By Greater Boston Association of REALTORS, Special for USDR
The Greater Boston housing market experienced near record sales activity this September as low mortgage rates, rising home values, and a healthy local job market fueled above normal buyer demand throughout much of the summer of 2015. For a fourth straight month, sales of single-family homes and condominiums each rose steadily on an annual basis in September, data from the Greater Boston Association of Realtors® (GBAR) show.
Sales of detached single-family homes increased 15 percent on an annual basis from 1,066 homes closed last September to 1,226 inSeptember 2015. It’s the second highest sales volume ever recorded during the month of September in metropolitan Boston, topped only by the 1,227 homes sold in September 2004, and the largest percentage increase in sales on a year-to-year basis since September 2013. Condo sales also improved last month, but more modestly so, climbing 4.1 percent from 862 condominiums sold inSeptember 2014 to 897 this September. Last month’s sales total is the third best on record for the month of September in the Boston area condo market.
“Buyers are feeling increasingly confident and jumping at the opportunity to take advantage of today’s low mortgage rates and rising home values,” stated GBAR President David McCarthy, owner of Keller Williams Realty Boston Metro. In addition, buyers are benefiting from more new listings coming onto the market, as well as greater access to credit as many lenders have modified their financing requirements over the past year, he noted. “If September’s pending sales totals are any indication, we expect an active fall market as well,” McCarthy remarked.
Today’s healthy sales pace is helping to boost home values. In the single-family home market, the median selling price improved 7.5 percent over the past 12 months, from a median of $423,450 in September 2014 to a new record high median for the month of$455,000 this September, while the condominium median selling price rose 3.4 percent in the past year, from a median of $414,500last September to a new high for September of $428,500. It’s the twelfth consecutive month the single-family home median price has risen on an annual basis, and the eleventh consecutive month the median price for condos has increased from one year earlier.
“The steady price growth we’ve seen over the past year reflects the desirability of home ownership, and the need for less stringent zoning laws locally so we can create more housing to address recent gains in household formation, and years of pent-up demand following the foreclosure crisis and economic recession of the past decade,” observed McCarthy.
Fortunately inventory levels have begun to improve, albeit it slowly. Thus, while the supply of active listings for single-family homes and condos continued to decline from year ago levels in September, the decrease in the number of homes and condos for sale was more modest than for any other month this year, with the number of single-family listings down 10 percent to 3,870 homes for sale and condo listings dipping 6.4 percent to 1,832 units for sale. In addition, new listings of detached single-family homes and condos improved on both a year-to-year and month-to-month basis in September. The number of homes and condos listed for sale in September each rose 11 percent from the same month last year, and increased even more substantially from August by 41 percent (or nearly 600 homes) in the single-family home market and 56 percent or (roughly 500 units) in the condo market.
As the supply levels build, that in turn will create more opportunities for buyers in the market, and that’s evident from the latest pending sales data, which shows the number of single-family homes placed under contract increased for a sixth consecutive month, increasing 27 percent over the past 12 months to a new record high for the month of 1,350 this September. Additionally, in the condo market pending sales improved for a seventh straight month on an annual basis, climbing 7 percent during the past year to 895 inSeptember 2015.
SOURCE Greater Boston Association of REALTORS (R)