NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

April 9, 2013

Mayor hopeful of improved home sales, values

AMESBURY ­— Declining property values have been a bugaboo for Amesbury since the national housing market collapsed five years ago, but recent trends suggest Amesbury may finally be on the verge of turning the corner.

Job growth, housing sales and new auto sales have all seen growth over the past few months, and Mayor Thatcher Kezer said he believes those trends are indicative of an overall recovery that could result in Amesbury’s property values leveling off this year before rising next year.

A total of 46,887 single-family homes were sold statewide last year, which marked an 18.4 percent increase over 2011 and the highest number of annual sales since 2006, according to the Warren Group, a private company that tracks real estate sales in New England.

More good news came last Tuesday, when reports surfaced that overall auto sales in March had increased by 3.4 percent to 1.45 million compared to a year ago, marking one of the strongest months the auto industry has seen since before the recession.

Amesbury’s real estate trends have been mixed. According to the real estate tracking website Trulia, the median sale price of properties from December 2012 through February 2013 — the latest period available — dropped about 7.3 percent from the previous year period. There have been significant fluctuations in sales prices over the past few years, with the current figures trending upward slightly.

“What’s happening is we’re probably going to see in [this coming] fiscal year the last of the economic downturn’s impact,” Kezer said. “Jobs are up, home sales are up, and car sales are going up, so values are probably going to stabilize for this year and grow next year.”

Kezer’s optimistic outlook comes on the eve of budget season, when members of the City Council are sure to raise questions about the city’s economic outlook and the impact that further changes in property values could have on the tax rate.

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