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The Housing Market - 2020 in Review

2020 was quite a remarkable year in the housing market north of Boston.  As the first lockdown hit in mid-March and we saw the traditional spring market grind to a halt, many of us thought we were looking at an extremely slow year.  Yet we adapted to the new circumstances and pivoted to find new ways to help people move - virtual tours, Facebook Live showings, digital brochures, socially-distanced open houses - all designed to keep everyone safe during the pandemic.  And slowly but steadily our buyers and sellers came back, until by the summer we were as busy as a typical spring. This trend continued and we saw a steady stream of closings right through to the end of the year, as demand continued from buyers in all of our towns. By the end of 2020 there were more single-family homes sold than in 2019 in virtually all our towns.  We also saw average list and sale prices increase, reflecting the high demand for homes in our core areas. Prices were up by 10% or more in Acton and Lincoln.  Homes were also selling quicker, again a reflection of limited inventory.  Days on market dropped by more than 10% in Arlington and Winchester, and offers were received a staggering 32% faster than the previous year in Westford.  An increase in the median price also shows that prices were on an upward turn in towns such as Bedford, Carlisle and Melrose.  At the end of the year, the total market volume had increased by more than 30% over 2019 in Lexington and Lincoln, and by more than 20% in Acton, Concord and Westford.  

So - what do we think this means for the housing market in 2021?  Get in touch if you would like to know more about the housing market in your area.  Our experienced agents are happy to give you a complimentary market analysis to help you decide if now is the time to make a move.  Whatever happens, we will continue to pivot, adapt our business and invest in tools and technology to be able to serve our clients safely and efficiently.   














































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    Pass the Popcorn - Home Movie Theaters that Steal The Show

    Movie Night has become a staple fixture for many families over the past few months, a covid-friendly way to enjoy some quality time together and catch up on the latest movie releases. With the advent of new streaming services such as Disney Plus, and recent blockbusters like Wonder Woman 1984 simultaneously released for home viewing, we need no more encouragement to cozy up in front of the tv with a big bowl of our favorite snacks and indulge for a couple of hours.

    However some homes have taken movie viewing to a whole new level, with a full home cinema set-up for showing the latest releases or old favorites.  From California to Connecticut, these properties feature movie-style seating and top-of-the-range sound and vision to bring an authentic movie-going experience right home.  Visit to see more of these special homes.  Want to get in on the act?  Our latest listing at 22 Warbler Springs Road in Lincoln has its own home theatre ready to entertain the new owners!



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      The Housing Market - December Round Up

      At the beginning of each month, we take a look back at the previous month's figures for a snapshot of the local housing market activity - how many homes sold, how quickly homes went pending, and what happened to list and sale prices.  Over time these numbers help us to understand the trends in the marketplace which can guide us when working with buyers and sellers.  By comparing the figures year to year we hope to eliminate any seasonal changes and get a true indication of the way the market is moving.

      December continued the buck the trend of previous years and gave us a much busier housing market than might be expected at this time of year.  But as we know by now, 2020 was the year we came to expect the unexpected.  Home sales remained strong right to the end of the month and market volume was up significantly across the board.  Prices have continued to increase, and Melrose, Lincoln and Westford saw an over 30% increase in average list price over Dec 2019.  Sold prices were up over 20% compared to last year in Acton and Carlisle as well.  The market is still very fast-paced - days to offer and days to market were down in all our core towns.  In fact, the average time on market was halved in Acton, Bedford, Carlisle, Lexington and Winchester compared to the previous year.  Typically a quieter month, this December saw the number of homes sold increase year over year by more than 50% in Concord, Lincoln and Westford



















































      Thinking of selling your home?  Winter could be a good time for you to make a move.  Reach out to one of our experienced agents for a more detailed analysis of what these numbers mean for your own particular situation.



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        Hall of Flame - Homes with Cozy Fireplaces

        When the winter chill sets in there’s nothing better than cozying up in front of a fire.  Gas or wood-burning, whatever your preference, there is something comforting beyond just the warmth - watching the flames can be calming and almost hypnotic, better than any movie.  That’s why the hearth is often considered the heart of the home, a place to gather, relax and unwind.  A fireplace in the bedroom?  The ultimate luxury!

        Sotheby’s International Realty has some beautiful examples of striking fireplaces, from California to Connecticut, that will delight and inspire you.  Want examples closer to home?  Take a peek at 539 Strawberry Hill Rd, Concord and 251-A Old Billerica Road, Bedford for your own cozy spot to snuggle up with a book and a hot chocolate.







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          Inspirational Dining Rooms Around the World

          Dining rooms have been doing double duty this year - serving as home offices, classrooms, art studios, sewing rooms and more.  We hope that at some point in 2021 we’ll be back to using these rooms for their true purpose - hosting family and friends for celebrations, gatherings and holidays.  To help us look forward to those times, Sotheby’s International Realty has gathered together some examples of inspirational dining rooms from around the globe.  From an historic French villa to a wood-paneled mansion in Montreal, these homes serve to remind us that better times are coming and we can be together with our loved ones again soon. 

          If you are looking for dining inspiration closer to home, take a look at 29 Fern St, Lexington, with multiple dining areas for formal and informal gatherings, 8 Skyview Lane, North Sudbury, which showcases handsome moldings and decorative columns for a traditional look, or 4 Bennington Lane in Lexington, with its striking light fixture giving the space a warm modern feel.


          Image courtesy of Nantes Sotheby's International Realty



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            Let Someone Else Cook for the Holidays

            It’s not laziness, it’s helping the local community!  This holiday season, consider supporting local restaurants that have been severely affected by the pandemic by ordering a to-go holiday dinner.  Whether you want to save your energy for baking in the lead up to the big day, or decide you need a total break from Christmas cooking this year, we’ve got options for you.  Not only will you be doing yourself a favor, you’ll also be helping these restaurants to pay the bills so they'll still be around for future Holidays. There are also take-out options for New Year’s Eve celebrations, so you can say wave goodbye to 2020 in style!

            A Tavola on Church St, Winchester has a Christmas to Go menu - order by 12/19

            Sister restaurant Bistro 5 in Medford also has a Christmas to Go menu - order by 12/23

            Lucia Ristorante Winchester is offering Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve / Day menus - order by 12/20 for Christmas, 12/26 for New Year.

            Farfalle Italian Market in Concord has a special Italian-themed Christmas menu.   Order by 12/18 for pick up 12/24. 

            Woods Hill Table, also Concord, offers a variety of pre-prepared options you can finish at home.  Pick up is 12/23.

            Trail’s End Cafe is offering a Cuban take-out menu for Christmas with a difference!  Pick up 12/24 from 3pm.

            The Inn at Hastings Park in Lexington offers Christmas At Home and New Year’s Eve at home menus.  

            Via Lago, also in Lexington, has catering options for 4+ people - order by 12/19 for pick up 12/24.

            The Capital Grille in Burlington has 3 and 4-course Holidays at Home menus to pick up for Christmas or New Year.  

            The Stones Common House and Kitchen, Stoneham has a Xmas Eve dinner and NYE Cocktail Party to Go!  Order by 12/21

            At Joe’s Marketplace from Not Your Average Joes you can order a glazed ham or turkey feast, as well as other family favorites. (48 hrs notice required).  Locations in Acton, Arlington, Burlington, Waltham.

            Looking for something different from ham or turkey?  Bamboo Fine Asian Cuisine in Westford has special Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve menus.

            Did we miss your local favorite?  Email us - - and we'll add them to the list!

            Photo by from Pexels


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            Holiday Lights - Take a Self-Guided Tour

            There’s something very special about the drive around your neighborhood at this time of year, seeing the beautiful lights and decorations people put up outside their homes to brighten the dark winter.  However, some homeowners have taken it to the next level, with elaborate light displays to rival Clark Griswold! 

            There are even homes whose owners have gone all out, setting their displays to music for the ultimate festive experience.  We’ve asked our realtors for a list of homes in their neighborhood that are worthy of a visit.  So grab the hot chocolate, load the family into the car and take a drive around our towns for a fun, pandemic-friendly activity to mark the season! 

            Belmont - Pleasant Street

            Billerica - Pratt Street, Biscayne Drive

            Concord - Elm Street, Bedford Street / Nancy Road, Virginia Road

            Lincoln - Trapelo Road

            Melrose - Washington Street

            Saugus - Lynn Fells Parkway (16 and 22), Lynn Fell Parkway and Forest (near Target)

            Wakefield - Davey Lane and Woodcrest Drive (tune your radio to the station advertised for the full effect!)

            Wilmington - Concord Street 

            Winchester - Hill Street

            Medford - South Border Road

            Somerville - The Arts Council will release a map on Dec 12th listing all the decorated homes - click here to see the Somerville Illuminations Tour

            Stoneham - Franklin Street, Pearl Street

            Tyngsborough - Town Common (Middlesex / Kendall), Lawndale Farm (91 Frost Road) 

            Woburn - Elijah Street, Shields Street

            (stock images)


            The Housing Market - November Round-Up

            At the end of each month we take a look at the sold numbers to give us a snapshot of the local housing market activity - how many homes sold, how quickly homes went pending, and what happened to list and sale prices.  Over time these numbers help us to understand the trends in the marketplace which can guide us when working with buyers and sellers.  By comparing the figures year to year we hope to eliminate any seasonal changes and get a true indication of the way the market is moving.

            However, as with everything this year, the pandemic has affected the typical pattern of housing market activity.  November is typically a quieter month for house sales, marking the end of the Fall market when homes that were listed in the warmer days of September and October close. This year we are seeing no signs of the market slowing down, and there have been increases across the board in average sale price and median price.  Bedford, Concord, Lexington, Melrose and Winchester have all seen a more than 20% increase in sale prices compared to last November - in Arlington and Melrose sale prices were up over 30%.  Alongside that, days to offer and days on market are down year over year in nearly all our towns.  Homes sold in Arlington and Lincoln averaged just 10 days from listing to accepted offer.  Acton has the shortest days on market - just 19 on average.  The number of homes sold is also up year over year in most towns - Bedford, Lincoln and Westford saw an over 50% increase.   While we may see a slight decline over the next month as the Holidays take over our attention, it's clear to see that market remains buoyant for sellers and competitive for buyers as demand outstrips supply. 

            For a more detailed analysis, and what it means for your own particular situation, reach out to one of our experienced agents



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              Homes for Gathering at a Distance

              Holiday gatherings pose new challenges this season, as we try to balance spending time with loved ones with not putting anyone’s health at risk.  Our Sotheby’s International Realty colleagues have compiled a list of glamorous homes where you can remain safely socially distant while enjoying company - from a spacious 11-acre estate in California to a luxury beachside home in the Balearic Islands.  We were inspired to look a little closer to home, and put forward our own recommendations for homes in Bedford, Concord and Lexington with options to gather more safely and maintain your social distance.

              5 Childs Road in Lexington, a beautiful new construction, has a spacious sunroom leading to a private backyard with an oversized stone patio and a stone fireplace - perfect for the chilly winter evenings.  



              539 Strawberry Hill in Concord features multiple sunrooms and patios for indoor/outdoor gatherings -  throw open the doors to let the fresh air in while enjoying some shelter from the elements.  








              251-A Old Billerica Road, Bedford offers much to keep you and your guests entertained outdoors, with an outdoor basketball court, plenty of wooded trails and a custom treehouse! 








              5 Pickman Drive, Unit 5 in Bedford has a sunroom with floor-to-ceiling windows and a pretty patio that can be accessed via glass doors from the family room, creating a pandemic-friendly gathering spot.  







              For more aspirational homes from across the globe, read the latest blog from Sotheby’s International Realty.



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              Celebrating Thanksgiving in 2020

              Another holiday during the pandemic means another opportunity to find alternative ways to celebrate!  For many, this will mean a very different Thanksgiving for 2020.  CDC Guidelines advise against large, indoor gatherings - indeed, any gatherings with people outside of your household carry the risk of transmission.  However, with a bit of creativity, you can still enjoy the day and get to spend some quality time giving thanks with loved ones.

              Virtual Dinner

              Thank goodness for technology giving us virtual ways to see each other.  On Thanksgiving Day you can set up a video call with your friends or family - get in the kitchen together and prepare your meal, or set them up on a device and seat them virtually at your table. If you are not tech-savvy, don’t forget the power of a phone call to make someone feel connected and included.

              Dinner Delivery

              If you have family who live nearby, or friends and neighbors who you know will be alone, why not prepare their favorite elements of the traditional turkey dinner and drop it off at their house in advance?  Then you can arrange to eat “together” on the day.

              Movie or Game Night

              Family movie night or board games are a great way for people in your household to enjoy themselves. You can also extend this to people outside of your home - several movie streaming services, such as Netflix, offer a way to watch movies together even if you are in separate houses.  There are also apps that enable you to take part in games such as trivia or card games with other households via the internet.  

              Get Outside

              If the weather complies, a good walk is a great way to blow off the cobwebs and work up an appetite!  If you are walking with members of another household, remember to wear your masks and keep your distance.

              Give Back

              As well as giving thanks, the holidays are also a good time to give back.  Food pantries or banks are always grateful for donations of non-perishable items and toiletries -  contact them to find out what they are most in need of.  Or get together with the children and write thank you cards to essential workers that can be safely delivered before or after the holiday.  Another way to mark the holiday is to take part in a gratitude activity - gather people in your household together and share things you are grateful for.  Even in these tough times, it's possible to find reasons to feel thankful this year.



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