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Mass. sees a jump in home sales as mortgage rates hold at historic lows

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The number of single-family homes put under agreement in Massachusetts jumped 6.3 percent in May, reflecting 12 straight months of year-over-year increases, according to a report the Massachusetts Association of Realtors released Wednesday.

The median price of those homes put under agreement was $420,000, a 3.7 percent increase, the association said.

The news was also good for condo sellers. The number of units that went under agreement in May rose 2 percent with a median price of $415,000 — 7 percent higher than it was in May 2018.

Sales may have received a boost from lower mortgage rates. US long-term rates were little changed this week, after six straight weeks of declines putting them at historically low levels, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage held steady at 3.82 percent, its lowest point since September 2017. A year ago the benchmark rate stood at 4.62 percent.

The average rate for 15-year fixed-rate home loans slipped this week to 3.26 percent from 3.28 percent.

The declining rates have been a boon to potential purchasers in the spring home-buying season, and the number of prospective buyers seeking mortgages jumped last month.

Mortgage applications for new home purchases increased 20.1 percent in May from a year earlier, according to new data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week to compile its mortgage rate figures.

The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates.

The average fee on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose to 0.6 point this week from 0.5 point.

The average fee for the 15-year mortgage was unchanged at 0.5 point.

The average rate for five-year adjustable-rate mortgages declined to 3.51 percent from 3.52 percent last week. The fee remained at 0.4 point.

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