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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Houses that keep their value in a downturn

REGION

Housing sales in Boston's blue chip suburbs -- Brookline, Cambridge, Newton and Wellesley -- are falling but the impact on prices has been moderate, according to a report by Hammond Residential's agent, Wendy Matthews, in Chestnut Hill.

Homes in these desirable neighborhoods "are going to sustain less of a blow in a down market," Matthews said. "That's been traditionally true, and it's true now," she said.

In Wellesley, sales declined 10.1 percent between January and August, compared with the same eight months in 2005, but Wellesley's median house price rose almost 1 percent over that period, the report said.

Cambridge sales declined 19.2 percent and prices fell 2 percent; Newton sales fell 15.8 percent, prices down 3.3 percent; and Brookline sales declined 14.4 percent, prices down 1.5 percent.

Cambridge's sales were hit harder, Matthews said, because it is more economically diverse than the others. Wellesley home prices were insulated by a relatively small pool of single-family homes, she said. Prospective buyers in these neighborhoods have about three months left "to get a good deal," she said.

-- Kimberly Blanton

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