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September 3, 2013

Newburyport sees sharp increase in home sale prices

Sharp uptick in price of single-family homes

NEWBURYPORT — The latest statistics on real estate sales show Newburyport is the hottest market in the area, and getting hotter by the month.

The Warren Report, a Boston firm that tracks real estate sales, released its breakdown of year-to-date sales through July, and found that the price of single-family homes sold in Newburyport during that period is $490,000 — a 34 percent increase from the same period a year ago. The number of homes sold was 109, almost the same as the same period a year before.

The upward trend of home prices is escalating. There are currently 28 homes in the city that are under agreement and expected to close in the coming weeks. The median price of those sales is $609,900.

Over the past few years, real estate prices plummeted across the nation in the wake of the 2007 housing bubble burst. Newburyport dipped too, but not nearly as much as the state average. Prices have steadily recovered, then started a notable upward trend in the latter half of last year.

“The logjam began to break last year,” said Jerry Lischke of Stone Ridge Properties, who has worked in the local real estate field for 35 years. “The market here in Newburyport is changing. It’s pretty dramatic.”

Lischke said he’s seen a steady influx of retirement-age buyers who are downsizing and are drawn by the downtown, the pedestrian-friendly nature of Newburyport, the parks, restaurants and other attractions. Many also have family connections to the area.

“That trend has continued over time,” he said.

Amesbury too is seeing an upswing. From January to July, the number of homes sold increased by 44 percent compared to the prior year period. Home prices in Amesbury have been ratcheting upward, reaching $297,500 so far this year. That’s a 22 percent increase from the same period last year. But the upward spike in prices seems to be leveling off for now in Amesbury. There are 19 homes under agreement, and the median price is $299,900.

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