Median Boston-area home price up 6.9 percent from last year

Buying News
The median home price in the first quarter in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton area was $442,700, according to the National Association of Realtors. tab62

The median home prices in the country’s metro areas are on the rise, and in Greater Boston, it’s at an even faster pace.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced Monday that home prices in metropolitan areas have risen 5.7 percent in the first three months of 2018, with the median single-family home price coming in at $245,500. By comparison, it was $232,200 during the same period last year. 

Those numbers in Boston, however, are much higher. According to NAR’s findings, the median home price in the first quarter in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton area was $442,700. In the first quarter of 2017, it was $414,200. That’s a 6.9 percent increase and 1.2 percent above the national average.

The region offers the 11th-highest median sales price for existing single-family homes. The top of the national list was dominated by the West Coast, with the most expensive housing market in San Jose, Calif. ($1,373,000), followed by San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward ($917,000); Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine (Calif.) ($810,000); urban Honolulu ($775,500); and San Diego-Carlsbad ($610,000).

In a news release, NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun attributed the rise to low inventory.

“The worsening inventory crunch through the first three months of the year inflicted even more upward pressure on home prices in a majority of markets,” Yun said. “Following the same trend over the last couple of years, a strengthening job market and income gains are not being met by meaningful sales gains.”

The Northeast, for example, saw 683 home sales at the end of the quarter, 8.1 fewer than during the same period last year.

“The national family median income rose to $74,779 in the first quarter, but overall affordability decreased from a year ago because of rising mortgage rates and home prices,” NAR reported.

To purchase a single-family home at the Boston area’s median price, a buyer looking at a 3.9 mortgage interest rate with a 20 percent down payment would need to be making $84,631 to qualify, according to NAR. That’s nearly 21 percent more than the first quarter of 2016. (With a 10 percent down payment, the figure is $95,210. With 5 percent, it’s $100,500.)

“Realtors in areas with strong job markets report that consumer frustration is rising,” Yun said in the release. “Home shoppers are increasingly struggling to find an affordable property to buy, and the prevalence of multiple bids is pushing prices further out of reach.”

And it isn’t just single-family homes. Condominium and cooperative prices are seeing increases as well. The Boston metro area’s median condo price was $407,800 in the last quarter, up from the $373,100 in the first quarter of 2017. That’s a 9.3 percent increase, surpassing hikes both nationally (5.9 percent) and in the Northeast (7.2 percent). 

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