Real Estate

Greater Boston home sellers got while the gettin’ was good

The region saw an increase in home sale profits and all-cash offers, but a decline in institutional investor sales.

The Boston skyline as seen from near the Harvard Bridge. Home sellers in metro Boston took in big profits in 2022.
The Boston skyline as seen from near the Harvard Bridge on September 10, 2022. Carlin Stiehl/The Boston Globe

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Homeowners who held off on selling their home in 2022 as the housing market slowed missed out on a windfall and may have to settle for slimmer profits if they opt to sell this year.

The sale of a median-priced U.S. home last year translated into a profit of $112,000, a 21% increase from a year earlier and the largest on record going back at least to 2008, according to a report released Thursday by ATTOMATTOM, a real estate data tracker.

In metro Boston, sellers saw a bigger profit dollar-wise, $195,000, but only an 8% increase year over year. One of our neighbors to the north — Portland, Maine, which has seen an exodus of Massachusetts residents — took in an even bigger haul: $130,313, or a 30% increase. Here’s how some other New England metros fared:


“It seems pretty likely that home seller profits peaked for this cycle in 2022,” said Rick Sharga, ATTOM’s executive vice president of market intelligence.

Here are how some other New England metros fared:

Barnstable Town $242,825 30.9
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford $79,000 22.7
Manchester-Nashua, N.H. $171, 433 15.8
Portland-South Portland, Maine $130,313 30.0
Providence-Warwick, RI $143,000 17.3
Springfield $99,000 17.6
Worcester $138,000 15.0
Source: ATTOM

Years of soaring prices powered the big profits for U.S. home sellers last year, ensuring outsized gains even as higher mortgage rates knocked the housing market into a skid.

Long-term homeowners who decide to sell this year should also benefit from more than a decade of rising home values, but the likelihood that home prices will fall further this year sets the stage for more modest gains.

“Median prices have declined on a monthly basis since mortgage rates doubled between January (2022) and October, and are likely to decline further in many markets across the country in 2023, reducing profitability for home sellers,” Sharga said.

In a good news-bad news situation for New England home buyers, the region saw a decrease in investment buyers, but increases in all-cash offers. This means less competition from investors (or fewer investors with winning bids), but more buyers saddled with a mortgage contingency lost out:


Metro %sales
in 2021
in 2022
% change
Barnstable Town 37.9 41.4 9.0
Boston 24.2 27.9 15.0
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford 27.6 29.2 6.0
Providence-Warwick, RI 31.5 34.3 9.0
Springfield 26.3 29.7 13.0
Worcester 19.2 22.5 17.0
Source: ATTOM
(Information not available for Manchester, N.H., or Portland, Maine)


METRO %sales
in 2021
in 2022
% change
Barnstable Town 3.6 2.0 -43.0
Boston 4.1 2.2 -46.0
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford 4.6 2.8 -39.0
Portland-South Portland, Maine 3.5 1.9 -45.0
Providence-Warwick, RI 3.5 1.9 -45.0
Springfield 3.8 2.6 -31.0
Worcester 6.9 6.8 -2.0
Source: ATTOM
(Information not available for Manchester, N.H.)

Surging mortgage rates and sky-high prices last year slammed the brakes on what had been a red-hot housing market during the first two years of the pandemic. Home sales cratered as higher borrowing costs combined with years of rising home prices pushed homeownership out of reach for many Americans, especially first-time buyers.


Homeowners who sold last year still reaped the financial rewards from years of home equity gains, however. The return on investment for a median-priced U.S. home sold last year was a whopping 51.4%, up from 44.6% in 2021, ATTOM found.

The Irvine, California-based firm calculated the return on investment by comparing the sale of a median-priced U.S. home in 2022 to the previous median purchase price.

The national median home price has more than doubled since 2012, when the U.S. housing market was just beginning to recover from the bursting of the housing bubble and Great Recession in 2008. It rose 10% last year to $330,000, an all-time high, according to ATTOM.

Still, that gain is below 2021’s 17.6% rise, when the housing market was still being fueled by historically low mortgage rates.

The average rate on a 30-year mortgage hit a two-decade high of 7.08% last fall as the Federal Reserve continued to boost its key lending rate in a quest to cool the economy and tame inflation.


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