Welcome to Centers and Squares
As a Cambridge real estate agent, the city squares of Cambridge, Somerville and Medford and the town centers of Arlington, Watertown and Belmont, Massachusetts are my home turf. And as a lifelong New Englander who’s lived within twenty miles of Boston most of my life, I can introduce you to other nearby towns as we search for your new home. If you’re planning to sell your home in Cambridge, MA or nearby you’ll find plenty of info about the home selling process here too. Questions? Send me an email or call me at 617-504-1737.
Cambridge real estate buyers will quickly learn to recognize triple-deckers if they’re not already familiar with the house style. These three-unit buildings , also called three-families or three-deckers, are ubiquitous in Cambridge and Somerville and are also found in other nearby cities and towns including Boston, Belmont, Medford and Watertown. Nowadays, many triple-deckers have been converted to condominiums so even if you’re not looking for investment property you’ll likely be looking at a lot of triple-deckers.
Triple-Deckers in Cambridge Massachusetts – History and Architecture
Triple-deckers were first built in the 1870s in Boston (according to some, others suggest that Fall River or Worcester was first to popularize the style) and soon became a common building style throughout New England, particularly in cities. Three-deckers were the answer to high land costs and the need for relatively inexpensive housing options for workers.
Constructed with three stacked identical units, triple-deckers have a flat roof, often an overhanging cornice, and frequently front or back porches – or both – on all three levels. Typically the narrow end of the building faces the street though there are a number of examples in Cambridge where the wide facade faces forward often with bay windows on each side of the main door to the building.
As evidenced by the varying quality of interior and exterior ornamentation, triple-deckers were also constructed for those of more means as builders sought to appeal to middle-class home buyers. In Cambridge you can find simply ornamented three-deckers as well as examples with gracious foyers, handsome built-ins, transom windows, and rich paneling and trim. Exterior details reflect a variety of architectural styles including the Colonial Revival and Queen Anne.
Developers often built several triple-deckers side-by-side and some Cambridge streets are lined almost entirely with three-families including Alberta Terrace in North Cambridge, Cambridge Terrace in Porter Square, Speridakis Terrace in Cambridgeport, and Marie Avenue in Mid-Cambridge.
Triple-Deckers in Cambridge – Investment Property and Cambridge Condos
Triple-decker apartments have become popular as condos and many of Cambridge’s three-families are now in condominium ownership. Builders will buy a three-family, gut it and transform the apartments – often changing the floor plans, sometimes installing a second bath, and outfitting the kitchen and baths with all the bells and whistles that today’s buyers expect. Other triple deckers have gone through more modest upgrades and still retain much of the original feel and character.
Sale prices for the eleven Cambridge three-decker buildings that sold in the last twelve months in the MLS ranged from $485,100 to $1,055,000 with a median price of $810,000. It won’t be surprising if many of these return to the real estate market as condos as a couple already have. Asking prices for triple-deckers currently for sale in Cambridge range from $699,000 to $1,185,000.
Sale prices of Cambridge condos in triple-deckers over the last twelve months in MLS ranged from $305,000 to $735,000. The most expensive triple-decker Cambridge condo sale that I can think of was the $881,500 paid in 2006 for a beautifully renovated condo in a particularly handsome three-decker in Cambridgeport.
Read more about architectural styles found in Cambridge in these posts:
Here are some Somerville and Cambridge triple deckers on the market – click on the photo for more info and use the back button to return to this page:
And if you’re looking for Cambridge multi-unit properties or considering buying a condo in a triple-decker in Cambridge: