Are there inexpensive homes in Marblehead?

Marblehead is often described as an affluent town, and with that goes the unspoken – and sometimes spoken – assumption that housing must be expensive.

I spent a happy afternoon recently going through the data on Patriot Properties and came up with some interesting numbers.

Two disclosures: first, the numbers I am using are Assessed Values (AV) for the 2014 Fiscal Year and these are based upon sales during 2012. In my mid-year review I reported that the median sale in the first half took place at about a 12% premium to the current AV.

As a reminder – and as explained in Twenty Questions with Marblehead Assessor  – the FY 2015 tax rate, due to be announced in December, will be based on 2013 sales, while this year’s sales will be used in the FY 2016 assessments.

The second disclosure is that I calculated my numbers manually (and in case you care there are 175 pages of numbers on the Patriot Properties’ website). When I compared my numbers with the official aggregate statistics, however, I found that I was out by just 8 in over 6,000 Single Family Homes (SFH) and by 15 in nearly 1,000 condos. Close enough.

It does depend, of course, on how one defines “inexpensive”, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there are 3,402 SFHs with an AV under $500,000. And almost exactly half of those are under $400,000 ( I abbreviated the table below but can provide on request breakdowns by  hundred thousand. The actual number is 1,511 in the $300-399k bracket and 1,698 in the $400-499k one).

As the table shows 55% of Marblehead’s SFHs have an AV below $500,000 and 88% are below $1 million.

Source:Patriot Properties; Oliver Reports

Source:Patriot Properties; Oliver Reports

In the condo market 84% of the total are below $500,000 AV, with 56% under $300,000, while there are just 2 with an AV greater than $1 million.

Source: Patriot Properties; Oliver Reports

Source: Patriot Properties; Oliver Reports

What does make buying an inexpensive house in Marblehead difficult is that we like our homes so much that we don’t sell very often. In fact, this year will likely see perhaps 240 sales or just 4% of the housing stock.  And currently, there are just 19 for sale under $500,000.

Now you know the make-up of the market with AVs below $1 million, click  here to read about those at $1 million and above.

Andrew Oliver is a Realtor with Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty.

If you  – or somebody you know – are considering buying or selling a home and have questions about the market and/or current home prices, feel free to contact me on 617.834.8205 or

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