Pending home sales in Mass. hold steady
The number of Massachusetts single-family homes put under agreement in November was unchanged compared to the same time last year, the first time in six months that pending sales have not declined on a year-to-year basis, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors said.
However, condominiums put under agreement were down in November when compared to November 2009, the association said in a press release.
The association's pending sales analysis counts homes that have been put under agreement but are not yet completed sales. Often six weeks can elapse between the time a home is put under agreement and the time that the sale closes. In general, economists look at closed home sales when they seek to evaluate the condition of the market, but those data points can be several weeks old. According to the association, pending sales can give more of a real-time indication of where the market might be heading.
In a statement, association president Kevin Sears commented on the latest pending sales figures.
“It is a positive sign that pending sales in November were the same as last year and didn’t decrease,” Sears said. “It shows that there are buyers who are slowly getting back into the market and taking advantage of the conditions to purchase a home. Hopefully the economy will continue to improve, the snow holds off and doesn’t become a deterrent and pending sales continue to increase in December as well.”
The local market could use a positive sign. As a recent Globe story on completed home sales noted, the Massachusetts housing market hit a deep freeze in October, with little more than 3,000 single-family homes sold, the lowest number for the month since 1990, according to data from the Warren Group, a Boston firm that tracks real estate activity.
Housing specialists attributed the market's poor showing in October to the end of the federal home buyer tax credit, which provided qualified buyers with up to $8,000 if they closed on homes before Sept. 30, that Globe story noted.