Amid the statewide COVID-19 lockdown, the number of single-family home and condominium sales declined significantly on a year-over-year basis, according to a new report from The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman.
Last month, there were 3,975 single-family home sales in Massachusetts, The Warren Group reported, a 30.1 percent decrease from May 2019 when there were 5,688 transactions. This marked the fewest number of single-family home sales in the month of May since May 2011 when there were 3,413 transactions. Meanwhile, the median single-family sale price increased 3.2 percent on a year-over-year basis to $423,000, up from $410,000 in May 2019 – an all-time high for the month of May. Year-to-date, there have been 17,642 single-family home sales – a 10.6 percent decrease from the first five months of 2019 – with a median sale price of $407,000 – a 5.7 percent increase on the same basis.
“The unique combination of a slowdown in economic activity and widespread concerns about the safety of venturing away from home, paired with a lack of inventory, resulted in the fewest number of single-family home sales in the month of May since 2011,” said Tim Warren, CEO of The Warren Group. “The statewide COVID-19 lockdown took a serious toll on the real estate market on all fronts. From the ability for prospective buyers to attend open houses to sellers’ willingness to relocate during uncertain times, no aspect of real estate was immune to effects of the lockdown last month.”
There were 1,395 condominium sales in May, compared to 2,556 sales in May 2019 – a 45.4 percent decrease. Meanwhile, the median sale price edged up 0.3 percent on a year-over-year basis to $402,500. Year-to-date, there have been 7,643 condo sales – a 12.5 percent decrease from the first five months of 2019 – with a median sale price of $415,000 – a 12.2 percent increase on the same basis.
“Like single-family homes, condo sales took a significant dive in May,” Warren continued. “Despite a more than 45 percent decrease in transactions, the median sale price continued to edge higher. Historically, the local condo market is heavily driven by activity in urban centers, like Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville. Coincidentally, these areas had some of the strictest quarantine guidelines in the state last month, which seems to have been a major contributor to the statewide decline in condo sales.”
Sellers are still hesitating to list their homes due to the current uncertainty. New listings were down 33.6 percent for single-family homes statewide and 26.1 percent for condominium properties on a year-over-year basis, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors reported. The state is now down to two months’ supply of single-family inventory, down from 3.4 months in May of last year, MAR reported, and 2.3 months’ supply of condominium inventory, down from 3 in May 2019.
At the same time, internet home listings database Zillow reported there were only 13,885 combined condo and single-family for-sale listings for the Greater Boston area in may, a 26 percent decline year-over-year. The Cape Cod and Islands Association of Realtors reported single-family inventory in Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket counties had declined 27.9 percent, while condo inventory had dropped 19.5 percent year-over-year in May