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Greater Boston home prices are up despite the inventory wipeout

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04/12/2016 -Boston, MA- Boston skyline viewed from the Boston Harbor Shipyard & Marina in East Boston, MA on April 12, 2016. The Tuesday forecast calls for rain with highs in the 50s.  (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) section: Metro reporter:
Condos in the city of Boston garnered $769 per square foot on average in April, according to the Greater Boston Association of Realtors. Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

The median sales price for single-family homes hit a record $665,000 for the month of April despite stay-at-home orders, the novel coronavirus pandemic, and plummeting inventory, according to a report the Greater Boston Association of Realtors released Wednesday.

“Buyer enthusiasm remains high, but once again this spring many of those searching for a new home have been frustrated by a paucity of listings to select from,” said Jason Gell, association president and broker-owner of Boston’s Luxury Properties. Inventory for single-family homes and condos was down 34 percent and 24 percent, respectively. “This supply shortage is a prime factor in the slower sales pace we’re seeing, and that was exacerbated in April by the onset of the pandemic, which temporarily limited access to some properties and caused other homeowners to hold off on putting their home on the market,” Gell said.

What was on the market attracted buyers — and bidding wars — with the average sale price of condos up 8.6 percent year over year to $589,224 in April, and single-family homes and condos taking a little more than 35 days to sell, according to the report.

April-Graph-Greater-Boston-Home-Sales
. —Greater Boston Association of Realtors

The fundamentals of the housing market and our local economy remain strong, and that’s giving many buyers the confidence they need to enter the housing market,” Gell said.  “When you take into account today’s low mortgage rates, the increased equity many homeowners now have, and the ups-and-downs occurring on Wall Street, there is no shortage of factors driving demand.”  

Condos were garnering an average of $589 a square foot in April, a 4.8 percent year-over-year jump that may reflect the number of luxury properties that have hit the market. Single-family homes in Greater Boston were averaging $343 per square foot in April, a 2.1 percent year-over-year increase.

What isn’t known is how the market will react as restrictions are eased.

“What had looked to be a very promising spring market has become one that no one could have predicted.  What we do know is that we are facing a health crisis, not a housing one,” Gell remarked.  “Home values remain strong.  Demand may be on pause, but has not dissipated.  And, mortgage rates remain near record lows.  With agents now adapting to provide virtual tours and showings on a more regular basis, we are confident the market is poised to bounce back with the summer months expected to be quite busy,” he predicted.   

Statewide, sales of single-family homes and condos were down, 13.7 percent and 19 percent, respectively, according to data The Warren Group, the publisher of Banker & Tradesman, released Wednesday.

“The number of single-family home sales took a significant hit in April as the effects of COVID-19 started to impact the local housing market and economy,” said Tim Warren, chief executive officer. “This comes as no surprise. I fully expected transactions to stall as the stay-at-home order continues to keep both buyers and sellers on the sidelines, but now that Governor Baker has laid out a roadmap to reopening Massachusetts, we might start to see a return of confidence and more in-person home-shopping in coming months. As the jump in median price indicates, there is a strong demand for the limited supply of homes for sale.”

The median single-family sale price in Massachusetts increased 11.8 percent year over year in April to $428,000 — a high for the month. The median condo price also broke a record for April: $421,000, a 13.8 percent year-over-year increase.

“Despite a 19 percent decrease in condo sales on a year-over-year basis, the median sale price continued its upward climb in April,” Warren added. “This increase was largely spurred by activity in the high-end condo market in the Greater Boston marketplace, where new construction is attracting buyers.”

What are condos and single-family homes selling for in your area? Here’s the Greater Boston Association of Realtors’ breakdown for 64 communities:

Central Middlesex County
ActonBedfordBoxboroughConcordHudsonLexingtonLincolnMaynardStowSudburyWayland, and Weston

These communities saw a 4.6 percent jump in the median single-family selling price, from $807,000 in April 2019 to $843,750 in April 2020. Condo prices jumped 17.9 percent, from $455,000 in April 2019 to $536,500 in April 2020. Single-family homes spent an average of 41 days on the market. For condos, it was 28. The number of active single-family listings was down 41.2 percent, while the number of condos on the market dropped 35.3 percent. The number of single-family homes that sold was up 6.1 percent, while the number of condos that changed hands was down 22.9 percent.

Eastern Middlesex
BurlingtonMaldenMedfordMelrose, North Reading, ReadingStonehamWakefieldWilmingtonWinchester, and Woburn 

These communities saw a 3.1 percent increase in the median single-family selling price, from $610,000 in April 2019 to $629,000 in April 2020. Condo prices rose sharply, 16.8 percent, from $419,500 in April 2020 to $490,000 in April 2020. Single-family homes spent an average of 29 days on the market. Condos were on for 32 days on average. The number of active single-family listings was down 41.8 percent, while the number of condos on the market dropped 32.4 percent. The number of single-family homes that sold was down 14.5 percent, while the number of condos that changed hands was up 16.7 percent.

Metro Boston
Arlington, Belmont, BostonBrooklineCambridge, Chelsea, Dedham, Everett, MiltonNewton, Revere, SomervilleWalthamWatertown, and Winthrop

The median selling price for a single-family home edged up 1.1 percent, from $730,000 in April 2019 to $738,000 in April 2020. Condo prices rose 7.1 percent, from $630,000 in April 2019 to $675,000 in April 2020. Single-family homes spent an average of 31 days on the market. For condos, that number was 37. The number of active single-family listings was down 31.5 percent, while the number of condos on the market dropped 24.2 percent. The number of single-family homes that sold was down 19 percent, while the number of condos that changed hands dropped 18.1 percent.

Metrowest
AshlandDoverFraminghamHollistonHopkintonMedfieldMedwayMillisNatickNeedhamSherborn, and Wellesley

The median selling price for a single-family home edged up 1.6 percent, from $640,000 in April 2019 to $650,000 in April 2020. Condo prices increased 32.1 percent, from $360,000 in April 2019 to $475,500 in April 2020. Single-family homes spent an average of 47 days on the market. For condos, it was 31. The number of active single-family listings was down 28.8 percent, while the number of condos on the market dropped only 1.5 percent. The number of single-family homes that sold was up 14 percent, while the number of condos that changed hands was down 26.2 percent.

Southern Norfolk County
AvonBellinghamCantonFoxboroughFranklinMansfieldNorfolkNorwood, Randolph, SharonStoughtonWalpoleWestwood, and Wrentham

The median selling price for a single-family home rose 18.3 percent, from $441,500 in April 2019 to $522,500 in April 2020. Condo prices shot up 19.3 percent, from $353,000 in April 2019 to $421,250 in April 2020. Single-family homes and condos spent an average of 39 days on the market. The number of active single-family listings was down 30.3 percent, while the number of condos on the market dropped 24.1 percent. The number of single-family homes that sold was down 10.7 percent, while the number of condos that changed hands decreased 4.9 percent.

City of Boston

The median selling price for a single-family home decreased 2.1 percent, from $679,500 in April 2019 to $665,000 in April 2020. Condo prices rose 7.9 percent, from $630,000 in April 2019 to $680,000 in April 2020. Single-family homes spent an average of 18 days on the market. For condos, it was 45. The number of active single-family listings was down 32.7 percent, while the number of condos on the market dropped 19.4 percent. The number of single-family homes that sold was down 13 percent, while the number of condos that changed hands decreased 9.3 percent.

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