Newton Real Estate Performs Better than Most Towns

Mass. home sales rise, but prices fall

November 25, 2008 08:05 AM Email| Comments (2)| Text size +

(File photo: Mark Humphrey/AP)

The median sales price for a single-family home fell 13.9 percent to $285,000 in October, one month after falling below $300,000 for the first time in five years, the Warren Group reported today.

One bright spot: The number of homes sold in October rose nearly 14 percent from October 2007, said the Warren Group, a Boston real estate date firm.

The median selling price for a Massachusetts single family home was $285,000 in October, compared with $331,000 in October 2007 and $287,500 in September 2008. Last month, 3,698 single family homes were sold in Massachusetts versus 3,253 in October 2007, the Warren Group said.

The median selling price for a Massachusetts condo was $260,000 in October, down 5.5 percent from a year ago, said the Warren Group, which added that 1,660 condos sold in the Bay State last month, down 7.4 percent from 1,792 sold in October 2007.

Referring to the year-to-year increase in the number of single family homes sold in October, Timothy Warren chief executive of the Warren Group, said in a statement: “The uptick in home sales for two straight months is a hopeful sign. But the light at the end of the tunnel is still a long way off. What we saw in the early 1990s during the last housing downturn in Massachusetts was that the number of sales increased for at least eight months while prices continued to decline. The lower prices are a key factor driving sales volume up. My expectation would be that the number of home sales will have to climb for several more months before price declines start to level off. Another factor to keep in mind is the impact of the collapse in the stock market. Our October data reflects sales that were negotiated over the summer and closed in October. Our data cannot tell us if people were still shopping for homes in October.”

A separate housing report from the Massachusetts Association of Realtors was also released this morning. The Warren Group and the Massachusetts Association of Realtors use different methods to track local housing activity.

Falling prices lifted October home sales in the Bay State, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors said in its monthly report on the local housing market.

Last month, the median selling price of a single family home in the state was $294,950; that was 10.6 percent below the median price of $330,000 in October 2007 and roughly flat with the median in September 2008, the association said.

The number of single-family Massachusetts homes sold in October rose 6.6 percent to 3,250 from 3,049 in October 2007, the association said.

As for Massachusetts condominiums, the October median price was $250,000, down 10.7 percent from $279,950 in October 2007 and down 2 percent from $255,000 in September 2008, the association said.

Last month, 1,296 condos were sold in the state, down 1 percent from 1,309 condos sold in October 2007, the association said.

“As was the case in September, buyers took advantage of more affordable prices in October, which continued to drive activity,” Susan M. Renfrew, president of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors, said in a statement. “An increase in sales in each of the past two months is definitely something to feel good about, but we still need to see how sales are in November to determine if this is a trend.”

To read a story in today’s Globe about housing sales in the Northeast, please click

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