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Mass. Home Sales Soar During Second Surge

A for sale sign stands in front of a house, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Westwood, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
A for sale sign stands in front of a house, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Westwood, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Low interest rates and the work from home shift are contributing to a continuing "frenzy" of home-buying in Massachusetts and sales activity and prices both set new records in November.

Sales rose nearly 25% last month and the median sale price of a single-family home increased 17.6% compared to last November, to $460,000, The Warren Group reported Tuesday morning.

After a pause when the COVID-19 crisis hit in March, the market roared back in the summer and the sales pace has held up through the fall as buyers, sellers and the industry have adjusted to conditions in the pandemic.

Sales in November exceeded sales in June, reversing the traditional pattern in which home-buying picks up in the spring and slows down in the fourth quarter, said Tim Warren, CEO of The Warren Group.

"Buyers are taking advantage of rock-bottom interest rates and the ability to work from home to set their sights on communities further and further from their offices now that community is less of a factor for many prospective buyers," said Warren.

Sales in April were down nearly 14%. They fell off 30% in May and were down 24% in June, before beginning to rebound in June and July and then spiking 27% in September.

While a record 5,773 sales were recorded last month, sales dipped by 11% in Suffolk County, but were "especially strong" on the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, Warren said.

There were 41 home sales on Nantucket last month, compared to 12 in November 2019, and the median home sale price on the island in November was just under $2 million, according to the Warren Group's data.

Home sales last month in Barnstable County were up more than 52% over November 2019, and sales out west in Berkshire County last month rose 43.5% over-the-year.

Single-family home sales are up 1.5% over the first eleven months of 2019. The median single-family home sale price this year is $445,000, an 11.3% increase compared to last year.

The condo market has not been as strong, but sales in November were up more than 11% compared to November 2019, and the median condo sale price last month rose 8.5% to $410,000, a record for the month.

Year-to-date, condo sales are down 3.5% compared to the first 11 months of 2019, with a median price of $415,000, a 9.2% increase. Median condo prices fell last month in Suffolk and Middlesex counties.

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