Condo Sales, Prices Outpacing Home Sales In Massachusetts

This March 15, 2012 file photo shows a home with a real estate sign in front in Watertown, Mass. (Steven Senne/AP/File)
This March 15, 2012 file photo shows a home with a real estate sign in front in Watertown, Mass. (Steven Senne/AP/File)

While conditions are challenging for many in the housing market, home and condo sellers in Massachusetts keep finding buyers willing to pay higher prices.

Single family home sales in Massachusetts were up 1.2 percent in April, compared to April 2017 and condo sales shot up 15.1 percent over the year, according to numbers released Wednesday morning by The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman.

Along with a bump in activity — the first year-over-year monthly bump in the single family home market since November 2017 — prices also rose higher heading into the the time of year when the market usually heats up.

Last month, the median single-family sale price increased 8.7 percent to $375,000, up from $345,000 a year earlier. The median single-family home price in March was 5.8 percent lower, $354,000. Year-to-date, the median sale price rose 5.6 percent to $356,800 compared to the first four months of 2017.

"With the most recent median sale price increase, prices have now appreciated on a year-over-year basis for 25 consecutive months," Tim Warren, CEO of The Warren Group, said in a statement. "There's no clear indicator that price gains will slow down, and with buyers prepping for peak buying season, they shouldn't expect any relief in the coming months."

Year-to-date, 14,004 single-family homes have sold across Massachusetts, a decline of 2.3 percent from the first four months of 2017, the Warren Group said.

The median condo sale price rose 12.8 percent in April to $373,000, up from $330,750 in April 2017. Year-to-date, condo sales have increased 4.4 percent and the median price is up 12.6 percent to $365,000.

Beacon Hill officials are working on legislation to boost housing production, a goal policyholders believe will create more opportunities for people across the housing spectrum, but legislation has so far failed to gain traction in either branch with the clock ticking toward the July 31 end of formal sessions.

The growing short-term rental market is also influencing housing options in Massachusetts, with critics saying such rentals are creating fewer long-term choices. A six-person House-Senate conference committee is working to come up with a consensus bill taxing and regulating the short-term rental market.

"We do anticipate that that will be concluded," Sen. Karen Spilka, chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, said during Senate budget debate Tuesday, noting the state's fiscal 2019 budget relies on $20 million in new tax income from short-term rentals.


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