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.

Belmont Real Estate Market Report – June 2009

Welcome to the Belmont Real Estate Market Report

Welcome to the Belmont Real Estate Market Report

It looks like we hit the sweet spot for real estate activity in Belmont Massachusetts.  There were significantly more real estate closings in June than in previous months in 2009.  Real estate sales reflect properties that went under agreement on average some six to eight weeks earlier.

Real Estate Inventory in Belmont MA:

102 homes were listed for sale in Belmont on June 30, 2009 priced from $209,000 to $2,395,000.  The average days on market was 159.

June Belmont Real Estate Sales:

35 houses sold  in Belmont during June – more than three times as many than closed in May. The average sales price was $668,671 and the median sales price was $579,000.    Average days on market was 74.  Houses sold for an average of 97% of list price. 

25 Belmont single family homes sold in June for prices ranging from $381,500 to $2,050,000.  The median sales price for a single family home was $725,000.  Average days on market was 80.  Single family houses in Belmont sold for an average of 97% of asking price in June.

6 Belmont condos sold in June.  Condominiums sold for prices from $280,000 to $497,500.  Average days on market was 75.  Condos sold for an average of 97% of asking price.

4 Belmont multi-family properties sold in June 2009 for prices between $460,000 and $610,000.  These properties had been on the market an average of just 36 days.

Total residential sales volume for June was $23,438,500.

Check out last month’s Belmont real estate activity here:






 Data about Belmont real estate market activity for June 2009 data from MLSpin.

Categories: Real Estate Market Info
Comments: Please leave a comment. Your opinions welcomed.

Cambridge Parks – Do You Have A Key to the Smallest Park in Cambridge?

Taylor Square - The Smallest Park in Cambridge

Taylor Square - The Smallest Park in Cambridge

Cambridge has a wonderful variety of parks and playgrounds.  In the city every bit of green space is greatly appreciated. In the first in a series highlighting some of the parks around Cambridge we’ll check out the smallest park in Cambridge MA.

Cambridge’s Smallest Park

This tiny little park is  just a block from my Cambridge real estate office in front of the Engine 8, Ladder 4 Fire Station at the busy intersection of Huron Ave, Garden Street and Sherman Street.  Inside the locked gate of this grassy mini park – just 57 square feet in size – is a flag pole and a granite bench.

When I first heard about this park in miniature I thought it was some sort of exclusive park for neighbors – similar to locked parks for residents in the South End or Beacon Hill in Boston. 

Because the park is indeed locked – and some people received keys to the park in the mail.  Another real estate agent in my office knew someone who had received one of the mysterious keys.  What was his secret?  How did he score a key? 

Taylor Square – It’s Not Just a Park – It’s Art

Copy Me Keys at Taylor Square

Copy Me - Taylor Square Park Bench

When I took a closer look at the park and saw the bench pictured at right I realized something more was going on.  Inscribed on the granite bench are two keys – one says “Taylor Sq”, the other “Copy Me”.  Perhaps this wasn’t the exclusive private park I imagined it to be. Perhaps it was something more.

Sure enough, with a little bit of poking around online, I discovered that the park is indeed an art installation.  Envisioned by artist Paul Ramirez Jonas as a communal space, 5000 keys designed by Jonas were mailed to people in Cambridge.  Keys are also available at the Fire Station.  People are encouraged to copy the keys.  According to Jonas, “Taylor Square belongs to the public. It is closed, yet simultaneously open, re-emphasizing that the ownership of public space resides in the public itself.”

Did the artist successfully convey his message?  I’m not so sure given what I thought and felt about the park before discovering its secret.  But a park with a secret – and a message – is a good thing.  I’m going to go and ask a fireman for a key – and make a lot of copies!

A Cambridge fireman waters Cambridge's smallest park
A Cambridge fireman waters Cambridge’s smallest park


More local interest:

Categories: Living Here
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Watertown Real Estate Market Report for June 2009

Welcome to the Watertown Real Estate Market Review

Welcome to the Watertown Real Estate Market Review

Here’s the scoop on the Watertown real estate market in June 2009.  We’re at the half-way point in the year and it’s been a busy spring market. 

Real Estate on the Market in Watertown MA

134 residential properties were listed for sale in Watertown on June 30, 2009.   The asking price for the least expensive property was $182,500, the most expensive house for sale was listed at $1,395,000. Average days on market was 113. 

Watertown Real Estate Sales in June 2009

32 residential properties sales closed in Watertown in June with an average sales price of $406,631.  The median sales price in June was $395,500. Average days on market was 74.
7 Watertown single family homes sold in June.  The lowest priced single family sale was $361,600.  The most expensive Watertown single family sold in June for$646,750.  The median sales price was $435,000.  Single family homes in Watertown sold for an average of 97% of asking price.  Average days on market was 67.
19 Watertown condos sold in June for prices between $200,000 and $781,000.  The median condominium sales price was $365,000.  Condos sold for an average of 97% of the asking price.  The average days on market was 89.
6 multi-family properties sold in June for prices from $420,000 to $614,000.  The multi-family houses sold for an average of 95% of the list price.  The average days on market was 31. 

Total Watertown residential real estate sales volume closed in June was $$13,012,200

Categories: Real Estate Market Info
Comments: Please leave a comment. Your opinions welcomed.

Were Cars Smaller Then?

The question – Were cars smaller then?  – reminds me, of course, of the question Were people shorter then? that people ask when they’re in houses with low ceilings or looking at antique bedsteads that seems diminutive when compared to today’s super sized beds.

We passed this nifty, early Somerville garage on the tour of Powderhouse Park and Ball Square a couple of weeks ago.  It’s a truly wonderful garage – brightly painted, with what look to be stained glass windows on the side.  I just love the old moss covered roof.

But what caught our eye is the addition to the front of the garage (which unfortunately is missing its original doors).  Clearly somebody retrofitted this garage to fit a bigger – or more specifically – a longer car into the garage.  Someone on the tour suggested that was because early cars were shorter than the cars that followed.

Unusual old garage in Somerville MA

Unusual old garage in Somerville MA

So how about it?  Were cars much shorter 75 to 100 years ago?  I’m not thinking of comparing them to some of our modern day behemoths like SUVs, but were they really much smaller than our Hondas, VWs or Toyotas? 

I poked around a bit online and couldn’t find the measurements for the earliest Model-Ts etc.  It does seem to me that the cars that followed the Model T got pretty big fairly early on.  Some of those vintage autos seemed like they were fairly spacious.

If you know anything about how cars grew over the years or how long the earliest models and the ones that followed were I would love to hear from you.

And as to whether or not our ancestors were much shorter than we are?  Not so much as it turns out. The Plimoth Plantation website addresses this myth. It seems that there’s about an inch and a half difference between average heights of modern Americans and the early colonists.  Evidence suggests that Americans reached current height averages by the time of the Revolution.  Short beds and low ceilings must have been the style of the times.

There’s an antique auto show in Lincoln in a couple of weeks – watch for details here – and I think I’ll bring my tape measure.

Categories: Everything Else

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4th of July Fireworks and Celebrations In and Near Cambridge

4th of July fireworks near Cambridge

4th of July fireworks near Cambridge

Here’s the current 4th of July fireworks and celebrations info with the 2012 info.

If you’re a fan of fireworks like me – this is our week!  Weather permitting (and all bets are off after the last month) there are a number of places to view fireworks on the 4th of July in and near Cambridge.

Here are the firework displays and festivities scheduled for towns and cities within a few miles of Cambridge:

Cambridge Has a Front Row Seat to the Fireworks in Boston

For those who don’t want to brave the massive crowds in Boston there are plenty of options to see the fireworks from the Cambridge side of the river.  Many taller condo buildings or buildings with roof decks around Cambridge offer prime viewing spots for the Boston fireworks.  If you’re not so lucky to live in one of those buildings or want to be closer to the action, the banks of the Charles River between the Mass Ave Bridge and the Longfellow Bridge provide a front row seat.  The bridges are also popular, but crowded, places to view the fireworks.  There will be food concessions and restrooms along the Charles in Cambridge.

The 36th annual Boston Pops 4th of July concert and fireworks on the Esplanade in Boston begins at 8:30 pm.  The restricted area for seating opens at 9 am on the 4th. The fireworks begin at 10:30 pm and last until 11 pm.  The show is televised on WBZ, Channel 4.

With all the cloudy and rainy days we’ve had you have to wonder about the weather.  If worst comes to worst and the event is rained out on July 4th, the fireworks only will be rescheduled for July 5 at 9:30 pm, weather permitting.

Somerville Fireworks

The fireworks in Somerville are scheduled for July 9, 2009 in Trum Field after being rained out on the 2nd.  Trum Field is on Broadway between Magoun Square and Ball Square.  There will also be entertainment by the Somerville Sunsetters.

And on the 4th of July Prospect Hill Park in Somerville offers a great vantage point to view the Boston fireworks.   Prospect Hill Park is at the intersection of Prospect Hill Avenue and Munroe Street in Somerville above Union Square.

Friday Night Fireworks in Lexington MA

Carnival and Fireworks in Lexington

Carnival and Fireworks in Lexington

Lexington will have another early bird special fireworks display at the Lions Club Carnival.  The Carnival will be open on Friday, July 3, 2009 from 1 pm to 11 pm with fireworks scheduled to go off after sunset.

The carnival is being held at the Lexington High School in the Waltham Street parking lot behind the high school.

The carnival is scheduled (weather permitting) for:

  • 6 – 11 pm on Thursday, July 2nd
  • 1 – 11 pm on Friday, July 3rd
  • 1 – 11 pm on Saturday, July 4th
  • 1 – 7 pm on Sunday, July 5th

4th of July Celebration in Waltham Massachusetts

Waltham is holding a family-friendly party on the 4th in Prospect Hill Park from 10 am to 2 pm on Saturday.  Food, drinks, pony rides, animal shows, free children’s rides, music and more.  Prospect Hill Park is at 314 Totten Pond Road in Waltham.

From 5:30 to 9:30 pm on July 4th there will be a concert with the Reminicents at Leary Field off Bacon Street.  Fireworks are scheduled for 9:30 pm.

For more information you can call 781-314-3100

4th of July Celbebration and Fireworks in Newton

The party in Newton kicks off at the Newton Centre Playground with fun activities for kids from 10 am to noon.  There’ll be a Pet Parade, a Teddy Bear Parade, a Decorated Doll Carriage Promenade, Foot Races, and best of all – free ice cream!

The party continues at the Russel J. Halloran Field and Sports Complex at 250 Albemarle Road in Newtonville.  From 11 am to 10 pm there’ll be an open air market, crafts for sale, recorded music for dancing, food concessions and amusement rides.  The fireworks are scheduled for 9 pm.

Arlington Celebrates the 4th of July

Fourth of July festivities in Arlington MA will be held at Robbins Farm Park (aka Skyline Park) at 1 Eastern Avenue from 7 pm to 11 pm on July 4, 2009.  Enjoy refreshments, musical entertainment by the John Penny Band, and a chance to watch the Boston Pops Concert and fireworks on a giant screen.

So – from the big screen to the river bank – you’ve got lots of fireworks viewing opportunities in and around Cambridge – have fun  – and happy Independence Day!

Categories: Area Events
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The Larchwood Neighborhood – Cambridge Real Estate, History and Architecture

The Larchwood Neighborhood – Cambridge Real Estate, History and Architecture  Larchwood is one of Cambridge’s prettiest neighborhoods.  Designed as a residential subdivision in 1915, its winding streets, lined with handsome houses and lush landscaping, are tucked between Brattle Street, Huron Avenue, and Fresh Pond Parkway.

Larchwood Neighborhood History

House in the Larchwood neighborhood of Cambridge MA

House in the Larchwood neighborhood of Cambridge MA

The Larchwood neighborhood was carved out of the former summer estate of William Gray, a wealthy Salem merchant.  His 38 acre property, The Larches, remained in the Gray family for over 100 years before it was subdivided in 1915.  The original house, which had been surrounded by ornamental gardens, was relocated to Larch Road.  Attempts were made to preserve elements of Gray’s garden when the streets in the Larchwood neighborhood were laid out.

The Larchwood subdivision was designed in 1915 by noted landscape architect Henry Hubbard.  Hubbard had studied at Harvard under Frederick Law Olmsted, whose firm he later joined, and was the first person to earn a degree in landscape architecture.  He later taught at Harvard for more than thirty years focusing on landscape architecture and city planning, and in 1917 wrote with his wife, Theodora Kimball, An Introduction to the Study of Landscape Design, the standard textbook in the field for decades.

Houses in the Larchwood Neighborhood in Cambridge

The predominant architectural style in the Larchwood neighborhood is Georgian Revival.  Here and there another architectural style can be spotted – there’s a large Mansard Victorian on Larchwood Drive and a Modernist house by the Architects Collaborative on Old Dee Road.  There are Capes, Gambrels, and Tudor Revivals  in the neighborhood.

Larchwood Home Sales – Cambridge Real Estate

Larchwood is a popular neighborhood for Cambridge real estate buyers.  Houses in the neighborhood are often extensively renovated after passing hands.  The streets in the Larchwood neighborhood are:

  • Fresh Pond Lane
  • Old Dee Road
  • Meadow Way
  • Larchwood Road

Here are some recent real estate sales in the neighborhood:

Single Family Home Sales in the Larchwood Neighborhood of Cambridge

Single Family Home Sales in the Larchwood Neighborhood of Cambridge

Interested in Cambridge real estate in Larchwood or other Cambridge neighborhoods?


And enjoy the slide show of photographs of many of the Cambridge houses in Larchwood:



 And here are some other Cambridge streets and neighborhoods to check out:

The Agassiz Neighborhood of Cambridge
Follen Street Cambridge
Garfield Street Cambridge
Orchard Street Cambridge
Pemberton Street Cambridge

Categories: Area Info
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Two Family Houses – Somerville and Cambridge Real Estate

Somerville Two-Family House

Somerville Two-Family House

Cambridge and Somerville have many two family houses for real estate buyers interested in investment property or condominiums.

Two-Family Houses in Cambridge and Somerville

The days are over when the rent from one apartment can cover your mortgage and allow you to live for free in a two-family.  In fact, two-family real estate values in Cambridge and Somerville are influenced by the apartments’ value as condominiums.  Many two-family buyers end up renovating and converting the apartments to condos.

Two Family House Styles in Cambridge and Somerville

Some two-family homes consist of two identical stacked units – usually five or six rooms in each apartment.

Larger two-family homes have a four of five one or two-bedroom apartment on the first floor and a two-level apartment upstairs, sometimes with three or four bedrooms.

A variation of the two-unit multi-family home is the “Philadelphia style” or Philly layout.  Here, the first floor apartment has stairs in the unit to one or sometimes two rooms on the second floor.  Nobody in Pennsylvania knows why we call this the “Philadelphia style”.

Other two-family home styles include side-by-side townhouse style multi-familys or larger houses, often built as grand, single family homes that have been partitioned into two apartments.

Recent Two-Family Home Sales in Cambridge and Somerville

  • 28 two-family homes have sold in Cambridge in the last year
  • Prices ranged from $340,000 to $1,300,000
  • The average sales price was $622,620
  • Average per square foot price was $240.49

Short sales and foreclosures had a significant impact on multi-unit real estate sales in Somerville during the last year.

  • 108 two-families sold in Somerville in the last year
  • 17 of the 25 least expensive two-family sales were short sales or foreclosures
  • Sale prices ranged from $180,000 to $730,500
  • The average sales price was $458,730

Condo Sales in Two-Unit Houses

In Somerville, 83 condos in two-unit buildings sold in the last year for prices ranging from $245,000 to $880,000.  The average sales price was $439,664.  Average price per square foot was $320.

67 condominiums in two-unit buildings sold in Cambridge in the last year for prices ranging from $220,000 to $2,130,000.  The average sales price was $598,379.  The median sales price was $510,000.  The average per square foot price was $398.

Categories: Property Info

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Tour the Medford Wind Turbine on Monday

Tour the Medford wind turbine

Tour the Medford wind turbine

The wind turbine at the McGlynn Elementary Schoolis a beautiful addition to the Medford skyline.  I did a double take the first time I spotted it from the Route 93 onramp by Medford Square.  And often when I’m on a real estate tour in Somerville I can see it in the distance.  When you’re on the hill above Porter Square – Spring Hill I think it is – you can catch a glimpse of it on certain streets.

On Monday, June 29, 2009 you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about the Medford wind turbine.  After a welcome from Mayor McGlynn, Patty Barry, Director of the City of Medford’s Energy and Environment Office, will give a presentation on the wind turbine project followed by a site tour.

Online registration is required – here’s the link to register.

The Medford wind turbine tour and presentationwill take place on Monday, June 29,2009 from 3:00 to 4:30 pm at the McGlynn Elementary School, 3002 Mystic Valley Parkway, Medford, MA 02155.



Categories: Area Events
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