The MetroWest Economic Research Center (MERC) at Framingham State University collects and analyzes data on housing permits issued and existing home sales for several substate regions. MERC gathers this data from several sources.
Data on new building permits issued for single-family homes are collected by MERC using information from the U.S. Census. When annual data is not yet available, the annual values for permits issued in the cities and towns is estimated using the December year-to-date values. Building permits data for Massachusetts and the United States are sometimes based on estimates published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. (FRBB). MERC researchers also consult many other sources to keep current with housing statistics.
Information on existing home sales is based on data published by The Warren Group for Banker & Tradesman. Most of these data are available from 1988 forward, and were significantly revised in the spring of 2008 in order to better capture market activity. Hence the values in newer MERC publications which reference market activity in previous years are not directly comparable to the values reported in earlier MERC publications. Data are collected on single and multi-family residences sold in the communities studied. Median house price is measured at the 50th percentile in each town; that is, half the homes sold for more than the median price and half sold for less than the median price. Median prices for the regions are estimated. It is important to remember that a change in the median price does not reflect appreciation or depreciation in the value of individual homes. Rather, there is a different mix of homes sold each year.