for $1,250,000 in 2009
This Leather District loft condo is the real deal, with exposed brick walls, beams, and ductwork, along with structural columns, polished wood floors, and an industrial-style staircase.
Level one, which has a private elevator entrance, appears made for entertaining. There’s a built-in bar with seating on two sides, a glass-enclosed wine cellar, and a lounge area.
Upstairs, the expansive main living space, which is lined with tall windows, is perfect for parties. The large open kitchen has an island, granite counters, and wood cabinets. An ancillary breakfast bar and an extra fridge anchor one end. The stainless-steel appliances are top-notch.
In the center, a crystal chandelier hangs over the dining area, which easily accommodates a table for 12. Industrial-style shutters provide privacy without blocking light. Sofas in front of a sleek electric fireplace offer a spot to relax.
The nicely sized master suite boasts two brick walls and a walk-in closet across from the bathroom.
Lisa Berry, Lisa Berry Properties in Tyngsborough, 978-315-0300, LisaBerry.com.