Hello everybody! I’d like to welcome you to a new undertaking here at The Warren Group: The Real Estate Data Geek blog.

As the PR and Social Media manager, it’s my job to prep our reports and press releases about the monthly sales, pricing, and foreclosure data we collect across New England. I know, I know, that sounds incredibly glamorous, but in reality it involves staring at a lot of spreadsheets. I try to connect a few dots for our data clients, the subscribers to Banker & Tradesman and The Commercial Record, reporters for various news outlets across the region, and perhaps most importantly, my boss CEO Tim Warren, Jr., who is the 4th generation of his family to run a business that’s been dedicated to data for 143 years.

My hope is that I can drop a few interesting nuggets of information into this blog at least once a week. I’m a huge data visualization fan – especially maps, which are just visualizations of geospatial data – so I intend to fill this blog up with interesting looks at some of what comes across my desk.

So without further ado, here is the first nugget.

These are some exciting times here at The Warren Group! This week our December – and therefore year-end – data closed and became official. We now have the chance to look back on the year that was 2015 in real estate in Massachusetts.

Our data tracks 368 “towns” in Massachusetts. I’m fully aware there are only 351 cities and towns in the state, but we separate out a few distinct Boston neighborhoods like Roslindale, Hyde Park, Brighton, etc. and track their transactions independent to “Downtown Boston.” Almost universally across the state, it was a booming year, especially after the nine feet of snow we all suffered under melted in late spring. Stand by for all the numbers in our official release on Tuesday, but in the last seven months of the year there were 17.2 percent more single-family home sales than the same June through December stretch in 2014. Once people could get outside, they bought houses at a significant clip.

Looking at the data, it’s clear that Worcester County had an especially good year, at least in terms of single-family home sales volume. The county had 15.7 percent more sales in 2015 than in 2014, the second highest growth in the state. The county is the second most populous in Massachusetts – behind only Middlesex – so that kind of growth in sales is lent some weight because there have been so many transactions.

The engine for that growth, it seems, is small cities and large towns. I looked at towns that had the largest year-over-year growth, minimum of 100 single-family sales in 2015. This weeded out all the little towns where the growth figures are skewed by too few sales. With this view of the data, eight out of the top 11 towns and small cities with the highest growth were in Worcester County. In the chart above – which should be interactive so you can mouse-over and see the data for each column – you can see the towns with the highest growth left-to-right, and the number of sales in 2014 and 2015. I will pose the question as to why this is happening to our CEO Tim Warren, Jr. for our monthly podcast, which comes out along side the report next Tuesday.