Blog :: 07-2020

Enjoy the Great Outdoors | Homes Near Notable Hikes

If you've always loved hiking, or recently got into it, you live in the right place! We are fortunate to live in an area with such outstanding natural beauty on our doorstep.  The Middlesex Fells Reservation offers over 100 miles of mixed-use trails in Winchester, Stoneham, Medford and Melrose.   There are hikes of varying length and variety - find out about our favorites in our recent blog, or download a map of the trails at the DCR website. Some of our most recent listings are located close to the Fells and offer enviably easy access to some great hikes.  76 North Border Road in Winchester is directly across from the Fells, and 17 Cranston Road, also in Winchester, is just a short distance from the access points on South Border Road.  In Medford, 27 Circuit Road is within easy reach of some of the most popular trails.  

If you want to take your hiking to the next level, it's an easy drive into New Hampshire where you can enjoy are some more extensive hikes in the White Mountains.  With easy access to the I-93 from homes such as 2 Mill Street in Woburn, you can take on one of the 48 4,000 ft hikes and be back in time for dinner!   

Farther afield, there are many iconic hikes in the United States and across the globe, and our affiliates have homes for sale in some of these renowned locations.  Read on for more details on these stunning homes and get inspired to dig out those walking boots and take a hike!



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    Moving to Woburn | What You Need To Know

    Situated approx 9 miles to the North West of Boston, Woburn is a small modern city with a long history.  First settled in 1640 is it one of the oldest and most historic communities in New England.  During the 1800s the leather industry was booming in this area, and the High Schoolers are still known as the Tanners today.  Modern Woburn is a mixture of quiet residential neighborhoods, vibrant commercial areas and conservation land, offering opportunities for work and play for people of all ages. 

    Due to Woburn’s long history there are examples of many different historical and architectural styles of housing.  Colonial, cape and ranch style single-family homes in neighborhoods such as Salem Street and North Woburn mix with new condo complexes such as Battle March Village and Shannon Farm in Shaker Hill, meaning you are sure to find what you are looking for. The average house price in 2019 was Woburn has 7 elementary schools, 2 middle schools and a high school, serving over 4500 students from pre-K to Grade 12.  Woburn Memorial High School and four of the elementary schools have been renovated or rebuilt in recent years.

    One of the most significant historical buildings is the Baldwin Mansion, first built in 1661, and now home to a restaurant and two award-winning bars.    Woburn has a thriving dining scene, with favorites like Pintxo Pincho Tapas and Ixtapa Mexican Restaurant in the city center, Strega Prime and Sichuan Garden in North Woburn, and family favorites such as Grill 110, Polcari’s and Bickford’s Grille along Washington Street.  There will also be restaurants in the newly redesigned Woburn Village, an open-air mall scheduled to be completed in 2021.  HomeGoods, TJ Maxx and HomeSense have already announced stores there, along with Market Basket.  Other big-box stores such as Target, Kohl’s and Lowe’s can be found here.

    The beautiful Horn Pond conservation area is a popular area for recreation.  There is a paved walkway around the majority of the pond, great for biking or walking/jogging, with many other trails leading off the main route.  Horn Pond Mountain, also called Mt Towanda, is he highest point of the city and has great views back over the pond and across to Boston.  Woburn Country Club, a 9-hole municipal public golf course, backs onto the pond, and the North Suburban YMCA is nearby offering fitness, swim and sports classes for all ages.   

    Woburn has two commuter rail stations - Mishawum, a flag stop on the Lowell - North Station line, and Anderson / Woburn (Anderson Regional Transportation Center), which as well as being on the Lowell line is also a stop on the Amtrak Downeaster route between Boston and Brunswick Maine.  The Logan Express, a bus service to Logan Airport, also departs from Anderson/ Woburn.  There is also a bus service - 354 - that stops at several locations in Woburn before traveling express to State St in the heart of Boston’s Financial District, a great option for commuters.

    Woburn is home to one of the oldest - and largest - Halloween Parades in New England.  The last Sunday in October is Parade Sunday, when up to 80,000 people line the streets to watch the floats in the Woburn Host Lions Parade.  This is also a big homecoming weekend for the returning students.  During the holidays the common across from City Hall is brightly decorated with a nativity scene, and during the Festival on the Common the mayor will read “T’was The Night Before Christmas” before the lights are switched on.  During the summer months, outdoor movies are shown at Library Field and there are outdoor music concerts at Horn Pond.

    Interested to know more about Woburn?  Get in touch with one of our experienced agents.  They can help you pinpoint the right neighborhood for your needs and guide you through the process of finding and securing your dream home!



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      Dive In | 5 Homes with Stylish Swimming Pools

      Another 90 degree day?  A home with a pool seems very appealing right now.  Take inspiration from these gorgeous swimming spots across the Sotheby's International Realty network - and then bring your search closer to home by checking out our homes with pools in the Greater Boston area.  


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        Market Stats Part II - New Listings and Activity in North Suburban Boston

        Last week we focused on the houses sold during June in various towns and cities in North Suburban Boston, and discussed how that was only part of the story. This week we take a look at the other part - how many homes were listed during that month, how many homes accepted offers, and what the inventory is like in your area. During this new normal, these numbers can give us a greater indication of what is happening in the market right now, while sold figures tell us what happened 8-10 weeks ago.



        On the whole, we have seen an increase in the number of listings coming to the market this month compared to May. What is unusual about this is that typically we would see things start to slow down in June, so steady or increasing numbers of new homes coming for sale is a good indication of improved activity. We have been suggesting for a while that there would be a surge in activity once restrictions were lifted, and these numbers seem to bear out that theory. 


        There has also been an increase across the board in the number of accepted offers during June. Again, this shows that buyers have confidence in the market and are keen to make a move. Whether they were planning to move in 2020, or recent events have changed their plans, buyers are out in force and we are seeing more multiple offer situations as demand outstrips supply in certain areas and price points.



        The knock-on effect is that inventory seems low across all our towns and cities.  At the end of June, there were fewer than 16 single-family homes on the market in Arlington, Melrose, Medford, and Stoneham. This creates its own pressures on buyers and reinforces the importance of having an experienced realtor as a partner to help you secure your next home. We do know that there are more homes coming up for sale in the next few weeks - this week alone our office will bring 9 new listings to market - so we expect there to be a lot more activity in July and beyond. 

        If you would like more detailed information about the real estate market in your area, reach out to one of our experienced realtors.  



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          Coming Soon - 208 Ridge Street, Winchester

          Introducing 208 Ridge Street, Winchester.  Listed by I-Ching Katie Scott, this extraordinary historic home is sited on an idyllic half acre and has been restored and reimagined. First designed by 19th-century master builder Dexter Blaikie, this 5+ bedroom, 4 bath home integrates period details with modern design. Cathedral ceilings and wall-to-wall windows create light-filled ease while the warm, open plan of the original great room offers fluidity between the intimate interior and the bucolic landscape.   A flexible wing can act as an office/den or a main floor bedroom.

          The second floor has 4 more bedrooms, the largest with an en-suite bath and a spectacular balcony that overlooks private woods. Bonus lower level with a separate entrance leads to a media room, full bath, and extra bedroom. Full of fabulous features including new air conditioning systems, chef's kitchen, original pantry, wood stove, stone patio, copper gutters, and wall of folding french doors. A stone's throw from the new Vinson-Owen Elementary School and popular local landmark Wright Locke Farm.

          This home will be available for showings later this week - first Open House Saturday, July 18th.  For full details and to schedule a showing contact I-Ching Katie Scott on 617-688-2372. 


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            Open Flame | Five Fabulous Fire Pits That Bring the Heat

            Nothing says summer quite like s'mores, and these fabulous fire pits give you the perfect excuse to make them! The latest blog from @sothebysrealty highlights homes from Cape Cod to California with idyllic backyard fires - we would like to draw your attention to one rather closer to home - 17 Cranston Road in Winchester has a beautiful outdoor hearth, perfect for toasting marshmallows!


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              Market Stats - Real Estate Sales in June

              The sales stats for June in our key towns are rather a mixed bag - not something that makes us marketers happy.  We are looking for some really decisive numbers so we can put together a compelling story.  At first glance, June's numbers don't give us much to write about - no big jumps or drops in list price or sale price to report.  But if you consider where we have come from, these numbers do actually tell a story, and it's a very positive one. 

              The sales that completed in June would mostly have been homes that came to market around 2 months ago, i.e. right in the middle of the pandemic.  Cast your mind back to early April, when no-one was leaving their home and regular life had pretty much ground to a halt, and you can appreciate that the fact these numbers are not showing any huge changes is really remarkable.  Despite everything that our people and towns have been through over the past few months, house prices have remained steady, even increasing in some towns (looking at you Melrose and Woburn).  

              The one change you will notice is that the number of homes sold has decreased, which given the circumstances is to be expected.  However the month on month numbers show that this is steadily increasing, and with the new listings and sales we know are coming up this month we expect this to continue.

              There is always one exception when it comes to stats, and this month it's Melrose.  Melrose is leading the charge for recovery, posting increases in sale prices for the past two months.  Demand is high for Melrose, and this month the total number of homes sold and dollar volume for sales showed an increase year over year, which demonstrates the strength of the market here.  If you want to find out why Melrose has remained popular, read our neighborhood blog.

              While these numbers reflect sales for the past month (which represents activity in April / May), we can also look at the listings taken in June and what has happened to them.  Check back here for our next blog to see what story those numbers will tell us.


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                Ways to Celebrate 4th of July

                How are you planning to celebrate Independence Day?  Although we may not be celebrating in the usual manner, there are still many ways to have fun on this special summer holiday. Our agents have given us their suggestions for safe socially distant ways to mark the occasion.

                Be In The Room Where It Happens

                What better way to mark the Fourth of July than to go back in time and be part of the events surrounding the Declaration of Independence?  Sadly we don’t have a time machine, but thanks to Lin-Manual Miranda and Disney Plus, we can virtually take you there.  From July 3rd, the movie version of the award-winning Broadway musical Hamilton will be available to watch on Disney Plus - but you’ll need a subscription. Mariette Scheele will be watching - “I couldn’t get tickets to the show when it came to Boston so I am excited to finally get the chance to see it”. If historical musicals aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other topical movies to watch - why not set up a backyard movie theater and watch Will Smith save the planet in Independence Day? 















                Festive Food

                A BBQ or cookout is a popular way to mark the holiday, and the experts agree that a small backyard BBQ is one of the safer activities you can do at this time - as long as you are careful and observe the social distancing guidelines. Naomi DeLairre enjoys preparing desserts on a red, white and blue theme, taking the American flag as inspiration.  Strawberries and blueberries are perfect for this, and taste especially delicious if you picked them yourself.  This recipe for a Patriotic Trifle is one of Naomi’s favorites.















                Backyard Games

                Getting outside and playing games is one of the most fun and active things to do this year.  There are many games you can play that keep you at a safe social distance from others - Ides Figueiredo suggests cornhole, backyard badminton, or bocce ball as a fun activity that involves the whole family.  Or why not involve the neighbors in a giant game of tic-tac-toe on the sidewalk? For more ideas check out this article.















                Boston Pops

                One of the traditional 4th of July events for Bostonians, this year the Boston Pops concert will be a little different.  The concert has gone virtual, and is being billed as a “Salute to Our Heroes”, celebrating the work of health-care professionals and other essential workers - the “everyday heroes”.  Jane Byrne says “It wouldn’t be 4th of July without the Pops, so I’m pleased we are able to enjoy their music once again this year”.  Broadcast at 8 pm on Boston’s Channel 7 WHDH, the concert will include musical performances from previous years, plus some newly recorded performance pieces, video messages, and even a pre-recorded fireworks display.  
















                S’mores and Stargazing

                Keeping it simple is often the most fun.  Erica Carson plans an evening sharing s’mores with her husband and dog, and is hoping for a clear night.  “Watching the stars on a crystal clear night by the ocean is as good as any fireworks!”



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