Beverly Condo Market 2013 Review and 2014 Outlook

The Boston Globe named Beverly one of Greater Boston’s “top spots to live” and the real estate market in 2013 reflected this.

Apart from two years of extraordinary sales activity in 2004 and 2007, overall condo sales in Beverly in 2013 were within about 10% of prior levels. The median price increased 7% in 2013 and was 11% below the 2005 peak.

Let’s look at the numbers.

First sales.

Sources: MLS, Oliver Reports

Sources: MLS, Oliver Reports

Distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – dropped sharply in 2013, and non-distressed sales increased nearly 90% over the last two years.

Source: MLS, Oliver Reports

Source: MLS, Oliver Reports

The last three quarters of 2013 saw a steady move in the median price above the $220,000 level:

Source: MLS, Oliver Reports

Source: MLS, Oliver Reports

In the next table the number in bold shows the highest quarterly median price each year. Note that this varies from year to year, so the fact that the median price in Q3 and Q4 was lower than in Q2 has no significance.

Sources: MLS, Oliver Reports

Sources: MLS, Oliver Reports

One of my consistent themes is that the ratio (ASR) of Assessed Value (AV) to Sales Price (SP) can give a good indication of what is happening to underlying prices. If the ASR is above 100%  that means that properties are selling for less than their AV. Conversely, properties selling above their AV will have an ASR below 100%.

As we all hope out properties are worth more than the AV we look for an ASR below 100% as a positive sign. Remember that AVs are a lagging indicator: the tax bills for FY2014 are based on actual sales in 2012. Thus the 2013 sales data, reported in this review, will be the basis for FY2015 assessments.

What this means is that in a period of falling prices the ASR is likely to be rising. The ASR is the AV divided by the SP: if the SP is falling (prices going down)the ASR will rise. And when prices are rising, when the SP is rising, the ASR will fall.

So what we, as homeowners, want is an ASR below 100% and falling. Let’s look at the ASR for Beverly condos in recent years:

Source: MLS, Oliver Reports

Source: MLS, Oliver Reports

The drop in the ASR in 2013 matched the increase in median price and suggests that the price range of sales was consistent between 2012 and 2013.

Outlook for 2014
Beverly has been working to improve and modernize its schools. A new middle school is in the planning stages and Brad Phillips, Partner/Managing Broker of Harborside’s Beverly office says: “this will be the last piece of the puzzle that will provide Beverly students with completely modernized, state of the art facilities.”

Beverly is a vibrant and exciting city. A tight housing market and strong demand suggest that prices will increase overall in 2014.

See also my Beverly 2013 Housing Market Review

If you are considering buying or selling a home and have questions about the market and/or current home prices, feel free to contact me on 781.631.1223 or andrew@HarborsideRealty.com.

Andrew Oliver is a Realtor with Harborside Realty in Marblehead

Brad Phillips is the Partner/Managing Broker of Harborside Realty in Beverly and can be reached at 978.884.4823 or brad@harborsiderealty.com

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