Average sales for a town can be a good indicator of the 'health' of the real estate market in that town. They should never be used as the only source of information, but should be used in conjunction with other sources of data. The blue bars show the average sales for each year, and the green bars show the average sales for each month of the year.
In the graph for Lexington below, we can see that the average sales for 2013 are the highest they have been in the prior 13 years. There has been a gradual increase in average sale price since 2009. This data shows that Lexington has bounced back from the recent downturn and the average prices are trending upwards.
The graph for Belmont shows that the average sales price for 2013 is fractionally higher than the highest average sales price found in 2006, and is trending upward since 2009. The average sale price of a home sold in February 2013 was far higher than any other average of the year so the graph is compacted.
The graph for Bedford below shows similar characteristics for those of Lexington and Belmont. The average sales price for 2013 is higher than at any time previously. Bedford showed fairly stable average prices over the last 8 years but has shown a significant average sales increase in the last year.
Reviewing the graph for Arlington we can see that this town has definitely rebounded from the real estate downturn, and in fact, didnt really suffer with regard to a drop in the average sales price, only dropping marginally in 2006 and 2007, and the average sales price has been increasing since. This can be also supported by the absorption data for Arlington shows very low absorption rates across all price ranges reflecting the severe shortages experienced in the market.
Winchester's 2013 average sales price shows the same as what we have seen with all of the preceding towns with 2013 being higher than at any other time in the prior 13 years. Since 2009 average prices have been increasing with a large spike in the average price of 2013. This supports the assessment that many of the towns with strong school systems and have a decent commute into Boston have stabilised in prices in recent years, and are now increasing.
The average sales price graph for Bedford shows an example of where the market was certainly suffering more than some of the towns we've reviewed so far. If we now look at the inventorry for Bedford over the same period we see that in 2006 and 2007 the expected seasonality with reduced inventory levels during winter is not seen, telling us that there were a significant amount of homes on the market that 'had' to sell and couldn't wait the winter out to relist again in spring. Interestingly, even though we are not seeing dramatic inventory level declines in the last few years we are seeing the average home price increasing in the last year to peak higher than any prior year. Over the last 5 years we are seeing a 'healthy' seasonality trend.
The graph for Arlington below, shows us what we would expect to see with the market being 'healthy'. Homes on the market in Arlington, if priced well, sell very quickly as the town is a popular one for young families and young couples looking to be close to Cambridge, and with a decent school system. This winter we have seen just over half of the homes on the market typical for a 'normal' winters reduced inventory.
Winchester's graph below, shows consistent inventory trends over the last 5 years, with a dramatic reduction in 2013. The peaks are very similar, the troughs are similar and the timing of the seasonality impact is similar. This shows a very stable, and 'healthy' real estate market with dramatically reduced inventory in the last 12 months.
Its important to reiterate that to determine which town you should spend your money in requires multiple sets of data to be evaluated in conjunction with each other. Small subsets of data will show a 'glimpse' of what may be happening but it is only when everything is considered that the totality of the picture can be gleaned as to the real estate market in a town.
Additional data points can be found at http://www.MAPropertiesOnline.com
If you would like an estimate of what your home would sell for in today's market I would be more than happy to come by, have a look at your home, and then provide a CMA (comparative market analysis) which will provide you with an estimate of what your home should sell for, along with a marketing plan to get maximum exposure for your home.
If you'd like to chat more about the topic presented here, or the Real Estate market in general, then please call me on (617) 997 9145, or email me at Dani.Fleming@MAPropertiesOnline.com.