Local home sales surge by double-digit percentages
The Massachusetts housing market posted strong gains for April, according to two separate reports released this morning.
Single-family home sales in Massachusetts jumped 45.8 percent in April when compared to April of 2009, and condominiums sales jumped 55.7 percent, said the Warren Group, a Boston company that tracks real estate activity.
"The median price for single-family homes sold in April rose 7.1 percent to $285,000 from $266,125 a year ago," the Warren Group said. And the median condo price "climbed 5.5 percent to $253,000 in April from $239,900 during the same month in 2009."
The group's report included a statement from chief executive Timothy M. Warren Jr., who said: "The surge in sales activity continued in April. Single-family home sales have increased year-over-year for 10 straight months and median home prices have been on the rise for five months. There is more confidence about a turnaround in the housing market, but concerns remain about foreclosure activity and unemployment, which are still high."
The Massachusetts Association of Realtors also issued a report on local housing sales for April. While the association has a different method for measuring housing activity, its results were similar to those of the Warren Group's.
Sales of Massachusetts single-family homes and condominiums had "near-record increases" in April compared to the same time last year, helped by a special home owners' tax credit, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors reported.
"The median selling price for single-family homes in April was $295,000, an increase of 7.3 percent compared to $275,000 in April 2009," the association said in a press release. "This is the sixth straight month of year-over-year gains. On a month-to-month basis, the April median selling price was up 5.4 percent from $280,000 in March 2010."
On a volume basis, 3,520 detached single-family homes sold in the Bay State this April, a 43.8 percent increase from the 2,448 homes sold the same time last year, the association added. "On a month-to-month basis, home sales were up 21.8 percent from 2,890 homes sold this past March. This is the second largest year-over-year increase since MAR has been tracking monthly data."
Low interest rates helped along by the federal tax credit seem to be giving the market a lift. A federal program had provided first-time home buyers with an $8,000 tax credit, and existing owners who have been in their home for at least five consecutive years with a credit of up to $6,500. Buyers must have had a binding purchase contract by May 1 and be able to close on the home by June 30.
The April median selling price for a Massachusetts condo, meanwhile, rose 6.8 percent from $236,000 in 2009 to $252,000 in April 2010, the association said, as condo sales jumped sharply. The April condominium market was up 63.9 percent when compared to the same time last year, when 956 units were sold. In April 2010, the number of condos sold was 1,567.
“Similar to November, buyers in April made a big push to take advantage of the tax credit prior to its deadline, resulting in big sales gains compared to the same time last year,” association president Kevin Sears said in a statement. “If the key to stabilizing the market is continued activity, then the timing couldn’t be better to have interest rates starting to trend down.”
One more report that includes data on the local housing market is expected to be released later today. (Just before 10 a.m. today, an AP story noted that the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index for March posted a 0.5 percent drop from February. Prices in 13 of the 20 cities tracked by the index fell month over month. Only six metro areas recorded price gains. One, Boston, came in flat.)
To read a Globe story about local home sales for March, please click here.
Today's print edition of the Globe includes a story on national sales for existing homes. To read that story, please click here.