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10 Hottest Towns in Massachusetts Real Estate

Home buyers chose these 10 towns to move to because of home affordability, their school systems, things to do, outdoor recreation, easy commutes, and overall quality of life. A couple of these towns were even finalists last year for Money Magazine’s Best Places to Live in America.

See 25 Hottest Towns in Massachusetts for Q1 2014

We compared home sales in April 2012 to sales in April 2011* and these towns in Massachusetts really stood out in terms of large increases in both the number of homes sold and the average selling prices.

1.  GrotonGroton MA

Groton tops our list as a town that enjoyed the biggest increase in the number of home sales. Groton saw a 200% increase in the number of homes sold. Most of these were single-family homes, which had an average selling price of $458,630, an increase of almost 90% over last year.

Groton is a quiet community west of Boston with a population of just 10,873 and yet is the largest town in Middlesex County with an area of 32.54 square miles. Groton is a scenic town with views of lush green fields and farmland. Groton is minutes from route 495 and is about an hour’s drive from Boston and half an hour to Nashua, New Hampshire. Groton is home to excellent schools including Lawrence Academy. Groton has some of the largest residences in the region and many of them are historic homes. Just over half of all homes have four or more bedrooms.** Groton’s controlled growth policies have helped the town maintain its small town feel and charm.

2.  PeabodyPeabody MA

There were 126% more home sales in Peabody in 2012 compared to last April for all home types. Single family homes sold for an average of $283,809, an 11% increase over April of last year.

Just 18 miles north of Boston, Peabody is easily accessible from major highways including routes 128, 93, and 95. Peabody has plenty to offer residents including restaurants, the Independence Greenway bike trail and the North Shore Shopping Mall with over 120 stores. There are several large employers here including Analogic and JEOL instruments. You can get a lot of home for your money in Peabody. The average prices for both homes and condos are under $300,000 and are very affordable compared to other cities this close to Boston.

3.  FalmouthFalmouth MA

The seaside town of Falmouth comes in third with an 89.74% increase for the number of sales for all types of homes and an increase of 91% for the number of single family homes sold in April this year compared to last year. A total of 67 single family homes sold in Falmouth last month for an average price $407,493, a 4% increase compared to last year.

There are a variety of home styles to choose from in Falmouth, from cozy Capes to elegant waterfront properties. Falmouth residents enjoy boutique shopping on Main Street, 68 miles of coastline, casual dining spots, and plenty of recreational activities. Falmouth is an hour and a half from both Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, and has ferry service to the Islands.  Every summer Falmouth hosts the Woods Hole Film Festival as well as the Falmouth Road Race, which draws an international field of Olympic and recreational runners who run the scenic 7-mile seaside course.

4.  AbingtonAbington MA

The town of Abington had an 81% increase in the number of homes sold in April of this year compared to last April, and average prices for all home types increased 4%. The average price for a single family home in Abington is $292,449.

Abington is close to route 3 and is about a 35 minute drive to Boston. You can also get to Boston via the Kingston/Plymouth commuter rail which has a stop in Abington. The Ames Nowell State Park is located in Abington, and offers canoeing on Cleveland Pond, hiking on trails, picnicking, and mountain biking. Kids of all ages enjoy going to Barrett’s Haunted Mansion in the fall, and golfers have their choice of either going to the Strawberry Valley Golf Course in Abington or the Rockland Golf Course in nearby Rockland. Abington was a finalist for Money’s Best Places to Live in America in 2011.

5.   Fall RiverFall River MA

Fall River had a 76% increase in the sales all home types, and a 16% increase in average selling prices. There was a 58.8% increase in the number of single family properties sold in Fall River. Fall River is very affordable with homes selling for an average of $150,393. Average selling prices for condos increased almost 55% compared to last April.

Fall River is a large urban community in southern Massachusetts with a vibrant mix of culture and nightlife. Fall River has easy access to route 195 which connects to Providence, Rhode Island and route 495. The University of Dartmouth has two branches in Fall River. Minutes from the bustling downtown area is the Freetown-Fall River State Forest, a 5,441-acre forest with 50 miles of trails for horseback riding, mountain biking and snowmobiling in the winter as well as picnic and fishing areas. Fall River is home to Battleship Cove, an historic museum on scenic Mt. Hope Bay, which harbors the largest collection of preserved US Navy ships in the world.

6.   WatertownWatertown MA

Watertown had a 64.71% increase in home sales. Most of these sales were condos, which increased 183% over last year. The average selling prices for both condos and single families in Watertown increased as well: 17% for single family homes and 3.75% for condos. The average price for a single family home in Watertown is $495,237 and for condos the average price is $337,885.

Watertown enjoys all the advantages of a city and yet is remarkably affordable. It retains a small town feel even with a population of about 32,000. It’s an easy commute into Boston, with access to major routes such as the Mass Turnpike and several MBTA bus lines. Watertown is home to the New Repertory Theatre which is part of the Arsenal Center for the Arts. The Center offers classes, a gallery, and artist studios. Watertown has a variety of casual restaurants including Zagat rated Stellina. Watertown School District ranked in Boston Magazine’s the Top 100 schools in 2011.

7.  WarehamWareham MA

Wareham had a 60% increase in the number of home sales and a 38% increase in average home value. Wareham is very affordable with the average selling price for a single family home going for around $173,209.

Another coastal community, Wareham is close to Cape Cod yet it avoids the heavy traffic associated with crossing the Sagamore and Bourne bridges. People buy vacation homes in Wareham as well as live in Wareham year round. Wareham has access to both interstate 495 and 195 and is about an hour drive to Boston. The Greater Attleboro-Taunton Regional Transit Authority has routes in Wareham connecting to the commuter rail to Boston. Wareham is home to beautiful Onset Beach, home to The Onset Beach Jazz Festival in July.

8.  HaverhillHaverhill MA

Haverhill showed a 58% increase in home sales in April and a 12% increase in average selling price for all home types. The average price for a single family home in Haverhill is $204,096.

Haverhill’s population has increased 3% since 2000. Haverhill is situated northeastern Massachusetts on the Merrimack River and it close to route 495. It is home to several cultural attractions such as the birthplace of the poet John Greenleaf Whittier, and Tattersall Farm, with paths for walking, jogging and cross-country skiing. Many of the old factories in Haverhill have been converted to lofts and are within walking distance of the Haverhill commuter rail into Boston. In the Haverhill Arts District there are several art galleries, antique shops, pubs, and chic bistros. New Hampshire beaches are a short drive from Haverhill.

9.   WorcesterWorcester MA

46% more homes sold in Worcester this April compared to last April, with a 73% increase in single family homes, 31% increase in condo sales, and 9.68% increase in multi-family properties. Single family home average prices increase 4.54% over April last year. The average price for a single family is $170,064.

Worcester is the second largest city in Massachusetts, and has access to the Mass Pike, 290 and 190. It also is on the commuter rail to Boston.  Worcester is home to 12 colleges including Holy Cross and the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The large student population contributes to Worcester’s eclectic nightlife and music scene. There are a number of major employers in the city including UMass Memorial Health Care and Polar Beverages. Worcester has a world renowned art collection at the Worcester Art Museum, and for children there’s the EcoTarium, an indoor-outdoor science museum. There are several parks in the city including Green Hill Park, with over 480 acres with a zoo, picnic areas, a playground, and handball courts. Worcester was a finalist in Money’s Best Places to Live in America last year.

10.  QuincyQuincy MA

The number of homes sold in Quincy in April increased 43% compared to last year, with an increase of 75% in the number of single family homes sold. There was an increase in average selling price for all home types of 3.98%. Average prices for condos increased 20%. The average selling price for a single family home in Quincy is $283,341.

Quincy has been one of the hottest cities in Massachusetts because of its proximity to Boston, major highways, and historic attractions. Its population has grown 4.8% since 2000. Quincy is the birthplace of John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and John Hancock and the Adams National Historical Park offers tours of their homes and the grounds. There are several beaches in Quincy, including Wollaston Beach, a 2.3 mile beach with a walking trails, swimming, and areas for picnicking. Quincy is easily accessible via the MBTA Red Line and is close to route 93 and route 3. It is less than 20 minutes into Boston by car, and 35 minutes by public transportation. Marina Bay in North Quincy has restaurants, shopping, and nightclubs.

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*Lamacchia Realty Housing Report, Copyright ©2012 The Warren Group. All Rights Reserved

**Town of Groton Residential Development Plan 2011