Mass. housing market took a breather in December, the Warren Group says

The Massachusetts housing market took a breather in December after a torrid third quarter, with single-family home sales down slightly last month because of a shortage of homes for sale and rising interest rates, the Warren Group said Wednesday.

In December, 3,712 single family homes were sold in the Bay State, down less than 1 percent from the same month a year ago. It was the second straight month of home sale decreases, said the Warren Group, a Boston firm that tracks local real estate activity.

Meanwhile, median prices continued to rise, the firm said in a press release. The median for a single-family in Massachusetts was $311,125 last month, up 3.7 percent from a year ago.


“Low inventory combined with increasing interest rates have slowed the market at the end of 2013,’’ Warren Group chief executive Timothy M. Warren Jr. said in a statement. “Sales and prices set a torrid pace in the third quarter of 2013 and through October. Now the market is taking a breather.’’

As for Bay State condominium sales, they were up 15.3 percent in December on a year-to-year comparison basis, with 1,614 units sold last month. The median condo price in December was $295,000, a 7.3 percent increase from a year ago, the Warren Group said.

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors issued a separate report on the local housing market Wednesday. While the association uses a different method to track real estate activity, its results were roughly similar to those of the Warren Group’s.

December single-family home sales were essentially flat, the association said, as median prices rose for the 15th straight month.

“While 2013 will be remembered for a lack of homes for sale, price increases have improved overall home equity, which should help push sellers into the market in 2014,’’ association president Peter Ruffini said in a statement.

In 2013, there were 49,699 single-family homes sold in Massachusetts, up 4.9 percent from the previous year, the Warren Group said; condo sales for 2013 rose 6.8 percent to 20,332 condos sold.


In its report, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors noted that the inventory of single-family homes as of Dec. 31, 2013 decreased 21.7 percent from December 2012, and detached single-family homes stayed on the market an average of 99 days in December 2013 compared with an average of 130 days in December 2012.

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