Are sellers finally rushing to cash in on all those double-digit price increases?
The housing market recovery to date has been a buyer-driven affair, with sellers lounging on the sidelines, watching, waiting and worrying.
OK, now some would-be sellers may simply still be locked into homes they overpaid for during the bubble years, while others may have refinanced at rock-bottom rates and are essentially locked into place.
But with home prices rising at double digit rates, a growing number of Greater Boston homeowners are opting to roll the dice and plant "For Sale' signs on their front lawns.
New listings of single-family homes jumped nearly 11 percent in October across Massachusetts in October, to just a shade under 6,000, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors reports this morning.
That's means roughly an additional 600 homes hit the market last month compared to October 2012.
This surge in seller activity is all the more encouraging given that it happened amid the moronic government shutdown, as well as yet another round of threats by Congressional lunkheads to default on the national debt.
In fact, the number of new condo listings rose even more sharply, by 17 percent, to 2,153, according to MAR.
Better hold the champagne, though.
While all this is great news, we are still a long way from a balanced market in which buyers not only have a bit more to pick from, but also some leverage as well.
Why? Because even as more sellers put their homes on the market, demand on part of buyers is snapping up listings at even a faster pace.
As a result, the months of supply, a standard way of gauging the amount of unsold residential properties on the market here in Massachusetts actually fell again in October for both single-family homes and condos.
Keeping in mind that roughly six months is a "balanced market," the overall inventory of single-family homes actually fell last month to 4.8 months of supply, while for condos it dropped to an even tighter 3.2 months, MAR finds.
Meanwhile, prices and sales of both homes and condos were up again by double digits in October - that's the demand side of the equation.
Homes sales rose 18.5 percent in October across Massachusetts, pushing the median price of a single-family home up 10 percent, to $313,050, The Warren Group reports. Condo sales rose 16 percent, with the median price jumping 13 percent to just a shade under $300,000.
Buyers, are you seeing the difference out there? Is there more to choose from? And sellers, don't be shy. What's driving you right now?
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