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Seller's market?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis March 4, 2013 06:21 AM

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Sellers suddenly have the upper hand here in Greater Boston.

And the evidence that we are now officially in a seller's market is more than just anecdotal.

Rather, it has to do with the amount of unsold homes on the market, which has been falling fast.

When there is less than a six months supply of unsold homes, it is considered a seller's market, notes Jenifer McKim, in her Sunday Globe piece on how sellers have suddenly become an endangered species, citing a metric used by the National Association of Realtors.

As it stands right now, the supply of homes on the market is well below that mark, standing at 4.7 months, McKim notes.

The shift in balance from buyers to sellers took place over the past year, with the market in January 2012 still nominally favoring buyers, with a 6.5 percent supply of homes on the market, according to the Massachusetts Association of Realtors.

So what happened? Well the overall inventory of unsold homes fell by more than a quarter from January 2012 to this past January, Basically, buyers jumped back in while sellers held back.

The housing bears will growl about this, arguing that if it is such a strong market for sellers, why aren't prices soaring?

But after slowly edging up in 2012, home prices are poised for a breakout in 2013 as the number of homes on the market continues to fall and with no meaningful amount of new construction in the pipeline.

The median price for a house in Massachusetts jumped 6.8 percent in January, compared to January 2012, hitting $277,750, The Warren Group reports.

As winter turns into spring, expect more of the same.

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

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

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