Thinking of Investing in a Cambridge, MA Condo?

External picture of 31 Concord Ave in Cambridge, MA

Cozy Condos in Cambridge

If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a condo in Cambridge, MA as an investment property, now would be a good time to make your move! With the end of the first-time homebuyer tax credit, those who were renting and motivated to purchase have already done so and will be closing between now and July 1st. This will result in more rentals coming on the market over the next couple of months, which is prime rental season for the next influx of college students this fall. College students will most likely be your target tenant, given the preponderance of students and other academics throughout Cambridge. So not only will you want to act fast on purchasing that investment, you’ll want to differentiate yourself, somehow, from the “competition” and make your particular unit the most attractive option available.

Pie chart of Cambridge MA neighborhood rental rates for March thru  May 2010

Cambridge, MA Rent Rates by Neighborhood

Looking at the previous two months rental statistics in Cambridge, the news is encouraging. The average rent compared to the same time last year rose by 10.44% for all of Cambridge (from $2,116 in 2009 to $2,337 in 2010), with some neighborhoods reporting larger gains than others. The two Cambridge neighborhoods with the biggest increases were Cambridgeport with a 65.17% increase in monthly rental amount ($1,750/mo in 2009 to $2,900/mo this year) and East Cambridge with a 17.18% increase ($2,400/mo in 2009 to $2,812.50/mo this year).

Check the chart to the right to see an average neighborhood rental rate for a 1-2 bed condominium with 1 or 2 bathrooms.  As you can see, Kendall Square, East Cambridge, and Cambridgeport are the neighborhoods currently commanding the highest rents, while the most affordable areas remain mid-Cambridge and North Cambridge.  Harvard Square has actually decreased slightly to $1,925/month this year from $2,050/month last year.  Remember, however, these are average prices, and some condos in Harvard Square have recently rented as high as $2,500/month.

Of course, there are other areas in Cambridge that are highly popular, such as Central Square or Inman Square, but they are not always indicated as such in the Multiple Listing Service (my source for this data).  These areas, along with the remainder of Cambridge rentals, are included in the “other” category of the chart.

As you prepare your new condo purchase for rental, you’ll want to somehow differentiate yourself from the other rental units available on the market at that time.  Doing so will definitely help to reduce the average days on market (which most recently was 51.7 days) and get you a paying tenant as soon as possible.  So consider this – a potential tenant, such as a student, will not have a car and may rely heavily on public transit.  So one idea you might consider is to purchase a bicycle and make it part of the rental agreement.  If the tenant agrees and wants to use the bike, you can simply give them the lock combo and off they go.  If they’re not interested, you can always keep the bike parked in the condo basement (most have bicycle storage) and rent it out to other tenants in the building.  This is a great way to “go green” while also being a landlord!

First step, though – find a good condo in a nice neighborhood.  Start by visiting my CyberGreenRealty web site and searching for condos in Cambridge.  If you see anything you like, give me a call and we’ll take a look!

Until next time, Peace!

-TMC

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One response to this post.

  1. […] Thinking of Investing in a Cambridge, MA Condo? May 2010 4 […]

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