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Consumer confidence on the rise

Posted by dinouye  August 11, 2009 12:24 PM

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Analysis prepared for The Boston Globe by the Research Group of Norwell-based Housesavvy.com.

Area Data July 2008 January 2009 July 2009
Hingham Sales 15 9 35
Avg. price $1,070,433 $794,722 $837,448
Unsold listings 154 114 143
Supply (months) 10.26 12.66 4.08
Norwell Sales 5 3 10
Avg. price $824,560 $1,067,125 $471,600
Unsold listings 153 69 73
Supply (months) 30.6 17.24 7.3
Scituate Sales 18 13 28
Avg. price $636,794 $513,286 $494,821
Unsold listings 183 117 172
Supply (months) 10.16 16.71 6.14
Plymouth County Sales 434 280 505
Avg. price $386,791 $291,919 $334,584
Unsold listings 3,635 2,567 2,907
Supply (months) 8.37 9.16 5.67
Greater Boston Sales 3,965 1,617 3,180
Avg. price $439,553 $351,205 $414,949
Unsold listings 17,991 12,527 14,757
Supply (months) 6.07 7.75 4.63 mo.

Sales activity refers to homes that went under agreement in the months shown, which is the most current indictor of market activity. Sales were low in January following the collapse of the financial markets in 2008, but July provides signs that a recovery, albeit slow, is under way. Year-to-year sales jumped 133% in Hingham, 100% in Norwell, and 55% in Scituate. These are well above the year-to-year gains of 5% and 7.3% in Plymouth County and Greater Boston, respectively.

Average sale price for homes placed under agreement has been fluctuating in the three towns. Year-to-year prices dropped 22% in Hingham and Scituate in July, and nearly 43% in Norwell.

Unsold listings are determined by dividing the number of unsold listings at the end of the month by the number of sales that month. Real estate professionals consider a 5- to 6-month supply a balanced market. All three towns are currently at or slightly below that benchmark, indicating that these communities can now be described as a moderate seller's market.

Conclusion. The Greater Boston market appears to have stabilized and entered a period of growth. Plymouth County as a whole is still a buyer's market due to excess inventory, but is approaching a balanced market. Listings in Scituate, Hingham, and Norwell are showing year-to-year decreases, a sign that consumer confidence continues to return in these towns.

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