New England cities among the safest in America

According to WalletHub, a personal finance site, New England is home to some of the safest cities in the nation. Using 35 key indicators of safety, analysts have compared over 180 cities and scored them in four separate categories: overall safety, home and community safety, financial safety, and natural disaster risk.

ClipThe cities of Nashua, NH, South Burlington, VT, and Warwick, RI, were rated as the safest overall and took the top three spots on the list respectively.

Warwick was rated second in terms of home and community safety, South Burlington was rated seventh in terms of financial safety, and Warwick was rated seventeenth safest in terms of natural disaster risk.

Boston is rated as the 133rd safest city. It was ranked fifth in terms of fewest traffic fatalities per capita and fourth in terms of lowest percentage of uninsured population but was tied for last in terms of most hate crimes per capita.

 

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Cryptocurrencies and the Real Estate Industry

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are new electronic cash systems that are completely decentralized with no server or central authority. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies advocate that blockchain technology is the key to a secure monetary future. By providing unique access codes, secure transactions can take place from almost anywhere in the world and the blocks of code will create an incorruptible record of each transaction and access point.

This is relevant to the real estate industry because it would allow buyers to provide secure funds in a relatively short amount of time.

According to Bitcoin, there are several advantages of using their form of cryptocurrency. Users can make or receive payments regardless of location or time of day. Transfer fees are cheaper because they are not based off of the total amount of funds being transferred. Since private consumer information is not included in the transaction records, transactions are more secure.

Users can also add layers of protection to their crypto assets by using two factor authentication and alternative backup methods.

The real estate industry is slowly starting to accept Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies because of these advantages. The International Blockchain Real Estate Association is a member-focused advocacy, educational, and trade organization dedicated to implementing blockchain real estate.

According to their website, cryptocurrencies can “reduce costs, stamp out fraud, speed up transactions, increase financial privacy, internationalize markets, and make real estate a liquid asset”. Some luxury homes for sale are already being listed on MLS’ with cryptocurrency price tags and some landlords let renters to pay with virtual currency because landlords do not have to worry about checks bouncing and funds clearing after a day or two.

Blockchain technology is not without its own challenges. Cyber fraud has resulted in the loss of tokens worth millions of dollars. Many sellers currently do not accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies because they have little to no experience with them. Currency volatility has always been an issue and new cryptocurrencies are being invented on a regular basis. Despite these drawbacks, more and more real estate opportunities are beginning to welcome blockchain technology.

 

 

Little to no housing being built in the suburbs

The Boston Foundation reports in their annual Greater Boston Housing Report Card that while it is true that new housing is being added in the Greater Boston area, the majority of the units are in the city of Boston itself and in just a few surrounding cities while towns in the suburbs are seeing little to no construction.

2Young and working families are finding it difficult to afford to live in the city but since housing prices are increasing in the suburbs because of a lack of new construction these families are left with few options. Only a handful of towns have added noteworthy amounts of housing, including Weymouth, Framingham, Plymouth, and Sharon. Out of about 13,000 building permits that were issued this year for the entire Greater Boston area, about 40% of those were issued by the city of Boston.

Although some believe that housing prices may inhibit economic growth, schools and jobs in the area continue to attract students and professionals every year. Rent prices are also slowly falling as a direct result of the additional housing that has become available.

 

 

Cambridge imposes restrictions on AirBNB rentals

Cambridge.jpgMost of the focus on AirBNB stems from the money lost from a lack of taxation, an estimated $15 million from around 592,000 guests in Massachusetts last year. However, while other lodging establishments need to adhere to a strict set of municipal regulations, the owner of a unit on AirBNB currently does not.

State Representative Aaron Michlewitz recently proposed a bill that would impose safety and insurance regulations on top of taxing units, stating: “The taxation without the regulation piece is where the debate stands now”.

While some municipalities are waiting to see what the state decides to do, the Cambridge City Council has already voted to impose their own regulations on AirBNB rentals. Only hosts who live in the same or adjacent building would be allowed to make their units available. These units would need to be registered with the city and concede to inspections once every five years.

This would allow owners to continue to collect income from short-term rental units while ensuring guest safety. The new restrictions will take effect in April 2018.

It’s estimated that about 90,000 guests used AirBNB to find accommodations in Cambridge last year.

Where are the best places to live in Massachusetts?

2.jpg(via RealEstate.Boston) If you are not from The Bay State but wanted to move here, how would you decide where to live? A site such as Niche.com would be a great place to start, as they combine rigorous analysis with reviews from millions of people to uncover the best places to live and go to school.

They recently released their updated list for Massachusetts, assigning an overall Niche Grade based on criteria that includes grades for public schools, housing, good for families, jobs, cost of living, outdoor activities, crime and safety, nightlife, diversity, weather, health and fitness, and commute. Data sources include reviews from actual residents, as well as from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the FBI, and the Census.

Among the top ten towns and cities in the state is Sharon, Sudbury, Newton, Wayland, Belmont, Boxborough, Wellesley, and Brookline, with the town of Lexington ranked as the best place to live in Massachusetts in 2017. Lexington received an A+ grade for public schools and good for families, A grades for outdoor activities, health and fitness, and commute, and A- grades for jobs, crime and safety, and diversity.

The city of Cambridge, which landed 12th on the state’s list, was ranked 11th on Niche’s 2017 Best Cities to Live in America list, receiving top marks for public schools, good for families, outdoor activities, nightlife, and commute.

The city of Boston, ranked 262nd on the state’s list, received an overall Niche Grade of B+, brought down by its poor grades in crime and safety, cost of living, public schools, and housing.

Although these type of sites are a good initial resource, a local expert in the leasing market can provide invaluable insight. Rental Beast is partnered with some of the best-trained real estate agents in the business who can help their clients make more informed decisions and find the perfect place to rent or buy.

Rent Prices in Boston Causing Exodus?

2Boston has consistently been one of the most expensive cities in the United States to rent an apartment for a number of years, so it should come as no surprise that affordability is the top reason renters cited as the reason for wanting to leave the city.

Apartment List, a real estate listings site, surveyed around 24,000 tenants across the United States to find out why they chose to continue renting or pack up and move to a different city. In Boston, 81% of renters expressed interest in moving, which is much higher than the national average of 64%. The second most common reason for moving was “switching jobs” at 19%, followed by those who were “unhappy with the weather” at 11%.

One of the demographics most impacted by the city’s rent prices are the older residents. Among residents who are at least 65 years old, over 61% of singles and over 29% of couples can not afford the cost of living, according to a study by the University of Massachusetts-Boston. Since many of residents in this demographic can not receive public assistance, they have no choice but to move.

Top cities in the world for quality of life includes Boston

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Deutsche Bank puts out a report every year called “Mapping the World’s Prices” that lists the best cities in the world in regards to quality of life. They look at a number of variables including climate, pollution, traffic commute time, property price to income ratio, cost of living, health care, safety, and purchasing power.

Boston is ranked eighth on this list, behind Wellington, New Zealand (1), Edinburgh (2), Vienna (3), Melbourne, Australia (4), Zurich (5), Copenhagen (6), and Ottawa (7). Boston is the highest ranking city in the United States that made it on the list, which also includes the cities of San Francisco (18) and Chicago (22). Purchasing power was the main factor behind the lofty ranking, according to Business Insider.

Boston was also named the best city in the Northeast by Money magazine in 2016, as well as the fifth healthiest city in the country last year by The American Fitness Index.