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Cambridge Leads Mass. Towns With Big Upswings In Home Prices

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Ten Massachusetts communities, including two Boston neighborhoods, saw big double-digit gains in home values in the last nine years.

According to a new list compiled by the Warren Group, the 10 communities are Brookline, Belmont, Cambridge, Concord, Jamaica Plain, Lexington, Newton, Somerville, South Boston and Winchester.

Forty-six communities are back above the peak prices they had before the economic crash, the group added.

Cambridge outperformed the rest of the Warren Group's top 10 list, reporting median prices for a single-family home hitting $1.2 million in 2014, up from $667,500 in 2005. That comes out to a 79.8 percent increase in the median price.

The Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plain, which shares a border with Brookline, was the runner-up, seeing prices rise to $700,000 in 2014 from $498,000 in 2005, a 40.6 percent increase.

Lexington and South Boston came in third and fourth, experiencing 34.8 percent and 33.3 percent increases, respectively. In Lexington, the price rose to $950,000 in 2014, while increasing to $545,000 in South Boston, an enclave that witnessed a 44 percent increase in sales along with the growth in price.

Brookline came in at fifth place, with the median price in 2014 reaching $1.48 million from $1.1 million in 2005, a 32.6 percent increase.

Six of the top 10 communities had a 2014 median home price of $899,000 or higher, according to the Warren Group.

"Statewide, the median home price in Massachusetts peaked in 2005 at $355,000. Since then, we have seen 46 communities rebound from the crash in real estate prices and record an increase in the median selling price of homes," Timothy Warren Jr., the Warren Group's CEO, said in a statement. "Proximity to good jobs seems to be the common thread among the top communities. Location matters in real estate, and here we see these key communities adding even more in terms of their home values."

The rest of the top 10, in order, has Somerville (27.2 percent increase), Concord (26.1 percent), Belmont (24.9 percent), Newton (23.8 percent) and Winchester (23 percent). Like South Boston, Lexington, Brookline and Concord saw sales increase with prices.

But others saw decreases in median prices. Athol, in Worcester County, saw the biggest decrease at 36.1 percent, falling to $115,000 in 2014 from $179,900 in 2005.

The communities making up the rest of the list of large median price decreases are Fitchburg (32.23 percent), Southbridge (30.43 percent), Warren (30.23 percent), Orange (29.95 percent), Gardner (29.22 percent), Winchendon (28.04 percent), Barre (27.66 percent), Randolph (27.14 percent) and New Bedford (27.11 percent).

"The extreme decline in median prices in these communities is unfortunate and indicative of the underlying factors occurring in each of these communities," Warren said. "In order for prices to rebound, an economic revitalization in these areas needs to occur. With low-cost housing abundant, these communities should be able to attract business relocations and start-ups."

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