The number of single-family homes put under sales agreement in March rose 4.6 percent when compared with figures for March 2012, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors said Tuesday.
A shortage of homes for sale held back the increase, the association added. While the housing market shows signs of recovery, a new pattern seems to be emerging: There are more buyers than sellers, and one result is bidding wars in many Boston-area neighborhoods.
“A lack of inventory continues, but buyers pushed pending sale activity forward in March,’’ association president Kimberly Allard-Moccia said in a statement. “Several weekend storms kept a good percentage of buyers inside in February, so it was encouraging to see activity pick back up in March.’’
This is the 22 time out of the past 23 months that there have been year-over-year increases.
Meanwhile, the number of Massachusetts condos put under agreement in March was up 9.4 percent versus the number for March 2012
The association’s pending sales analysis counts homes that have been put under agreement but are not yet completed sales. Often six weeks can elapse between the time a home is put under agreement and the time that the sale closes. In general, economists look at closed home sales when they seek to evaluate the condition of the market, but those data points can be several weeks old. According to the association, pending sales can sometimes give more of a real-time indication of where the housing market might be heading.