Home Values 2015 – What is My Home Worth Now?

With housing prices climbing and inventory shrinking in most towns, I get a lot of questions from clients who are afraid to make the wrong decision when it comes to real estate.

  • Should I wait until things calm down to buy?
  • When should I sell to get top dollar?
  • Is this a bubble? What if I buy and prices tank in a couple of years?
  • Where is the best place to buy?
  • Should I wait to sell? With prices going up I don’t know where I can buy when I downsize (or upsize)

As with most questions in life, the answer is – it depends.  What I will say is this is not a bubble.  10 years ago WAS a bubble caused by banks giving loans to nearly anyone with a pulse.  Since then, the market has gone through its normal cycle of dipping (hard), then climbing back up.  Over time those dips and peaks translate to an upward trajectory of housing prices.

Back in 2010 Boston Magazine created a table of median prices from the peak of 2005 to the slump of 2009 to the beginning of the recovery in 2010.  They also showed the 10 year cycle from 1999 – 2009.  They did this to illustrate that the slump had ended.

To help answer your questions today, I have added the information for median prices today and for 2014.  I have analyzed the market movement from the 2005 peak to today, from the 2009 slump to today and from last year to this year.

HIGHLIGHTS

The bottom of the last slump was 2009.  Of the 180 towns surveyed, only 5 towns are still in the negative from 2009.  Overall, the median growth since then is 20%.

Who were the big winners?  The increase over 10 years is more important than the largest one year increase because it shows how a neighborhood performs over time.  No surprise that the long haul winners are Back Bay, South End and Cambridge.

Largest One Year Increase

Town 2015 2014 One Year Change
2014 – 2015
–Roxbury Condos $449,950 $305,000 47.52%
– Back Bay Condos $1,150,000 $888,500 29.43%
– Charlestown SF $980,000 $770,000 27.27%

 

Largest 10 Year Increase – Peak to Today

Town 2015 10 Year Change
2005 to 2015
– Back Bay SF $8,500,000 211.93%
– South End SF $2,525,000 104.45%
Cambridge SF $1,362,500 104.12%

 

Largest Increase from 2009 Slump to Today

Town 2015 Change from
Slump (2009)
to Today
­­2009
–Roxbury SF $495,000 263.97% $136,000
–Mattapan Condos $143,500 143.22% $59,000
–Dorchester Condos $343,000 118.12% $157,250

 

So, if prices will continue to go up, why sell?  For all the reasons anyone sells – you need to downsize or upsize, or move away for a job, or sell because of a family change.   A house is not a stock investment.  It is the place where you live your life.  If your life circumstance changes, so should your home. Unless you are moving to a different market, what you are going to buy will be going up at the same or faster rate than what you own now.  Most boomers have visions of moving into the city.  If that is your dream, look at the chart and figure out if the neighborhoods you want to live in are growing at a faster rate than where you live now and you will see that waiting is likely not working in your favor.

Challenged Markets

Beacon Hill is hardly challenged.  Over the 10-year period from 2005 – 2015 the median price of a single-family in Beacon Hill is up 28%.  The numbers swing quite a bit on houses in the high-priced neighborhoods because so few sell and the prices are so high.

The clearly challenged market overall is Hyde Park condos.  Yet even those prices are double what they were in 1999.  Given a long enough period of time, everything comes back up.  From 1999 to 2015, all towns grew in value, the least being 25%.  The most being, no surprise, Back Bay Single Family homes at 524% growth.  The median growth is 80%.

So if there are any renters out there wondering if it makes more sense to buy, I would say that if you think you will be moving around, continue to rent.  If you are sticking around for a while, buying will help you to float upward with the real estate market.  Otherwise, expect that dream to drift farther and farther away as real estate prices outstrip your income growth.

Largest One Year Decrease

Town 2015 2014 One Year Change
2014 – 2015
-Hyde Park Condos $156,000 $264,900 -41.11%
Merrimac SF $322,500 $395,000 -18.35%
– Beacon Hill SF $2,552,500 $3,175,000 -19.61%

 

Largest 10 Year Decrease – Peak to Today

Town 2015 10 Year Change
From Peak
(2005) to 2015
2005
-Hyde Park Condos $156,000 -45.64% $287,000
–Mattapan Condos $143,500 -36.22% $225,000
Randolph SF $260,000 -25.71% $350,000

 

Largest Decrease from 2009-2015

Town 2015 Change from
Slump (2009)
to Today
2009
-Hyde Park Condos $156,000 -15.45% $184,500
Halifax $257,693 -7.97% $280,000
North Attleboro $300,500 -6.53% $321,500

 

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