Sunday, January 29, 2012

Southbridge Home Values Suffer In Comparison to Other Local Communities

Ken O’Brien
Yesterday I published data comparing the relative property tax rates for Southbridge and surrounding communities.
Today we will take a graphic look at the pattern of home sales in the same communities. Over a five-year period, with charts derived from City-Data, it is reasonable to take the trend in home sales and prices as representative of the general health of the housing market in each town.
A cursory review will show that two communities have shown a general downward trend in home values over the five years studied. Those two are Southbridge and Spencer. In Southbridge, however, the rate of decline is much steeper.
Webster shows a downward trend over the period 2006-2007, but this is followed by a stabilization of prices in subsequent years.
Sturbridge demonstrates slightly erratic behavior over the same period, but stabilizing prices thereafter.
Charlton saw a sharp decline in the fourth quarter of 2008, coinciding with the peak of the worldwide financial crisis. This was more pronounced than in any other community studied. Following this aberration, however, Charlton is showing a tendency toward price stabilization.
Dudley’s pattern is somewhat similar to that in Webster, but to a far less dramatic degree.
The remaining smaller communities show high degrees of variability to be expected from smaller sample sizes. Nevertheless these tend to cluster around a fairly stable central trend line.
The clear conclusion is that Southbridge’s property values have suffered a steady decline that is not found to a similar extent or degree in any surrounding community.

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