How are the sales prices comparing to the town's assessed values in Wellesley in the $600-800K range?

Asked by Rebecca, Wellesley, MA Mon Nov 9, 2009

Some asking prices are well above assessed value and some are even significantly below. I realize recent home improvements can increase the value over assessed. What are the trends for the town?

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Elaine Bannigan’s answer
Elaine Banni…, Agent, Wellesley, MA
Mon Nov 9, 2009
Rebecca, In this price band, the average sales price is 99% of assessed value (based upon 2009 assessments and sales from 01/01/09 through 07/31/09.

For more complete (and accurate) data, visit : and request a September 2009 Pinnacle Report and/or a full chart of assessment:sales price ratios.

best, Elaine Bannigan, GRI, CRS, Owner
Pinnacle Residential Properties, Wellesley
2 votes
In Needham, the average home is in the high &700. I would think Wellesley is much higher
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The Gormans:…, , Wellesley, MA
Mon Nov 9, 2009

I just analyzed the sales in Wellesley in the past 3 months in the price range you specified ($600-$800). Of the 23 properties 6 had a lower sale price versus the assessed and 17 had higher sale prices.

Of the homes that sold below the assessed value the "sale to assessed" range was 75.3%-98.9% and for the ones that sold above the assessed value the range was 101.6%-129.3%.

I have a spreadsheet that I just put together and would be happy to share it with you and then you can analyze the data any way you wish: number of bedrooms, lot size, etc.

I would like to point out, however, that I would not focus on the assessed value. For one thing, this value is revenue based and not market based. Town assessors are not able to visit every single property and evaluate both the interior, exterior and lot amenities and this can result in both over and under assessments.

For instance, one property that sold significantly below the assessed was a home on Maugus Hill. Great neighborhood, great house and on the surface a great lot at 30,000 sf. However, what the assessment did not take into consideration is the lots elevation. Huge drop off in the back yard--while great views, not desirable to many buyers.

On the reverse side there was 4 Ingersoll Road. It is assessed at $738,000 but sold for $785,000 or a 106.37% sale to assessed value. Again, what the assessor was not able to take into consideration was the lot--it was one of the most level and private 15,000 sf lots in the area and was also located on a quiet dead-end side street. My partner and I both listed and sold this home. When determining the price we knew that the location, lot and the flow of the home would have strong appeal.

Hope this helps.......feel free to call me at 339.222.8103 with any questions.

2 votes
Tom and Joan…, Agent, Boston, MA
Fri Dec 11, 2009

For a long time assessed values were simply used as a way for towns to collect revenue for tax purposes and were never intended to represent fair market value. Up until roughly 2000 assessed values in many communities were around 60 to 80% of fair market value. However, when the real estate market started to take off, communities began assessing home for 100% of market value and for a long time assessed value lagged behind fair market value. Rebecca, this all changed in 2005 when the housing market started to turn, and now in many communities the assessed value is significantly higher then the fair market value. In Wellesley the fair market values have held and it has only been in the last 8 months that we have begun to see the prices slipping. Therefore the correlation in the price point you are looking in is not as set in stone as in other communities where the market has been off for a couple of years.

I am a certified buyers agent who has sold 30 homes in the last 12 months and many as a buyers broker. If you would like some further consultation, please feel free to contact me. My website is listed below. Best of luck.
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0 votes
Evan Walsh, , Wellesley, MA
Mon Nov 9, 2009
To keep it real simple- In Wellesley 43 properties in the $600-$800,000 range closed in the last six months.  73% closed above assessed value and 27% below. The trends are the same as always, Wellesley is always considered a "premier" place to live. This means demand is always high, usually allowing sellers to get close to what they are asking (provided the listing price is accurate). When a property sells under assessed, it's generally because of a less desirable location, or the property is in need of improvements.

Feel free to contact us if you are seeking any further information, we are always happy to help!
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0 votes
Territory.c…, Agent, MA,
Mon Nov 9, 2009
As a rule of thumb, one should never determine the value of a home based on its assessed value. Appraisers use an automated equation to do the assessment which is good but a lot of times it doesn't produce clear hard results. Point is it is worth considering but it is just one piece of the valuation puzzle, and I would argue it isn't the most important piece. The assessed value isn't equated to price out the house instead it is to make sure the town meets their budget obligations.

The relationship between the assessed value and sale prices will require some number crunching (about 30 minutes of work). I will get started on it now ... Email me at: and I will send you all the data privately in an excel form if you want.
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0 votes
Yannis Tsits…, , 01742
Mon Nov 9, 2009
Hi Rebecca,
below is info from MLS for properties listed and are currently active, UAG, or sold in Wellesley,in the last 6 months. Now from here on are the location, style, current interior exterior condition etc. I strongly recommend to hire a Realtor and have them do a market analysis and a spread sheet with all the info pertaining to obtaining the best answer to your question. Good luck, Yanni

Single Family Active Listings: 28 Average List Price: $705,846 Average Market Time: 99.04

Single Family Under Agreement Listings: 10 Average List Price: $714,790 Average Market Time: 38.60

Single Family Sold Listings: 44 Average List Price: $693,780 Average Sale Price: $666,476 Average Market Time: 65.91
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