Considering the battering that the housing market has taken, a single-digit jump is enough to make realtors jump for joy.
The Warren Group, which tracks the real estate market, reported Tuesday that sales of single-family homes jumped nearly 7 percent when compared to December 2009. The Massachusetts Association of Realtors reported a more than 5 percent increase.
The organizations use slightly different numbers to make their calculations.
Warren Group CEO Timothy Warren called the number "remarkable" and the best December since 2006.
The group's Vincent Valvo says the jump could be more an issue of timing than a real surge in buyers.
"I think we probably saw a lot of folks who were trying to close before year-end, to take advantage of tax advantages," Valvo said. "I'm not sure it's an indicator the market has perked up all that much."
But the Massachusetts Association of Realtors says buyers are more optimistic.
MAR President Laurie Cadigan said she’s not surprised by the first year-over-year increase since June. That’s because of what she’s been hearing at her own realty group in Concord.
"We’re actually hearing that people are feeling much more optimistic. And we’re hoping that that will continue into the January, February, March time frame," she said.
Both organizations said the median price of single-family homes fell in December due to several months of sales declines.
For the year, sales were down slightly when compared to 2009, although median prices were up.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
This program aired on January 25, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.