Boston Real Estate News 6/15/2010

Mmmmm, Millionaires: A recent report by Boston-based research group, the Boston Consulting Group, has found that the global millionaires club has grown by about 14%, with Singapore leading the charge in net gain. “The number of millionaire households increased to 11.2 million, according to the study released yesterday by the Boston-based firm,” reports Alexis Leondis on behalf of Bloomberg Businessweek, “Singapore posted a 35 percent gain, followed by Malaysia, Slovakia and China.”

When the recession struck in full force, circa 2008, the world’s millionaire’s fell to about 9.8 million, a 14% decrease, as did global wealth, which also fell about 10%. Now, however, global wealth is approaching record-breaking heights at $111.5 trillion in managed assets, with the bar set at $111.6 trillion in 2007. “North America, defined as the U.S. and Canada, had the greatest gain in assets at $4.6 trillion to $35.1 trillion,” Leondis continues, “The U.S. also had the most millionaire households at 4.72 million, the survey said, while Europe remained the wealthiest region, with $37.1 trillion.”

“No Consensus” Among Real Estate Experts: The Federal “Beige Book,” a report based on interviews with business executives and owners, has provided a positive outlook on the Boston area economy, reporting “stable to increasing activity in recent months,” compared to 2009. The report claims that the overall workforce is seeing improvement, as more jobs are coming back, merit-based incentives are returning, and new jobs are being created.

“Even the battered commercial real estate industry is showing tentative signs of recovery, reports Jay Fitzgerald of The Boston Herald, “‘Boston contacts report an uptick in lease deal volume,’ the Fed said.” This increase in commercial real estate, which has been lagging in virtually every part of the country, is due to the high number of medical and higher-education institutions here in Boston.

The housing market, however, has been of the most concern, as home sales surged in April due to the tax-credit but seem to have lost wind since its withdrawal. “There’s ‘no consensus’ among real estate experts whether the housing market will keep its momentum now that the tax-credit program is expiring, the report said.” I guess only time will tell…

Small Businesses Taking Bigger Loans: Small businesses statewide are taking more loans through government programs to expand, hire, and/or start new ventures, according to The Boston Globe. This fits quite nicely with today’s pretty positive news vibe, aside from “no consensus,” which was pretty neutral. It seems that as with millionaires, small business loans too are reaching near record heights: “Borrowing through the US Small Business Administration’s primary guaranteed loan program has more than doubled in Massachusetts over the past year,” recounts Globe staff writer Robert Gavin, “and is on track to match levels not seen since 2005.”

The article continues, claiming that loan activity in Massachusetts is among the highest in the nation, with only eight other states having more activity in recent months, according to the US Small Business Administration. Our state seems to be leading the charge in what appears to be a slow trend in nationwide economic recovery, but Bill Vernon, Massachusetts director of the National Federation of Independent Business, warns, “The problem has not been a lack of credit, but a lack of sales and economic activity to support that credit. Now, I think, we’re heading in the right direction. It’s bumpy and inconsistent, but there are more companies doing better than they were a year ago.’’

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