MA Small City Rankings on WalletHub

WalletHub has ranked the best and worst small cities in the U.S.  Lots of positive news for Massachusetts.

Northampton ranked the highest MA town on the overall list at #8.   The rest of the Top 10 are:

  • 14 – Milton
  • 26 – Lexington
  • 105 – Wellesley
  • 120 – Danvers
  • 138 – Saugus
  • 143 – Somerville
  • 150 – Melrose
  • 165 – Newton
  • 171 – Needham

Methodology

To find the best small cities in America, WalletHub’s analysts compared 1,268 cities across four key dimensions: 1) Affordability, 2) Economic Health, 3) Education & Health and 4) Quality of Life. For our sample, we chose cities with a population size between 25,000 and 100,000 residents. Please note that “city” refers to city proper and excludes surrounding metro areas.

Lists on which MA ranked highest.

WalletHub - Most EducatedWalletHub - MIllenials

WalletHub - Highest Percentage with Health Insurance

 Click Here For the Full Breakdown

Other key findings for Massachusetts home buyers –

MA ranked #1 as the best state for education.

  • 9th Happiest State
  • 13th Best State to Have a Baby
  • 5th Best State for Working Moms
  • 21st for Women’s Equality
  • 11th for Nurses
  • 28th for for Doctors

So Massachusetts has a lot going for it. Not the best state for retirement – will cover that in a future blog post.  So that tells me this is a great state for everything from going to college up to retirement, then it might be time to move someplace warmer, less expensive and slow paced (could we actually slow down?).  Whatever phase you are at, if you need help Contact Me.

Michelle J. Lane

MICHELLE J. LANE, Realtor
Century 21 Commonwealth
CELL: 617 584-3904

 

Seller Testimonial – Newton Upper Falls

Michelle was an excellent representative in the sale of our house in Newton. Not only is she incredibly knowledgeable about the real estate market and process, she went above and beyond in getting our house ready for sale, negotiating with buyers agents, and helping us prep for the closing. Having hired her for both the purchase and sale of my home, and after dealing with several other realtors over the years, I would highly recommend Michelle as there was no comparison to Michelle’s quality of service.

Deanna

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

 

Seller Testimonial – Hyde Park

 

Michelle helped sell me my first home. That was a wonderful experience from beginning to end. I felt like her most important client, so I was eager to work with her again when it was time to sell that home.

Michelle impressed me at every stage of the sale. Her expertise was a given, based on my previous experience, but her extra effort, attention to detail, and availability to answer my questions were excellent.

Michelle makes what could be an intimidating process straightforward and successful. Plus, you know that you are never alone, when you work with Michelle. She will be there for you every step of the way.”

Ben Irwin, formerly of Hyde Park, MA 

Seller Testimonial – Newton Upper Falls

 

Michelle Lane is a great broker. She came highly recommended. We were very pleased with her market knowledge. She does an excellent job of analyzing the current market to develop a pricing strategy for your property and implementing it. Michelle is a good listener and works to understand your individual needs during the selling process. In addition, she is very nice person, easy to work with, and make the entire process a pleasure.

Carol, Newton Upper Falls

Seller Testimonial – Newton Auburndale

I can’t thank Michelle enough for all your help in selling my sister’s house.  She was fabulous and very sensitive to the difficult situation of losing my sister.  Made this very easy and we are truly grateful.  She sold the house for a fantastic price with no inspections! It could not have been a better experience.   I would gladly recommend Michelle to anyone looking to sell a home.  

Mary Ellen, Providence RI

Seller Testimonial – Newton Highlands

Michelle, both Mon and I want to thank you for the tremendous effort you put forth in helping us with the sale of the house. You were very smart and strategic but also of immeasurable help with facilitating the whole process of getting out of there. Finally, last but not least, you were always available and always a pleasure to work with. We will definitely recommend you to my niece and her husband when they set out to look for a place to buy!

We are breathing a sigh of relief today; glad that we have moved on to our new life and glad that the Newton house will have great new owners who will care for it and take pleasure in it. Thanks again!    

Sheila Bonnell

Buyer Testimonial – South End

 

I successfully found my dream condo in 2013.   Michelle was fantastic! She really knew her stuff and kept my spirits up during the whole process.

Hilary Hayes, Boston, MA 

Buyer Testimonial – Scituate

Michelle was not only a wealth of information regarding our relocation to the Greater Boston area, but she was patient, accommodating, diligent, hardworking, extremely communicative, and very sensitive to our budget, preferences, and needs. Often times, Michelle knew a house wouldn’t work before we did! Michelle was so wonderful to work with and made the entire buying process a pleasurable one. She ensured that the house we ended up with was a good fit – and it is beyond perfect! Even better than the house we just finished custom building down South! As a family that has moved three times in the last two years and purchased three houses in the last five years, we can honestly say that we have never had such a positive house buying experience. We will definitely refer Michelle going forward and we are eternally grateful to her for helping us find our home.

Colleen, Scituate

Seller Testimonial – Newton Highlands

Well, it’s over. I want to thank you for all your efforts in the sale of 53 Wallace St. You have been an absolute God-send! I feel very privileged to have worked with you.  I’m so glad that we found you and I certainly will keep you in mind if we need your expertise again. You made all of this so easy for us; I appreciate everything you did to make it happen.  A million thanks! 

Betty Verhulst