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Commercial Street Redo

WOW!!!!  This is what was going on outside our office yesterday.  Construction is happening in earnest.  Digging up the street, laying down a deep layer of gravel and prepping for the first layer of asphalt. They have been preparing for weeks redoing drainage and installing new granite curbs.


construction 3

View from the office










Had to get to the office this morning by walking the beach and climbing over the porch railings – there was no way I could come in the front on Commercial Street.












What a difference.  The worst is over.  The picture on the right shows the crews moving down from Pleasant Street towards Whorf’s Court and the Coast Guard Station.











A great improvement as many of you have seen how terrific downtown Commercial Street looks (once the pavement is in).

Wishing everyone a great Thanksgiving!

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As Prices Rise, Housing Bears See Red

Scott seems to know what real estate brokers feel like when we get push back for advocating around positive real estate news – and he makes some good points about the nature of our Boston Metro real estate market relative to the nation as a whole.

 As prices rise, housing bears see red

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis Boston Real Estate

Maybe reading comprehension just isn’t what it used to be.

Not sure what it is, but every time this blog delves into rising home prices, an increasingly problematic aspect of life in the Boston area, some of our more vocal housing bears on this blog automatically cry foul.

In fact, they see nothing less than a real estate industry conspiracy intent on revving up the housing market!

Not that home prices need any help right now, but the idea is pretty absurd.

A case in point is the reaction on the comment board of this blog to Thursday’s post, “Hot fall market shatters records – and raises concerns.”

Here’s my argument, I’ve made it for years now, and, frankly, I don’t think it’s all that hard to grasp.

Housing prices are on a relentless, decades-long upward march inside I-495, increasingly pricing out ever greater numbers of working and middle class families.

Yes, things cooled a bit during the real estate downturn and Great Recession, but the price declines locally weren’t anything like what they saw out in Las Vegas or in Miami.

Is that because we are just so incredibly precious and special here?

No, increasingly restrictive zoning practices and NIMBY mindsets have put the home builders in a straightjacket, making it all but impossible for developers to truly meet demand for new housing.

Hence anemic levels of building going back more than two decades now and increasingly scarce listings.

Couple that with a local economy that is good at spinning off high-paying jobs in biotech and high-tech, but not much else, and you have a mismatch between rising demand and severely constrained supply.

Does that mean home prices will just keep going up forever? Of course not.

But all real estate is local, with each market driven by its own, peculiar dynamics.

Frankly, I am more worried about the increasingly number of buyers priced out of this market than the idea that we will someday see some sort of Las Vegas-style price implosion.

In fact, a steep plunge in home prices actually would be a good thing here and might truly make housing more affordable here. But you actually have to have lots of new homes getting built for that to happen, as happened in Las Vegas, Phoenix and other Sunbelt markets where the housing crash hit the hardest.

A little overbuilding might do us a world of good here in Greater Boston, but given current trends and attitudes, that’s not going to happen anytime soon.


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Homes Selling Faster, Confounding Experts

Recent post from Scott confirming what we are seeing on the ground. While low inventory is beginning to effect the volume of sales, the increase in the velocity of sales is surprising.

Homes selling faster, confounding experts

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis Real Estate

So much for all the doom and gloom talk of a looming real estate slowdown.

Economists for the various real estate websites and brokerages out there have been talking up a storm about how the Fed, rising interest rates and the troubles in Washington were adding up to big trouble for home sales and prices.

Yet instead of a slowdown, we are seeing, if anything, acceleration, with homes in Greater Boston selling like hot cakes, according to a new Zillow survey.

Homes within the I-495 beltway that sold in September were on the market about 99 days before finding a buyer.

That’s down from an average of 107 days on market last year, or 7 percent faster, to be exact.

But sellers are making out even better in Boston and the western and northern suburbs of Middlesex County.

In both Boston in this big stretch of suburban towns, homes found buyers on average after just 77 days. The biggest drop came in Middlesex County, where days on market fell by nearly a quarter, from 101 last year, Zillow reports.

Meanwhile, the shortage of homes for sale doesn’t show any signs of improving anytime soon, with construction of new homes and condos still dragging along at anemic levels.

Homes are also selling faster in other markets across the country as well, with a dramatic boost in the speed with which sellers are to land a purchase and sales agreement.

Days on market nationally have fallen to 86, down a whole month from September 2012, when it took an average of 116 days for a house to sell.

Still, while Boston is beating the national average, we have nothing on San Francisco.

In the Bay Area, homes on average stay on the market just 48 days. Now that’s fast!


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Pic Of The Week

Atwood Avenue – we like to call it Atwood Lane.  The sweetest walk in Provincetown.  Even when its 30 degrees and windy.










This was taken Saturday.  We have  an adorable cottage for sale up on the left past the white picket fence and recently closed on a single family property at the top of the lane. It is one of those places in town that feels almost untouched. We sometimes take buyers down the lane to give them  a true West End experience. One of my favorite places.


12 Atwood Ave #2, $519K available
12 Atwood Ave #2, $519K available


This Cottage is right past the picket fence – one bedroom, 696 square feet with a big wood burning fireplace and fabulous private outside gardens and patio.$519K.







29 Tremont St $995K, sold
29 Tremont St $995K, sold


This is 29 Tremont Street which we sold a few weeks ago. A charming antique

with a private 1 bedroom cottage on the rear.





Commercial Street, West End under construction
Commercial Street, West End under construction


And this is right at the end of Atwood Avenue, where it meets Commercial Street. Yes, Commercial Street is being rebuilt – It is going to be even more beautiful.

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Cape Cod’s Least Expensive Beachfront Listings

A very cool post from CurbedCapeCod’s Jazmine Donaldson.

Cape Cod’s Least Expensive Beachfront Listings, Nov. ’13’

Tuesday, November 12, 2013, by Jazmine Donaldson

[55 Pond Road, Truro via Kinlin Grover Real Estate]

It’s snowing (!!) making it the perfect day to head to the beach, at least by way of the Interweb. Last month, we wrote about waterfront properties listed for under $500,000, but we haven’t hit the beach since August. Here’s an update  of Cape Cod’s least expensive beachfront listings, by town. The 15 sandy abodes are asking $499,000 (for the above trap sheds) to $2,695,000.

Cape Cod’s Least Expensive Beachfront Listings, Nov. ’13
Asking $599,900, this Wing’s Neck waterfront beach house was built in 1920 and features 4BD, 1.5BA in 1,332 sq. ft. The .06 acre property comes with access to a private sandy association beach and dock.
“Oceanfront Duplex at Sagamore Beach!” Each unit in this ranch-style 1,225 square footer features 2BR, 1BA with separate entrances, parking and decks. Asking price is $699,900.
We wrote about this Jetty Lane property on our map of available teardowns back in August. The existing 5BD, 3BA requires major restoration, but sits on 1.16 beachfront acres. Dunes, westerly views and sandy beach are yours for $2,185,000.
Located on Popponesset Beach, this 1,055 sq. ft. 2BA, 1BA was built in 1942 and is asking $1,500,000.
This Barnstable Village contemporary first hit the market in October 2012 asking $2,249,000. Three pricechops later, the 3BD, 2BA “on the sandy shores of Barnstable Harbor” is down to $1,695,000.
Per the listing, “This classic Cape Cod home is beautifully sited on 1.2 acres with 200′ feet of waterfront & high elevation & protection from inclement weather.” Built in 1934, this 3,980 sq. ft. 6BR, 5.5BA has been on and off the market since it debuted in May 2010 asking $2,650,000. Three-plus years and three chops later, the ask is down to $1,795,000.
Appropriately located on Ocean Avenue, this beachfront 4BD, 2BA has views of Nantucket Sound from almost every room. Built in 1940, the 1,350 sq. ft. Curbed Comparison’s alum is asking $849,000.
Here’s another potential teardown, this one on .59 waterfront acres with 117′ of sandy beach on Nantucket Sound. The listing first appeared on the market in 2009 asking $3,300,000. Today, the asking price is $2,500,000.
Technically, there’s a road between this Chatham 3BD, 4BA and Nantucket Sound, but it’s a beach house nonetheless. The 3,136 sq. ft. home on .25 acres has been bouncing on and off the market since February 2009 when it was asking $3,595,000. Four-plus years and four chops later, it’s asking $2,695,000.
This Brewster Dunes year-round co-op features a working lighthouse – really. The 2BD, 2BA comes with its own private beach and is asking $890,999.
Built in 1955, this contemporary beachfront home features 4BD, 2BA. With “stunning views of Nauset beach,” the property “has a successful rental history exceeding $50,000 in rental income for July & August for 2013.” Asking price is $1,600,000.
A former pricespotter, this 3BD, 2BA is “nestled into the dunes of Kingsbury Beach!” The pricechopper has visited since we wrote about the property and it’s now asking $1,050,000.
“Living on the edge!” This 4BD, 3BA sits 80′ above sea level on Sunrise Dune in the Cape Cod National Seashore. The 2,500 square footer overlooking the Atlantic Ocean hit the market in May for $1,250,000. Two pricechops have brought the ask down to $1,050,000.
Remember the trap sheds on the beach? Once asking $575,000, the beachfront 1BD cottage with twin studio have been pricechopped down to $499,000.
The current owners purchased this bayfront building back in 1963 for $16,000. Fast forward to today and the circa 1860 seasonal two-family is on the market for $1,500,000. That’s a 9,275% jump in value for a fixer-upper “in the flood zone.”


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Price Gain Strongest In 8 Years

NAR’s third quarter analysis.

Home prices post strongest annual gain in nearly 8 years

Pace of sales hits 5.36M a year during third quarter, best since 2007
Inman News

Inman News Staff Writer

Home prices in most metropolitan areas grew significantly in the third quarter, with the national median price rising at its fastest annual clip in nearly eight years, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

During the same period, existing homes sold at the fastest annual rate recorded in more than six years, according to NAR’s latest quarterly report on metro area median prices and affordability.

Despite the robust price growth, NAR estimated that potential buyers still had adequate income in most areas to purchase a home in the third quarter. Nonetheless, market momentum is changing, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR.

“Rising prices and higher interest rates have taken a bite out of housing affordability,” Yun said. “However, we have the ongoing situation of more buyers than sellers in the market, so lower sales will help to take the pressure off home price growth and allow them to rise slowly at a single-digit growth rate in 2014.”

The national median existing single-family home price increased by 12.5 percent year over year to $207,300 in the third quarter, the strongest year-over-year gain since the fourth quarter of 2005 when it shot up 13.6 percent, according to the trade group.

In the second quarter, the median price reportedly rose 12.2 percent year over year.

Meanwhile, NAR said existing-home sales jumped 5.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.36 million in the third quarter from 5.06 million in the second quarter.

On an annual basis, they reportedly increased 13 percent. The third-quarter pace of sales was the highest recorded since the first quarter of 2007, when it hit 5.66 million, NAR said.

The report’s findings also highlighted the market’s sharp inventory shortage.

At the rate of sales in the third quarter, the existing-home inventory of 2.21 million homes for sale would have cleared in just five months, down from 5.9 months in the third quarter of 2012.


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Wellfleet Weidlinger House Funding Update

Great funding effort by CCMHT to save Weidlinger House. CurbedCapeCod’d great story below. (With an update)

Curbed Cape Cod Update: The Cape Cod Modern House Trust’s (CCMHT) Kickstarter campaign to save Wellfleet’s Weidlinger House by raising $50,000 towards the much-needed restoration ends tomorrow. So far, they’ve raised $59,249, making the crowdfunding venture a success. However, the iconic mid-century building is such a hot mess that the CCMHT is naturally hoping to raise as much funding possible. Just in time, a donor has stepped up and offered a $5K match if the campaign reaches $60,000 by Saturday. All the details, this way. [previously; Kickstarter]


Weidlinger House Restoration Funding 

Thursday, October 24, 2013, by Jazmine Donaldson

[The pond side of the house today. Photo: Raimund Koch]

The Cape Cod Modern House Trust has hit the crowdfunding circuit to save the Weidlinger House. Built in 1953, the iconic structure will soon be listed on the National Registry, but is in urgent need of restoration. Per the Kickstarter campaign:

Due to a lack of resources from the Park Service, this irreplaceable piece of our cultural heritage ended up abandoned and slated for demolition in the pristine landscape of the Cape Cod National Seashore. The Cape Cod Modern House Trust (CCMHT) has obtained a lease and begun a full restoration, which we hope to finish, with your help, by July, 2014. This Kickstarter campaign is to raise $50,000 toward that goal.

So far, the Cape Cod Modern House Trust has raised $40,443 of their $50,000 goal. Donations, this way.


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Pic Of The Week

The West End of Commercial Street looking toward  Relish from right before the West End lot.  And everyone thinks we slow down in the “shoulder months”. Nope – just making it better for everyone.  The most gorgeous walk in New England from the Coast Guard station to the The Red Inn will be even more beautiful – and easier on the feet. The granite curbs are in and the first layer of pavement will go down soon.





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Favorite New Listing Of The Week

8 Meadow Lane #2, $529K, is a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo with 954 square feet. Located in the West End, a short bike ride or walk to Herring Cove beach, this sunny and immaculate town home built in 2006 offers spacious living on three levels. The main floor is comprised of an open living and dining area and a kitchen with granite countertops and stainless appliances. The bedrooms have nice separation and privacy from one another, with a bedroom and full bath each on the top floor and the lower level. A deck off the kitchen and a french door from the lower level both lead to a lovely stone patio out back for outside living. The unit has pine floors throughout, air conditioning, a washer/dryer hookup and deeded parking.










This is a great condo in the West End near the bike shop in a well run condo association. The two bedrooms are separated by the living floor; there is a very private walk out garden and patio off the lower level bedroom; and there is tons of light from the oversize windows especially on the main floor.

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October Snapshot – Provincetown

October and November are historically the heaviest closing months in Provincetown and this October is no different. 11 single family properties closed and 18 condos closed. Thats 24% of all single family properties sold YTD and 17% of all condos sold YTD.  November looks to be a strong closing month as well.

The average price of a condo sold in October was $491K, and the average list to sale ratio was 97%. The average sale price for a single family property sold was $867K which was 93% of asking price.

Below are three of those condos that sold. 28 Conwell  Street was a very sweet 2 bed/1 bath 400 sf cottage  hidden behind charming white gates; 3 Carnes Lane was a really wonderful 2 bed/2 bath with close to 1500 square feet, and  21 Bradford Street Ext. #1 was a 3 bed/4 bath new construction condo at Herring Cove Village with 2,270 square feet. The average ppsf of condos sold in October was $644.

28 Conwell #3, $375K sold
28 Conwell #3, $375K        sold
3 Carnes Lane #2, $672K, sold
3 Carnes Lane #2, $672K,  sold
21 Bradford St Ext #1, $1.075M
21 Bradford St Ext #1, $1.075M, sold








Below are three single family properties that sold in October.  29 Tremont Street was a 3 bed/2 bath house with a separate private cottage in the West End; 11 Thistlemore was a 3 bed/3 bath contemporary with 2150 sf; 1 Pilgrims  Landing was a 3 bed/3 bath house with 4265 square feet that on a price per square foot basis was the deal of the month at $331 psf. The average ppsf of sold single family  properties in October was $542.

29 Tremont St $995K, sold
29 Tremont St $995K,        sold
1 Pilgrims Landing $1.415M, sold
1 Pilgrims Landing $1.415M, sold
11 Thistlemore Rd, $657K, sold
11 Thistlemore Rd, $657K, sold








Listing activity was robust as well with 15 condos coming on the market with an average price of $512K and 7 single family properties coming on there market with an average price listing price of $1.417M

The three newer listings below illustrate well the diversity of inventory in Provincetown. 95 Race Road #11 is a great value with 2 bedrooms and 2 baths and 1,310 square feet.  19 Tremont Street #1 is one of the nicest 2 bedroom 2 bath condos we have seen in a long time, with incredible outside space, a nice kitchen and a living room with fireplace and vaulted ceilings. It could already be under contract. 6 Cottage Street #1 is a large guest house that is being converted into two condominiums. Unit #1 is a 7 bedroom, 8 bath 3,126 square foot condo on the block between Commercial and Tremont with one of the best locations on town.

95 Race Road #11, $337K
95 Race Road #11, $337K
19 Tremont St #1, $649K
19 Tremont St #1, $649K
6 Cottage St #1.559M
6 Cottage St #1.559M








Again showing broad diversity are the 3 newer  single family listings below. 78 West Vine Street is a news 2 bed/2 bath single with close to 1500 square feet. 81 Bayberry is one of the nicest 3 bed/2 bath singles we have seen in some time. 5 Dyer is a landmark 4 bedroom/3 bath house with 4661 square feet on what is arguably one of the best locations on town.

78 W Vine Sr $879K
78 W Vine St $879K
81 Bayberry Ave $885K
81 Bayberry Ave $885K
5 Dyer St $1.499M
5 Dyer St $1.499M








November is shaping up to be as busy as October was. We’ll keep you posted.