Friday, January 25, 2013

THE ECONOMY: Mass. single-family home prices rose 18% last year

In another sign that the housing market may be on the mend, the median sale price of single-family homes in Massachusetts rose more than 12 percent in December to $300,000, the first time since August that median home prices have broken the $300,000 mark, the Warren Group said Thursday.

Looking at the entire year, the Warren Group added that single-family home sales in Massachusetts rose 18 percent in 2012, marking 12 consecutive months of year-over-year sales gains and the best year on record since 2006.

“I would characterize 2012 as the year of robust recovery in the real estate market,” Warren Group chief executive Timothy M. Warren Jr. said in a statement. “It is clear we have turned the corner and are gaining ground rapidly. I contrast the 18 percent gain last year with the decline of 6 percent in 2011.”

As for condo sales in December, they rose 5.4 percent to 1,402 units. The median condo price in December rose 8 percent to $275,000, the Warren Group said.

For 2012, condo sales were up more than 25 percent to 19,061 units.

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors issued a separate monthly report Thursday on the local housing market. The association uses a slightly different method to track real estate activity than the Warren Group does.

According to the association’s press release, 3,737 detached single-family homes sold in December, a 13 percent increase from the previous December. December 2012 was the 18th straight month of year-over-year increases.

The median selling price for single-family home in December was $303,500, which was up
10.4 percent from the price in December 2011.

In the Bay State, there were 1,434 condominiums sold this December, a 14.2 percent increase from the same time last year.

The median selling price for condominium in December was $282,750, which was up 8.7 percent from December 2011.

“December capped off a very active year in 2012 as the real estate market in Massachusetts made significant progress towards recovery,” association president Kimberly Allard-Moccia said in a statement. “With the ‘fiscal cliff’ averted for now and pending activity remaining strong, we anticipate a healthy start to 2013.”

Allard-Moccia suggested that there are some concerns about the short supply of homes on the market.

“2012 was the type of year the market needed to help it eventually recover,” said Allard-Moccia. “With inventory continuing to go down, we’re at risk for slipping back to where we were. A truly vibrant market has a good selection of homes at all price levels for all types of buyers.”

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