By the Sea Sotheby’s International Realty carries the name and gets the results. 

The real estate market on Boston’s North Shore is rife with stunning seaside mansions. Arguably, no one in the business knows the area and its inventory better than Karen Hanson, who heads up the firm By the Sea Sotheby’s International Realty in the North Shore town of Beverly. The company was granted its Sotheby’s affiliation in 2006 and has since been servicing high-wealth individuals throughout the region.

The firm carries only around 40 listings at a time, of which about half are coastal homes, according to Hanson. About half of its listings are over $1 million. This year alone, By the Sea has sold about twice as many million-dollar homes than in 2012—and the year is far from over. “We are about 30 percent higher in total sales volume than 2012,” Hanson says.

Need more proof of a turning market? Hanson says that the number of days on market for homes in the company’s core area are down 19 percent, year over year, and in the over-$1 million segment, days on the market are down 34 percent. “The market overall has seen shades of turning the corner from a buyer’s to a seller’s market, although we are far away from our peak in 2006,” Hanson says. “Market volume is creeping up, as is market confidence, and homes that are priced well, especially those on scarce pieces of waterfront land, are selling at a faster clip than we’ve seen in years.”

There’s no doubt that the real estate market in and around the North Shore is back, as owners of coastline properties slowly begin bringing their assets to market. And buyers are there waiting. “No matter when you bring a house to market, if [it’s] priced properly and it’s unique enough, it will sell,” Hanson says. 

Regardless of what hits the market, buyers have the means to buy. “People who purchase these [homes] will always be able to,” Hanson says. “They…see there’s value, that it’s a safe investment.”

And the old real estate adage, again, rings true; it’s all about “location, location, location.” Buyers today don’t care so much about the house itself, what realtors call the “bones.” What buyers do care about is the land, the view, and the water. “Anyone in [the high-end] sector of the market can do anything to the house, even take it down and rebuild,” Hanson says.

But act fast, Hanson warns, as it’s not just a local market—international buyers, too, are chomping at the bit. Hanson says that about a third of the traffic to her firm’s website comes from international visitors; furthermore, the percentage of By the Sea’s sales from international buyers is between 5 percent and 7 percent.

“The market couldn’t be better,” Hanson says. It sure sounds like it.   

Image Credits: Stephen Lovekin.