This Week in Boston Real Estate: Preserving canopies, Boston millionaires and more

by Pamela Peterson

Cambridge residents may soon need permits to cut down trees. According to Curbed Boston, City Council member Quinton Zondervan believes Cambridge should  change local ordinance so private property owners are required to have a permit to cut down healthy and sizable trees. Zondervan states the property owners would not have to pay a fee for the permits and they’ll most likely be granted to owners. He sees this as a way to start a conversation about Cambridge’s vanishing tree canopy, which he notes dropped 7 percent in five years and will only continue to decline without a change. For now, Cambridge’s Urban Forest Master Plan Task Force will work on recommendations to help with the canopy issue.  

In other Boston real estate news:

  • A new report form the Union of Concerned Scientists found that nearly 7,000 of Massachusetts’ residential homes face risks of chronic inundation from ocean flooding by 2045. Boston.com reported if global warming isn’t reduced, 25 percent of Boston homes would be at risk by 2100.  Nearly 78 percent of Back Bay-Beacon Hill area homes would be at risk of flooding, while 71 percent of Fenway and Faneuil Hall homes would face the same risks. The report notes that even if emissions are reduced, Boston could still see about 15 percent of at-risk homes.
  • The late Muhammad Ali’s Michigan home hit the market at nearly $2.9 million. According to Boston.com, Ali bought the Berrien Springs home in 1975 and spent his summers and retirement years there before moving to Arizona. The farm property features a main house, three car garage, carriage house, pool, gym, barn, office building, basketball court and more. The property is guarded by the St. Joseph River that frames three sides of the land and a gated entry.
  • The Conservative Law Foundation is challenging another zoning plan. The Boston Globe reported that the CLF will sue to overturn a zoning plan for a skyscraper to be built on the Boston Harbor Garage site. According to the CLF Senior Counsel Peter Shelley, the decision to build could lead to more skyscrapers on the harbor’s edge. CLF demands more for public benefits and garage site owner Chiofaro Company proposed a new plan, which CLF rejected. 
  • PropertyShark released a report showcasing the top 25 cities around the U.S. where homeowners became millionaires based on real estate investments. In this context, the homeowners became millionaires by purchasing a home for under $1 million prior to 2001 and selling the home after 2001 for over $1 million. Boston, specifically Suffolk County, ranked 22 out of 25 and added 32 millionaires since 2001.

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