Watertown’s real estate market booming thanks to life science companies

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This spring, as Massachusetts reopened after the pandemic, Phase I of the Arsenal Yards project was nearing completion and a population eager to get out of their homes flocked to the new destination of Watertown. The mixed-use development offers a balance between retail stores, restaurants, preservation of green spaces, history of the Arsenal, new residences and affordable housing.

Soon, Phase II will consist of the construction of a 12-story, 108,000 square foot life sciences building. And across the street, the 17.8-acre Watertown Mall was recently sold to Alexandria Real Estate for $ 130 million. In short, the need for office space, research and development in the life science industry is the driving force behind Watertown’s development.

The proximity of Watertown to Cambridge and Boston and its available commercial space has been the main reason for these recent megaprojects. However, beyond the sheer luck of the location, the residents of Watertown can be proud of their small town’s deserved success. Watertown enjoys a high percentage of commercial areas within its 4 square miles and very efficient city management. To the envy of neighboring towns, Watertown can build schools on budget, with no tax breaks.

The residents of Watertown have also seen their property values ​​increase. In the past six months, 56 single-family homes have sold for an average price of $ 864,000, or $ 490 per square foot. The best-selling property was 100 Garfield St., which sold in about a week for $ 1.9 million, $ 200,000 more than asking price.

100 Garfield St., Watertown sold for $ 1.9 million

During the same period, 164 condominiums sold for an average price of $ 664,000, or $ 457 per square foot. A condo at 22 Common Street sold for $ 1,200,000, or $ 55,000 above demand in just five days.

22 Common Street, Unit 2 sold for $ 1.260 million

While the trading volume is roughly the same as a year ago, the values ​​are around 30% higher. In the multi-family market, Watertown had 32 properties selling at an average of 2,715 square feet and an average selling price of $ 960,5,000 or $ 354 per square foot. The best-selling multi-family building, 64 Commonwealth, closed at a whopping 32% above demand of $ 1,260,000 in just four days.

64 Commonwealth Road, Watertown sold for $ 1,260,000.

“Salespeople are individuals and families who experience life changes. These are needs-based sales, not people cashing in on their home equity, ”said Bob Airasian, a broker at Coldwell Banker. “Like most of the Greater Boston market, we are seeing properties going above asking price. buyers are motivated by low stocks and low interest rates.

With the highest percentage of millennials in the country, Boston millennials are the lifeblood of the local market. This is particularly true in condominiums, where amenities and living conveniences (laundry room, dog walking, activity trails) are highly valued. You rarely see young couples looking for a top repairman and willing to invest some equity. Most buyers are willing to pay a premium for a well-finished home.

Airasian is a longtime resident of Watertown and co-founder of the 600-member Watertown Business Coalition. He said: “After the dissolution of the Belmont-Watertown Chamber of Commerce, there was a need to support and strengthen the Watertown business community. Our original focus was on small businesses, but commerce exploded. There are currently five or six projects underway, all planning to develop lab space for life science and biotechnology companies. “

It wasn’t that long ago that the financial services industry dominated Boston’s economy. In the 21st century, biotechnology is clearly the forerunner, intended to stimulate economies and lifestyles. Technology has made it possible for financial institutions to work in a distributed fashion, and the pandemic has proven they can reduce their office space. The life sciences, however, have a strong need for in-person collaboration and large modern laboratories. Watertown is well positioned to meet this need and reap the benefits.

Recent sales

  • Single-family home at 119 Russell Ave., Watertown, listed for $ 1.865 million, sold for $ 1.8 million June 28, on the market for 21 days
  • Single-family home at 80 Standish Road, Watertown, listed $ 875,000, sold for $ 1.118 million July 16, on the market for 16 days.
  • Single-family home at 40 Merrill Road, Watertown, listed for $ 919,500, sold for $ 1.150 million on June 7, on the market for three days.
  • Single-family home at 38 Lincoln St., Watertown, listed for $ 1.395 million, sold for $ 1.25 million, on the market for 19 days.
  • Single-family home at 100 Garfield St., Watertown, listed for $ 1.7 million, sold for $ 1.9 million, on the market for 12 days.
  • Condominium at 9 Pearl St., Unit 9, Watertown, listed for $ 1.399 million, sold for $ 1.399 million on February 1, on the market for 61 days.
  • Condominium at 85 Summer St., 85A, Watertown, listed $ 1.449 million, sold for $ 1.434 million on March 16, in the 143-day market.
  • Condominium at 87 Summer St, 87A, Watertown, listed for $ 1.499 million, sold for $ 1.499 million on March 31, in the market for 23 days.
  • Condominium at 63 Holt St., Unit 63, Watertown, listed for $ 1.595 million, sold for $ 1.5 million May 20, on the market for 70 days.
  • Condominium at 18 Bridgham Avenue Unit 18, Watertown, listed for $ 1.525 million, sold for $ 1.5 million on June 28, on the market for 88 days.
  • Multifamily at 134 Cypress St., Watertown, listed $ 975,000, sold for $ 1.1 million May 25, in the market for 23 days.
  • Multi-family at 81-83 Union St., Watertown, listed for $ 1.049 million, sold for $ 1.1 million June 2, in the market for two days.
  • Multi-family at 13 Oakley Road, Watertown, listed for $ 989,500, sold for $ 1.170 million on July 12, in the six-day market.
  • Multi-family at 148 Irving St., Watertown, listed for $ 1.075 million, sold for $ 1.180 million on June 18, in the five-day market.
  • Multifamily at 64 Commonwealth Road, Watertown, listed for $ 948,000, sold for $ 1.260 million on May 3, in the 19-day market.

John Kolis is a longtime Belmont resident, a real estate agent at Coldwell Banker and a frequent contributor to local newspapers. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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