Interesting post by Scott from Boston.com.
The difference between the biggest winners and losers when it comes to home prices across Massachusetts can be summed up in a single word: jobs.
Cambridge and nearby cities and suburbs dominated the 2014 list of the top ten gainers in home values over the past decade, reports The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman.
The epi-center of the tech and life sciences boom, Cambridge led the way with an 80 percent increase in its median home price since 2005, which hit a lofty $1.2 million in 2014.
By contrast, the top 10 losers in value were all beyond the 128 and 495 beltways in economically struggling parts of the state, distant from the wealth and jobs of Greater Boston and Cambridge.
“Proximity to good jobs seems to be the common thread among the top communities,” Timothy M. Warren Jr., chief of The Warren Group, said in a press release. “Location matters in real estate, and here we see these key communities adding even more in terms of their home values.”
No. 3 was Lexington, at $950,000 after a 34 percent hike, and it’s practically next door to Cambridge and Somerville, separated only by high-flying Arlington.
After Lexington, there’s South Boston, Brookline, Concord, Newton, and Winchester.
By contrast, hard-hit old industrial towns and cities along Route 2 in North Central Massachusetts took the biggest hits to their home values.
Athol led the way down with a 36 percent plunge that lowered its median price to $115,000, followed by Fitchburg, Orange, and Gardner.
Three towns from Central Massachusetts also made the losers list: Warren (No. 4), Southbridge (No. 3), and Barre (No. 8).
Rounding off the list were Randolph, the only town in Greater Boston to make the list of the biggest decliners, and New Bedford.
However, rock bottom prices for homes and other real estate could provide some of the ingredients for a comeback for these communities as well, Warren noted.
“In order for prices to rebound, an economic revitalization in these areas needs to occur,” he said. “With low-cost housing abundant, these communities should be able to attract business relocations and start-ups.”