Is Boston’s foundering luxury condominium market poised for a rebound? George P. Haseotes seems to think so.
Haseotes, whose grandparents founded convenience store chain Cumberland Farms, is buying seven units at the year-old St. Regis Residences, one of the city’s priciest addresses. The investment comes on top of the three condos he already owns in the 114-unit Seaport tower.Read full article
The new purchases were confirmed by Sue Hawkes, managing director of The Collaborative Companies, who took over marketing of the 22-story building in October. Haseotes didn’t respond to a request for comment. His wife, Polyxeni, who is listed as a buyer for at least one of the units, declined to comment.
The seven units were part of a “limited inventory bid sale” designed to stir up interest in the nearly half-empty development. Developer Jon Cronin offered 10 one- and two-bedroom condos with minimum required bids that were about 20 percent below recent comparable sales at the St. Regis.
One of the remaining three units was bought by a current owner, while the other two were snapped up by newcomers, according to Hawkes. She declined to discuss pricing, though she has previously said that all 10 condos, most of which don’t feature waterfront views, fetched prices above the minimum required bids.
Luxury condo sales in Boston are down sharply this year after a post-pandemic boom. But Haseotes appears to be wagering that the market will turn around as mortgage rates decline and the lack of new construction leaves buyers with limited choices.
After peaking at 7.8 percent in late October, the average rate on a 30-year home loan has dipped to 7.2 percent as of Thursday, according to Freddie Mac. Investors have pushed US government bond prices higher — and yields lower — amid growing confidence that the Federal Reserve will begin cutting interest rates as soon as May.
“With the 10-year Treasury at 4.3 percent and falling, my opinion is a faster kick in demand for the start of the year,” said Kevin Ahearn, chief executive of the Boston division of Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Ahearn has money on the line: He and an investment partner paid $2.15 million for a unit in the building in April.
Sales have closed on 25 units at the St. Regis this year at an average price of nearly $2,500 per square foot, according to data collected by Douglas Elliman. The average for all condo sales this year across the city is $1,530 per square foot.
The St. Regis project was planned when mortgage rates were below 4 percent, but completion was delayed about 18 months by a lawsuit over waterfront access, and later by COVID-related construction disruptions. Cronin missed a surge in luxury sales in 2021 and most of 2022, saddling him with a lot of unsold units.
The bid sale allowed the restaurateur-turned-developer to quickly generate much-needed cash to pay interest on a new $240 million mortgage from Cottonwood Group, a Los Angeles-based real estate investment firm. But the infusion came at the cost: Buyers got the units at a discount, effectively resetting prices lower on the building’s remaining unsold inventory.
Cronin didn’t return a phone call seeking comment, but Hawkes said she was happy with the outcome.
“I’d honestly do it again in a heartbeat. We got 100 people to visit the building. We’ve got people waiting for us to relaunch” the units facing Boston Harbor, she said.
Haseotes and his wife, who own a 10-bedroom mansion in Halifax that is assessed at $4.45 million, maintain a low public profile. But public records show that a trust he oversees paid $3.6 million for a two-bedroom unit and $1.8 million for a one-bedroom, both in January and both on the 10th floor. He offered to buy several more units on the same floor but couldn’t reach a deal with Cronin, according to people familiar with the situation.
In November, prior to the bid sale, Haseotes and his wife closed on another two-bedroom unit on the 10th floor for $4.45 million. Deeds on the seven latest units have not yet been filed.
“He loves the building,” Hawkes said.