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January 30, 2013

Home sales soaring regionally

Prices still struggling to increase

(Continued)

The same was true of Georgetown, which posted about a 40 percent rise in sales volume, but saw its median single-family home price fall about 3 percent, to $324,900.

But Newbury saw the largest combined gains with 78 homes sold in 2012, a 44 percent increase in sales volume and an 18 percent increase in median prices to $417,000, when compared with 2011. Groveland also enjoyed good news on both fronts, selling 64 homes, up 42 percent, and a rise in median price to $313,326, or 9 percent, as well.

Selling 63 homes in 2012, more than 70 percent above its 2011 total, Salisbury’s median prices went up a tick, by about 2 percent to $255,000.

Salisbury Chief Assessor Cheryl Gorniewicz’s experience this year mimicked Warren’s findings.

“We have seen a lot more sales in Salisbury, and some sales are coming in at or above the properties’ 2013 assessed values,” Gorniewicz said. “Sales have been pretty much across the board and throughout town.”

Gorniewicz said the rebound in prices and activity is good for property owners, especially those who are at their home-equity borrowing threshold.

“Bank appraisals could start to come in higher,” she said. “That could allow people to refinance at a lower (interest) rate.”

For Warren, 2012 signals a much needed change after years of depressing real estate news.

“We have just completed the first year of the recovery in real estate in Massachusetts,” Warren said. “In fact, it was a strong rebound with both sales volume and median prices moving upward.”

Good news

Since the heyday of home sales in 2006, every community in the region has witnessed a significant plunge in value, according to Warren’s 2012 data on median selling prices. Amesbury, for example, dropped from a 2006 high of $329,950 to $251,600 last year, Georgetown from $425,000 to $324,900 and Salisbury from $319,750 to $255,000.

Even Newburyport saw its median home price drop almost $73,000 from 2006 to 2012.

Newburyport real estate broker Jerry Lischke believes Newburyport’s experience during the recent six years was not the norm, since for decades the city had a high demand among those wanting to live in the Clipper City’s unique community, in spite of the market.

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