November 27, 2007
Mobile podcasting studio seeks to turn open houses into block parties
Admittedly, an ice cream truck in Boston during the winter sounds a bit misplaced, but that's why we're using the "off-season" to convert this near-vintage vehicle into a mobile mapping / podcasting studio.
As we write a business plan and raise funds to repair the truck, we're looking for creative partners, special event proposals, and a place to park the truck. The vehicle is much traveled and much loved -- think of it as the "Velveteen Rabbit" of ice cream trucks. Some rust and needed repairs outside and in, but lots of makeover potential to become at least as appealing as this Hug Mobile.
We're seeking 10 to 20 "Best of Breed," money-saving real estate web sites and local real estate partners (lenders, inspectors, closing attorneys, etc.) to cosponsor the truck and a menu of marketing opportunities -- from site demos, to sidewalk seminars, to block parties and more. Our goal is to build a bridge between social networking sites and sidewalks by turning any open house into a block party. (More details upon request.)
Sorry we've missed the opportunity to serve hot chocolate during college tail gating season, but we'll be ready next year. If things come together quickly, maybe we can do a "Homecoming Blitz" in time to cheer the Patriots from the playoffs to the Superbowl. If we're not ready in time for Christmas parties, the next marketing opportunity is Valentine's Day 2008. We've got lots of creative coop advertising ideas and invite yours as well.
Anyone interested in sponsoring a design contest to turn this ice cream truck into a drive-by block party?
May 27, 2005
That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest
A New York Times article entitled "Billionaires Beware This Bubble" reports that Worth Magazine's cover story this month "makes a convincing case that there may be a bubble on the extremely high end of the market." While overly optimistic resort developers believe that the rising number of wealthy households will offset downward pressure felt in other price ranges, MIT Economist William Wheaton argues that resort buyers will substitute "the next mountain or beach or lake" in search of lower prices, and Christopher Mayer of the Columbia Business School says that supply will "outstrip demand, depressing prices."
Falling high-end prices are not limited to resort communities. In a
March 2005 article on their Luxury Housing Affordability Index, Business Week
reported that "Luxury housing became significantly more affordable in
Boston and Chicago, where prices fell a little over 10%; in Miami, down
6%; and Washington, D.C., down about 7%."
A year earlier on Valentine's Day 2004, The Real Estate Cafe released it's own study entitled "Sweetest Deals of 2003: The Year of the Million Dollar Markdown." At that time, only 50 properties in the MLS had ever been marked down by $1 million dollars in Greater Boston and 30 of them occurred in 2003. That price correction helped trigger a comeback and record setting pace for luxury homes in the first quarter of 2004.
What's happening now in the multi-million dollar price range in Greater Boston?
Our sense is that the supply of multi-million dollar homes continues to rise as the demand remains relatively flat (see graph above through 2003) causing downward pressure on prices. How far down? Ask us after Halloween, that's when most of the million dollar markdowns took place two years ago.
The NYTimes article puts the prospect of losing real estate wealth in perspective with some statistics and a parable about personal happiness. First, "6.6 million Americans 65 and older - 22 percent of all older beneficiaries - have no income other than Social Security. The average monthly benefit for retirees is about $955." Then, in a touching tale of "diminished - yet satisfying - expectations," a former world traveler, now retired, told the Times, "For 75 cents I can ride down to the airport, walk around the international terminal, and watch all the people headed for their planes. For me, that's enough of a travel fix."
While that simple soul is not a billionaire or a casualty of the real estate bubble, his contentment reflects the wisdom of one of Boston's favorite sons, Henry David Thoreau, who once said, "That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest." That's a comforting perspective our real estate obsessed culture may have forgotten.