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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

March Bay State Home Sales Slip As Inventories Tighten

Median Prices For Single-Family Homes, Condos Rise Again


Sales of single-family homes and condominiums in Massachusetts decreased again in March - a clear sign shrinking inventory is depressing sales volume, according a new report by The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman.

Single-family home sales dropped 3.6 percent to 3,100 in March, down from 3,215 in March 2012. This is the second consecutive monthly decrease in Bay State home sales. Still, March home sales were the highest in any month so far this year. Home sales in the first quarter are also down 2.1 percent to 7,849 from 8,017 in last year's first quarter.

March13HomeSaleschart"Low inventory is plaguing housing markets all over the country, and Massachusetts is no exception," said David Harris, editorial director at The Warren Group. "With mortgage rates low and prices competitive, we're hopeful more sellers will emerge and the trend in dropping home sales will reverse."

The median price for single-family homes sold in March rose more than 8 percent to $285,000 from $263,000 a year earlier. It was the sixth consecutive month that monthly home prices have increased year-over-year. The first quarter median selling price was $282,500, a 10.6 percent increase from $255,500 in the first quarter of 2012.

"It's clear that the low supply of homes for sale is continuing to pressure prices," Harris said. "And there is definitely concern that such steep price spikes will cause an affordability issue."

Condominium sales statewide in March dropped for the second straight month. Condo sales decreased more than 2 percent to 1,211 from 1,240 in March 2012. A total of 3,083 condo sales transactions were recorded in the first three months of the year, a near 1 percent increase from 3,057 a year earlier.

The median price for condos sold in March was $261,000, up more than 1.5 percent from $257,000 in March 2012. The first quarter median condo price was also up more than 1.6 percent to $250,000 from $246,000 during the prior year's first quarter.

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