Business Week – The Boston Globe




As rate hikes loom, local housing market soars again

After a few months of slowing, the Greater Boston real estate market picked up speed in November, as buyers closed deals ahead of interest rate hikes that are expected to begin as early as March as the Federal Reserve prepares to slow down inflation. Condominium sales rose 10.1% last month from November 2020, while single-family home sales rose 1.4%, according to data from the Greater Boston Association of Realtors, which tracks the data. in 64 towns and villages in eastern Massachusetts. Median prices rose for the first time in four months, reaching $ 750,000 for single-family homes and $ 626,000 for condos. The rise is the result of a somewhat sluggish fall season, said GBAR chairman Dino Confalone, an agent for Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty in Cambridge. There was a slight uptick in post-Labor Day listings as sellers regrouped in the fall, and prices stabilized a bit after more than a year of skyrocketing growth. All of this made the market a little less brutal for potential buyers, some of whom were trying to take advantage of historically low interest rates many expect to climb in the spring. That led to a busier-than-normal November, with closed sales of single-family homes 19% above October levels, setting a record for the month. Condo sales also set a record. Now, during the generally slow holiday season, inventory remains low, with fewer new listings than this time last year and less than a month’s supply of single-family homes on the market. TIM LOGAN


Biogen cuts price of Alzheimer’s drug in half, plans $ 500 million in cuts

Biogen has halved the price of its Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm and is planning a series of cost-cutting measures at the Cambridge company next year that aim to save $ 500 million. The movements follow a disappointing commercial launch Aduhelm, as well as the anger over the high price of the drug. Aduhelm’s new price is $ 28,200, about half the cost of the drug when it launched in June. Insurance companies balked at its original list price, averaging $ 56,000 per year per patient, while doctors fervently questioned whether the evidence to support Biogen merits approval of the drug. by the Food and Drug Administration, not to mention widespread use. Aduhelm, once slated to be a blockbuster product, only grossed $ 300,000 in its first full quarter after approval. “Over the past few months, we have listened to feedback from our stakeholders and are now taking important steps to improve patient access to Aduhelm,” Michel Vounatsos, CEO of Biogen, said in a statement. Biogen announced the price cuts less than a month before Medicare made a very important decision on whether and how much to pay for the drug. A draft decision is expected in January, followed by a final decision in the spring. But with Aduhelm generating paltry revenues, Biogen is also forced to downsize the company. On Monday, Biogen announced that it will implement a series of cost-cutting measures in 2022 that are expected to total around $ 500 million. Details will be announced in the first quarter. ADAM FEUERSTEIN, STAT


Wu presents plans to increase money for affordable housing

Mayor Michelle Wu on Tuesday signaled a series of measures that, if passed, would dramatically increase funding for affordable housing in Boston while potentially putting caps on the amount landlords can increase rent to tenants. Wu said his administration was launching efforts to expand two programs that require developers in Boston to help create affordable housing, and will form an “advisory group” to study rent control – or rent stabilization – with a view to file legislation on Beacon Hill by the start. 2023. She also plans to relaunch efforts to create a sales tax on premium real estate, with proceeds earmarked for financing affordable housing, and will audit city-owned real estate to look for opportunities. build more. Taken together, these measures define Wu’s strategy for dealing with Boston’s long-standing housing crisis. Wu and housing chief Sheila Dillon presented plans to explore increases in both the city’s inclusive development policy, which requires real estate developers to build or finance affordable units in new projects, and its program. liaison, which fixes costs on the development of new businesses and laboratories to increase. money for housing and vocational training. Next month, the city plans to hire consultants to launch feasibility studies, Dillon said, and plans to submit formal proposals within 150 days. While details are not yet finalized, Wu and Dillon suggested that the PDI could grow up to demand that 20% of units in new buildings be set aside at affordable rents, up from 13% currently, and that those rents can be fixed. at more levels low income renters could afford it. Wu also suggested that fees on commercial buildings – especially labs and life science buildings growing across the city – could increase. Both studies will be completed within 150 days, the mayor said. The city can change these programs itself, either through municipal council legislation or by decree. Larger changes, such as the assessment of transfer fees and the imposition of some form of rent cap, will require approval from Beacon Hill. TIM LOGAN


The Neiman Marcus store could become a laboratory space

After successfully transforming the Atrium Mall in Chestnut Hill into a health and fitness complex, developer Bulfinch Companies aims to convert another high-end retail location: the Neiman Marcus store in Natick. A Bulfinch subsidiary has partnered with Chicago-based investment firm Harrison Street to acquire the department store space at 310 Speen St., Natick Mall, in a deal brokered by Scott Black of Atlantic Retail. The developers won’t say what they plan to do with the property, which has an 18-foot ceiling height and 450 parking spaces, other than repositioning it “to meet current market demands,” which means there is a good possibility that it will pass to a scientific use life like laboratories. Among other changes, Bulfinch is considering the possibility of a vertical addition. The 94,000-square-foot, two-story store was originally scheduled to close this year. With this agreement in place, Neiman Marcus will continue to operate the store until September 2022. Brookfield Properties owns the mall, considered New England’s largest indoor mall, but not the building Neiman Marcus occupies. . Boston-based Bulfinch has partnered with Harrison Street on several other real estate acquisitions and developments over the years. JON CHESTO


TikTok rival Triller agrees to merge with Massachusetts-based SeaChange

Triller, a social video platform, has agreed to a merger with Massachusetts-based SeaChange International Inc. in a move that will bring the smaller rival to public TikTok. The deal will value Triller at around $ 5 billion, a four-fold increase from its recent valuation of $ 1.25 billion, according to PitchBook. It is expected to close in the first quarter, the companies said in a statement. The deal binds Triller to a publicly traded company, allowing it to bypass an initial public offering. SeaChange describes itself as a provider of video broadcasting, advertising and streaming platforms. The company is headed by Managing Director Pete Aquino, a telecommunications veteran who previously ran RCN Corp. Like TikTok, Triller allows users to post short videos with music and filters. The Los Angeles-based company claims its app has been downloaded 250 million times. BLOOMBERG NEWS



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