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.

If This House Could Talk – Cambridgeport History Day

We spotted this sign in Cambridgeport at 202 Hamilton Street the other day. It’s an early entrant in the If This House Could Talk event being held in in the neighborhood on Saturday, October 3, 2009 as part of Cambridgeport History Day.

Early entrant in the If This House Could Talk project for Cambridgeport History Day

Early entrant in the If This House Could Talk project for Cambridgeport History Day

The Cambridgeport History Project is encouraging residents to post signs in front of their houses that tell details of the house’s history – from years ago or from modern times. On October 3rd neighbors are invited to walk around the neighborhood and learn more about the history of Cambridgeport- and about their neighbors. These early signs are a teaser of sorts for the October event.

Since I’m always interested in Cambridge’s rich literary history I was psyched to see that this sign was about a Cambridge author, Jill Rena Bloom.

Bloom wrote several works of non-fiction including Help Me to Help My Child, HMOs: The Revolution in Health Care, and Uncommon Boston which she wrote with co-author Susan Berk.

Bloom also wrote romances under the penname Jillian Blake. Her Silhouette and Harlequin romances included:

  • Diana’s Folly
  • East Side, West Side
  • Water Dancer
  • Sullivan vs. Sullivan
  • A Vision to Share

For more information about Cambridgeport History Day you can contact Cathie Zusy at 617-868-0489 or [email protected]

And if you’d like to live in the neighborhood  -

CLICK HERE TO SEARCH FOR CAMBRIDGEPORT HOMES

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Entry Brackets – House Parts We Love

Entry brackets are one of my very favorite Victorian house parts and Cambridge is a hotbed of them.  There is a remarkable variety in styles and designs of cornice brackets.  Many homeowners have accentuated the details with paint.  The slide show below has some of my favorites that I’ve spotted around town.

 

 

Here are some other House Parts We Love:

Cambridge Fences

Turrets on Houses

 Granite Steps, Posts and More

Porch Railings with Curved Spindles

Front Entry Benches

House Numbers

Shutters with Cutouts

 

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Backyard Retreat – And A Condo Comes With It

This is the beautifully landscaped patio behind my new listing, a condo at 65 Newbury Street in Somerville.  It dazzles me to tell you the truth.

Landscaped Patio at 65 Newbury Street Somerville

Landscaped Patio at 65 Newbury Street Somerville

Just as I try to soak in organizing skills when I’m in a really well organized home, I try to drink in this lush landscape hoping that someday I’ll be able to create something as lovely.

 

It’s no small amount of skill required to landscape this well.  The different types of greenery, the varying heights, the density, the timing of it all – I’m in awe and absolutely in love with this backyard oasis.

 

How to get my fairly plain backyard to look like this?  I gaze and gaze, seeking the secrets.  In the city we treasure our outdoor spaces but few look as inviting as this.

 

Such a lovely place to come home to – and it comes with a two bedroom, two bath condo – can’t forget that!  65 Newbury Street is close to Teele Square and listed for $469,000.  Call me at 617-504-1737 if you’d like to take a look – inside and out.

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New Age Parking Meters in Harvard Square

New parking meter on Church Street in Harvard Square

New parking meter on Church Street in Harvard Square

I did a double take when I spotted this new age parking meter in Harvard Square on Church Street. It’s actually a “pay station” that has replaced all the meters on the block. The City of Cambridge Traffic and Parking Department calls it a “Pay and Display Meter” – actually for some reason they call it “Luke”.  Beats me.

Harvard Square visitors will park their car at one of the now meter-less parking spaces and purchase parking at the pay station which takes quarters or credit cards (Visa or Mastercard). The machine spits out a paper receipt which needs to posted on your dash.

For now these new parking meter substitutes are on Church Street and in three City of Cambridge parking lots though there are plans to make the change elsewhere in the city in the future. Benefits of this sort of system, similar to ones installed in Boston on Newbury Street, include increased revenues and reduced time spent by city workers collecting money from the meters.

New Cambridge Parking Signs

New Cambridge Parking Signs

While I’m a bit horrified at the idea of parking meter charges ending up on credit cards, the biggest drawback from drivers, or I should say parkers’, perspective seems to be that the small joy of scoring a parking meter with time left on it is no longer a possibility. But simply scoring a parking space in the heart of Harvard Square should be thrill enough.

  

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Cambridge Home Sales in August 2009

Cambridge Homes Sales Report

Cambridge Homes Sales Report

Phew – the last market report for August – here’s a look at Cambridge home sales in August 2009.

On the Market in Cambridge on 8/31/09

On August 31, 2009  there were  290 homes for sale in Cambridge MA, down from 356 one month before.  Inventory tends to dip in August because sellers - and agents – think it’s better to wait to put properties on the market until vacations are over and the fall market begins.  After Labor Day new listings come on the market at a fairly brisk pace – witness our office’s tour of 25 new listings this week (believe me – I love touring houses but 25 is pushing it even for me – I could barely walk by time we were done).   

Asking prices ranged from $212,000 to $4,850,000. Homes had been on the market an average of 140 days.

Homes Sold In Cambridge In August 2009

111 home sales closed in Cambridge during August for prices between $200,000 and $2,400,000.  The average sales price was $509,963.  The median sales price was $430,000.  Average days on market was 69.

12 single family homes sold in August for sale prices ranging from $395,000 to $2,400,000.  These houses had been on the market for an average of 55 days and sold for an average of 98% of list price.

93 Cambridge condos sold in August.  Sales prices ranged from $200,000 to $1,200,000.  The median condo sales price was $410,000.  Condominiums sold for an average of 98% of the asking price.  Average days on market was 72.

6 multi-unit houses sold last month for sale prices from $550,000 to $1,095,000. The median sales price was $700,000.  Average days on market was 56. 

The total value of homes sold in Cambridge in August 2009 was $56,605,850.

Information from MLSpin.

Last month’s numbers:

July 2009 Cambridge Real Estate Market Report

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Luxury Condo Auctions – Now The Nouvelle, Then The Esplanade

The Esplanade Condos - 75-83 Cambridge Parkway

The Esplanade Condos - 75-83 Cambridge Parkway

I couldn’t help but think of the Esplanade condos in Cambridge when I read on the front page of today’s Boston Globe about the upcoming auction of condos at the Nouvelle in Natick.

The Nouvelle condominiums are the luxury condos built as part of the reworking of the Natick Mall into a luxury mall, the Natick Collection.  I haven’t visited the mall yet – I just can’t wrap my head around it since the good old Natick Mall (and its next-door neighbor -now gone - the very cool Shopper’s World) was “my mall” when I was a kid. 

Unfortunately for the condo project, the recession, the real estate slow down, and also perhaps the pulling back from conspicuous consumption caused sales to slump. 

Owners who did buy condos at market rates should take heart however. 

The last slow down in real estate, in the early 1990s, also resulted in auctions of luxury condos.  In Cambridge, unsold condominiums at the newly built luxury building, the Esplanade at 75-83 Cambridge Parkway, were sold at auction in 1991. 

It’s always hard for us to imagine what real estate values will be in the future.  I’m sure that early buyers at the Esplanade were distressed when unsold condos were auctioned.  After looking at Esplanade condo values in the years after the auction it would seem that time has healed all wounds.  Recent sales in the building have ranged from $435,000 to $1,940,000.  The condo that sold for almost 2 million dollars had sold in 1991, the year of the auction, for $540,000.  Who would’ve thunk it?!

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Arlington Home Sales in August 2009

Arlington MA Real Estate Sales

Arlington MA Home Sales

The month is whizzing by - time to look back and see what Arlington Home Sales looked like in August 2009

Arlington Massachusetts On Market Snapshot

On August 31, 2009 there were 98 homes on the market in Arlington priced between $179,000 and $1,095,000. Average days on market was 93.

Homes Sold in Arlington in August 2009

60 homes sold  in Arlington last month.  In August the average sales price was $435,286 and the median sales price was $418,800. 

33 Arlington single family houses sold in August priced between $299,000 and $799,000.  The median price for a single family house sold in August was $510,000.  Average days on market was 48.  Houses sold for an average of 99% of list price.

26 Arlington condos sold in August for prices from $136,200 to $577,500.   The median price paid for a condo was $341,250.  Condominiums sold for an average of 98% of the asking price.  Average days on market was 87.

Just one rental property sold in August, a two-family for $410,000. 

Home sales in Arlington in August totalled $26,117,170.

SEARCH FOR ARLINGTON MA REAL ESTATE

ARLINGTON REAL ESTATE MARKET IN JULY 2009

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Tip O’Neill’s Cambridge Church

Tip O'Neill's Cambridge Church

Tip O'Neill's Cambridge Church

Tip O’Neill’s Cambridge Church   Last weekend I spent several days watching the coverage of Ted Kennedy – the nonstop coverage (thank you channel 5!) of the funeral and the various documentaries about the Kennedy family – and didn’t have time to read the newspapers.  As I was going through the back issues this weekend it occurred to me that the Mission Hill church, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Basilica, will be known for years to come as the church where Teddy Kennedy’s funeral was held.

St. John the Evangelist church on Mass Ave in North Cambridge is similarly remembered to this day as the church where Tip O’Neill’s funeral was held.  Some 1700 people attended the January 1994 funeral including Vice President Al Gore, and former Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.

O’Neill grew up in this North Cambridge neighborhood and raised his family in the Orchard Street neighborhood.  He was baptized and married at St. John the Evangelist. O’Neill represented Massachusetts for 34 years in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1953 to 1987 and served as Speaker of the House from 1977 to 1987.

It was great to see this banner in memory of Teddy Kennedy in Tip’s old neighborhood on Orchard Street in Porter Square.

Sign of Appreciation for Ted Kennedy on Orchard Street Cambridge

Sign of Appreciation for Ted Kennedy on Orchard Street Cambridge

Tip O’Neill’s church is the large yellow brick church at 2254 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge MA 02140.

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