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 tenth in the country in terms of the number of millionaires. It includes urban, suburban and rural areas reaching from urban Cambridge, home of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to the New Hampshire border. Along Route 95/128, towns with high-end real estate include Belmont with its attractive historic Belmont Hill section, Lexington of Revolutionary 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 nineteenth century architecture, substantial farmland and two highly-regarded boarding schools: Groton School and Lawrence Academy.
Active Listings and Sales, $2,000,000+, First Half 2000-2011
In Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in the first half of 2011 the inventory of high-end listings grew to record levels (193 vs.183 listings in 2010). The first quarter of 2011 had experienced a dramatic decrease in high-end listings down to nearly record lows of 130 so the second quarter was particularly active in terms of new listings coming on the market.
First half high-end sales are slightly higher than last year (42 vs. 40 in 2010) and about at average levels for the past 12 years. Peak high-end sales for the first two quarters occurred in 2007 with 61 sales and in 2005 with 60 sales. The first quarter of 2011 started off more strongly than 2010 and several record sales created an optimistic buzz in the brokerage community. While the second quarter did not keep up this accelerated pace and the number of sales is off approximately 30% from the peak, the high-end market in Middlesex County appears to have stabilized at a very healthy level.
Highest And Average Sale, $2,000,000+, First Half, 2000-2011
Sale prices for the first two quarters peaked in 2005 to 2007 at the $6,000,000 to $7,000,000 level with an anomalous $10,000,000 sale in 2008. In 2011, the top sale to date was a record $15,600,000 in Weston. There was another nearly record sale in Weston at $8,350,000. Average first half sale prices have been generally more stable in the range of $2,700,000 to $2,900,000 over the past 10 years. In the first half of 2011 the average sale price was $3,067,976, skewed by these two exceptional sales.
Days On Market, Sales, $2,000,000+, First Half, 2000-2011
Days on market for first half high-end sales have varied considerably over the past 12 years. Average days on market for the first half of 2011 were 197 vs. 216 in 2010, 258 in 2009 and 186 in 2008. The average days on market for the first half over the period 2000-2011 was 194. Despite the continued uncertainty in the market, special properties expertly presented and well priced are selling, but it can take time. Buyers continue to demand value and are leery of projects. Land had been mixed with developers being particularly risk averse.
Sales By Town, $2,000,000+, First Half, 2000-2011
Nine of the 54 cities and towns in Middlesex County, Massachusetts had high-end sales in the first half of 2011. Newton was the leader with 14 sales followed by Weston (8), Cambridge (5), Belmont (4), Lexington (4), Winchester (3), Concord (2), Sherborn (1), and Sudbury (1). For first half sales over the period 2000-2011, the leaders are Weston (134), Newton (116), Cambridge (76), Concord (49), and Lexington (38), and Lincoln (22). On a population-adjusted basis, Weston remains the sales leader followed by Concord and Lincoln.
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The LandVest High-End Market Watch is a periodic review of select high-end markets in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and the Adirondacks. Market data are collected from Multiple Listing Services and do not include private listings. LandVest makes no representation as to the accuracy of the data and therefore is not responsible for any actions taken as a result of use of or reliance on this information.
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