2013 was a tough year for home buyers in Cambridge and Somerville, with very limited inventory, and a lot of potential buyers competing from those properties that were available. But if you were out there shopping, and were one of the lucky ones to win a bidding war, here’s what you could have bought…

With a budget of $300k…

Well, there wasn’t much out there at this price point, but 35 condos did sell in Cambridge this year for less than or up to $300k. The lowest sale price was $182k for a 288 SF studio at 9 Mullins Court in East Cambridge. Small to be sure, but renovated and a second-floor unit, which is rare at this price point — most of the lower-end of our inventory is “garden level” (aka, basement). For example, here’s a 2BR 692 SF garden-level condo at 269 Harvard St near Central Square, which sold for $299k.

269 Harvard -- $300k

In Somerville, there were 61 condos listed this year that have sold for up to $300k. Excluding one affordable-housing unit, the lowest price sale was $170k for a 350 SF 1BR condo in East Somerville, WITH a parking spot! At the top of the range, three condos sold for $300k on the nose, including a top-floor, 790 SF 1BR, under-the-eaves unit at 42 Cedar Street, just a couple blocks from Porter.

42 Cedar Street -- $300k

Moving up to $500k…

At this price point, 2013 condo buyers were solidly in the price range for a new or nicely renovated 1 – 2BR condo in either Cambridge or Somerville. For example, coming in at an even $500k, one happy Cambridge buyer scored a 1 BR/1.5 ba loft with 927 SF at NorthPoint. Garage parking included.

NorthPoint -- $500k

62 Central Street, Unit 2 in Somerville also sold for $500k on the nose. For that price, buyers got three bedrooms, two full baths and 1257 SF of living area in a nicely renovated unit on Spring Hill. No parking with this one.

62 Central Street -- $500k

And for $700k…

You can now comfortably afford a renovated two or even three bedroom condo in most Cambridgeville locations. For example, check out this new construction, 3 BR/2 ba, 1609 SF condo with one garage spot at 141-3 Harvey Street in North Cambridge, which sold for a cool $699k.

141 Harvey -- $700k

Our Somerville example is a great 3 BR/2.5 ba penthouse unit with 1447 SF on two levels at 80 Webster in Union Square, which came in right at $700k. It sort of has parking — in this building you have to rent a parking spot in the garage next door, but rates are reasonable at $125/month.

80 Webster -- $700k

And if you have a million dollars…

You’re now entering the realm of river views and/or really nice amenities. Here’s an example of what one buyer bought for $1M in Cambridge: a 4 BR/2 ba, 1885 SF condo on the Charles at 985 Memorial Drive. No parking but it did come with a fireplace, if that’s any consolation.

985 Mem Dr -- $1M

And over in Davis Square, just shy of a million, this 1938 SF, 3 BR/2 ba Wallace Street “urban chalet” sold for $950k. It offered high-end finishes and all kinds of bells and whistles including TWO parking spaces.

45 Wallace St -- $950k

Money is no object, you say?

Well, Somerville condo prices maxed out at $1,125,000 this year (only three condos sold for more than $1M), but there was still room to go up in Cambridge, where condo prices topped out just under $4M. And the distinction of being the most expensive condo sold in Cambridge this year goes to a 2170 SF, 2 BR/2 ba penthouse in the heart of Harvard Square, just above the soon-to-be-gone Upstairs on the Square restaurant. And here’s that buyer’s $3,974,000 view:

93 WInthrop -- $4M

Happy shopping — ho, ho, ho!

I know we’d all much rather be thinking about fun stuff like the holidays, snow, maybe some time off from work… But in the next couple weeks, home owners might want to take some time to make some strategic tax moves that could lower your 2013 tax burden:

Here are some tips from Forbes.com:

  • Pre-pay your property taxes.
  • Accelerate mortgage payments.
  • Make energy efficient improvements.
  • Finalize your foreclosure sale.
  • Clean out and give away.

The article gives more detail and also explains deductibility of points and PMI, the exclusion on capital gains from home sales, and home office deductions. Read more at Forbes.com…

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Want to know how the Green Line Extension will impact Somerville? Here’s the Boston Globe’s take…

And note that I have a couple very nice condos available at 44 Radcliffe Road — right up the street from the future site of the Gilman Square Station! :)

Green Line Extension Map

Being a member of the City’s East Cambridge/Kendall Open Spaces Planning Team (ECKOS for short), allows me to stay on top of things that are going on in this part of town — and there is A LOT going on! Check out this map documenting road improvements, work on parks, and various construction projects happening now…

Kendall Square Projects

Am feeling nostalgic as I think back to when I began my real estate career in November of 2009 — look at the inventory we had back then! Ah, the good old days…

Cambridge Housing Inventory
YTD, November 21, 2009 through 2013

Cambridge Housing Inventory

Somerville Housing Inventory
YTD, November 21, 2009 through 2013

Somerville Housing Inventory

If you lived at 44 Radcliffe Road, this would be your neighborhood bar/restaurant:


I’m co-listing these three newly converted condos with my colleague Natasha Burger, and in the few weeks we’ve spent in the neighborhood, we’ve both really grown to love it. MANY of the neighbors have stopped by our open houses and are super friendly — many have lived in their homes for decades, while some are new to the block. All of them are very excited about their newest *neighbor,* the bar/restaurant Sarma, which has really become a destination since it opened last month. I’ve already eaten there twice and highly recommend it!

Anyway, here’s some info on Unit 2, which we just posted to MLS this week. Note that Unit 3 is now under agreement and Unit 1 (which comes with 2 parking spaces) is still available.

44 Radcliffe Road, Unit 2, Somerville — 2BR/1ba, 1016 sf — listed at $389,000
Download MLS listing for 44 Radcliffe Road, Unit 2 here.
Download floorplan for 44 Radcliffe Road, Unit 2 here.

Beautiful & spacious renovated condo, featuring a flowing layout with large rooms, high ceilings, lots of windows, hardwood floors, modern kitchen with granite and stainless, and in-unit laundry. Flexible floorplan allows for use as a three-bedroom. Private balcony and additional storage in the basement.

44 Radcliffe Road, Somerville

44 Radcliffe Road, Somerville

44 Radcliffe Road Unit 2, Somerville

Great Tips on Hanging Artwork

November 14, 2013



I’m a big fan of having lots of art and photos on my walls, as you can see from this photo of my living room. But I know the prospect of hanging pictures can be daunting, so am happy to share a really great “how to” piece I found on Elle Decor’s site. It’s got great tips ranging from what to use to hang your art to how much space to leave between frames — check it out…


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