Massachusetts home prices, especially in the Greater Boston area, have been increasing for about seven or eight years, but not every community experienced rising property values in 2019.
The median price of a single-family home in Massachusetts increased 9.9 percent in December compared to December 2018 and 3.3 percent in 2019 compared to 2018. The median home price was $413,254 in 2019.
The following five towns in the Boston area, among others, bucked the statewide trend and saw median prices decline in 2019, according to data compiled by the Massachusetts Association of Realtors. While single-family home prices have decreased in these five communities, the median prices significantly exceeded the median price across Massachusetts in 2019.
Westborough, Massachusetts – Worcester County
The Town of Westborough is about 35 miles west of Boston, with a population of more than 18,000 (2010 Census). The median price of single-family houses and condominiums in Westborough declined in 2019.
There were 143 single-family homes sold in Westborough in 2019 at a median price of $517,000, a 2.5 percent decrease ($13,500) from 2018. Median home prices also fell in December on a year-over-year basis by 13.7 percent.
The median condo price fell 11.9 percent ($42,203) in 2019 to $311,000 compared to $353,203 in 2018. There were 55 units sold in 2019 and 64 sales in 2018.
As opposed to most of the state, real estate inventory increased in Westborough. While the number of available houses is still quite low, supply in December increased 19.2 percent to 31 homes. The number of months of supply increased by 36.8 percent to 2.6 months.
Wenham, Massachusetts – Essex County
The Town of Wenham is about 25 miles north of Boston and has a little less than 5,000 residents. The median price of single-family homes dipped slightly in 2019.
There were 61 houses sold in 2019, a nearly 30 percent increase from 2018; however, the median price slid 1.4 percent ($9,900) to $690,000. The number of available homes increased by three in December compared to December 2018.
There were only 10 condominium sales in 2019, and condo prices rose 3.2 percent to $438,750. Condo inventory jumped 200 percent in December on a year-over-year basis from two to six available units.
The number of months of condo supply increased by 147.1 percent to 4.2 months.
Duxbury, Massachusetts – Plymouth County
The Town of Duxbury is about 35 miles south of Boston, with a population of about 16,000. The median price of a single-family home fell slightly in 2019, while condos prices rose less than 1 percent.
The median home price declined 1.5 percent ($10,000) to $670,000 on 199 transactions. In December, the median price dropped 19.2 percent to $582,100 on 11 sales.
The median price of a condominium rose 0.6 percent to $425,000 on 31 units sold. There were not any condos sold in December 2019 or December 2018.
Homebuyers do not have much inventory to choose from in Duxbury. The number of houses available dropped 20.9 percent to 34 homes in December, and the number of condominiums available plummeted 54.5 percent to five units.
Walpole, Massachusetts – Norfolk County
The Town of Walpole is about 27 miles southwest of Boston, and it has a little more than 24,000 residents. The median price of both single-family homes and condominiums decreased in 2019 compared to 2018.
Home sales increased by 3.6 percent to 258 closed sales, but the median price fell 2.4 percent ($13,141) to $531,859. There were 17 homes sold in December, and the median price dropped 23.8 percent to $476,500.
Single-family inventory was extremely tight in December, with only one month of supply, a 33.3 percent decline from 1.5 months in December 2018. The number of available houses decreased by 10 to 21 on the market, a 32.3 percent drop.
Condominium sales slipped to 74 in 2019 from 82 in 2018, and the median price declined 6.5 percent ($26,500) to $380,000 from $406,500. Six units sold in December 2019 at a median price of $377,500.
Walpole condo inventory increased significantly from one unit in December 2018 to 17 in December 2019 due to the construction of new condominiums on Pennington Drive.
Westwood, Massachusetts – Norfolk County
The Town of Westwood, which borders Walpole to the north, is about 25 miles southwest of Boston. There are about 16,000 residents in the town. The median price of a single-family house declined in December 2019 and 2019.
The number of single-family sales slipped by 9 to 171 transactions in 2019, and the median price fell 2.1 percent ($16,000) to $761,500. The median price in December dropped 9.2 percent to $650,000 (15 closed sales) on a year-over-year basis.
A new, 100-unit condominium complex on University Avenue resulted in a 6,200 percent increase in condo sales in 2019 in Westwood and a 23.9 percent increase in median condo price ($599,995). There was only one condominium sold in 2018 and 63 unit sales in 2019.
Even with the median sale price slipping a bit in these five towns, homes are still expensive in Eastern Massachusetts, and first-time and experienced homebuyers should wisely choose their buyer representation.