Sunday, October 3, 2010

LOCAL NEWS: Wellesley housing 7th priciest in US

Survey: Average cost is $1.08m.

As co-owner of a Wellesley restaurant where business people hatch deals over their scrambled eggs, Charlie Papakonstantinou wasn’t surprised yesterday to hear that the town was named the seventh priciest housing market in the nation.

“It’s one of the premiere towns to settle in because of the school system and history,’’ said Papakonstantinou, a longtime resident who co-owns Maugus Restaurant on Washington Street. “It’s always been that cycle.’’

In a report released yesterday, Coldwell Banker Real Estate surveyed the average prices of four-bedroom, two-bathroom homes among its property listings in nearly 300 markets between February and August.

Wellesley ranked number seven, with an average list price of $1.08 million, behind four cities in California and two in the Northeast, the report said.

“There are great universities around there, beautiful homes,’’ Jim Gillespie, Coldwell Banker’s chief executive, said of Wellesley. “It’s something people aspire to.’’

Newport Beach, Calif., was the most expensive market in the survey with an average listing price of $1.82 million and Detroit was the most affordable, at $68,007.

Other markets with average listing prices higher than Wellesley’s were Palo Alto, Calif.; Rye, N.Y.; San Francisco; La Jolla, Calif.; and Greenwich, Conn.

Springfield was found to be the most affordable community in the Bay State, with an average listing price of $142,048. The other Massachusetts markets listed in the report were Lexington ($774,642), Acton ($656,625), Boston ($627,442), Framingham ($456,304), Barnstable ($378,750), Taunton ($288,156), and Worcester ($279,987).

Robert Shortsleeve, regional vice president for Coldwell Banker, called Wellesley a “destination community,’’ noting easy access to transportation, services, good school systems, and physical beauty as factors in the prices.

“It’s perceived to be better than neighboring towns . . . a perceived and actual quality of life,’’ said Shortsleeve.

Shortsleeve said the study eliminated some neighborhoods by considering only four-bedroom homes. For example, many condos in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood cost as much as homes in Wellesley, but they did not meet criteria for the survey.

Martin Kalisker, broker owner of Weichert Realtors-Synergy in Wellesley Hills, said he was surprised Wellesley was listed higher than other communities in Greater Boston.

While Kalisker said the average price listed for Wellesley in the Coldwell survey is probably right, he said half of his agency’s property listings in Wellesley are for less than $800,000.

“My reaction is that type of information is more harmful to Wellesley than helpful to uninformed consumers,’’ he said.

Katrina Ballard Boston Globe September 23, 2010

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