Slower Sales, Higher Prices Reflect Strong Home Buyer Demand In Gr. Boston

May 27, 2015, 13:22 ET from Greater Boston Association of Realtors

BOSTON, May 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- A deficiency in the number of homes and condos for sale in many Greater Boston communities led to a drop in sales activity during April, while median selling prices continued to climb on an annual basis, according to data issued by the Greater Boston Association of Realtors® (GBAR).

Sales of detached single-family homes declined 9.5 percent on an annual basis from 862 homes closed last April to 780 in April 2015.  It's the lowest April sales total since 2009 when 702 homes sold.   The sales decrease was even more pronounced in the condo market, as sales slid 23.5 percent over the past year, from 867 condominiums sold in April 2014 to 663 this April.  This is the sixth consecutive month and eleventh time in the past 12 months condo sales have declined on an annual basis.  The last time fewer condos sold in April was 2011 when 653 units closed.

While weather was a factor in last month's sales slowdown since buyers' ability to view properties was hampered by February's heavy snow, a lack of listings is the bigger issue to impact the market, notes GBAR President David McCarthy, owner of Keller Williams Realty Boston Metro.  

"There's just not enough inventory to keep up with demand.  We're seeing huge crowds at most open houses, multi-offers on many properties, and homes priced right are going under agreement in a matter of days," he said.

In fact, listings for both single-family homes and condos are at their lowest point in over a dozen years.  The inventory of single-family homes slid for a thirty-eighth consecutive month in April, declining 17 percent on an annual basis to 2,964 homes, while condo listings dropped 18 percent over the past 12 months to 1,530 units for sale.

As a result, home values are on the rise.  The median selling price for detached single-family homes rose on an annual basis for a seventh consecutive month in April to a new record high price for the month of $470,000.  That's a 6.8 percent increase from the median price of $440,000 in April 2014, and a gain of 8.7 percent from a median of $432,250 in March. 

Additionally, the condominium median selling price improved for a sixth consecutive month, climbing 10.8 percent from $397,000 last April to a new record high price for April of $440,000 this year.  However, on a month-to-month basis, the median price slipped 2 percent from the all-time high monthly median selling price of $449,000 set in March.

"The long winter may have delayed the start of spring selling season, but there's every indication the market will continue to heat up with the temperatures," McCarthy asserted.  "The local economy is adding jobs, mortgage rates remain near record lows, and property values are appreciating steadily once again.  I'm optimistic sales will rebound and that the next few months will be very busy," he added.

To that point, pending sales of detached single-family homes in Greater Boston rose 15 percent in April from year ago levels to 1,700 homes put under agreement, the most for any month since May 2013 when 1,753 homes were placed under contract.  In addition, in the condo market, pending sales climbed 8 percent in the past year to 1,332 in April 2015, the highest total for any month since May 2007 when 1,341 condos went under agreement.

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SOURCE Greater Boston Association of Realtors