Local housing market shows signs of moderation
The median price for a home sold in Massachusetts last month fell 8 percent, the smallest year-over-year drop so far in 2009, the Warren Group said in a report issued this morning.
And the Massachusetts Association of Realtors, which uses a different method to track local housing activity, put out a separate report that noted that "median home prices for single-family homes are back above $300,000 for the first time since August 2008."
In Massachusetts, June is historically the strongest month of the year for real estate closings, the Warren Group noted. But home owners may not want to break out the champagne just yet. Despite bright spots, most key residential real estate metrics for the local market are still registering drops, and condo sales continue to fall when compared to last year's levels.
The Warren Group, a Boston firm that tracks local real estate data and publishes "Banker & Tradesman," said that the median price for a single-family Massachusetts home sold in June was $302,500, down 8 percent from $329,000 in June 2008.
On a volume basis, "June single-family home sales slipped 4.9 percent to 4,436 from 4,664 in June 2008," the Warren Group said.
"The median price for condos sold in June was $278,624, 5.7 percent lower than $295,500 last June," the firm said. "Condo sales tumbled 16.1 percent to 1,916 in June from 2,285 a year ago. Monthly condo sales have been falling by double-digit percentages year-over-year since last November."
The firm's report included a statement from chief executive, Timothy M. Warren Jr.
“Even though sales and prices are still sliding, June delivered the smallest year-over-year drop that we’ve seen so far in 2009. This is good news. In fact, the declines in the number of sales and median price for single-family homes were in the single digits, a vast improvement over the declines we saw earlier in the year,” Timothy Warren said. “The median home price in June exceeded $300,000 for the first time since last August. It is good to see this trend toward moderation in June, historically the strongest month of the year for real estate closings.”
According to the figures from the Massachusetts Association of Realtors, the median price for a single-family Massachusetts home sold in June was $306,000, down from $334,900 in June 2008 and up 6.4 percent from $287,500 in May 2009.
A total of 4,146 single-family homes were sold in Massachusetts in June 2009, down 1.9 percent from June 2008 and up 39.4 percent from May 2009, the association said.
On the condominium front, the June median selling price was $275,000, down 6.6 percent from June 2008 and up 3.8 percent from May 2009, the association said.
The number of Massachusetts condos sold in June was 1,554, down 17.1 percent from a year ago and up 39.4 percent from May 2009, the association said.
“Based on what we experienced in June, it is quite clear that the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit is helping to move the market in the right direction,” Gary Rogers, the president of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors, said in a statement. “We still have a way to go, especially with continuing concerns about unemployment; but with the number of pending sales up over the same time last year we do have reason to feel optimistic.”
The Boston area also showed good news today in a break out of national housing data. Boston was one of five cities nationwide to report two consecutive months of positive home values, which represents the price of a typical single-family home, according to the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. Boston reported a 1.6 percent increase in housing values in May compared with a 0.4 percent increase in April. Boston prices are down 7.2 percent over the last year, according to the report.
To read a story on the national housing market that appeared in today's Globe with the headline of "Home sales rise as prices fall: Housing market tries a comeback," please click here.