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Hottest Towns in Massachusetts in 2015!

Hottest-Towns FINALThe results are in! Our report shows the Top 25 Towns out of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts with the largest increases in the number of home sales which includes single family homes, condominiums and multi-family homes for all of 2015 compared to 2014. The largest percentage increase in sales is the key factor we use to determine whether a city or a town is becoming a sought-after location for homeowners. This list also provides a look into the future of home prices in these respective areas. Home prices tend to rise after the number of sales increase. We enjoy preparing this list on an annual basis since we actively sell homes in most of these towns.

The City or Town must have a minimum of 200 home sales in 2015 to be considered for the list. Several of the towns on this year’s list, such as Fitchburg, Lynn, and Westborough have appeared in our 25 Hottest Towns lists in previous years.

The list is also indicative of the robust growth the Massachusetts housing market experienced in 2015, which was the biggest year for home sales in 9 years. Many positive Mortgage Guideline changes in 2015 aided the housing market and will continue to do so in 2016. Overall sales across Massachusetts were up 9% and prices were up 3.6%. As we reported in our 2015 Housing Report, there is certainly no doubt that the housing market recovery is in high gear.

Here is our list of the 25 most popular cities or towns in Massachusetts Real Estate for 2015:

1. Wayland

Wayland tops our list with 269 home sales for 2015, an increase of 46.2% compared to 2014 when there were 184 sales. The median price for a home in Wayland is $692,000; an increase of 14.2% compared to 2014, and is the greatest increase in median prices for the top ten hottest towns! All condo sales (30 sales total in MLS) occurred in River Trail Place, a new condominium development offering luxury town home style units located in close proximity to Wayland Town Center. Wayland is a peaceful community located in Middlesex County, approximately 20 miles from Boston, and situated at the halfway point between Boston and Worcester. Wayland borders Lincoln, Sudbury, Weston, Framingham, and Natick. The town is known for its award-winning schools, a public beach on Lake Cochituate, a number of parks, playgrounds, conservation lands, and recreational facilities and programs. Among its many notable residents are Tom Hamilton, bass player for Aerosmith, and Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler, who held the first and only rock concert in the history of the Wayland High School field house before the band became known worldwide. The population at the time of the 2010 census was 12,944, a .8% decrease since 2000. The residential tax rate for Wayland is $17.34 per $1,000 in assessed property value.

2. Saugus

Saugus comes in second on our list with 379 home sales, an increase of 45.2% compared to 2014, when there were 261 sales. The median price for a home in Saugus is $335,000, an increase of 4.7% compared to 2014. 14% of all condo sales (50 sales total in MLS) occurred at the Austin Court complex, a multi-building complex that was built in 1964. Saugus is located in Essex County about 10 miles north of Boston with easy access into the city via Route 1. There’s an abundance of shopping, dining, and local organizations in Saugus, and from theatre groups to a River Watershed Council, there’s something for everyone. Camp Nihan is an environmental education center managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation that offers group camping, hiking, and exploration. The population of Saugus at the time of the 2010 was 26,628, and the residential tax rate for 2016 is $12.20.

3. Lawrence

The third hottest town in 2015 is Lawrence with 548 homes sold which results in a 36.3% increase compared to 2014 when there were 402 sales. The median price for a home in Lawrence is $239,000, an increase of 13.8% compared to the previous year. Located in Essex County along the Merrimack River, the City of Lawrence is 25 miles north of Boston. The Mill buildings, striking clock and bell towers, and Great Stone Dam are a tribute to what is known as the nation’s first planned industrial city. Lawrence offers many recreational, historical, and cultural attractions, as well as a wide range of cultural activities and ethnic festivals to celebrate the city’s diversity and rich heritage. As of 2013, the population of Lawrence was 77,657, and the current residential tax rate is $15.51.

4. Leominster

A total of 539 homes were sold in Leominster in 2015, an increase of 35.8% compared to 2014 when there were 397 sales. Leominster is an affordable place to live with the median price for a home at $195,500, an increase of 6% compared to 2014. Leominster is a city in Worcester County, located north of Worcester and west of Boston. Both Route 2 and Route 12 pass through the second largest city in Worcester County. Leominster has a long cultural history, including various theaters, performance groups, exhibits, and entertainment events. There are numerous parks, playgrounds, recreation areas, and open spaces within the city, including the 4,300-acre Leominster State Forest, a popular hiking destination. Leominster High School is known for its long history of excellence in sports. As of the 2010 census, Leominster had a population of 40,759, and the residential tax rate for Leominster is $19.58.

5. Bourne

In Bourne, a total of 346 homes sold in 2015, a 35.2% increase from 2014 when there were 256 sales. Median home prices in Bourne have increased 5.6% from $284,000 in 2014 compared to $300,000 in 2015. 21% of all condo sales (37 sales total in MLS) occurred at The Villages at Brookside, a condominium community adjacent to The Brookside Golf Club, The complex was constructed in the mid 2000’s. Bourne is a quiet medium-sized community in Barnstable County at the gateway to Cape Cod. You must pass through Bourne to get over the Cape Cod Canal and anywhere else on the Cape. The Cape Cod Canal is world renowned for its sports fishing, and offers scenic vistas and relaxing biking and walking routes. The town has numerous quiet harbors and inlets for boating and swimming. As of the 2010 census, the population was 19,754. The current tax rate in Bourne is $10.16.

6. Somerset

Somerset shows up at #6 in our list of hottest towns for 2015 with 230 home sales, an increase of 33.7% compared to 2014 when there were 172 sales. Homes in Somerset sold for an average of $226,000, the same median price as the year prior. Somerset is a waterfront community in Bristol County, located on the western shore of the Taunton River and Mount Hope Bay. The town is 20 miles southeast of Providence, Rhode Island and 44 miles south of Boston. Known for its superior schools, services, and programs, Somerset is a popular destination for home buyers looking for an affordable place to live near the water. The population at the time of the 2010 census was 18,165, and the current residential tax rate for Somerset is $17.51.

7. Hyde Park

Hyde Park makes the list at #7 with 236 homes sold in 2015, an increase of 32.6% compared to 2014 when there were 178 sales. The median price for a home in Hyde Park was $351,000, an increase of 8.7% over 2014. Hyde Park is the southernmost neighborhood in Boston and is home to a diverse range of people, housing types, and social groups. The historic Neponset River runs through the community and small shops and popular restaurants add to the neighborhood’s charm. Hyde Park is part city, part open space and offers a bit of everything. As home to one of Boston’s two municipal golf courses, more than a dozen parks and playgrounds and numerous open spaces. The population in 2014 was 29,219. The numbers show that Hyde Park is on the rise as a popular place to call home. The current residential tax rate for Boston is $11.00.

8. Easthampton

Easthampton had 228 home sales during the year in 2015, an increase of 31% compared to 2014 when there were 174 home sales. The median price for a home in Easthampton is $217,500, a decrease of 3.3% from 2014 when the median price was $225,000. Easthampton is a small city in Hampshire County on the southeastern edge of the Pioneer Valley near the five colleges located in the towns of Northampton and Amherst. There is ample outdoor space for those who love nature and many options for recreational activities like hiking on Mount Tom or biking on the Manhan Rail Trail. Easthampton is known as a sustainable, inclusive, balanced city that is buzzing with a dynamic downtown, popular cultural district, and vibrant neighborhoods. The population as of the 2010 census was 16,053 and the current tax rate in Easthampton is $15.59.

9. Holyoke

Home sales in Holyoke increased 30% in 2015 with 269 homes sold, as opposed to 207 in 2014. The median price for a home was $155,000, down 6.1% compared to 2014 when the median price was $165,000. Holyoke is also the most affordable town in our top 10, tied with Gardner as the two most reasonable towns in our top 25 list. Holyoke is a city in Hampden County that lies between the western bank of the Connecticut River and the Mount Tom Range. The city has a dynamic business sector, and mill sites reminiscent of the city’s rich industrial history. Parks, historic sites, and numerous recreation destinations show the softer side of Holyoke, a natural setting with beautiful scenery. Built on water power, the city continues using “green energy” through the municipally run dam. According to the city’s website, two-thirds of the electricity produced by the Holyoke Gas & Electric is derived from non-greenhouse gas producing, renewable hydroelectric generation resources. As of 2013, the city had an estimated population of 40,249, a 0.4% population change since 2010. The residential tax rate in Holyoke is $19.12 per $1,000 in assessed value.

10. Fitchburg

Fitchburg rounds out our top 10 list with 479 home sales in 2015, an increase of 29.8% compared to 2014 when there were 369 sales. The median selling price for a home in Fitchburg was $158,000, up 9.7% compared to 2014 when the median price was $144,000. Fitchburg is the third largest city in Worcester County, located 25 miles north of Worcester, 50 miles west of Boston, and 15 miles south of New Hampshire. Home to Fitchburg State University, the city is also home to 17 public and private elementary and high schools. Located within minutes of downtown Fitchburg is a 326-acre wildlife sanctuary. There is also the West Fitchburg Steam Line Train, a popular walking and bike path, and scenic Coggshall Park, a Victorian park with miles of wooded trails branching out from Mirror Lake. As of the 2010 census, the population of Fitchburg was 40,318, and the current residential tax rate in Fitchburg is $20.68.

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

Rank City/Town Median Price # of Sales % Change

Sales

% Change Price
 11. Swampscott $400,000 296 29.3% 5.3%
 12. Gardner $155,000 240 28.3% 4.7%
 13. Mashpee $325,000 407 27.6% 3.2%
 14. Weymouth $305,000 856 27.4% 3.4%
 15. Holden $265,000 318 24.7% 7.3%
 16. Lynn $265,000 994 24.6% 9.5%
 17. Stoughton $280,000 382 24.0% -1.7%
 18. East Longmeadow $247,000 202 23.9% 18.2%
 19. Webster $182,000 208 23.1% 1.1%
 20. Charlestown $620,000 460 23.0% 5.1%
 21. Westborough $380,000 321 22.5% -8.4%
 22. Winthrop $352,000 246 22.4% 6.7%
 23. Abington $290,000 232 22.1% 1.8%
 24. Westfield $191,000 422 22.0% -0.5%
 25. West Roxbury $440,000 419 21.8% 8.1%

 

*Data provided by Warren Group & MLSPIN