Massachusetts and New Hampshire – a Tale of Two States

Massachusetts and New Hampshire - a Tale of Two States

Most of my articles talk about housing, trends, home values, and the desirable lifestyle we enjoy in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region. Recently, I’ve spent some time in our neighboring state, Massachusetts, in the Greater Boston area and some of the suburbs, including Wellesley, Newton, and other popular towns. The landscape is much different from the early 1970s when I worked in Boston at Coopers & Lybrand. There are so many new office towers, luxury apartments, and condominiums that have popped up with towering cranes scattered throughout the city. The economy is on steroids, with so much talent coming from the local colleges and universities, and the “wealth effect” has been crawling up to New Hampshire for decades.

It’s no wonder that 23,605 people moved to New Hampshire from Massachusetts in 2022 making up 47.2% of new residents that moved from another state to New Hampshire. New Hampshire is the number one state to move to from Massachusetts, according to 5ryker.com. Can you believe that California is the second largest influx of residents moving to New Hampshire, with 2,974 new moves into our Granite State? Maine, Connecticut, Vermont, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Colorado followed in that order.  However, the Massachusetts influx is huge. In fact, 25% of New Hampshire residents were born in Massachusetts. This in-migration trend has been a big reason why New Hampshire’s median housing prices have increased 57% from 2019 to 2023. 

I thought it would be interesting to research some of the towns and cities in Massachusetts where residents are relocating from or purchasing a second home in the Lakes Region. What are the real estate values in some of their towns along our southern border? 

It’s fascinating when you see the skyrocketing values and listing prices for some of their tony neighborhoods. While Boston and some of its suburbs were high on the list of expensive communities, the top three were all on the islands. Nantucket, as well as Chilmark and Aquinnah – towns on Martha’s Vineyard- were the top three most expensive communities in Massachusetts, according to storytree.com. All of them have typical home values topping well over $2 million. I looked on Zillow today and found 102 single-family homes listed for sale on Nantucket. That’s a lot of inventory, and it sounds like a surge of property owners are trying to catch the market at the crest of a wave. The highest listed price was $35 million for a 10 bedroom 9 bath 6,875 square-foot home on the harbor. There were many other $30 million, $28 million,  $25 million, and $18 million homes and a bunch more “reasonably” priced from the $4 million-$11 million range. I found one lower range priced at $1.59 million for an in-town cottage, lots of money for a remote island getaway with a long ferry boat ride from the mainland. Last year, we paid $600 for a round-trip ticket with our car on the ferry. Nantucket is a difficult destination if you want to be a weekend warrior.

For communities surrounding Boston, the Back Bay showed a median list price of $3,700,000 last year. Wellesley had a median listing price of around $2,225,000, and Newton reflected a median price of $2,200,000. 

I looked up Wellesley today on Zillow and found 25 single-family homes for sale. I totaled up the listing prices and came up with an average list price of 3,867,659! I saw a split-level home priced at $2,399,000. The lowest price in town was $1,200,000, and the highest was $8,995,000. Pretty hard finding a starter home in this town, so I headed up the road to Weston.

Turns out Weston was even more difficult on Zillow. There were 23 single-family homes listed for sale at an average listing price of $5,821,647. Bring your wallet and then some! The lowest price for a basic home was $1,880,000, and the highest was $13,850,000 for a 7 bedroom, 11 bath, 13,430 square-foot home on 2.11 acres.

Other towns, like Dover, Lexington, Winchester, Needham, Lincoln, Belmont, Concord, Carlisle, ect, were high on the list of median prices, well over $1 million – $2 million. 

In Nantucket, the five-year price change was 53.6% appreciation. In Weston, it was 50.1%. It increased by 45.4% in Lincoln, and in several of the Cape Cod towns, it increased by as much as 72% over five years.

The most expensive home that sold in Massachusetts during 2023 was an estate on, you guessed it, Nantucket for $38,127,000; the 15,332 square-foot mansion boosted 8 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms with two guest houses sitting right on Nantucket Harbor with 3.6 acres and 600 feet of beachfront. This compound sale set a new state record.

In New Hampshire for 2023, the most expensive sale was for $14 million for a waterfront home in Meredith.

So, when you look at Belknap County here in the Lakes Region, the median sales price for a single-family home in 2023 was $447,500. It’s no wonder why residents of Massachusetts are looking at New Hampshire and the coveted Lakes Region. Our prices look much more affordable than those of our southern border state, and the quality of life and natural resources are paramount. It looks like we will see a continual stream of migration into our region, and it’s critical that all of us look toward the future with responsible land use and solid planning for future growth.

This article was written by Frank Roche. Frank is president of Roche Realty Group with offices in Meredith and Laconia, NH, and can be reached at (603) 279-7046. Please feel free to visit www.rocherealty.com to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market.

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