The Local Real Estate Market in 3 Charts
When you think about it, real estate has 3 elements to it. How much does it cost? How competitive is the market? and Which town is a good place to put my Money? Congratulations, I have all those answers for you in 3 charts.
OK, Now you know the relative cost of every town. If you're looking in Hopkinton, and the house you want is just out of reach, why not try Holliston? Or Southborough? These neighboring towns are - for the moment - a little less expensive, providing some opportunities for the flexible buyer. Want to know how they stacked up last year? That link will help. The summary though is that Ashland made some moves, as did Marlborough, while Upton lost some ground as prices stalled there last year. Overall though, things change slowly on this chart.
How competitive is the market?
Well, let'ts see:
This chart is pretty straightforward. Unlike the first chart, the data here jumps around quite a bit over time, as you can see from the historical snapshots. About the only constant has been Natick at the top - but not this spring. Framingham has moved into the top spot, and readers will know that I have cautioned buyers in Framingham as the market looks awfully frothy to me. Milford and Marlborough I'm sure will surprise some readers, but there are many years where value trumps prestige, and when that happens, towns with amazing values move quickly to right the imbalance. That's why, over a long time horizon, your net gains balance out. But if you want to try to market time the system, you'll need my next chart.
This chart shows you where the most price appreciation has happened since 2012. However - just like your mutual funds - past performance is not a predictor of future results. Paradoxically, the towns that are most likely to have big runs in prices are those that have lagged. Eventually, I'll have a more sophisticated version of this chart - that tracks highs and lows from well defined points - and it's worth noting that starting the tracking in 2012 meant that I missed a lot of appreciation that had happened in many towns from 2010. So use this chart carefully! But you can still glean some useful insights. I have already noted on the blog that Westborough, Southborough, Grafton and Northborough all look to me to be poised to "catch up" while Holliston, Hopkinton, Natick and Medfield are going to start running in to price problems - especially when interest rates start to move.