April 5th, 2016 2:30 PM by Kathy McDevitt
Boston Area Housing Market Sees Steady Gains In Sales, Prices In February
In February, high buyer demand,low mortgage rates and a strong job market continued to spur housing market activity in Greater Boston.
Last month, sales of detached single-family homes improved on an annual basis for the ninth consecutive month and increased 10.3 percent on the February 2015 total of 535 homes sold to 590.This represents the highest total of closed sales in Greater Boston since the 665 homes sold in 2007. Condo sales experienced a modest increase of 2.9 percent in 2016, increasing from 451 to 464 sold condos. This is also the highest condo sales total since 2007, when there were 642 closed sales. Both closed sales numbers represented the fourth highest totals since 2003.
“The combination of low mortgage rates, rising home values and a lack of snow this winter have led to above normal demand over the first few months of the year,” said GBAR President Andrew Sarno, Broker Associate with RE/MAX Andrew Realty Services in Medford.“As busy as we’ve been so far this year, sales could have been even stronger had there been a larger inventory of homes to sell.”
In addition to rising sales, the median sales prices also increased in both markets. The single-family median sales price rose from $470,000 in February 2015 to $520,000 last month, indicating a 10.6 percent increase and setting a new record high price for the month in Greater Boston. This also represents the seventeenth consecutive month that the single-family median sales price has improved on a year-to-year basis. The condo market median sales price increased 6.4 percent, as it rose from $420,000 last year to $447,000 in 2016, which is also a new high sales price for February.
“With home prices continuing to climb steadily and the inventory of homes for sale at a twelve-year low, it’s a great time to put your home on the market,” said Sarno. However, sellers can expect the competition to heat up this spring, he noted, as the second quarter is traditionally the most active for selling homes.
Indeed, many in the Greater Boston area are beginning to list their homes, as represented by the significant increase in pending sales in both markets last month. Single-family detached home market pending sales numbers increased 50.2 percent from 637 in February last year to 957 in 2016. Similarly, pending condo sales jumped 54.3 percent last month, and increased from 567 in 2015 to 875 last month.
“There was a significant increase in pending sales in both markets, which can be attributed in part to our mostly snow-free winter, buy nonetheless suggests a large, highly-motivated home buyer population and a very active spring market throughout the region,” added Sarno.“Those looking to sell their homes should take advantage of this opportunity as we approach the spring and early summer market when activity is at its peak and buyers will likely have more options.”
In addition to the rise in pending sales, new listings in both markets experienced sharp increases last month. In the single-family market, there were 1,129 new listings in February 2016, a 75.3 percent increase from the 644 a year ago. The condo market also experienced a spike in new listings, with a 49.6 percent increase from 629 in 2015 to 941 last month.