It may seem a bit early to start thinking about the spring, but real estate brokers say the spring market starts to gear up as early as February.
For some, it’s sooner.
“The market was really, really dead before the Christmas holidays, but it always is slow from Thanksgiving to Christmas,’’ said Sasiree Cutter, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Wayland. “But all of a sudden, it has picked up tremendously. People are coming out.”
Suburban brokers selling homes in the $3 million range report a mixed bag, however. Some said business has been steady, if not brisk, but all agree that the pace is sure to quicken soon.
With less competition for homes in the $3 million range, and typically fewer multiple offers coming in on high-end houses, “buyers get to take their time and figure out where their children are going to go school, what the access to the highway is like, and what their commute is going to be like,’’ said Anne Casner, a realtor with Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty.
Properties in the $3 million range in the suburbs are definitely taking longer to sell than those in the city. A recent sampling of units between $2.8 million and $3.2 million in Boston turned up 21 listings that had been on the market for an average of 152 days. By contrast, a sampling of a few dozen suburbs turned up 33 listings in that same price range, but they had been on the market almost twice as long, an average of 292 days.
“The folks who are looking to move into the city and have to wait to sell their homes feel like they’re losing the market, because price points in the city are constantly moving up,’’ said Michelle Easter, vice president at Otis & Ahearn Real Estate.
Some coastal towns have fared pretty well, though, including Marblehead and Scituate, according to brokers in those communities. Here’s a chance to take a peek inside homes there, as well as unique properties in Brookline, Lincoln, and Westwood ...
13 Goldthwait Road
Year built 1958
Square footage 5,429
Baths 4 full, 1 half
Lot size 0.44 acre
Taxes (2017) $27,221
Last sold for $2.5 million in 2008
Imagine opening an unadorned container and finding a sparkling gem inside. That’s what it’s like entering the unassuming facade of this home and finding jaw-dropping views of the Atlantic and, in the distance, Tinkers Island and the Boston skyline. A two-story window wall overlooking the water offers these views from the open living/dining room and some bedrooms upstairs. An extensive 2013 renovation brought a new kitchen with high-end appliances and quartzite counters to this contemporary home. The master suite is up on the third floor, with two walk-in closets and remotely controlled shades. There’s also a potential master on the second floor, where there’s a big bedroom with en-suite bath. And there’s the possibility of installing an elevator, said listing agent Lanse Robb , regional director-North Shore for LandVest/Christie’s International Real Estate in Manchester-by-the-Sea. A loft, with a metal railing, makes a cozy sitting area or den. There’s also a security system, outdoor shower, second-floor laundry, heated garage, and great deck. “It’s a getaway house,’’ Robb said of the property, which abuts conservation land.
Lanse Robb, LandVest/Christie’s International Real Estate, 978-590-0056, www.lanserobb.com
617 Boylston St.
Year built pre-1700
Square footage 6,238
Baths 3 full, 2 half
Lot size 1.13 acres
Taxes (2017) $33,512
John Adams slept here. The second president certainly visited, as evidenced by a letter describing the time spent here with his mother, Susanna Boylston Adams, who grew up in this home. On a hill overlooking Route 9 and a reservoir, this home has been added onto several times in the past 300-plus years, yet it looks remarkably uniform on the exterior. In one section of the home, you’ll see beautiful hand-hewn beams around the fireplace; in another, a small, white, delicate fireplace with pretty tile. The current owner did significant work, such as replacing sills. “It still needs updating, but the unglamorous structural work was done,’’ said listing broker Pauline Ho Bynum. This home boasts beautiful details: millwork, pocket shutters, window seats, a stunning staircase, and wide-plank teak floors with dark pegs. The property includes an additional 15,168-square-foot lot fronting Boylston Street (the home was built by Boylstons) that has a conservation restriction on it, preserving green space and resulting in lower taxes.
Erin Baumgartner, 617-913-1456, and Pauline Ho Bynum, 617-755-1290, Hammond Residential Real Estate, www.paulineanderinteam.myhammondagent.com
19 Glades Road
Year built 1900
Square footage 5,186
Baths 5 full
Lot size 0.39 acre
Taxes (2017) $39,539
Last sold for $2,237,500 in May 2004
This big Victorian with a lovely wraparound porch is one of those houses that everyone knows. Located at about the halfway point along a beachfront street, the home is known to many as the “Grand Dame of Minot.” Minot being this part of town, named for the nearby lighthouse. It’s “one of the last places in Scituate where you have that old-town feel,’’ said listing agent Christine Powers of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Cohasset. The house takes full advantage of its oceanside locale with lots of windows, screens for the porch, a sunroom, a big balcony off the master suite, and a widow’s walk. Old house details abound, including a mantel adorned with carvings of seashells, lots of leaded glass, and an elaborate built-in dining room china cabinet that’s in a class by itself. All this alongside new-house details: an updated kitchen, central air, radiant heat, and Trex decking. A third-floor guest room may make visitors extend their stay. The carriage house, which has a two-bedroom apartment and four-car garage, is available for purchase with this sale for $850,000 . Neither house is in the flood zone.
Christine Powers, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, 781-405-6563, www.christinepowersre.com
10 Sweet Bay Lane
Year built 1997
Square footage 5,038
Baths 3 full, 1 half
Lot size 2.64 acres
Taxes (2017) $34,208
Last sold for $1.6 million in 1999
The broker calls this house a contemporary Arts & Crafts with Asian influences. Located at the end of a lane overlooking a pond with nary a neighbor in sight, it could also be called serenity in a box. The predominance of wood and multitude of windows lend a naturalistic feel. “It’s a very ‘Lincoln’ home,’’ listing broker Sasiree Cutter said. There’s an undulating roof line and beautiful cedar shingles. A hallmark of the home is the consistency of details, large and small. Cabinetry and even the hardware are the same in the kitchen and several baths; a great custom light can be found in several rooms; a decorative adornment on the shed is repeated in the stairwell downstairs. The master is on the first floor; the remaining bedrooms, family room, and an office overlooking the Japanese garden with waterfall are on the lower level. The listing includes a buildable 1.42-acre lot, Cutter said. There’s a screened-in porch, a deck, solar panels, a water filter, and a generator.
Sasiree Cutter, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, 781-307-1855 , www.coldwellbankerhomes.com
397 Nahatan St.
Year built 1932
Square footage 9,292 (includes carriage house)
Bedrooms 7 (including 2 in the carriage house)
Baths 5 full, 3 half (includes 1 full, 1 half in carriage house)
Lot size 8.22 acres
Taxes (2017) $33,869
Last sold for $480,000 in 1985
This is unexpected. An Art Deco house, transformed to bring in elements of a villa, on 8-plus acres. “The brickwork in this house is unbelievable,’’ said Brian Tempel, listing realtor. The owner “brought the Italian villa to an otherwise Art Deco-style mansion.” Art Deco elements that remain include the geometric lines of the exterior, a curving stainless-steel handrail up to the second floor, and, in one bedroom, a sweet Art Nouveau fireplace surround. An incredible series of brick arches and thick balustrades around the pool and one balcony add the villa-esque quality. There’s an abundance of architectural details: arched doorways, built-in shelves and cabinets, six fireplaces, and wainscot. A laundry and four bedrooms, including the master, are on the second floor. But listing realtor Anne Casner said the third floor “feels more like a master suite.” The brokers have used virtual staging to give buyers ideas. A carriage house includes two bedrooms and a five-car garage.
Anne Casner, 781-591-9449, and Brian Tempel, 617-285-5528, Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty, www.westwoodmansion.com