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Massachusetts Home Sales Up A Record 63 Percent In November

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors and Taj Boston Realty
12/22/2009

WALTHAM, Mass. –December 22, 2009 – The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® (MAR) reported today that single-family home sales were up a record 63.1 percent compared to November 2008, as buyers expected the first-time homebuyer tax credit to expire at the end of the month (instead it was extended to April 2010).  Condominium sales also hit record levels going up 76.2 percent compared to the year before.  Median prices were up 0.7 percent compared to last year, while condominium median prices were essentially flat going down only 0.4 percent.  November pending sales (homes put under agreement) were up 15 percent from the same time last year.  Pending sales have now gone up for six straight months.
 
“The record sales gains in November show that the first-time homebuyer tax credit was successful in getting buyers off the fence and back into the market,” said MAR President Gary Rogers, a broker with RE/MAX First Realty in Waltham.  “We have now had five straight months of positive sales activity.  With prices staying essentially level from last year along with the expansion of the tax credit to all buyers, we hope for continued improvement.  Then we can feel confident in saying the market has stabilized.”     
There were 3,815 detached single-family homes sold this November, a 63.1 percent increase from the 2,339 homes sold the same time last year.  This is the largest single-month year-over-year gain since MAR has been tracking monthly sales numbers.  On a month-to-month basis, home sales were essentially flat with sales down less than one percent (-0.3 percent) from 3,828 homes sold this past October.  

The median selling price for single-family homes in November was $285,000, an increase of 0.7 percent compared to $283,000 in November 2008.  The November median price was up 13 percent from the 2009 low of $252,500 in February. On a month-to-month basis, the November median selling price was down 0.7 percent from $287,000 in October 2009.  

The November condominium market was up 76.2 percent compared to the same time last year (from 905 units sold in 2008 to 1,595 units sold in 2009).  Similar to single-family sales, this was the largest single-month year-over-year gain since MAR has been tracking monthly sales data.  On a month-to-month basis, condominium sales were up 4.9 percent compared to the 1,520 units sold this past October.    

Condominium median selling prices in November were down less than one half of a percent at 0.4 percent from $250,000 in 2008 to $249,000 in 2009.  The November median price was up $45,000 (22 percent) from the 2009 low of $204,000 in January. On a month-to-month basis, the median selling price of a condominium was up 3.8 percent from an October median of $240,000.  

Pending Sales:
The number of single-family homes put under agreement in November was up 15 percent compared to the same time last year (2,952 homes in 2008 to 3,387 homes in 2009).  On a month-to-month basis, single-family homes put under agreement were down 27.2 percent from 4,652 homes in October.  The number of condos put under agreement in October was up 19 percent compared to November 2008 (1,119 units in 2008 to 1,379 units in 2009).  On a month-to-month basis, condos put under agreement were down 30.5 percent from 1,983 units in October. Pending sales or sales “under agreement” are homes that have a signed purchase and sale agreement, but have yet to close and be recorded.

Inventory and Days on Market:
The inventory of single-family homes as of November 30, 2009 decreased 15.0 percent from November 2008 (28,607 listings in 2008 to 24,788 listings in 2009) which translates into 6.5 months of supply in November 2009.  This is down from 12.2 months of supply last year and down from 7.1 months in October.  November supply was at its lowest since November 2004.  The November peak was 35,254 homes in 2006.  This is the 20th straight month that inventory has gone down compared to the year before.

The condominium market saw November inventory decrease by 14 percent from last year (11,983 listings in 2008 to 10,313 listings in 2009), which translates into 6.5 months of supply, which is down from 13.2 months in November 2008 and down from 7.3 months this past October.  This is the 20th straight month that inventory has gone down compared to the year before.

“Inventory continues to be lacking, but the stabilization in prices in November and the $6,500 tax credit for move-up buyers should start to increase the number of homes for sale in the market,” said Rogers.

Detached single-family homes stayed on the market an average of 116 days in November 2009 compared to an average of 137 days in November 2008, while condos stayed on the market an average of 128 days, down from an average of 149 days in November 2008.  On a month-to-month basis, days on market for single-family homes were down from 126 days and condos were down from 137 days in October.

(Contributed by Dilip and Sara Varghese of Taj Boston Reality (www.TajBoston.com) and The Massachusetts Association of Realtors. )

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