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Mass. Home Sales Continue Positive Year, But Prices Fall

BOSTON — Sales of single-family homes in Massachusetts rose again in September, the 15th straight month of year-over-year increases, according to two reports released Thursday.

“Nine months into 2012, we can officially say that it really does look like we’ve finally turned the corner,” said Cory Hopkins, editorial director for The Warren Group, which released one of the two reports. “We’re well positioned for a pretty good 2013.”

The group’s report showed an 8 percent increase in single-family home sales last month, compared to September 2011.

The report, however, also showed a 4.5 percent decline in the median home price over the same time period — the largest drop this year.

But Hopkins says the decline may be indicative of who is in the market, rather than the market’s overall health.

“They might be homes that stayed on the market throughout the summer market, maybe in need of some TLC,” he said. “You may get more first-time buyers out there now that may not have kids, they’re going to school, so that may be the kind of buyer in the market right now.”

At the same time, a separate report released by the Massachusetts Association of Realtors showed similar, though less-drastic trends.

The MAR report showed a 2.8 percent rise in single-family home sales, compared with the same month last year, and a 0.6 percent decline in home prices.

MAR President Trisha McCarthy says all signs are pointing to a strong 2012 finish, but she says she and other realtors have lingering concerns about the number of homes on the market.

“We really would like more inventory in all price ranges,” McCarthy said. “It’s just not where we’d like it to be.”

Both reports showed a rise in condominium sales, although the MAR report showed a 2.9 percent rise in the median price, while The Warren Group’s report showed the median price dropping a fraction of 1 percent.

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