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25 Hottest Towns in Massachusetts for the 4th Quarter 2013

We ran a report to find the hottest towns in Massachusetts for Q4! We compiled data provided by The Warren Group that compares home sales for the fourth quarter of 2013 to home sales for the same period in 2012.

The report shows the largest increases in the number of home sales from the fourth quarter in 2013 compared to home sales in the fourth quarter of 2012, a factor which we use to determine whether a town is becoming a sought after location for homeowners. Towns had to have a minimum of 25 home sales for the quarter to be considered for the list.

These towns all have what home buyers are looking for: good schools, plenty of green space, proximity to highways, and affordability.

Here is our list of the 25 most popular towns in Massachusetts Real Estate for Q4:

1.  PalmerPalmer

Palmer tops our list with 42 home sales in Q4, an increase of 75% compared to the fourth quarter in 2012. The median price for a home in Palmer is an affordable $150,000, an increase of 3% compared to the same period the previous year. Located in the Hampden County, Palmer is city, but this small residential community is still called “the town of Palmer.” It is also known as the “Town of Seven Railroads,” and one of the old train stations is now a popular restaurant called the Steaming Tender. Palmer has easy access to the Mass Pike and route 20. The population of Palmer is 12,140.

2.  NorwellNorwell

There were 39 home sales for the fourth quarter in Norwell, an increase of 63% compared to Q4 2012. The median price for a home in Norwell is $545,000. Norwell is a town in Plymouth County and is accessible to Route 3 and is about a 35 minute drive to Boston. Norwell is home to the Norris Reservation along the North River which consists of 2 miles of trails, a pond, and a boathouse. The population of Norwell is 10,506, an 8% increase since 2000.

3. HoldenHolden

Holden made our 25 Hottest Towns list again, moving up from #4 on our list in Q3 2013 to 3rd  in Q4. 69 homes sold in Holden for Q4 2013, an increase of 60.4% compared to Q4 2012. Homes in Holden sold for $244,500, a 19% increase over Q4 of 2012. Located in Worcester County, Holden has an excellent school system as well as a full range of services including public water and sewer. Holden maintains protected open space, including the Trout Brook Recreation Area, with 660 acres of trails for walking, cross-country skiing and mountain biking. The population of Holden is 17,346, an increase of 11% since 2000.

4. SouthwickSouthwick

The town of Southwick comes in 4th on our list with 32 home sales, a 60% increase in the number  of home sales for Q4. The median price for a home in Southwick is $213,000, a 7% increase over Q4 in 2012. Located in Hampden County, Southwick is located in the southernmost town in western Massachusetts, about 20 minutes from Springfield and 35 minutes to Hartford, Connecticut. The population of Southwick is 9,502, an increase of 7.5% since 2000.

5. SturbridgeSturbridge

44 homes sold in Sturbridge for the fourth quarter of 2013, an increase of 57% compared to the same period in 2012. The median price for a home in Sturbridge is $246,000. Sturbridge is best known for Old Sturbridge Village, a living history museum depicting early New England life from 1790-1840 with historians in costume, antique buildings, water-powered mills, and a working farm. Sturbridge is also known as a destination for antique shopping. Shoppers can drive along route 20 to experience some of the best antique and vintage shopping in Massachusetts. The population of Sturbridge jumped 18% since 2000 to 9,268.

6. MattapoisettMattapoisett

Mattapoisett had 31 home sales in the fourth quarter, an increase of 55% compared to Q4 2012. The median price for a home in Mattapoisett is $375,000. Mattapoisett is a coastal town located in Plymouth County on Buzzards Bay.  Route 195 runs through the town as well as route 6, allowing for a short commute to Cape Cod. Mattapoisett is home to Dunseith Gardens which consists of a children’s playground, picnic tables, a gazebo, flower gardens, and a nature walk. There are 6,045 residents living in Mattapoisett.

7. WestboroughWestborough

Westborough moved up from #20 on our Hottest Towns list in Q3 of 2013 to #7 in Q4. Home sales in Westborough increased 54% in the fourth quarter, with 60 homes sold. The median price for a home was $370,000, up 15% compared to the same period in 2012. Westborough is home to Lake Chauncy, which features a beach, playground area, picnic tables, a basketball court and more. Westborough is located in Worcester County and has easy access to routes 495, 9, and the Mass Pike. As of December of 2013, Westborough now has a shuttle from the Westborough commuter rail to the town’s office park, library, senior center, and post office.  The population of Westborough is 18,272, up 2% since 2000.

8. GraftonGrafton

Grafton made our top 10 list for the fourth quarter with 61 home sales, 52.5% more than the fourth quarter in 2012. The median home price for a home in Grafton increased 10% to $285,000. Located in Worcester County, Grafton is conveniently located near the Mass Pike, and has a stop on the Framingham/Worcester line to Boston. The Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University is located in Grafton. The population in Grafton has shown significant growth since 2000; it rose to 17,765, an increase of 19%.

9. West BoylstonWest Boylston

West Boylston moved up to #9 from #11 in our Top 25 Hottest Towns List for the second quarter in 2013. A total of 32 homes sold for the fourth quarter compared to the same period in 2012, an increase of 52.38%. Median home prices in West Boylston have increased 21% compared to the fourth quarter 2012, to $248,800, the highest price increase in our top 10 list. The population of West Boylston is 7,669, a 3% increase over 2000.

10. ActonActon

Acton appeared on appeared in our 25 Hottest Towns list in Q1 of 2013 and is once again in the top 10 for Q4. Acton is a suburban community located 25 miles northwest of Boston. Acton’s population has increased 8% since 2000 to 21,924. Acton-Boxborough High School is ranked one of the top schools according to U.S. News and World Report. The median price for a home in Acton was $390,000.

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

Rank Town/City # Sales % Increase Median Price % Price Change
11. Mattapan





12. Winthrop





13. Lakeville





14. South Hadley





15. Pembroke





16. Lenox





17. Roslindale





18. Gloucester





19. Dorchester





20. Brighton





21. Weymouth





22. Maynard





23. Plainville





24. Andover





25. Charlton





Source: Data provided by The Warren Group. Copyright ©2014 The Warren Group.  All Rights Reserved.

View the 25 Hottest Towns in Massachusetts for the entire year of 2013 

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