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Cambridge real estate: The less there is, the more they’ll pay

Low housing inventory in Cambridge is causing a feeding frenzy among spring homebuyers.

Henry Aime Amar has a little extra time on his hands this spring. Amar, a realtor at Remax Destiny Cambridge (www.yourguidehome.com) who handles properties in Cambridge and surrounding cities, isn't inactive because of any housing market slump, though. He just sold his last three listings, which had multiple offers at asking price, and even above that. Amar just doesn't have enough properties for the demand.

"As of the end of March, we are experiencing a low housing inventory in Cambridge that most sellers I spoke to find hard to believe," says Amar. "Also, even if it's not as pronounced as Cambridge, this is happening in adjacent cities like Watertown, Arlington and Somerville."

Apart from his own experience, Amar refers to the Boston Association of Realtors website's recent report comparing February 2012's inventory of single-family homes and condominiums in Boston and surrounding cities to those from February 2011. In one year, Cambridge listings dropped almost 50 percent.

"It shows a decline of 49.3 percent in Cambridge, 23 percent in Boston, 29 percent in Watertown, 28 percent in Arlington and 23 percent in Somerville," quotes Amar. "This has direct consequences and we see huge traffic at first open houses, and we see multiple bids at asking price and more. I don't expect this will last, but it's been an astounding start to the year."

The fine print




A shortage of homes on the market might seem like great news for beleaguered sellers, but Amar warns that buyers are demanding a certain criteria:



"Only properties in good shape, in walking distance to transportation and properly priced disappear right away," he says. Also, Amar doesn't expect this buying frenzy to last past June. "A couple of pieces of advice to sellers: Do not wait -- sell now and ask three different brokers for a comparative market analysis, and go with the broker who is aware of this unusual situation and optimistic for the sale of your investment."