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 weren’t buying or selling a home in the past few months, you may not be aware at how much Cambridge home prices rose this spring. This was largely a result of our ridiculously low inventory — as of today, there are only 90 properties (singles, multis and condos) on the market in all of Cambridge. That’s compared to 185 this time last year, when we already had an inventory shortage!

Here are some of the sale price changes for a sampling of property types — comparisons are based on YTD sales up to July 6 for the past three years.

Condo — 1BR/1ba, without parking

2011 YTD – 40 units sold – average price: $298,048
2012 YTD – 41 units sold – average price: $330,930
2013 YTD – 53 units sold – average price: $393,986
3-Year Change: Up 32%
arrow_up

 Condo — 2BR/1ba, with 1 parking space

2011 YTD – 21 units sold – average price: $380,895
2012 YTD – 45 units sold – average price: $457,703
2013 YTD – 24 units sold – average price: $431,654
3-Year Change: Up 13%

arrow_up

Condo — 3BR/1.5+ba, with 1+ parking space(s)

2011 YTD – 36 units sold – average price: $796,653
2012 YTD – 31 units sold – average price: $791,745
2013 YTD – 45 units sold – average price: $953,364
3-Year Change: Up 20%

arrow_up

Single-family — up to 2000 square feet

2011 YTD – 23 units sold – average price: $591,728
2012 YTD – 25 units sold – average price: $604,779
2013 YTD – 33 units sold – average price: $676,761
3-Year Change: Up 14%

arrow_up

Single-family — larger than 2000 square feet

2011 YTD – 29 units sold – average price: $1,530,499
2012 YTD – 30 units sold – average price: $1,696,917
2013 YTD – 37 units sold – average price: $2,013,500
3-Year Change: Up 32%

arrow_up

2-family properties

2011 YTD – 12 units sold – average price: $766,500
2012 YTD – 26 units sold – average price: $790,294
2013 YTD – 12 units sold – average price: $960,375
3-Year Change: Up 25%

arrow_up

3-family properties

2011 YTD – 8 units sold – average price: $853,439
2012 YTD – 8 units sold – average price: $1,010,500
2013 YTD – 12 units sold – average price: $1,036,417
3-Year Change: Up 21%

arrow_up

Last weekend when it was so gorgeous out, I was looking for something to do *outside* and realized there’s no one place that lists all the cool (usually free) outdoor entertainment we are so fortunate to have in and around Boston in the summertime. I started compiling info I found on various sites and then realized this might be useful to my readers as well, so here it is!

Starting in Cambridgeville of course…

Somerville has a whole lineup of summer entertainment including SomerMovie Fest with outdoor movies at various parks around the city every Thursday from July 11 – August 29. The City of Cambridge also has an outdoor summer movie series — Screen on the Green — where the films are supplemented with magicians, clowns, music, and other family-friendly entertainment every Wednesday through August 14. Here are also a few neighborhood-specific options:

Harvard Square has a full calendar of events that includes outdoor summer entertainment.

Concert Series @ Kendall Square (co-sponsored by Berklee College of Music) — on the plaza at 300 Athenaeum Street on Thursdays 12 – 1:30 pm, now through September 5.  Plus evening concerts 4:30 – 6 pm on July 16, August 6 and August 27.

And if you’re in the mood to cross the river, there are many more options, and most of them are FREE (yay for free!) — check it out…

Boston Harbor Hotel Summer Movies

Hatch Shell Concert Series — a varying schedule (but mostly Wednesday evenings) of orchestra performances, starting with the Pops on July 3 and running through August 28.

Free Friday Flix at the Hatch Shell — July 12 – August 23.

Berklee Summer in the City — free mid-day and evening music performed at at a variety of locations in the metro area — now straight into September.

Mayor Menino’s Wednesday Night Concert Series — July 18 – August 28. Shows start at 7 at City Hall Plaza.

Summer in the City Movies & Music at the Boston Harbor Hotel — June 13 – August 30 live music every Monday – Friday evening,  followed by a movie at dusk on Fridays. Download the brochure here.

Shakespeare on the Common — July 6 – 28 — this year’s production is Two Gentleman of Verona.

ICA Boston’s The Art of Summer — includes an pop up oyster bar on Friday evenings, family activities, and the Harborwalk Sounds music series every Thursday from July 11 – August 29.

MFA Concerts in the Courtyard — June 26 – August 28 with shows starting at 7:30 — unfortunately this one is not free, but might just be worth springing the $30 for…

It really pains me when I hear people reference “Zestimates®” of their homes. The Zillow algorithm for estimating a home’s market value may be a fun tool to play around with, but it is not an accurate indicator of value in our market.

So how off is it?

To find out, I took a look at a few recent Cambridge and Somerville sales and ran the properties through the Zestimator® to see how the numbers compared. Here are the results:

23 Harvard Street U:2, Somerville (Spring Hill condo)

  • Zestimate® says… $399,651
  • Actual sale price… $460,000 — 15% higher than Zestimate®

17 Tremont Street U:3, Cambridge (Area Four condo)

  • Zestimate® says… $463,581
  • Actual sale price… $538,000 — 16% higher than Zestimate®

48 8Th St, Cambridge (East Cambridge 2-family)

  • Zestimate® says… $529,504
  • Actual sale price… $440,000 — 17% less than Zestimate®

The net? If you really want to know what your home is worth, have a local agent come out to visit and prepare a comparative market analysis — you can read more about how I personally handle pricing in my post on the topic.

About a month ago I was interviewed by a writer for Boston Magazine about what’s going on in the Greater Boston real estate market. I gave her my two cents on the Cambridge & Somerville side of things, which you can read about in the article, which just came out today…

Boston Magazine: Getting in the Game

One of my new favorite local blogs, The Somerville Beat, recently published a guide to Community Supported Agriculture, aka CSAs — those great services that drop off baskets of seasonal fruits and vegetables to your door or offer pick-up sites around town. I’ve yet to do one (mostly because I have no idea what to with some of the more obscure produce) but I think this will be the year. And I’m grateful to have found this great guide, which lists several CSA options, including pricing and pick-up locations. Well worth checking out…

Guide to CSAs in Somerville & Cambridge

 

As the snow continues to fall, and my car is quickly being buried, I’m really envious of people with garage parking. Right now in Cambridge and Somerville, there are a total of 30 condos available that come with at least one garage spot, and they’re all looking pretty tempting to me right now. See that lump at the top of the picture below? Yep, that’s my car…

Car in the Blizzard of 2013

If you too are dreaming of a garage spot in Cambridge or Somerville, here’s a sampling of your current condo options:

92 Putnam Road, Unit 1, Somerville — At a list price of $324,900, this is the cheapest Cambridgeville condo currently on the market with a garage spot. It’s part of a 2-unit association located in the Ten Hills neighborhood, has 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, and over 1000 square feet of living space.

There are two units currently on the market at David Aposian’s 80 Webster building just outside Union Square in Somerville — Unit 4H — a 1 bedroom, 1 bath, top-floor unit with 719 sf, listed at $369,000. And Unit 4L, a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, ~ 1500 sf unit on two levels. The deal with parking here is that the spots are not deeded to the units, but rather, are rental spaces in the garage next door. If you own a condo here and have a car, the city of Somerville actually requires that you rent a spot, but at just $125/month, it’s an unbeatable price, and in the middle of a blizzard, seems well worth it!

At the top of the heap, price-wise, is Unit 402 at 975 Memorial Drive in Cambridge. If you’ve got $1,985,000, this 3 bedroom, 2 bath, ~ 2000 sf concierge condo at the Charles Hotel could be yours!