Saturday, December 1, 2012

BOSTON HOUSING NEWS: Mass. home sales up 22% in first 10 months

Buy­ers snapped up more than 4,000 sin­gle-fam­ily homes in Mas­sachusetts last month, push­ing the num­ber of statewide sales for the first 10 months of 2012 above the to­tal for all of last year.

War­ren Group, a Bos­ton real es­tate track­ing com­pany, re­ported Tues­day that home sales in Oc­to­ber in­creased by 21 per­cent, to 4,044, com­pared with the same month last year, re­flect­ing in­creased op­ti­mism about the state’s hous­ing mar­ket.

Sales be­tween Jan­uary and Oc­to­ber rose to 39,491, a 22 per­cent in­crease com­pared with those months in 2011.

“Record low mort­gage rates, an im­proved econ­omy, and grow­ing con­sumer con­fi­dence are boost­ing the hous­ing mar­ket in Mas­sachusetts and around the coun­try,” said Ti­mothy M. War­ren Jr., War­ren Group’s chief ex­ec­u­tive.

The me­dian home price re­mained rel­a­tively flat, how­ever. For a sin­gle­fam­ily home, it held at $270,000 in Oc­to­ber, sim­i­lar to 12 months ear­lier, War­ren Group said.

Between Jan­uary and Oc­to­ber, the me­dian value slipped to $287,500, down nearly 1 per­cent com­pared with Oc­to­ber 2011. That means half the prop­er­ties sold above that price and half sold for less.

The state’s con­do­minium mar­ket fared slightly bet­ter.

Condo sales were up 48.8 per­cent in Oc­to­ber, com­pared with the same time last year. The me­dian price rose to $255,000, less than 1 per­cent higher than Oc­to­ber 2011.

Between Jan­uary and Oc­to­ber, the me­dian price for con­dos went up

slightly to $275,000, less than 1 per­cent higher than a year ear­lier.

The Mas­sachusetts As­so­ci­a­tion of Real­tors, which also re­leased data on Tues­day, of­fered slightly bet­ter hous­ing num­bers.

The as­so­ci­a­tion said that the me­dian value of a sin­gle-fam­ily home in­creased mod­estly in Oc­to­ber to $287,000, 4.4 per­cent above the Oc­to­ber 2011 me­dian.

The me­dian condo price rose to $265,000, up 2 per­cent com­pared with that month last year.

The as­so­ci­a­tion tracks data from three af­fil­i­ated list­ing ser­vices, while War­ren Group bases its
num­bers on sales filed at reg­istries of deeds.

As more prospec­tive buy­ers took ac­tion, the num­ber of avail­able homes con­tin­ued to drop. The in­ven­tory of sin­gle­fam­ily homes de­creased by 23.5 per­cent in Oc­to­ber 2012, com­pared with the same month last year, and the num­ber of con­dos for sale de­clined by 32.2 per­cent, com­pared with Oc­to­ber, 2011, the as­so­ci­a­tion said.

John Ranco, a se­nior sales as­so­ciate with Ham­mond Res­i­den­tial Real Es­tate, said he hopes more peo­ple list their homes for sale in the new year, in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the tra­di­tion­ally busy spring sell­ing sea­son. Right now, Ranco said, many buy­ers re­main frus­trated.

“There is very lit­tle to choose from,” he said.

Hous­ing num­bers re­leased Tues­day by the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices showed Bos­ton-area home prices in­creased by 1.9 per­cent in Septem­ber, com­pared with that month last year.

Na­tion­wide, home val­ues rose about 3.6 per­cent in Septem­ber, com­pared with 2011, ac­cord­ing to the in­dex, which mea­sures re­peat sales of the same prop­er­ties and is con­sid­ered one of the best mea­sures of the na­tion’s hous­ing mar­ket.

David M. Bl­itzer, chair­man of the in­dex com­mit­tee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said the lat­est fig­ures pro­vide fur­ther ev­i­dence that the hous­ing mar­ket is as­cend­ing.

“With six months of con­sis­tently ris­ing home prices, it is safe to say that we are now in the midst of a re­cov­ery in the hous­ing mar­ket,’’ Bl­itzer said.

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