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Mass. home sales rise 15 percent

The number of Massachusetts single-family homes sold in August rose 15 percent from the same month a year ago, and condo sales also increased, the first time this year both property types posted an increase during the same month, the Warren Group reported this morning.

But the Warren Group, a Boston firm that tracks real estate data and publishes Banker & Tradesman, cautioned against over-reacting to the monthly snapshot of the local housing market. For much of 2010, a federal tax credit was in effect that looked to give home buyers an incentive to jump into the market. That credit has since expired.

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“On the surface, the August numbers appear to be very strong,’’ Cory S. Hopkins, managing editor of Banker & Tradesman, said in a statement. “But we’re comparing sales volume to a month last year when buyers were retreating after the tax credits expired.’’

Last month, 4,203 single-family homes were sold in Massachusetts, a 15 percent increase from August 2010, said the Warren Group, which added that the median price of single-family homes fell 3.4 percent to $305,700 on a year-to-year comparison basis.

In August 2011, condominium sales statewide increased 5.8 percent, the first time this year that condo sales rose from a year ago, the Warren Group said; the median condo price was down 2 percent in August to $292,500.

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors also issued its monthly report today on local housing activity. While it uses a different method to track the market, its findings were roughly similar to those of the Warren Group’s.

The association said that August sales rose for the second straight month on a year-to-year basis as median prices were down for the third straight month.

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