The smallest town in the Bay State had a staggering number of home sales in 2018.
Single-family homes sold in Nahant swelled by 73 percent, beating every other North Shore community on a percentage basis. There were 45 sales this year, up from 26 a year ago, according to The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman, and the MLS Property Information Network, the Shrewsbury listing service.
“The word’s out and buyers have finally discovered Nahant,” said Karen Canty, a broker at Nahant Associates. “They are finally realizing we are a more affordable waterfront community, compared to Marblehead and Swampscott.”
While home sales rose dramatically in the seaside community of 3,500, prices fell by 15 percent compared to a year ago. The median sale price for a single-family home in Nahant slipped to $530,000, down from $624,000 in 2017.
Annie Wachtel, a sales associate with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage and a Nahant resident, said the town was severely hit by a series of winter storms in March.
“We suffered the worst damage since the blizzard of ’78 and waterfront homes got killed,” she said. “As a result, local brokers in the know told buyers, ‘You don’t want to live there.’ That probably affected prices because a year or two years before, prices would have been higher.”
Nahant was not the only Essex County to enjoy double-digit sales increases over a year ago.
Lynnfield, Revere, Saugus, and Swampscott, had the best of both worlds for sellers as sales volume and prices rose.
Swampscott saw sales rise by 20 percent to 167 this year, up from 139 a year ago while median prices jumped by nearly 11 percent to $575,250 from $519,000 last year.
In Saugus, buyers closed on 318 single-family homes this year, a 15 percent increase from 277 a year ago. At the same time, the median price reached $435,000, up from $405,000, a 7 percent hike.
Lynnfield enjoyed a 14 percent rise in sales as the number of home sales grew to 166, up from 145 last year. Median prices surged by 8.5 percent to $662,000, from $610,000 in 2017.
Lynn also saw an increase in home sales and prices. The number of single-family home sales improved to 634 in 2018, from 622 last year, a 2 percent rise. Median prices rose to $345,000 this year from $320,250 in 2017.
Marblehead saw a modest increase in sales to 236 from 233, a 1 percent hike, while median prices took off to $689,000 this year, from $650,000 a year ago, as 6 percent hike.
Still, not every community in the Item‘s coverage area did well.
While median prices rose in Peabody and Revere, sales fell.
Through December, the number of single-family home sales in Peabody slipped to 411, down from 435 in 2017, a 5.5 percent drop. While sales fell, the median prices rose by nearly 8 percent to $431,000, up from $400,000 last year.
In Revere, sales dropped to 194, down from 217 in 2017, a nearly 11 percent dip, while median prices soared by nearly 14 percent to $425,500, up from $374,000 last year.
Timothy Warren, CEO of The Warren Group, said the year has been all about rising prices.
“Despite some slowing in the number of homes sold in the last year or two, median prices continue to rise on year-over-year basis,” Warren said on his podcast. “We have not seen a decline in median prices for a long time. The last decline was in February of 2016, and before that it was way back in September of 2014. These declines in median are few and far between. We are seeing prices rise and rise.”
Warren attributes rising prices to the continuing demand for homes. The cause for the demand?
“It’s a strong economy,” he said. “A growing economy means more and better jobs. When jobs are plentiful, consumer confidence rises and people are willing to take on the long term financial commitment of a home purchase.”