PEPPERELL -- Home sales in Pepperell increased at one of the highest rates in the state last quarter, according to a report from McGeough Lamacchia Realty.
The report, which is based on data from The Warren Group, ranked the top 25 Massachusetts towns based on their percentage increases in home sales from the second quarter of 2012 to the same period this year.
Pepperell came in at number eight, boasting an 83 percent increase over that period with a total of 42 homes sold. Only towns with at least 25 homes sold for the quarter were included in the list.
Median home prices in Pepperell also increased by 29 percent over the same time period, to $285,000.
Marguerite McGrail, a spokesman for McGeough Lamacchia Realty, said the increase is a product of many factors, including high demand combined with a limited supply of homes for sale.
"Since the unemployment rate in Massachusetts is below the national average, you have a lot of people coming into the state. In areas like Pepperell with a lot of green space and good schools, they tend to do well. You also get a lot of house for your money in Pepperell," McGrail said.
McGrail said Pepperell's 42 home sales is a high number for a relatively small town, with a population of about 11,500.
McGrail declined to comment on whether the rising demand and prices are reflections of a greater economic trend.
Tim Warren, CEO of the Warren Group, said that while Pepperell is a clear outlier in the rate of increase, more modest increases are happening statewide.
He said the fact that the list features a wide spectrum of towns is encouraging.
"There's a nice mix of towns that are expensive and less expensive, which speaks to the broad improvements. It's not just greater Boston or the rich suburbs or the condos downtown. It's a nice spread of communities and geographic areas and levels of affluence," Warren said.
Roger Goscombe, who owns Century 21 in Pepperell, said the increase is largely a response to pent-up demand. He said when interest rates began to rise slightly, consumers started buying before they rose too much.
He also said Pepperell's location makes it a desirable place to purchase homes.
"Pepperell is a very convenient small town where we are relatively affordable and yet convenient to a lot of very good amenities. We're an hour away from Boston and the airport, an hour from the beach on the North Shore, an hour from Southern Maine, you can even get to Vermont in an hour," Goscombe said.
"And we're in the heart of where there's a lot of economic opportunity and growth with a lot of businesses relocating to southern New Hampshire and the economic boost in Fort Devens. We're very central to those emerging new job growth sectors."
Goscombe said Pepperell's rural atmosphere also makes it attractive to many home-buyers.
"It's a beautiful rural town. We have lots of nice conservation land, farms, trails. It's just a very nice, rural, healthy, clean environment," Goscombe said.
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