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CAMBRIDGE

This page is not cluttered with historical or demographic data. That information is available elsewhere. The focus here is on the things which you might find important. Instructions for viewing Cambridge real estate listings are found at the bottom of this article...

Cambridge

Cambridge - "the spirited, slightly-mischievious side of Boston, located just a bridge away on the other side of the Charles River" - is home to two internationally prominent universities, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology - hence its reputation for being an intellectual center of the United States. However, if you have younger, school-age children, they will be enrolled in the Cambridge public schools!

The first houses were built in the spring of 1631. The settlement was initially referred to as "the newe towne", in the heart of today's Harvard Square. The marketplace where farmers brought in crops from surrounding towns to sell survives today as the small park at the corner of JFK and Winthrop Streets.

Home to the famous Fireside Poets, Cambridge grew quickly with the construction of bridges (now 11 in number) crossing the Charles River and connecting it directly to Boston. Its commercial center also began to shift from Harvard Square to Central Square. The 1980s brought a wave of high-technology startups; but now, the city houses a thriving biotech industry. By the end of the 20th century, Cambridge had one of the more expensive housing markets in the Northeastern United States.

As a resident of Cambridge, you will be known as a Cantabrigian.The diverse mixture of Cantabrigians creates an atmosphere where any family will feel comfortable and at home. The city is beautifully laid out in a series of squares, including Kendall Square, Central Square, Harvard Square, Inman Square, Porter Square, and Lechmere Square. These and the residential areas give you the feeling of being a part of a close-knit, small-town atmosphere. The 13 major residential neighborhoods (see map) making up Cambridge are:

1) East Cambridge is bordered on the north by the Somerville border, on the east by the Charles River, on the south by Broadway and Main Street, and on the west by the Grand Junction Railroad tracks. It includes the NorthPoint development.
2) MIT Campus is bordered on the north by Broadway, on the south and east by the Charles River, and on the west by the Grand Junction Railroad tracks.
3) Wellington-Harrington is bordered on the north by the Somerville border, on the south and west by Hampshire Street, and on the east by the Grand Junction Railroad tracks.
4) The Port is bordered on the north by Hampshire Street, on the south by Massachusetts Avenue, on the west by Prospect Street, and on the east by the Grand Junction Railroad tracks. Residents refer to the area of Cambridgeport and Riverside as "The Coast".
5) Cambridgeport is bordered on the north by Massachusetts Avenue, on the south by the Charles River, on the west by River Street, and on the east by the Grand Junction Railroad tracks.
6) Mid-Cambridge is bordered on the north by Kirkland and Hampshire Streets and the Somerville border, on the south by Massachusetts Avenue, on the west by Peabody Street, and on the east by Prospect Street.
7) Riverside or The Coast is bordered on the north by Massachusetts Avenue, on the south by the Charles River, on the west by JFK Street, and on the east by River Street.
8) Agassiz or Harvard North is bordered on the north by the Somerville border, on the south and east by Kirkland Street, and on the west by Massachusetts Avenue.
9) Peabody is bordered on the north by railroad tracks, on the south by Concord Avenue, on the west by railroad tracks, and on the east by Massachusetts Avenue. The Avon Hill sub-neighborhood consists of the higher elevations bounded by Upland Road, Raymond Street, Linnaean Street and Massachusetts Avenue.
10) Brattle area/West Cambridge is bordered on the north by Concord Avenue and Garden Street, on the south by the Charles River and the Watertown border, on the west by Fresh Pond and the Collins Branch Library, and on the east by JFK Street. It includes the sub-neighborhoods of Brattle Street (formerly known as Tory Row) and Huron Village.
11) North Cambridge is bordered on the north by the Arlington and Somerville borders, on the south by railroad tracks, on the west by the Belmont border, and on the east by the Somerville border.
12) Cambridge Highlands is bordered on the north and east by railroad tracks, on the south by Fresh Pond, and on the west by the Belmont border.
13) Strawberry Hill is bordered on the north by Fresh Pond, on the south by the Watertown border, on the west by the Belmont border, and on the east by railroad tracks.

Harvard Square, is located in the center of Cambridge at the intersection of Massachusetts Ave, JFK Street, and Brattle Street, and is home to Harvard Yard and Harvard University, the oldest university in the country. It is a popular shopping and social destination, with a blend of unique local shops, cafes, and restaurants, as well as some large chain establishments. Harvard Square condos are highly sought-after because of the vibrancy of the neighborhood. Harvard Square is known for the Garage Mall, a former parking garage that was redeveloped into a mall, as well as the historic Out of Town News Stand, still in business today.

Harvard Square

Harvard Square is a popular gathering place for young people associated with counter-culture movements, as well as street performers, tourists, and the students and faculty of Harvard University; creating an extremely active and diverse community. Finding parking in the area can be challenging, but the access to public transportation provides excellent access to the rest of the city.

If rapid transit is important to you, Cambridge is well served by the MBTA, including the Porter Square stop on the regional Commuter Rail, the Lechmere stop on the Green Line, and five stops on the Red Line (Alewife, Porter Square, Harvard Square, Central Square, and Kendall Square/MIT). Alewife Station, the current terminus of the Red Line, has a large multi-story parking garage. The Harvard Bus Tunnel, under Harvard Square, reduces traffic congestion on the surface, and connects to the Red Line underground. Some of the main squares, Inman, Porter, and to a lesser extent, Harvard, are very close to the city line, as are Somerville's Union and Davis Squares. With a "Walk Score" of 100 out of 100 possible points, you might even be able to walk to work.

Local news in Cambridge is delivered by The Cambridge Chronicle, The Harvard Crimson, and of course, The Boston Globe and The Boston Herald.

You can obtain information about the city and its services from its official web site; and, if you have a particular property in mind to buy, access its database to find out how much it is assessed for. You will be happy to know that Cambridge offers a reduction in taxes to owner-occupants. You can obtain the form and current tax rates online. This newsletter details property taxes and assessments for fiscal year 2011.

Sold Statistics for Cambridge

Single Family:
2012 - 133 sales. List Price - $1,189,113 Sale Price - $1,195,111   Market Time - 52 days
2011 - 114 sales. List Price - $1,106,830 Sale Price - $1,074,837   Market Time - 69 days
2010 - 129 sales. List Price - $1,195,110 Sale Price - $1,148,386   Market Time - 72 days

Cambridge sales slipped a bit in 2011 over 2010 as did values; however, 2012 saw a healthy increase in sales volume plus a solid increase in values.

Condominiums:
2012 - 838 sales. List Price - $514,721 Sale Price - $510,758   Market Time - 57 days
2011 - 713 sales. List Price - $512,038 Sale Price - $498,563   Market Time - 82 days
2010 - 662 sales. List Price - $508,415 Sale Price - $493,517   Market Time - 82 days

Condominiums are a significant part of Cambridge resales and they not only increased sizeably in 2011 - over 7% compared to 2010, they soared in 2012 - up 8.5%!!. Values were up slightly - about 1% in 2011 and 3% in 2012.

Multi-Family Listings:
2012 - 96 sales. List Price - $1,275,786 Sale Price - $1,235,475   Market Time - 45 days
2011 - 60 sales. List Price - $928,095 Sale Price - $894,082   Market Time - 74 days
2010 - 64 sales. List Price - $897,353 Sale Price - $855,479   Market Time - 76 days

Multi-family sales in Cambridge caught on fire in 2012 with an incredibly significant increase in value of 37% compared to only 4% in 2011.

The graphic, historical view of home sales shown below is not really accurate as it goes only through the 2Qtr of 2012; but it gives you a general picture of how things have been selling over the past 5 years.

To view all listings in Cambridge. You will need an ID which is " 2348684" and the password "Jim". You can login here anonymously anytime, daily or weekly, as often as you wish. If you should see any properties you would like to view in person, give Jim a call or send a text or email indicating which properties and a couple of time frames and Jim will try to schedule you appropriately - please keep in mind that some owners and/or agents require 24-48 hrs advance notice and additionally keeping within a 30-60 minute window if they also require an accompanied showing.

Since we do not live in a perfect world, you should check on the reported criminal activity of the area where you finally decide to buy/live.