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Condos now tops in price

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis June 7, 2012 10:00 AM

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It's more expensive now to buy a condo here in Massachusetts than a single-family home.

If that is surprising to you, it certainly was to me when I took another look at the most recent price report by The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman.

The median price of a condo in Massachusetts rose to $280,000 in April, up 3.5 percent from April 2011.

That's a good $5,000 above the median price for a home here in Massachusetts, which stood at $275,000 in April.

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors shows a similar trend, though it pegs the median condo price at $273,000, a shade under the median home price of $282,450.

Overall, condo sales were up 10 percent, year-over-year, in April. Meanwhile, as demand has risen, supply has fallen, with the number of units on the market falling more than 20 percent over the past year, MAR reports.

When rising demand meets shrinking supply, prices go up.

Certainly some of this is driven by high demand and rising prices for condos in fashionable urban areas like Cambridge and Davis Square.

My old newspaper buddy Joe, who I blogged about here several months back, ending up buying a small house in Watertown after finding himself and his fiancee priced out of Cambridge/Watertown condo market.

Here's a pertinent comment from Ben, a potential buyer who recently responded to a Redfin survey on local market conditions.

What surprised me most was the difference in activity between classes of real estate. In Boston metro, entry-level condos in the urban core are seeing a lot of demand. But higher-priced single-family houses in the bedroom suburbs have been sitting unsold for years. The market is coming back, but only selectively.

What's your take? Is it actually harder now to snag a decent condo than a single-family home?

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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