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Somerville Home Sales Down in 2011

After a rough winter, Somerville home sales bounced back toward the end of the year, but overall the numbers were down.

Home sales in Somerville were down by about 11.4 percent in 2011 as compared to 2010.

According to figures provided by the Warren Group, which publishes Banker & Tradesman, 473 single-family homes and condos sold in Somerville in 2011. That compares to 534 in 2010.

The figures do not include sales of multi-family homes, which represent a major slice of the Somerville housing stock. According to figures from a , two- and three-family homes represent about 51 percent of the city's housing stock.

, a real estate agent at Coldwell Banker who writes the weekly "Sold" column on Somerville Patch, said in an email that 163 multi-family homes sold in 2011, compared to 145 in 2010. Those numbers are based on figures pulled from the Multiple Listing Service, a popular real estate database.

A tough winter

Despite the overall drop in home sales in 2011, it appears the housing market in Somerville bounced back slightly in the last half of the year. During the first six months of 2011, home sales were down by 35 percent as compared to 2010.

Some real estate profesionals in Somerville think last year's brutal winter may have impacted home sales in the first half of the year.

"Last winter was one of the worst winters," said Irene Bremis of , based in Teele Square. As a result, "I think we had a late season last year."

She said, "I did a year's worth of business in six months" once all the snow melted.

Bremis said she was expecting another strong spring market this year. That said, it still seems to be a somewhat nettlesome market.

In 2011, when sellers put their home on the market, "A lot of people didn't get what they paid for them, especially if they bought them around 2005," which was near the height of the recent housing market, she said.

Low inventory, pent up demand

What's more, there's "low inventory right now," said Bremis.

Thalia Tringo, of Thalia Tringo Real Estate near Davis Square, also said inventory was low, even though buyers are lining up. She said there's a lot of "pent up demand."

She also felt last winter took its toll on the housing market. "The weather has a huge impact on the market in this part of the country," she said.

Tringo is also expecting this year to mimic last year, with a strong spring market.

Different neighborhoods, different realities

Tringo has noticed the market is different in different parts of Somerville. Areas close to the Red Line, such as Davis Square, Teele Square and Porter Square, have been doing well, but parts of Somerville without that access—Winter Hill, Ten Hills, East Somerville—don't seem to be doing as well.

As a rough illustration of that point, she looked at Multiple Listing Service numbers for Somerville's three zip codes and shared the results with Somerville Patch.

In the 02144 zip code, which includes Davis Square, Teele Square and the Porter Square area, the median price of homes sold in 2011 was $506,500, up from $485,000 in 2010.

Likewise, in 02143, which encompasses Union Square, Spring Hill, Inman Square and the Porter Square area, the median price of homes rose from $402,500 in 2010 to $410,500 in 2011.

However, in 02145—Winter Hill, East Somerville, Magoune Square—the median price of homes dropped from $310,000 in 2010 to $294,700 in 2011.

How does Somerville compare

Across the state, home sales were down by 8.9 percent in 2011 as compared to 2010, according to the Warren Group figures.

  • In Cambridge, home sales were down 4.6 percent in 2011 as compared to 2010
  • In Medford, home sales were down 3.1 percent
  • In Arlington, home sales were down 4.2 percent

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