Centers And Squares
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.
Is Waltham the next Somerville? That’s what a Boston Globe article on Sunday suggested, in the paper’s super new real estate section “Address.”
Waltham the next Somerville? What does that even mean?
The Globe reporter seemed to pose the question in terms of popularity among real estate buyers and price appreciation. Somerville’s been experiencing steep price increases and plenty of bidding wars. With some Somerville one-bedroom condos selling for more than $400,000 and 34% of the condos sold in the last year selling for more than $500,000, including 5 for more than $1 million – bargains are hard to come by in the Somerville real estate market nowadays.
Head over to Waltham, however, and you can still find a two-bedroom condo priced in the $300,000 range. And that condo will be near Moody Street – more about Moody Street to follow. It’s even possible to buy single family houses in Waltham for under $350,000 – 66 houses sold for less than $350,000 in Waltham vs. just 10 in Somerville.
So what’s made Somerville so popular with buyers? Proximity to Boston is certainly part of the city’s draw with the Orange Line at one end and the Red Line at the other. Many buyers are also anticipating that getting to Boston will be easier eventually when the long promised Green Line stations become a reality. Much of Somerville’s popularity is due to the vibrancy of its squares – Davis Square, Union Square, Ball Square, Porter Square, etc. City government is progressive, there’s an active arts scene, and a “hip” quotient of sorts that’s been reported on for years (I thought it was nuts when I read it first in the 1990s in Utne Reader but Somerville has been trending towards hip ever since).
Driving down Moody Street in Waltham the other day I got the sense that Waltham’s well on its way to being the “next Somerville” – a city that will appeal to young residents and visitors alike. The street is lined with restaurants, shops, and bars and there’s a Landmark Theatre (the other’s in Kendall Square Cambridge), the Embassy Cinema, showing independent film right around the corner. If you haven’t been to downtown Waltham in years you’re in for a surprise.
Waltham’s a college town – home to both Brandeis and Babson. The commuter rail station is in the center of town and so’s the Charles River. Waltham’s manufacturing past is celebrated at the Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation. The museum is located in the Francis Cabot Lowell Mill downtown near the Embassy Cinema (look for the smokestack). The museum is host to the annual Steampunk Festival – Somerville has its Fluff Festival, Waltham has steampunk. Another one of Waltham’s beautiful old mill complexes, the Waltham Watch Factory, on Crescent Street on the Charles River, has been redeveloped as loft apartments and office space.
Whether or not it’s the “next Somerville” Waltham is well worth considering if you’re priced out of Somerville and Cambridge or want to look for a place where your real estate budget goes a bit further. With it’s vibrant downtown, rich history, and easy access to Boston and the 128 corridor, there’s lots to like about Waltham and it’s easy to imagine that there’s room on the up-side for real estate values.