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!

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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

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:

sarma_interior

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

In this market of super low inventory, I LOVE when I can bring multiple units to the market — this week, it’s three renovated condos in a new Somerville conversion that I’m co-listing with my colleague Natasha Burger. Details follow, and I invite you to come visit the open houses this weekend — Saturday, November 2 from 1 – 2 pm and Sunday, November 3 from 12 – 1 pm.

44 Radcliffe Road, Somerville

44 Radcliffe Road, Somerville

Three beautiful & spacious renovated condos in a great Somerville neighborhood! Units feature flowing layouts with large rooms, high ceilings, lots of windows, hardwood floors, modern kitchens with granite and stainless, and in-unit laundry. Flexible floorplans allow for use as three-bedroom units. Additional storage in the basement and parking available for purchase.

Unit 1 — 2 bedrooms + study, 1 bath, 1170 SF +/-, listed at $399,000
Download MLS listing for Unit 1 here.
Download floorplan for Unit 1 here.

Unit 2 — 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, 1016 SF +/-, listed at $389,000
(not yet on MLS)
Download floorplan for Unit 2 here.

Unit 3 — 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, 1060 SF +/-, listed at $395,000
Download MLS listing for Unit 3 here.
Download floorplan for Unit 3 here.

Conveniently located in the heart of the city near the library and City Hall, with easy access to Routes 28 and 93, Sullivan Station and just a half-mile to vibrant Union Square with its many cafés, restaurants, shops, farmers market and community festivals. And this neighborhood is poised for great things. Check out what’s on the docket…

Local celebrity restaurateurs Ana Sortun and Cassie Piuma, of Oleana and Sofra fame, just opened their new restaurant Sarma on the corner of Marshall and Pearl Streets, just down the street from 44 Radcliffe. The much-anticipated restaurant is a “friendly neighborhood mezze bar” drawing inspiration from Turkey and beyond.

And… The Gilman Square Station of the Green Line Extension will be right there too, with entrances on Medford and School Streets. “We aim to reestablish Gilman Square as a transit-focused civic, residential, and commercial location,” said Deborah Fennick, architect at Fennick & McCreadie Architecture, the firm that designed the station. Check out this rendering:

Gilman Square Station Rendering

12 Silvey Place, Somerville — 3-unit with 6 BRs, 3 baths, 3021 sf on a 2777 sf lot — listed for $949,900

A rare example of a multi-family that can immediately generate great rents without any necessary renovation! This Porter Square 3-family is in great shape, will be delivered with two of the three units vacant, and the third unit will be vacated by the end of the year. Current rents are below market value, which should be in the range of $2100 per unit. There is no off-street parking, but there is a great back yard.

There won’t be any open houses and all showings must be accompanied, so if you have any interest, please get in touch.

Download MLS listing for 12 Silvey Place here.
12 Silvey Place, Somerville
12 Silvey Place, Somerville

Listed by Karen Morgan of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

On a fairly regular basis I find myself competing for a listing with a “discount” broker — one whose fee is 4% or so, as compared to the 5% that I, and most full-service agents in this market, charge.

What I share with my potential clients is that in my experience, these discount brokers simply take a few photos of the property (often REALLY bad ones), post the listing to MLS, throw a lockbox on the door so that they don’t have to actually accompany any showings and call it a day. And generally people understand that this is not an ideal strategy for selling their home, and appreciate the marketing and sales services that I offer. However, there have been a few times that I have lost listings to agents who offered a cut-rate fee and/or “bought” the listing by coming in with a ridiculously high list price instead of one that will realistically move the property in a reasonable timeframe.

So I was thrilled to discover Justin Rollo’s recent Boston.com piece looking at the financial implications of listing a property with a discount broker compared to a full-service agent. The results are no surprise to me, but the data is very interesting. I encourage anyone thinking of selling their home to read Justin’s article, “Is a Discount Broker Really a Bargain.”

Is a discount broker really a bargain?