The new issue of City & Town features a chart showing average home values and property tax bills for single-family homes in Massachusetts for fiscal year 2008. (Get the PDF here, or go to the Department of Revenue for community-by-community data.)
Statewide, assessed values fell by 0.73 percent this past fiscal year. As the map below shows, values dropped in most of suburban Boston but rose in the western half of the state. (Boston and several other communities are not counted by the DOR because they have different tax rates depending on whether a property is a primary or secondary residence.) The biggest decline was in Peabody (down 9.7 percent, from $390,000 to $352,000). Sharon, Dedham, Middleborough, and Danvers were the only other communities that fell by more than 6 percent. Amesbury and Franklin were among the biggest places that fell more than 5 percent.
The biggest jump was in Aquinnah, on Martha's Vineyard (up 29.7 percent, from $990,000 to $1.29 million). Tyringham, Alford, Peru, Hawley, and Gill -- all in Berkshire or Franklin counties -- registered the only other increases above 20 percent. Among cities, the largest increase was in Pittsfield, up 13.2 percent to $189,000.
Despite last year's changes, housing is still more expensive in the eastern half of the state, as the map below indicates, but there's an ever-shrinking area where the average value of a single-family home is under a quarter-million dollars. The town of Monroe is the least expensive ($92,000), but Fitchburg, Lawrence, New Bedford, and Worcester are islands of relative affordability in the east. Chilmark is the most expensive community (average value: $1.73 million), followed by Weston and Dover.