Buyer Testimonial – Charlestown

Michelle is amazing, she is an excellent advisor for such an important purchase. Michelle answers even the silliest of questions to ensure you understand the process and find the best solutions, she always goes above and beyond. Michelle adds a personal element to the realtor/client relationship which makes you at ease and builds trust. We will definitely use Michelle when we sell/buy again.

Michelle Murray, Charlestown 

MA Small City Rankings on WalletHub

WalletHub has ranked the best and worst small cities in the U.S.  Lots of positive news for Massachusetts.

Northampton ranked the highest MA town on the overall list at #8.   The rest of the Top 10 are:

  • 14 – Milton
  • 26 – Lexington
  • 105 – Wellesley
  • 120 – Danvers
  • 138 – Saugus
  • 143 – Somerville
  • 150 – Melrose
  • 165 – Newton
  • 171 – Needham


To find the best small cities in America, WalletHub’s analysts compared 1,268 cities across four key dimensions: 1) Affordability, 2) Economic Health, 3) Education & Health and 4) Quality of Life. For our sample, we chose cities with a population size between 25,000 and 100,000 residents. Please note that “city” refers to city proper and excludes surrounding metro areas.

Lists on which MA ranked highest.

WalletHub - Most EducatedWalletHub - MIllenials

WalletHub - Highest Percentage with Health Insurance

 Click Here For the Full Breakdown

Other key findings for Massachusetts home buyers –

MA ranked #1 as the best state for education.

  • 9th Happiest State
  • 13th Best State to Have a Baby
  • 5th Best State for Working Moms
  • 21st for Women’s Equality
  • 11th for Nurses
  • 28th for for Doctors

So Massachusetts has a lot going for it. Not the best state for retirement – will cover that in a future blog post.  So that tells me this is a great state for everything from going to college up to retirement, then it might be time to move someplace warmer, less expensive and slow paced (could we actually slow down?).  Whatever phase you are at, if you need help Contact Me.

Michelle J. Lane

Century 21 Commonwealth
CELL: 617 584-3904


Seller Testimonial – Hyde Park


Michelle helped sell me my first home. That was a wonderful experience from beginning to end. I felt like her most important client, so I was eager to work with her again when it was time to sell that home.

Michelle impressed me at every stage of the sale. Her expertise was a given, based on my previous experience, but her extra effort, attention to detail, and availability to answer my questions were excellent.

Michelle makes what could be an intimidating process straightforward and successful. Plus, you know that you are never alone, when you work with Michelle. She will be there for you every step of the way.”

Ben Irwin, formerly of Hyde Park, MA 

Will Hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics Boost the Boston Housing Market?

Now that Boston has won the only US bid for the Olympics (we are still up against 4 European cities) it raises many questions – how much will this cost taxpayers?  Where will they put everything?  What is it going to do to traffic?  As a real estate agent, I’ll focus on the most relevant question – what will it do to home values in Boston?  I’ll use Atlanta as our reference point as that is the last time the Summer Olympics was held in the US.  Utah is the last time we hosted the Winter Olympics.

The comparison is not apples-to-apples when you consider that Atlanta was in need of revitalization at the time. Boston is already a thriving city with a very robust housing market.

The most notable change for Atlanta was Centennial Park in the heart of the city which brought people and economic development back to what was a rundown downtown area.   Boston already has many venues that bring people and tourists downtown – the Freedom Train, the Commons and Public Gardens and Faneuil Hall, not to mention all the colleges.

The downtown population of Atlanta has increased from 3.5M to 5.5M in the 20 years since the Olympics were held, arguably in part because of the Olympics, but the growth was already on a steady trajectory.

However they did see slightly stronger than average growth in the years leading up to the Olympics as construction workers flooded into Atlanta for the work and many stayed.

Atlanta Populaton

Below is a chart of projected population growth for Boston through 2030.  These numbers were calculated by the UMass Donahue Institute in Nov 2013 long before the Olympics was a consideration.

Boston Population

I would even conjecture that the growth could be greater than this as I now see more and more Baby Boomers selling their suburban homes and moving into the city.

Housing Prices

Atlanta home prices rose by about 1% more per year than the national average in the five years running up to the 1996 Games. However, since then, they dropped and have only just started coming back.  Atlanta’s home prices are below the level they were in May 1999 (at an index level of 95.8). But after recent improvement, they are above a recent low in March 2012 (the index was at 82.54). At that point, home prices were at the same point they were during the 1996 Olympics. (from

Would Boston prices rise in anticipation of the Olympics?  Very likely – in particular areas.  Once people know for sure that we have won the bid for the Olympics and know the locations where the venues will be built, both homeowners and investors will want to buy properties in those areas.  Cities that host the Olympics typically pick a part of town that is either run-down or underdeveloped to build the permanent structures such as stadiums and housing.   That makes those the areas with the greatest possibility of upside.

The sad reality is that Atlanta also cleared out the poor and homeless.  Atlanta evicted 6,000 people from public housing to tear it down.  Although the city had given some Section 8 vouchers, many were still without public housing years later.

The homeless were given one-way tickets back to their families or to Augusta.  New laws were implemented making pretty much anything a homeless person would do illegal – sleeping on a bench, entering a parking lot, etc.  Citations were given to over 9,000 people. Once arrested, these people were ineligible for public housing.

On a side-note – a shout-out to our local Ropes & Gray who were hired by MATF – a task force who helped five homeless men file a federal lawsuit against the city of Atlanta. The city settled with those 5 men and a judge ordered the illegal arrests be stopped.

All this pushing out of the poor makes way for gentrification and rising home prices.  However, I hope that Boston will not stoop to those measures to beautify areas visible to Olympic visitors.

Who Else Will the Olympics Hurt?

The Olympics could also wind up costing taxpayers in two ways.  The Boston Olympic committee is already talking about the need to upgrade the T.  And who can argue it needs to be upgraded after the past couple of weeks of breakdowns?  But we all know who is going to pay for these improvements.

Homeowners, particularly those whose homes are near the venues could wind up paying higher taxes.  That is what Atlanta did, basing it on the theory that those people most benefited from improvements.

Renters – During the time leading up to the Atlanta Olympics, renters were given notices telling them that they would need to move out for three months or pay an additional $3,000 in rent.  Now you would think you can’t do this to someone who has a lease and, in Massachusetts, you cannot.  But trust me, the management companies and landlords have enough advance notice to not grant any leases that run through the Olympics.

Not to mention rents will go up in the years leading up to the Olympics as construction workers flood into the area to work on what will likely be several billion dollars in construction projects.  That alone is a compelling case for buying a house before then if you are a renter.

Who WILL the Olympics Help?

Construction Companies – the Atlanta Olympics generated over $1B of construction projects, from housing for athletes to Olympic Venues.

Student Housing – A summer Olympics typically hosts over 10,000 athletes.  The city will most definitely have to build that housing as there is no venue with that much free space today.  Atlanta wound up turning over the athletes’ housing to Georgia Tech for dorms.  If Boston did the same, that would definitely help alleviate the shortage of student housing in Boston.

The Hospitality Industry – Hotels, Restaurants, etc.  At least for those weeks of the Olympics.

Starbucks – Remember the pent-up demand at the Sochi Olympics?  They were not an official sponsor so people had to, and did gladly, leave the housing and venues in search of Starbucks and NBC got a secret outlet installed in their media center.

Entrepreneurs – those who are clever enough to figure out ways to make money off the influx of visitors.  See above re Starbucks.  Figuring out how to get people what they need and want is the key.

Final Note on Renting out Your House

Since this is somewhat real estate related, I’ll tackle this one.  During the Atlanta Olympics people were renting out apartments at the rate of $165 per bedroom and single-family homes for as much as $2,000 a night.  Mind you, that was 20 years ago so rates would be higher now – probably at about the same rate of a comparable hotel room.  But that would only be if the over 50,000 hotel rooms and 37,000 dorm rooms are not enough for all the visitors.  And if your home is in a location convenient to the venues.

If you want to go this route, plan on leaving your house for the summer as these renters will want the entire house and won’t want to be your roommate.  Also be prepared to:

  1. Remove Your Valuables from the home.
  2. Buy Extra Insurance
  3. Pay Lodging Tax

I’ll cover this more in a future blog post if Boston wins the bid.

You have time to figure all this out and make your strategic real estate moves.  Final bids are due in January of 2016 so it will be a while before we know if Boston will host the 2024 Summer Olympics.

If you have questions in the meantime, you know who to call!

Michelle J. Lane
Century 21 Commonwealth
CELL: 617 584-3904

Buyer Testimonial – South End


I successfully found my dream condo in 2013.   Michelle was fantastic! She really knew her stuff and kept my spirits up during the whole process.

Hilary Hayes, Boston, MA 

ArchitechtureBoston Expo – Nov 14-16 at the Boston Convention Center

I just registered.  If you register before October 31, you will get a FREE PASS to the Exhibit Hall!!  This is the conference and trades how for New England’s design and construction industry.  I am looking forward to seeing what’s new!



Boston Ranks #3 in Best Cities to Raise a Family

3. Boston, MA

Historic Boston made Parenting Magazine’s Top 10 list for education and ranked high in the health category as well. Boston public schools spend a whopping $23,000 per student (the national average is $9,000), and the city is home to several world-class medical institutions, including Children’s Hospital Boston and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

 Families can stay fit in Boston’s many parks, such as the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, with beautiful paths to amble through. Also ideal for kids is the Back Bay Fens, a restored former saltwater marsh turned into an “urban wild” with community gardens, a playground, and basketball courts. Then there’s note-worthy Charles Street in Beacon Hill (where my nephew has is store Uncle Pete’s!, the Boston Public Garden (which your kids will recognize from Make Way for Ducklings), and Fenway Park.

Century 21 Commonwealth
CELL: 617 584-3904

MSN Ranks Jamaica Plain in Top 10 Revitalized Neighborhoods

Jamaica Plain, Boston

A 1960s proposal to build a highway through the “southwest corridor” of Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood accelerated white flight to the suburbs. The road was never built, but during the project’s planning stages, hundreds of businesses and families were uprooted, shaking the community.

Many of the former factory workers’ homes turned over to Cuban, Dominican and Puerto Rican immigrants, giving the neighborhood an eclectic mix. But abandoned factories left the neighborhood in a state of neglect.

The turnaround started in the late 1980s, when cheap rent attracted students, artists and a vibrant lesbian and gay community. In the past decade, conversion of commercial spaces into condos added to the neighborhood’s appeal for new residents. Now Jamaica Plain, a 4.5-square-mile community, has become one of the hottest neighborhoods in Boston, leaving some local boosters wondering if they can afford to stay.

And if this piqued your interest in JP, I have a beautiful condo coming on the market soon, just ask for details!

Century 21 Commonwealth
CELL: 617 584-3904

Upcoming Listing – 2 bed, 1.5 bath condo in Jamaica Plain

Lovely 2-level condo in JP - with 2-car garage!

Coming up in early March. Spacious two-level condo offers all the charm of a period home, yet is beautifully updated and maintained for modern living. This 1536sf 2-bed, 1.5 bath home offers a walk-in master closet, a formal dining room, eat-in kitchen with tile floor and radiant heat, living room with beautiful fireplace, sun-filled den/office, and laundry room. Hardwood floors throughout, 2-car garage and a gorgeous private patio! Fantastic location – beautiful dead-end street, right up the street from the T.

Century 21 Commonwealth
CELL: 617 584-3904

Buyer Testimonial – Brighton

I had been looking for a condo for a few years but put it off thinking I couldn’t afford what I wanted. My work schedule is all over the place so it was an overwhelming process. Michelle was such a relief! She truly has a passion for people and homes. She is informant and aggressive where she needs to be but also not pushy at all. Michelle genuinely has your best interests in mind. She kept looking for me and would forward along listings that fit my criteria, she made it as easy for me as possible! She found a gem! Fit my budget and location needs so there was no buyer’s remorse here! She was very knowledgeable and so helpful explaining the lingo and time frames and sequence of events. Her hard work made my first home possible and I love it still on my one year anniversary  

Melinda Tam