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25 Hottest Towns in Massachusetts for 2014

The results are in! Of the 351 towns in Massachusetts, our report shows the Top 25 Towns with the largest increases in the number of home sales for all of 2014 compared to 2013, a factor which we use to determine whether a town is becoming a sought-after location for homeowners. This list also provides a look into the future of home prices in these areas. Home prices tend to rise after sales rise. Since we actively sell homes in most of these towns, we enjoy preparing this list on an annual basis to better educate our clients.

Towns had to have a minimum of 200 home sales for the year to be considered for the list. Several of the towns on this year’s list, such as Westborough, Yarmouth, and Hudson, have appeared in our 25 Hottest Towns lists before. Since overall home sales in Massachusetts were down 1% and over 3% nationally for 2014 these towns are on a short list of towns that beat the market and bucked the trend. This speaks volumes for each of these towns and is a good indicator that we will likely see strong price appreciation in them this year.

Here is our list of the 25 most popular towns in Massachusetts Real Estate for 2014:

1. Lowell

Lowell tops our list with 955 home sales for 2014, an increase of 9.5% compared to 2013 when there were 864 sales. Lowell is an affordable place to live with a median price for a home at $202,000, an increase of 6.3% compared to 2013. Lowell is a busy community located in Middlesex County at the intersections of Routes 3 and 495, making it an excellent commuter location. It’s just 45 minutes by car to Worcester, roughly an hour and a half to both Hartford, Connecticut and Providence, Rhode Island, and 45 minutes to Boston. Lowell has open recreational space and parks, as well as cultural attractions such as events taking place at the Tsongas Center on the UMass Lowell campus in-town. The population of Lowell is 108,522, an increase of 1.7% since 2000. The residential tax rate in Lowell is $15.48 per $1,000 of assessed value.

2. Scituate

Scituate comes in second on our list with 317 home sales, an increase of 9.3% compared to 2013, when there were 287 sales. The median price for a home in Scituate is $492,500, an increase of 5% compared to 2013. Scituate is a midsized seacoast town in Plymouth County with a quick 45-minute commute to Boston. It is conveniently located off of Route 3. Scituate boasts several parks and playgrounds, public access beaches with attractions such as the Old Scituate Lighthouse, and conservation lands. The population of Scituate is 18,133 and the residential tax rate is $13.10.

3. Waltham

733 homes sold in Waltham, an increase of 8.9% compared to 2013 when there were 668 sales, puts it at #3 in our list of hottest towns for 2014. The median price for a home in Waltham is $409,250, an increase of 3.6%. Located in Middlesex County, Waltham is just 15 miles west of Boston with easy access to major highways such as Route 95 and the Mass Turnpike, along with Route 2, making it an excellent commuter location. The Beaver Brook reservation, along with Prospect Hill Park and other conservation lands, are located within town for nature lovers, and the semi-urban heart of the city features many restaurant choices. The population of Waltham is 60,632 and the residential tax rate is $13.13.

4. Centerville

A total of 226 homes sold in Centerville in 2014, an increase of 8.6% compared to 2013 when there were 207 sales. The median price for a home in Centerville is $305,000, an increase of 1.6% compared to the previous year. Centerville is a village within the town of Barnstable, located at the neck of Cape Cod. It is about an hour and 15 minutes’ drive to both Boston and Providence, RI. Craigville Beach (a public beach located within town) and several other nature areas offer ample recreation opportunity. The population of Barnstable decreased 5% from 2000 to 2010, to 45,193 residents. The residential tax rate for Centerville is $9.30.

5. Chicopee

In Chicopee, a total of 452 homes sold in 2014, 8.3% more than in 2013 when there were 414 sales. Median home prices in Chicopee have increased 1.9% compared to Q2 2013 to $154,900, keeping it a very affordable place to live. Chicopee is located in Hampden County just outside of Springfield. It has access to routes 391 and the Massachusetts Turnpike, with about a half an hour ride to Hartford Connecticut and an hour and a half to Boston. Chicopee uses the nickname “Crossroads of New England” due to its location near metropolitan areas, and has several large parks and open spaces for recreation. The population of Chicopee is 55,298, an increase of 1% since 2000. The tax rate in Chicopee is $17.54.

6. Bellingham

Bellingham shows up at #6 in our hottest towns list for 2014 with 229 home sales, an increase of 8% compared to 2013 when there were 211 sales.  22 new townhouses were constructed during the year on Crystal Way. Homes in Bellingham sold for an average of $250,000, an increase of 2% compared to 2013. Bellingham is a quiet town located in Norfolk County off of Route 495 along the border of Rhode Island, with a one-hour drive into Boston and a quick half-hour drive to Providence, RI.  There is a golf course open to the public within city limits.  The population of Bellingham is 16,332, an increase of 7% since 2000. The tax rate for Bellingham is $14.66.

7. Plymouth

896 homes sold in Plymouth in 2014, an increase of 7.5% compared to 2013 when there were 829 sales. 19 of these sales were new construction. The median price for a home in Plymouth is $313,500, an increase of 10% over 2013! Plymouth is a the largest town in Massachusetts geographically at 96.5 square miles, located in Plymouth County. With public access beaches and the Myles Standish State Forest within its borders, there is ample opportunity to get outside, along with shopping and dining opportunities. Plymouth is located between along Routes 3 and 3A, is about a 45-minute drive from Boston, and also has a stop on the Kingston/Plymouth commuter rail line into Boston. The population of Plymouth is 56,468, an increase of 9% since 2000. The residential tax rate for Plymouth is $15.54.

8. Grafton

Grafton had 290 home sales during the year in 2014, an increase of 6.62% compared to 2013 when there were 271 home sales. The median price for a home in Grafton is $290,000. Grafton is a smaller town located in Worcester County about an hour away from Boston by car. Grafton is a good location for commuters: it has easy access to the Massachusetts Turnpike, which passes through town. Several open areas and parks in town offer recreational opportunities. The population of Grafton is 17,765 — an increase of 19% from 2000 to 2010, which is the largest increase on our list. The tax rate in Grafton is $16.50.

9. Stoneham

Home sales in Stoneham increased 6.60% in 2014 with 323 homes sold, as opposed to 302 in 2013. The median price for a home was $375,000, up 5.6% compared to 2013. Stoneham is located in Middlesex County and has easy access to Route 93, which runs through town, and is adjacent to the intersection of Route 93 with Route 95, putting it north of Boston by about nine miles. Public transit options to Boston are available with just a 4-mile drive to the Oak Grove subway station in nearby Malden. The population of Stoneham is 31,437, down 3.5% since 2000. The residential tax rate in Stoneham is $12.98.

10. Lynn

Lynn rounds out our top 10 list with 798 home sales for the second quarter, an increase of 6.5% compared to 2013 when there were 746 home sales. The median selling price for a home in Lynn was $242,000, up 11.5% — which is the highest increase in the top ten hottest towns! Lynn is located in Essex County just 10 miles north of Boston, is close to Route 1, and has a commuter rail line into Boston, making it a convenient commute to the city. Lynn also has many recreational areas and facilities, including the Lynn Woods, playgrounds, ball fields and an indoor pool facility. The population of Lynn is 90,239, an increase of 1.4%. The tax rate in Lynn is $16.75.

Here are the rest of the hottest towns in Massachusetts ranked 11-25

 

Rank City/Town Median Price Number of Sales Percent Change Price Change
 11. Peabody $319,900 537 6.34% 6.63%
 12. Hudson $283,000 252 6.33% 6.79%
 13. Melrose $427,000 410 6.22% 5.20%
 14. Roslindale $379,900 397 6.15% 7.01%
 15. Dartmouth $285,000 268 5.93% 3.64%
 16. Yarmouth $245,000 573 5.72% -2.00%
 17. Everett $315,000 324 5.54% 7.88%
 18. Franklin $344,200 388 5.43% 8.58%
 19. Fitchburg $144,000 369 5.43% 0.70%
 20. Falmouth $375,000 655 5.31% 6.38%
 21. Ashland $330,000 306 4.44% 6.45%
 22. Dedham $379,000 333 4.39% 2.43%
 23. Westborough $415,000 262 3.97% 5.06%
 24. Dennis $273,500 411 3.79% -4.04%
 25. Amherst $278,000 210 3.45% -7.02%

For more information on the Housing Market this year, view our End of Year Housing Report for 2014.

 

All data © 2015 The Warren Group