December Residential Sales Growth Ends Strong Year In Boston Area

Jan 26, 2016, 10:20 ET from Greater Boston Association of REALTORS(R)

BOSTON, Jan. 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- A healthy local job market, low mortgage rates and recent gains in household formation led to increased sales and steady price appreciation throughout the local residential housing market in December, according to data from the Greater Boston Association of REALTORS® (GBAR).

Sales of detached single-family homes improved on an annual basis for a seventh consecutive month in December, increasing 14 percent on the December 2014 total of 1,133 homes sold to 1,292 in December 2015. This sales volume represents the highest total ever during the month of December in Greater Boston, eclipsing the previous record of 1,266 homes sold in December 2003 by 2.1 percent. Additionally, condo sales continued to rise on a year-to-year basis in December, with a 7.6 increase of units sold from 815 in December 2014 to 877 units sold last month. This represents the second best December condo sales total in Greater Boston, surpassed only by the 906 closed sales in December 2004.

"We've seen a pattern over the last couple months of increased sales volume at a normally slow period of the year, which demonstrates the consumer confidence and desire for homeownership that exists in our market," said GBAR President Andrew Sarno, Broker Associate with RE/MAX Andrew Realty Services in Medford. "December capped off a strong 2015 sales year in Greater Boston, particularly in the single-family housing market which had a total sales increase of 7.7 percent on the previous year." Sarno added that total condominium sales for 2015 had a modest increase of 0.6 percent on the 2014 total.

As a result of the continued, healthy sales pace, median sales prices increased in both markets in December. In the single-family home market, the median sales price rose for a fifteenth consecutive month, to a new record price for the month of $465,000. This also reflects a price growth of 4.7 percent from a median sales price of $444,000 in December 2014.

High demand also increased condo sales prices, as they rose on an annual basis for the fourteenth consecutive month to a median sales price of $445,000 which reflects a 5.2 percent increases from the December 2014  median sales price of $423,000. Both markets saw increases in their year-end totals from the previous year, as the median selling prices of single-family homes sold increased by 3.7 percent in 2015, with an increase from $458,000 to $475,000. The condominium median price experienced annual price growth of 8.4 percent from $415,000 to $450,000 in 2015.

"The strong job market and healthy economy in Greater Boston have continued to drive both sales and prices," added Sarno. "Buyers continue to take advantage of the rising home values and low mortgage rates in the area. Additionally, if December's pending sales totals are any indication, we can expect a relatively active market throughout the winter months."

Pending sales in both markets remained high and increased on the year-to-year totals. The single-family market experienced 20.2 percent growth, with an increase from 654 pending sales in December 2014 to 786 last month. Condo sales had an even sharper increase of 22.4 percent as totals increased to 547 in December 2015 from 447 the previous year.

While pending sales rose steadily, inventory in both markets has continued to trail historic norms and declined on an annual basis. As a result of the strong buyer demand, single-family market inventory dropped 17 percent, from 2,847 in December 2014, to 2,362 last month.  Similarly, condo inventory declined 7.7 percent last month to 1,206 from 1,307 in December 2014.

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SOURCE Greater Boston Association of REALTORS(R)