BOSTON, April 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Although there was a slight slip in home sales in March, the local housing market remains healthy with modest price appreciation and strong buyer demand, according to data issued today by the Greater Boston Association of REALTORS® (GBAR). The biggest factor currently hindering activity is a simple lack of inventory.
Last month, sales of detached single-family homes dropped 1 percent on an annual basis from 711 homes closed last March to 704 in March 2015. That's the lowest March sales total since 2011 when 686 homes sold, but still sizeable given the record snowfall and severe shortage of homes for sale. Furthermore, on a month-to-month basis sales increased 27 percent in March from an upwardly revised 554 homes sold in February. Meanwhile, in the condominium market the inventory shortfall led to a 17.9 percent decline in sales on an annual basis, from 692 units in March 2014 to 568 this March. But, like the single-family market, condo sales rose 27 percent from February.
"Buyer activity has been just as brisk as the weather this winter," stated GBAR President David McCarthy, president of Keller Williams Realty Boston Metro, noting that low mortgage rates, rising home values, and new, lower down payment and financing options for first-time buyers have fueled an increase in demand in recent months.
"Given our healthy economy and market fundamentals, one might expect sales to be higher, but we simply don't have enough listings to satisfy those looking to buy," McCarthy explained, adding that the severe winter delayed the start of spring market as many homeowners were unable to prepare their property to sell before March.
Illustrative of this point, the inventory of single-family homes for sale slid for a thirty-seventh consecutive month in March to their lowest level in more than a dozen years, decreasing 27 percent on an annual basis to just 2,237 homes listed for sale across 57 communities in the GBAR jurisdiction. Similarly, in the condo market, the supply of available listings fell 30 percent over the past 12 months to 1,171 units listed for sale.
The supply-to-demand imbalance continues to put upward pressure on prices. The median selling price for single-family homes increased on an annual basis for a sixth consecutive month and twenty-ninth in the past 30 months, appreciating 1.6 percent, from $427,000 last March 2014 to $433,750 in March 2015.
Additionally, the median selling price for condominiums improved for a fifth consecutive month to hit an all-time monthly highly monthly median price of $449,000 this March. This reflects an annual gain of 6.9 percent from the March 2014 median price of $420,000, and marks the twenty-fourth time in past 25 months the median selling price for condominiums have risen on a year-over-year basis.