It has been a very busy year in Cambridge real estate. Summer is usually a slower season but there was little let up this year. Buyers have outnumbered sellers all year leading to bidding wars and quick sales.
Here’s a look at the numbers for the year to date. The same period’s numbers, January through September, in 2011 are in parentheses for comparison.
The numbers tell the story – by every measure 2012 has been a much stronger year than 2011. This is the first year I remember seeing the overall market list to sale price ratio at 100%. As you’ll note, so many single family houses and multi-families sold for over asking that on average these properties were selling for more than the list price. In 2012 it took considerably less time for most properties to sell with days on market reduced significantly.
On October 31, 2011, 167 properties were listed for sale in Cambridge. That’s a big drop in inventory levels from last year at this time when 249 residential properties were on the market. It’s no wonder the market is so frenzied – demand is way up and inventory down. If you’ve been wondering about whether or not it’s a good time to sell the numbers make the question easy to answer – yes – it’s an excellent time to sell in Cambridge right now.
Residential real estate sold in Cambridge – Jan-Sept 2012 (2011)
- 813 properties sold (695)
- Average days on market = 57 (80)
- Properties sold for an average of 100% of asking price (97%)
- Median price of $475,000 ($465,000)
Cambridge Single Family Sales – Jan-Sept 2012 (2011)
- Total sold: 100 (87 )
- Sale prices ranged from $315,000 – $3,740,000 ($280,000 - $3,750,000)
- Median price: $882,000 ($793,475)
- Average days on market: 54 (74)
- On average, houses sold for 102% of asking price (97% )
Cambridge Condo Sales – Jan-Sept 2012 (2011)
- Total sold: 642 (560)
- Sale prices ranged from $187,500 – $2,870,000 ($164,000 - $3,450,000)
- Median price: $443,000 ($424,900)
- Average days on market: 59 (82)
- On average, condos sold for 99% of asking price (97%)
Cambridge Multi-Family Sales – Jan-Sept 2012 (2011)
- Total sold: 71 (48)
- Sale prices ranged from $400,000 – $2,186,000 ($282,000 – $2,325,000)
- Median price: $899,000 ($810,000)
- Average days on market: 49 (68)
- On average, multi-unit houses sold for 103% of asking price (97% )
Info about Cambridge MA real estate market in 2012 (2011) from MLSpin
74 years ago people all over New England were greeted by scenes likes the one at right. The Hurricane of ’38 slammed into New England on September 21, 1938. The devastating storm killed over 700 people in New York and New England and town after town, including Cambridge, suffered enormous damage from the violent storm.
My dad grew up on Brookline Street in Cambridgeport near the B.U. Bridge. He and other neighborhood boys, aged about 7 – 12, were outside in the early part of the storm, gathered by the Stop and Shop on Brookline Street.
When a large tree fell in the field that’s now the site of the Morse School, the policeman outside the Stop and Shop advised the kids to head home.
Not five minutes later the enormous Stop and Shop sign blew off, hitting the policeman, who barely survived his injuries.
Shortly after he arrived home my grandmother asked my dad to look outside and see if there was any damage in the front yard. Leaves filled the window when my dad looked out – a large maple tree in the front yard had fallen on the house. Not long after a poplar tree in the back yard fell on Billy Harris’s house at 1-3 Rockingham Place. Both houses survived unscathed.
Not so for the Keene, New Hampshire house I lived in during the 1990s. That’s it in the photo above. The woman I bought it from described cowering in the pantry with her parents during the 1938 hurricane which caused extensive damage in Keene and nearby towns. The tree at the corner of the yard fell on the house, knocking off the chimney and part of the second floor. The house across the street was split in half by another large tree and similar scenes could be found all over town.
If you were in New England 74 years ago chances are your memories of the Hurricane of 1938 are still vivid. If you missed the big hurricane you can still get an idea of power of the storm from images on old postcards, newspapers, booklets and scrapbooks that you’ll come upon in local antique stores. I discovered the photo of my 44 Union Street house in a booklet about the hurricane I found at an antiques shop.
I scored this great find at the Christ Church Thrift Store this afternoon. The Whole Hub Catalogue was published in 1973. It’s a take-off on the Whole Earth Catalog put out by BU students. When I was little my parents’ copy of The Last Whole Earth Catalog was one of my favorite reads. I had to have this book.
The Whole Hub Catalogue is very much a product of its times with sections that include the Draft and Women’s Lib /Men’s Lib. It’s also a snapshot in time – with the radio stations, newspapers, and lots of lots of shops, restaurants and bars that could be found in Boston and Cambridge in 1973. Sadly – many, perhaps most, are no longer.
Flipping through the book has reignited my plan for a page on Centers and Squares to document Cambridge Stores and More of Yore (that’s my working title!). I’m going to be putting together a list of old favorites that once were in Cambridge but are no longer with us. I’ve got my favorites – Dazzle, Reading International, the Wursthaus, and the Cambridge Country Store come to mind – and I’m going back further than that based on my Dad’s recollections of growing up in Cambridge 70+ years ago.
I’m hoping the page becomes a collaborative effort and encourage you to reply with a comment about favorites you want to add to the list. Any and all recollections will be enthusiastically welcomed as we build the list.
The Christ Church Thrift Store is in Harvard Square at 17 Farwell Place. Hours from September to June are Tuesday and Thursday from 10 to 4 and Saturday 11:30 to 2:30. Check it out!
With so little snow this year it’s quite possible that you haven’t lined up a snow shoveling crew yet. Years ago, it seemed easy to find a neighborhood teen to shovel, mow the lawn, babysit, etc. But nowadays willing teens are sometimes difficult to find.
The Cambridge Council on Aging compiles a list every winter of teenagers who are looking for snow shoveling jobs. The COA matches elderly or disabled residents with teens looking for work. The resident and the teenager negotiate the rate and the teen is paid directly by the resident.
Interested teens can pick up an application at the Youth Employment Center at the high school (459 Broadway, Room 2101), the Senior Center (806 Mass Ave Cambridge), or the Office of Workforce Development (51 Inman Street). The application is available online but must be returned to one of the three offices.
If you’re unable to shovel and need a referral you can contact the Cambridge Council on Aging at 617-349-6220.
Contrary to what many people might expect, given pessimistic newspaper headlines and doomsday forecasting, there’s a lot of pent up demand in the Cambridge real estate market.
We’ve been working with low inventory for a while, as sellers hold back from listing their properties for sale in what they perceive to be a down market. January is always a challenge – buyers are ready but new listings are slow to come on the market.
But if recent sales activity is any indication, the buyers are out there, ready to make an offer if they can find what they want.
Here are some recent examples from the Cambridge real estate market:
A Cambridgeport house that could be used as multi-family or a single family came on last week for $900,000 and received 16 offers.
A triple-decker in the Riverside neighborhood priced at over $1,000,000 received multiple offers.
An unrenovated (unspoiled is a better word – it still had lots of original charm) North Cambridge triple-decker recieved a dozen or so offers and sold for more than $100,000 over asking.
If you’ve been thinking of selling now may be a better time than you think. If you want to find out what’s possible, you can reach me at 617-504-1737 or email me here.
Liz Bolton, ReMax Destiny
We recently posted about Cambridge and Somerville superlatives. Here’s the lastest kudos:
Self magazine, in its December 2011 issue, ranked Cambridge as the “healthiest city overall” for women.
Cambridge got great scores in nearly every category the magazine looked at including wellness, safety, and how many women walk to work.
“Plus it’s easier to afford the doctor in a place where 97% of women have insurance, thanks in no small part to a state that requires residents to be covered by law and chips in to help.”
Look for the December issue of Self on newsstands.
I’m not sure why it took half a dozen jaw-clacking trips over – through – into the pothole on Sherman Street before I remembered the Cambridge Pothole Hotline.
Cambridge makes it super simple to report a pothole. You can fill out the form online like I just did or call the Cambridge Pothole Hotline at 617-349-4854. When you fill out the online form you’re given the option of providing your email address and / or phone number in order to be updated on the pothole’s status.
I’ll be delighted to get that call – that Sherman Street pothole is a doozy!
This morning, whether it’s reading the Boston Globe or watching Morning Joe, you’d be tempted to think we didn’t have an election yesterday.
But we did.
Wondering who won in the Cambridge school committee and city council voting?
Cambridge City Council Election Results
Cambridge votes by proportional representation. You can vote for multiple candidates but you rank your choices – only one candidate can get your important #1 vote and you vote in order of preference for other candidates.
15,393 votes were cast and counted last night. Candidates who received 1540 #1 votes were elected on the first count. Tim Toomey, David Maher and Leland Cheung each received enough votes to win re-election on the first round. Frankly after that I get a bit lost in how votes are apportioned but we do know who won. We think. Cambridge calls all election results “preliminary”. The results aren’t deemed final until November 18th after write-ins, absentee ballots, etc are counted.
That being said, per the preliminary results, in addition to Toomey, Maher and Cheung; Henrietta Davis, Denise Simmons, Marjorie Decker, Craig Kelley and Ken Reeves were reelected.
Sam Seidel did not win reelection. That meant we had one seat change – Minka vanBeuzekom won and is the newest member of the Cambridge City Council.
Cambridge School Committee Election Results
Preliminary school committee election results show that Alfred Fantini, Patricia Nolan, Alice Turkel, Mervan Osborne, Richard Harding and Marc McGovern won. Nancy Tauber did not win reelection. Mervan Osborne is the newly elected member of the Cambridge School Committee