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Market Conditions in East Cambridge : Real Estate Advice

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Sun Jun 17, 2012
Thomas von Zabern answered:
Hello, an happy Father's Day :-)

170 Gore Street, "The Pavilion" was built in 1986 as condominiums. At the time of its construction, the units were marketed as less expensive alternatives to the three luxury buildings near the river, the Esplanade, River Court and Graves Landing. 170 Gore Street offered decent housing with parking and an outdoor pool at far lower entry cost than did any of the other buildings. In the last 26 years, the area surrounding 170 Gore Street has seen strong growth and appreciation, and East Cambridge has in itself become a destination for many well-funded buyers, seeking a quiet yet urban neighborhood immediately across the river from Boston.

As far as 170 Gore Street itself goes, if I am understanding the question correctly, you are asking if the six units that were offered this year indicate a defect with the building that has people running for cover and looking to unload their property while they are able to do so. There are 116 units at the Pavilion, so six units would represent just over 5% of the overall stock of condos in the building. Three units sold last year, two in 2010 and one earlier this year.

It is not uncommon for a building of this size to undergo cycles in which several units are offered and sell all at the same time. It just happens, often without any rhyme or reason. In addition, if you remember the entry-level positioning of 170 Gore Street in the market, it would stand to reason that among its unit owners, there would be some who bought their units as starter homes, and who are taking advantage of today's low interest rates to trade up. The six units that are listed as active including the three that were freshly placed under agreement, were bought by their owners in 1988, 1994,1995, 1997, 1997 and 2008. These numbers appear to me to be a very random pattern with lots of long term ownership. In my experience, it would be atypical for long term owners to abandon their building over a maintenance or repair issue. Things break in a building and components do need to be serviced or replaced every so often, and it would be my guess that most, perhaps all of these six owners have had to deal with such an issue at some time during their ownership of their condos. That being said, I have not heard any talk in professional circles about any catastrophic structural or system failure at the Pavilion.

You can further protect yourself by making any offer contingent on a home inspection, which will cover the unit and those common areas and system rooms which can be made accessible by the property manager. You also have the right to ask for a complete condominium document package, including not only the master deed and its bylaws of operation, but also budgets and minutes from association meetings one the last 1 or 2 years. These minutes would apprise you of any contemplated major upcoming repairs or maintenance issues.

Currently, three units are listed at the Pavilion, all of them with 2 bedrooms and 2 baths. These are priced from $359,000 to $399,900 and finally $519,000. I would point out that the unit at $519,000 is a penthouse with private roof deck and city views. The unit also has some updates made by its owner.

The neighborhood of 170 Gore Street has seen very strong growth in the last few years. Long relegated to second place by areas like Mid Cambridge and Harvard Square, East Cambridge has enjoyed a robust renaissance with neglected houses that come to the market being snapped up in days by eager builders, who transform these tired structures into sparkling gems that will in turn sell to homeowners at prices ranging from the $700,000's to the well over $1,300,000. At this time, I see nothing that would slow down the rate of redevelopment in the area. In fact, I am seeing buyers move to East Cambridge after years of home-ownership in Harvard Square and West Cambridge.

I hope this addresses some of your questions. If there is more that you'd like to discuss, feel fee to e mail or call me at tomvonz1@gmail.com, and 617-354-1143.

I wish you the best in your search!

Tom von Zabern
RE/MAX Destiny
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Thu May 8, 2008
Territory.com answered:
obviously, dm, should be looking at everything including the statistics i gave which were snap shots of the east Cambridge market in the last two years (what his original question asked for ) ... dm seems pretty savvy ... more
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