Mass. home sales jump sharply in May

The number of single-family homes sold in Massachusetts last month was the largest monthly total in nearly two years, the Warren Group said Tuesday.

Last month, 4,510 single-family homes were sold, up from 3,350 during the same month a year ago, an increase of nearly 35 percent. The May 2012 total was the largest number of single-family homes sold in Massachusetts since June 2010, said the Warren Group, a Boston firm that tracks real estate activity.

Nevertheless, the median price for single-family homes sold in May dropped more than 3 percent to $289,950 from $300,000 a year ago. But the May 2012 median was the highest median sale prices recorded so far this year.


“The spring market has been especially strong in Massachusetts,’’ Cory S. Hopkins, editorial director of the Warren Group, said in a statement. “We’re expecting home sales to continue to soar this summer, thanks to low mortgage rates and affordable prices luring buyers into the market.’’

Commenting on prices, Hopkins added: “Prices are continuing to drop indicating buyers are in the driver’s seat, and making good deals. For the second month in a row, the price of a single-family home is less than a condominium, a reflection of low inventory in the condo market and a number of less expensive single-family homes coming on the market in recent months.’’

Meanwhile, May condo sales in the Bay State rose more than 50 percent to 1,881 from 1,247 in May 2011. The May 2012 median sale price of a Massachusetts condo was $290,000, up slightly from $288,250 in May 2011, the Warren Group said.

Separately, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors also issued a monthly snapshot on the local housing market Tuesday. Although it uses a different method to calculate real estate activity, the association’s results were roughly in line with those of the Warren Group’s.

“We continue to make solid progress toward a real estate market recovery with our 11th straight month of home sales increases,’’ Trisha McCarthy, the president of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors, said in a statement. “With home prices stabilizing, there is opportunity for home owners who are thinking about selling, to put their homes on the market and take advantage of the increasing buyer activity.’’

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