Blog :: 06-2020
Winchester Chamber of Commerce is encouraging residents to get creative with a House Decorating Contest to celebrate the 4th of July. Deck your house in "America" or "Independence Day" themed decor for the judging on Thursday, July 2nd. There will be a daytime and an evening judging. Make sure you decorate the side of the house that is visible from the street, so that the judges can safely do their job and maintain social distancing.
For more information go to https://winchesterchamber.com/
Summer is going to look very different this year. Kids haven’t been at school since mid-March, so the usual “school’s out” novelty has already worn off to an extent. The challenge for many is making summer seem special, while still abiding by the regulations and restrictions imposed by the pandemic. Many of our usual go-to’s are either closed or operating with new rules that require a lot of forward planning. However, while we may have to forgo overseas vacations, camps, and spontaneous visits to the pool, there are still plenty of things we can do to get outside, have fun, and make memories. Our agents have been getting creative and are sharing some suggestions for activities with your family to fill the next 10 weeks.
Recommended by I-Ching Katie Scott
So camping might be off the cards for the short term, but there’s no reason you can’t set up camp in your own backyard! For little kids, it could be the perfect introduction to tent-life - plenty of access to bathrooms, the lovies you just couldn’t leave behind, and a comfy bed if you really can’t sleep. But for most kids the thrill of sleeping under the stars will be enough to keep them out there, and you can make it more special with s’mores, card games and stories by flashlight.
Outdoor Arts and Crafts
Recommended by Katie Tully
Getting outside, even if it’s just in your own yard or driveway, can be a great way to spend a few hours. This recipe for sidewalk paint will give the kids something to do, both making up the paint (best done outside) and then using it. As well as decorating the sidewalk, how about decorating an address rock or painting kindness rocks or seashells? Tie-dye is another ever-popular activity - the kits are hard to come by but you can make your own and use an old t-shirt, pillowcase, tote bag or other material.
Beach (plan ahead!)
Recommended by Lesley Smith
The beach is still a great option for a day out, it just requires a little more forward planning. Many beaches on the North Shore are offering only limited admission to non-residents, so if you want to head to Wingaersheek or Good Harbor in Gloucester, get there early. You can follow their Facebook page for daily updates on capacity to get an idea of what time you need to arrive. Crane Beach is allowing advance booking for their beach access - you can reserve a morning or afternoon slot and pay in advance for contact-less access. Check their website to find out when slots come available. Other beaches such as Revere and Nahant are open to all but parking is limited - think beginning or end of day for your best chance of securing a parking slot. At all beaches there are requirements for masks and social distancing - make sure you have read up on the rules for your beach of choice before you set off.
Recommended by Matt Asdornvuttikrai
Movie theaters are still closed but some drive-in movie venues have opened, again with extra precautions. Our nearest drive-in locations are at Mendon MA and Milford NH. You can also create your own outdoor movie set up - get yourself a projector and a screen, or even hang an old white sheet, and stream your favorite movies on your own schedule!
Recommended by Anne Spry
There are many opportunities for short and long hikes in the Middlesex Fells Reservation - you can download a map of the trails from the DCR website. We like Long Pond Nature Trail on the Winchester side or the Healthy Heart Trail in Stoneham for shorter options, and the Skyline Trail if you are up for a day-long trek (plan for 5 hours). If you are feeling more adventurous and want to stretch your legs, head to New Hampshire to tackle one of the 48 4,000 ft hikes in the White Mountains. The Appalachian Mountain Club website gives you all the info you need - we suggest the hike to the Mitzpah Spring Hut as a great first hike with children.
Recommended by Naomi DeLairre
Here’s another activity that can still take place despite the pandemic, but with restrictions. Many fruit picking farms have introduced new protocols such as allowing people to book a time slot, pre-paying, requiring masks and other changes to make the experience as contact-free and safe as possible. That means you can still spend a couple of hours eating - sorry - picking strawberries, blueberries, peaches and more. Mass.gov has a list of pick-your-own farms - make sure you check the website or social media pages of the one you choose to get the latest info before you go. Once you get your fresh-picked fruit home, why not try your hand at jam-making? This tried and trusted recipe is simple to follow and makes delicious jam - a happy, if sticky, way to spend an afternoon!
Sunset Bike Ride
Recommended by Katie Tully
Sometimes the simplest ideas are the ones that create the best memories. The sunsets at this time of year can be spectacular. Pick a clear night and head out on your bikes about 30 mins before sundown to a nearby hill or vantage point - we like Robbins Farm Park in Arlington and Wright-Locke Farm in Winchester. You’ll have the perfect spot to watch the sky gradually change color and the lights come on in the city. Remember safety first - keep your social distance from others, wear your mask and helmet, and don’t forget your lights for the way home.
5 Cutting Street, Winchester, $745,000. Listed by Anne Spry. Accepted offer in 7 days.
The spring months are typically the busiest time in real estate, with the most homes coming to market and the most sales happening between March and June. It makes sense - by then in New England you no longer have to worry about snow and ice for showings and moving day, and you are able to move in and settle into your new home before the new school year begins at the end of August. But there is nothing typical about 2020, and all normal rules have gone out of the window. With lockdown coming into effect in the middle of March, and open houses and in-person showings prohibited, the usual spring rush did not happen as expected. However that doesn’t mean the demand has gone away, in fact quite the opposite. As the restrictions have eased we have seen a slow but steady increase in the number of new listings week by week. There have been 56 new listings in Winchester since lockdown eased*, and of those, 30 are now under agreement - that’s 54%. Since May 9th, when in-person showings in occupied homes were once again permitted, 44 homes have either had an accepted offer or sold*. This time last year that number was 49, so the market is picking back up to where we would expect it to be at this time. Year to date, 90% of homes listed in Winchester have gone under agreement or sold - for the same time period last year it was 75%*.
74 Arlington Street, Winchester, $2,225,000. Listed by Erica Carson and Marion Crandall. Accepted offer in 9 days.
There has also been a surge in activity from buyers, with multiple offers being received on many homes. Over the past four weeks, our office has brought 4 homes to market in Winchester. Each of these homes was in receipt of multiple offers, and they are all now under agreement, with an average of 11 days to offer. Anne Spry, Broker / Owner notes “Across all price ranges we are seeing interest levels rising now that people feel more comfortable with the precautions we have in place for showings.”
423 Washington Street, Winchester, $899,900. Listed by Ann Basmaji and Anne Spry. Accepted offer in 10 days.
Although inventory levels are picking up - 30 homes on the market today, compared with 19 on May 9th* - there is still a shortage. Current numbers indicate a 1.86 months supply of homes for sale - in 2019 that figure was 2.84 - so it seems demand is outstripping supply. Connie Aliberti has seen this first-hand, noting “well-priced homes in popular areas are moving extremely quickly.” In particular, our agents are seeing an increase in demand for certain criteria in a home. “One of the most requested features I get from my buyers is a home office,” says Erica Carson. I-Ching Katie Scott adds “I have many buyers looking for yards, gardens, views, or some kind of outdoor space. Folks who have been quarantined inside for the last few months are appreciating homes with exterior amenities as the weather warms.” With many people now working from home indefinitely, commute time to the office has moved further down the wish-list, widening the search area for some buyers.
437 Highland Avenue, Winchester, $799,900 Listed by Anne Spry and Katie Tully. Accepted offer in 18 days.
If finding a new home was part of your plan for 2020, it's understandable that you might have put that on the back burner. However, with restrictions easing and the demand increasing, now is actually a really good time to bring those plans to the forefront. Despite the pandemic, prices have remained stable, even increasing in some towns. In Winchester, the average sold price over the past 6 weeks is up 10% on the previous year, in Melrose average sold prices are up 6% year on year*. “It’s certainly a very active market,” says Naomi DeLairre. Our agents would be happy to talk to you about the real estate market in your town, and give you a complimentary assessment of your home’s current value. Get in touch - there is still time for you to list your home and to close before the fall.
Source: MLSPin, Sales / Listings / Pending reports May 9th - June 19th 2020 vs May 9th - June 19th 2019. YTD report Jan 1st - June 19th 2020 vs Jan 1st - June 19th 2019.
This year the WFEE Road Race has gone virtual! Walk or run anytime between June 11 and June 20 and raise funds to support staff and students in the Winchester Public Schools. You can follow the suggested route or find your own - just make sure you maintain your safe social distance and only race with members of your family not groups of friends. Entry is $20 per person or $40 for a family of any size - and if you have younger kids, the elementary school with the most sign-ups will get $250 to spend on gym equipment. As a bonus, WFEE will select 10 entries at random to win $20 gift certificates to Winchester businesses - so even if you don't have a winning time you could still walk away with a prize!
Register now for this fun way to get out of the house and support your community - go to https://bit.ly/WFEERoadRace
Waterfield Sotheby's International Realty is a proud business partner of the Winchester Foundation for Educational Excellence (WFEE).
One of the great joys of summer in New England is spending time on the water - swimming, sailing or just soaking up the sun while watching the wildlife. Along with the opportunity for exercise, it's good for the mind and soul. Thanks to the easing of restrictions we have seen local beaches open up, albeit with limited capacity, but you don’t need to travel to the coast to enjoy some aquatic fun this summer. We are fortunate to live in an area with many local ponds and lakes, meaning you can enjoy activities such as fishing, boating or even just strolling alongside the water without traveling far. Here’s our Realtor’s pick of the best spots around.
Located in East Arlington, Spy Pond has a boat ramp for the launch of kayaks, canoes and small motor-craft. There are also opportunities for fishings, and a picnic area and playground for those wanting to stay on land. The pond can be accessed via the Minuteman Bikepath, as well as a small parking lot by Spy Pond field.
Located on Lowell Street in Arlington Heights, the Reservoir Beach includes a filtered / chlorinated swimming area, bathhouse, concession stand and a playground. Typically the beach is open between mid-June and mid-August each year, with residents able to buy a season tag for the family. Day passes are also available. A decision has yet to be made on whether the Res. will open for Summer 2020. Outside the summer there are walking trails around the water which are especially beautiful in the fall.
Upper Mystic Lake is one of the few spots that allows freshwater swimming. During the summer there is a lifeguard at Shannon Beach in Winchester (also known as Sandy Beach), and the beach can be accessed from the parking lot on Mystic Valley Parkway. You can also sail on the lake - there is a boat ramp at the Tuft’s University Boathouse on the Medford side, or if you are lucky enough to be a member of the Winchester or Medford Boat Clubs you can launch from there. You can also row or kayak in the Lower Mystic Lake, and motorized craft without a wake are allowed.
Mystic River Reservation
The Mystic River Reservation in Medford offers opportunities for kayaking and paddleboarding, along with beautiful walks along the banks to admire the changing foliage during the spring and fall.
During the summer, Wright’s Pond is open to Medford residents only and offers a safe bathing spot and a beach, plus a venue for outdoor concerts and entertainment.
Situated close to the center of downtown, Ell Pond in Melrose is a beautiful spot for fishing, walking and enjoying watching the wildlife on and around the water. There is a playground and a dog park along one side with plenty of parking.
Popular with runners and anglers, Horn Pond is located in Woburn on the Winchester line. There is a paved route around the pond suitable for strollers and bikes, plus other rough trails off the main route if you are looking for more of a hike (try the trail to the top of Mt Towanda for great views of the Boston skyline). The main parking lot is located on Pond St, with further parking available along Arlington Road and Sturgis St.
From the Spot Pond Boathouse in Stoneham you can rent a kayak, row boat or canoe, and paddle out to one of the three Spot Pond islands where you can observe birds and other wildlife. There are also learn to sail classes and camps for the kids. This pond is surrounded by extensive walking and biking trails with great views of the water, and there are some great fishing spots for bass and trout too.
Anne Erwin Sotheby's International Realty took over our social media on June 11th for #travelthursday - here's a recap of the gorgeous homes they shared with us from the Southern Maine Seacoast!
Fronting on the Piscataqua River, this outstanding 6 bedroom 5 bath Craftsman style home offers a rare blend of privacy and 480’ of dramatic water frontage. The property is comprised of over 1.5 acres of lush lawns and gardens, stone paths, a crescent-shaped beach, and a deep-water dock with a float that will accommodate a vessel with up to a 9' draft. The sun-filled residence, a 6,850 sq. ft. Arts & Crafts inspired home, was designed to maximize views of its dramatic setting, and has been impeccably maintained. The finishes will catch your eye in every direction with no detail overlooked. Additionally, there is a 1 bedroom in-law apartment located above the garage. The home is conveniently located only a short drive to Kittery and Portsmouth, and the riverfront placement provides direct ocean access by boat.
Enjoy a country-like setting with picturesque open field views, bird watching and wild-life from this beautiful 5 bedroom and 4 bath expanded Cape home, sited on 2.3 acres. An eat-in kitchen with butlers pantry and wet bar, stunning master with en-suite bath and balcony with idyllic views of the rear yard and in-ground pool, a family room hosting a beautiful gas fireplace with adjacent home office, bedrooms with built-ins and walk-in closets, all adorned with well-appointed features - no detail was left out. Only minutes away from the famed Wells and Ogunquit beaches!
Located high above the crashing surf, overlooking the bold Atlantic Ocean, this extraordinary 1.67± acre oceanfront retreat presides over its own rocky peninsula. An expansive deck and an in-ground heated pool facing the water are built out onto the peninsula to take full advantage of the 200± feet of water frontage and breathtaking 180-degree views. The light-infused residence affords an open floor plan and three levels of living space with spectacular views of the crashing surf. Idyllic landscaping and beautifully constructed stone walls allow for a private setting, complete with a granite stairway to a quiet cove and rocky beach.
Built in 1880 and recently completely renovated, this unique 2 family property is a rarity in coveted York Harbor. Enjoy entertaining and the sea breezes on the welcoming farmer's porch or on one of the multiple private patios surrounded by beautiful natural gardens. Combining modern updates with original period details, each side of this charming home has its own unique identity, both are complete with 3 bedrooms, 2+ baths, full eat-in kitchens, living rooms and dining areas. The two units could be converted back into a single residence or live in one side, rent or sell the other as a separate condo, there are many options for this exclusive Harbor property.
Welcome to Bristol Woods. Upon arrival you are enveloped in the extraordinary details of the domed entry opening to a dramatic foyer walled with NYC reclaimed brick and exposed post & beam detail. The estate is full of carefully curated architectural details, from the abundant fenestration, to the exposed ductwork, and a natural light-filled cupola all centered around a floor-to-ceiling dual facing fireplace, graced with granite hearths. Sustainability was a clear focus for the designer and homeowners, with attributes throughout. This award-winning property has been featured in several architectural magazines and is just too special to miss!
Thank you to Anne Erwin Sotheby's International Realty for sharing these stunning homes with us. For more information on any of the properties shared you can visit their website - anneerwin.com - or get in touch with us for a referral.
Taking a look at real estate activity for the last month, it’s easy to see that the market has picked up considerably. The number of new homes coming on the market has increased dramatically, in some towns doubling or even tripling. With the easing of restrictions making it easier for in-person viewings, we’ve also seen a rise in the number of buyers in the marketplace. On the homes our office has listed this month, across all price ranges, we had numerous showings with serious buyers, resulting in multiple offers on each property. Agents who are working with buyers are reporting the same situation across the board - limited inventory makes for a competitive market.
Even before restrictions were lifted we could gauge the increased interest levels by the rise in visitors to our website. Despite the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic, we know that people are still interested in moving house - our web traffic has been increasing steadily since the end of March and our listings pages have seen exponential growth over the past few weeks. We predict a busy few months ahead, as pent-up demand coupled with fewer available homes pushes the traditional Spring Market into the summer months.
So what does this mean for you? Well, if you were waiting for restrictions to ease before putting your home on the market, you should know that we are now able to facilitate safe in-person showings and open houses. We also have many technology tools at our fingertips to enable buyers to view homes online, cutting the amount of “window shoppers” you might get at an open house. With many serious and motivated buyers out there, interest levels are high across all price ranges. Now is a great time to schedule a listing consultation with an experienced agent - they can take you through a comparative market analysis and discuss how to safely get you moving.