Middlesex County, Massachusetts, is the most populous county in New England and is located west and northwest of Boston. It contains some of the wealthier towns in Massachusetts and was recently ranked 10th in the country in terms of the number of millionaires. It includes urban, suburban, and rural areas reaching from urban Cambridge, home to Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to the New Hampshire border. Within Route 95/128, towns with high-end real estate include Belmont with its attractive historic Belmont Hill section; Lexington of Revolutionary War fame; Newton particularly the Chestnut Hill area and home to Boston College; and Winchester with wonderful vistas across the Mystic Lakes. Between Route 95/128 and Route 495, along the Route 2 and Route 20 corridors, Carlisle, Concord, Lincoln, Sudbury, Wayland, and Weston are small historic towns that have maintained a sense of their rural past. Sherborn is an anomaly linked more to the neighboring equestrian towns of Dover and Medfield in Norfolk County. Outside Route 495, Groton is notable for its early 19th century architecture, substantial farm land, and two highly-regarded boarding schools: Groton School and Lawrence Academy.
In Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in the first three quarters of 2012 the inventory of high-end listings continued to shrink, slowly but surely, to 146 listings. Last year at the same time there were 154 listings and a record level of 187 at the end of September 2009. The volume of high-end sales through September increased significantly to 92 compared to 63 last year and significantly ahead of the average of 75 sales over the past 12 years. Peak high-end sales for the first three quarters occurred in 2007 with 105 sales. The first quarter of 2012 started off more slowly than 2011 and exploded in the second and third quarters. The second quarter had the best performance since 2004 and the third quarter had the best performance since 2008. It seems that the high-end market in Middlesex County has stabilized at a reasonable level compared to historic levels of inventory and sales. While pent up demand is certainly a factor in this improved performance, sellers are doing their part with more aggressive reductions in prices.
Highest And Average Sale, $2,000,000+, Q1-Q3, 2000-2012
In 2012, the top sale to date is 281 Fairhaven Hill Road in Concord for $8,600,000. Other top sales were 103 Rolling Lane in Weston for $6,500,000, 36 Love Lane in Weston for $6,250,000, and LandVest’s sale of 68 Great Meadows in Concord for $5,264,699. Over the past 12 years the average highest sale was $8,000,000, with a record $15,600,000 sale in 2011 in Weston. Average sale prices have been generally more stable in the range of $2,700,000 to $2,900,000 over the past 12 years. In the first three quarters of 2012 the average sale price was $2,850,723. The distribution of sale prices is highly skewed toward the $2,000,000 level with 75% of sales less than $3,000,000. At the highest end there were 4 sales in the $4-5,000,000 range and another 5 sales above $5,000,000.
Days On Market, Sales, 2,000,000+, Q1-Q3, 2000-2012
Days on market for high-end sales in the first three quarters have varied considerably over the past 12 years. Average days on market through September of 2012 were 150 vs. 183 in 2011, 180 in 2010 and 240 in 2009. The average days on market for the first three quarters over the period 2000-2012 was 176. Despite the continued uncertainty in the market, special properties expertly presented and well priced are selling, but it can take time, although somewhat quicker than in years past. Buyers continue to demand value and are leery of projects. Land has been mixed with developers being particularly risk averse and finding difficulty with financing.
Sales by Town, $2,000,000+, Q1-Q3, 2000-2012
Nine of the 54 cities and towns in Middlesex County, Massachusetts had high-end sales in the first three quarters of 2012. Newton was the leader with a record 33 sales followed by Weston (23), Cambridge (15), Concord (9), Lexington (7), Wayland (2), Belmont (1), Carlisle (1), and Winchester (1). For sales in the first three quarters over the period 2000-2012, the leaders are Weston (242), Newton (234), Cambridge (153), Concord (108), Lexington (63), Winchester (41), and Lincoln (37). On a population-adjusted basis, Weston remains the sales leader followed by Concord and Lincoln.
The LandVest High-End Market Watch is a periodic review of select high-end markets in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hamshire, Vermont, and the Adirondacks. Market data is collected from Multiple Listing Services and does not include private listings. LandVest makes no representation as to the accuracy of this data, and therefore is not responsible for any actions taken as a result of use or reliance on this information.
For additional information about the Middlesex County Real Estate Market, or for additional information about LandVest’s brokerage, real estate consulting and appraisal services, please contact Stewart Young, firstname.lastname@example.org.