Cambridge Area Real Estate Newsletter
 
February, 2002
 

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Thank you for contributing to my best real estate year ever! I'm celebrating my sixteenth year in the business and can look back on many satisfied clients as well as some good friends and connections made along the way.

2001 was a busy and rewarding year! "Celebrating the Heart and Soul of American Song", the benefit concert I co-produce for the Cambridge Housing Assistance Fund (CHAF) raised $98,000, enough to assist over seventy homeless and near homeless families with the startup costs of renting an apartment. Kevin Mahogany, Downbeat Magazine's "Best Male Jazz Vocalist", and local diva Wannetta Jackson put on a fabulous show. After three years, CHAF has raised over $300,000 and assisted over 250 households. This year's concert is in the planning stages for September 19th at Sanders Theater in Harvard Square. Our goal is to raise $120,000. Let me know if you would like to contribute or help in some way. We are looking for a Fundraising Consultant, Fund Coordinator, Business Sponsors, Donors, Program Advertisers, clerical help etc.

2001 was an erratic year in the Cambridge real estate market, reflecting the traumatic events of September 11th, as well as the declining stock market and national recession. In spite of it all, Cambridge remained remarkably resilient. Early spring of 2001 was characterized by continued appreciation, and may have been a price peak. However, as inventory (number of houses on the market) increased and the stock market declined there was some softening of prices and a longer time to sell for most properties. The average number of listings on the market was 189 in 2001, a 30% increase over the 145 average in 2000. The market flattened out over the summer, and many overly aggressive springtime asking prices, which were perhaps anticipating further price appreciation, came down. Gone were the days of competing bids the first weekend and sales over the asking price. Conditions became more favorable for Buyers. While a year earlier, a first time buyer couldn't find a two bedroom condo for under $400k, now there were several to choose from.

After September 11th, sales activity slowed considerably, as buyers reeled from the shock and the uncertainty of the country's economic future. Listing inventory increased 32% as the market slowed, from average 192 in the summer to 252 in the three months after the 11th. * Conditions remained favorable for buyers, however. Although there was little data to indicate any significant price decline, prices were 'softer' and interest rates low. While some buyers waited, others seemed to feel their funds were safer in real estate than in the stock market. And sooner or later, they needed to buy and came back into the market. Around November or December, sales started to pick up. Historically low interest rates in the low 6% range helped prop up the market and December was a brisk month for sales activity.

Since December, the market has been very busy. A pre-construction house in North Cambridge sold in January for $600k (the full asking price), a $719k condo in Harvard Square had five showings a week, and a contemporary townhouse asking $799k in Davis Square just sold in four days. And surprisingly, reports from the Greater Boston Association of Realtors indicate significant price appreciation in 2001. Conditions are in place for a busy and perhaps more balanced spring market. Listing inventory was 187 for the first week of January 2002, up 61% from 116 in January 2001. The Case Shiller Weiss index led by economist Karl Case of Wesleyan, has predicted a modest 9% appreciation in Cambridge this year. The market appears to be back on track.

If you are considering buying or selling, the time is now to start planning! I am always available if you would like an update on the value of your home, or if you would like a consultation on your real estate needs. We offer Buyer and Seller representation at DeWolfe, so that if you are buying and selling, I can represent your interests in both transactions.

If you are considering a purchase, conditions are now more favorable for buyers. There are always relative values to be found in Cambridge or Somerville if you know where to look. Interest rates remain low and the selection is significantly increased. As your buyer agent, I can use my experience to help you through the shopping and buying process and can negotiate on your behalf when you find a home. If you're starting to look, call me about WebHunter, which can email you daily market updates about new listings as they come on the market.

If you are considering selling, the market remains robust and active. I would be happy to consult with you on the current value of your home. I continue my specialties in historic properties, new construction, renovations and condo conversions and can use my experience with marketing and negotiating to strategize, provide a market analysis and market plan, and obtain for you the best price for your home.

DeWolfe will continue its commitment to cutting edge marketing this year. DeWolfe Home Movies and Photo Galleries of our listings may be viewed at our revamped website  www.dewolfe.com. With over 50% of all households using the internet, DeWolfe is committed to offering innovative services to our clients and customers. DeWolfe marketing as well as the commitment of our agents has contributed to DeWolfe maintaining the top market share in Cambridge for many years running. I will continue to update my own web site at www.DavidPap.com.

Most of my business is from personal referrals by satisfied clients. With fifteen years experience as a designer/builder/woodworker and fifteen years as a successful Realtor I have thirty years experience in the Cambridge housing market.  If you have a friend about to enter the challenging maze of the Cambridge real estate market I would be glad to be their guide.

I always enjoy hearing from friends and clients whether to simply ‘catch up’, or if they have a real estate need, or simply need advice on what renovations will add value to their home.

I look forward to hearing from you,
 

David Pap

617.864.8566, ext. 244      * Listing inventory statistics from
David.Pap@NEmoves.com            Rosenoff Report for Broker assisted
www.DavidPap.com               listings only