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Overseas Real Estate Investors: Is Boston a Good Option?

It is well known in communities both inside and outside of the United States that Boston has quickly become a hub of international investment. Several of the city’s luxury condominium buildings report that almost one quarter of recent buyers have been international clients, many of them paying in cash.

The reason for Boston’s strength in the local market is twofold: firstly, the city enjoys a steady stream of newcomers because of the large population of students and physicians. Boston and Cambridge host a whopping 9 medical centers and hospitals between them, and that number grows to 24 when you consider all of the Greater Boston Metropolitan area. Higher Education also plays a big role in the constant demand for housing: Boston is the location for 35 colleges, universities, and community colleges — there are about 152,000 students at Boston's institutions of higher learning, many of whom stay in the city over the summer months for internships and work opportunities.

Because of this consistent influx of individuals looking for housing, both the buying and rental markets have remained strong in Boston--even in times of economic downturn. This creates a compression of inventory, and a steady increase in pricing. While Boston usually ranks as the 3-5th most expensive city in the United States, it still remains reasonably-priced on the global scale, so it makes for a great option for foreign investors to either park cash, or hold property as an income-generating tool.

The city itself if comprised of 23 different neighborhoods, and the ones central to the city remain strong investment options--many foreign buyers favor Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and the Financial District as areas to hold cash for longer periods of time. These neighborhoods are favorites of young, working professionals to rent in, and more established wealthy residents for permanent residence. The citywide median condo price in 2016 was $574,900, with Back Bay holding the highest median price of $1,050,000 and Mattapan holding the lowest at $185,000. Brighton and Allston very good options for foreign buyers looking to hold a condo as a rental unit; these neighborhoods are heavily populated by students and tend to be less expensive than the neighborhoods named above. The median sales price for a condo in Brighton in 2016 was $408,750, and in Allston it was $429,000. Investments in these areas also tend to require less attention as they will likely be rented by students. If you would like a nice balance between these areas, Fenway/Kenmore is a great option. Condominiums here tend to be accessible to both professional and student communities, and are closer into the “action” of the city. The median sales price for a condo here was $491,500. Investors looking for good long-term growth opportunities are wise to consider neighborhoods on the outskirts of town, like East Boston, where the median condominium sales price in 2016 was $415,000. Areas outside of Boston proper, like Watertown, where the median price was $460,000 in 2016 is also an amazing opportunity for new buyers. This town is more commutable to Back Bay than many neighborhoods in Boston, and you get a lot more space for the money.

The most important thing to consider when making offers from overseas is that money has become considerably more difficult to move into the United States, especially from China. If you are considering buying in Boston, it is best to plan in advance to move money. The market moves quickly and it is competitive; sellers like closings to happen within 35 days, so you will want to make sure that is financially feasible.

Boston has always been a good investment option, and it will likely remain as such for many years to come. If you want to start your overseas search today, reach out to us or start your search with us online.

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