Plymouth County holds a place in the history of our country unlike any region in America. Plymouth was the site of our country’s first Thanksgiving Feast in 1620, as the Pilgrims arrived and established the first colony in the new world. The town of Plymouth was the first municipality established in the founding of New England and one of the oldest in our country. The Town of Plymouth served as the capitol of Plymouth Colony until 1691 when The Massachusetts Bay Colony was formed. Plymouth is named after an English city of the same name, Plymouth England.
Plymouth County is the largest municipality in the state and has just over 500,000 residents living in approximately 190,000 homes in 27 cities and towns bordered on the north by Norfolk County and south by Barnstable County (Cape Cod). The County is blessed with miles of waterfront communities and beaches stretching from Quincy to Plymouth along Massachusetts Bay. To the south from Wareham to Fairhaven it borders the shores of Buzzards Bay. Plymouth County is ideally located with easy access to Boston, Cape Cod and both Logan Airport in Boston and Green Airport in RI. Proximity-wise Plymouth County and its beautiful small rural towns and amazing coastline communities have always been a top choice for those that work in the metro Boston market.
Plymouth County real estate trends over last year have been looking up to say the least. Plymouth County Registry of Deeds reports that home sales continued to rise for the month of May 2016 with 112 more home sales for the month of May 2016, compared to May 2015. Also every month in 2016 has seen comparable increases of year 2015. So far in 2016, there have been 3666 real estate sales compared to 2866 during the same period in 2015 calculating to a 28% increase in the County. This pace is all the more notable when considering the lower inventory of available homes for sale. While mortgage rates continue to be stable, buyers looking at quality listings are often times bidding over asking prices to insure their offers are accepted.
While coastal communities have always been sought after in Plymouth County, there now seems to be a strong resurgence in many rural communities like Middleboro, Lakeville, Halifax, Plympton and Hanson.
These rural towns offer residents an opportunity to live close to the major metropolitan areas of Boston while enjoying life in a small close knit community. Middleboro real estate median home values climbed from under $190,000 in 2000 to over $350,000, one of Plymouth Counties fastest growing communities along with Lakeville who had 5% growth in four years from 2010 -2014. Along the Eastern Shore of Plymouth County from Plymouth to Hull there are magnificent water view and waterfront
homes and estates, great beaches, fantastic waterfront attractions and restaurants. Plymouth is visited by over 1 million tourists each year who visit the Mayflower and Plymouth Rock. Plymouth is planning a waterfront revitalization project with many improvements along its historic coastline.
In southern most Plymouth County the coastal towns of Wareham, Mattapoisett and Marion border Buzzards Bay overlooking the Elizabeth Islands which separate the mainland from Martha’s Vineyard. All of the Elizabeth Islands are privately owned by the Forbes family from Boston, MA except Cuttyhunk and Penikese which are accessible to the public. Marion is a small town with only 5000 residents and about 2000 households. Cape Cod style architecture is prevalent throughout the new and historic homes in the town.
Homes range from the $200’s to seaside estates priced in the millions. Marion is bordered on the east by Wareham and the west by Mattapoisett along Buzzards Bay. The character and historic charm of these town makes them popular choices for homeowners looking for easy access to the Cape and bordering South coastal cities.
Plymouth County will see increased new home development over the next decade with state sponsored programs for new construction, affordable housing and the need for better planned communities for living and raising families. With a strong market being pushed by Millennials getting into the market and boomers downsizing to smaller more manageable homes that require less upkeep and maintenance in their later years.
The migration of more and more buyers to the South Shore, Plymouth County and the Southcoast will continue as property values and living cost escalate in the metro Boston market. The good news is the greater Boston economy is strong as it rides a three year wave of lower unemployment. This is drawing more people to the area to cash in on the opportunity. The bad news: All these new people need places to live, making the demand for housing rapidly rise. These factors are driving housing cost over $500,000 with a 7.8% increase in the last year alone. Median sales prices for a home in Boston as of May 2016 were $541,000 and this number is expected to increase by as much as 5% by mid 2017. Rents in the metro Boston market are no better, with property tax increases up 15-20% in many areas around the city in the last few years which is driving the rental market.
In the last 3 years both Plymouth and Bristol Counties have seen population growth yearly in many communities. Much of this is attributed to a rapidly escalating cost of housing and living in the greater Boston market. More and more middle class, boomers and millennial workers in Boston are looking south at more affordable housing options in communities that have more open space, a slower pace and lower cost of living overall. Boston’s middle class has been under siege for years trying to cope with shrinking expendable income and surging living cost in and around the city. Where to live is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. If you are planning a family or just looking to downsize in a smaller community, there are endless choices at almost every price point in Plymouth County. With easy access to Boston from the entire region and a number of commuter options, most find the transition quite easy and the open space and quaint towns a refreshing change.
Sharon McNamara is Broker/Owner and Founder of Boston Connect Real Estate with offices in Pembroke and Bridgewater. Sharon prides herself at being a market advisor for her clients. She is the host of “Talk Real Estate Radio on 95.9 FM WATD where she covers market trends and real estate topics weekly. Sharon said,” our firm is about service and connecting our clients with the right properties to fit their life. We specialize in Connecting Boston to the South Shore with complete service to all of Eastern Massachusetts. Navigating our clients through the process of buying or selling their home is what we do best. A market with low inventory often creates emotional decisions that could lead to regret in the end. We advise through the process empowering our clients to make knowledgeable decisions throughout the process of buying or selling”.
Ann has been in real estate for over 20 years in Plymouth County under Mayflower Realty, Prudential Prime and now Berkshire Hathaway Home Services. Ann said, “The market has seen a lot of positives over the last few years. Prices are increasing and inventories are decreasing creating a seller’s market. There are still some foreclosures out there but overall the market is healthy. First time buyer are having a difficult time finding homes in the $200,00 to $250,000 range throughout the region. In addition, the upper end market from $600,000 to 1 million has softened considerably. All in all, we have very positive outlook moving forward through the fall”.
The Kim Dawes & Caty Starr team have only been in the Real Estate business a few years but have become one of the region’s top teams for Jack Conway. Kim said, “Being part of a team gives us the ability to provide better service to our clients helping them buy or sell their home. Our team covers the entire Plymouth County region working out of the Duxbury Jack Conway office. The market is literally crazy right now with so many buyers and limited inventory on the market in most communities. Often times buyers are submitting offers that are thousands over the asking price to increase their chances of getting a home. First time home buyer programs are very strong right now, it is an excellent time to buy your first home. The condo market is very active with some development pre-selling prior to construction. We are seeing more and more buyer coming out of the Boston market with the rapid rise in prices in the city.
Sheri has been 30 years in the real estate industry in the Plymouth County region of Massachusetts. Sheri said, “this is a strong market with lots of buyers out there competing for fewer inventories than we have seen in some time. Higher end listings in the $600,000 and above range are still not seeing great activity, It’s all about value and price in today’s market. The condo market has seen a strong resurgence throughout the region and prices have been up. For first time buyer the challenge is finding quality listings in the $250,000 to $300,000 range that do not require a great deal of updating. Quality listing that are priced in line are drawing a lot of activity and do not last very long in a market like this.”
Mary Jo has been in real estate over 25 years working in the Kingston area of Plymouth County. Mary Jo said, “The market has been very busy over the last few years at almost every price point. The condo market has seen a very strong upswing throughout Plymouth County and prices have increased with the increased demand. My passion is first time homebuyers as I really enjoy the process of getting a first time buyer into their first home. It is a rewarding experience to say the least. I continue to work with many bank owned properties and feel there are better programs than ever to get these homes sold. Over the years I have handled listings from Quincy to Cape Cod and love the Plymouth County region”.