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Sorry, buyers. The price of a single-family home in Mass. shot up 14 percent

Buying Fall House Hunt
This June 20, 2019, photo shows an existing home is offered for sale in Rutledge, Ga. On Thursday, June 27, Freddie Mac reports on this week’s average U.S. mortgage rates.
John Bazemore / The Associated Press

Much to the chagrin of prospective home buyers and the delight of sellers, the median sales prices for single-family homes and condos in Massachusetts hit all-time highs in August, according to a report The Warren Group released Wednesday.

The cost of a single-family home shot up 14.3 percent year over year to $480,000, while the median price buyers paid for condos climbed to $425,000, a 5.9 percent increase.

“Now that we have two consecutive months of data supporting the fact that homebuyers are shopping again, I think it’s safe to say that the Massachusetts real estate market is adapting to a COVID-19 world,” said Tim Warren, Warren Group CEO. “For the second straight month, we saw the biggest upticks in single-family activity in Barnstable, Berkshire, and the island counties, which could indicate that buyers are seeking second homes in safer rural areas of the state. Or perhaps some home buyers have found that working remotely is a viable option and are leaving the job centers in Greater Boston.”

The condo market appears to be on the mend after an abysmal spring, according to the analysis. “In August, with a modest decline on a year-over-year basis, the condo market showed improvement over the 32.7 percent decline in the second quarter,” Warren said. “The median sale price of $425,000 marked an all-time high, but I’m still curious to see how demand will be impacted in the months to come as everyone adjusts to the presence of the pandemic.”

In Greater Boston, the housing market was little changed in August — sales continued their monthslong decline — but the median cost of single-family homes and condos set monthly record highs, according to a report the Greater Boston Association of Realtors released Wednesday.

The price of a single-family home hit $720,000 in August, a 12.5 percent year-over-year gain, while the cost of a condo unit inched up 3 percent to $568,000.

Sales of single-family homes in Greater Boston fell for a seventh straight month, dropping 13.9 percent year over year, while the number of condos that went under agreement plummeted 16.6 percent. Condo sales have been on the decline since April.

GBAR-Greater-Boston-August-Market

Jason Gell, association president and an agent with RE/MAX Unlimited in Brookline, blames the COVID-19 pandemic and insufficient inventory.

“The latest sales figures belie how busy the market has been,” Gell said via news release. “The pandemic severely delayed our spring market, and with mortgage rates falling back to record lows, we’ve had no shortage of buyers and seen healthy foot traffic at open houses all summer long.

“There’s been some softening in the market for large, high-end single-family homes and properties in the urban core with small living areas and no outdoor space.  Elsewhere, however, the biggest challenge we face is not having enough inventory to sell, and this will continue to hold back the market until state lawmakers pass meaningful zoning reform to promote more housing production.”

In August, the number of single-family homes for sale fell 23.3 percent, while the number of condo units on the market rose 35.1 percent year over year.

“Sellers still hold the upper hand due to the imbalance between supply and demand, but buyers should take comfort in the fact that there was a spike in new listings that came on the market last month which was followed by another influx of new properties put up for sale around Labor Day,” Gell said. “That’s certain to help boost buying opportunities this fall.”

GBAR-Active-Listings-August-2020

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

GBAR-Central-Middlesex-August-2020

These communities saw a 14.8 percent jump in the median single-family selling price, from $834,250 in August 2019 to $957,500 in August 2020. Condo prices slipped 5.1 percent, from $475,000 in August 2019 to $451,000 in August 2020. Single-family homes spent an average of 41 days on the market. For condos, it was 29. The number of active single-family listings was down 38.8 percent, while the number of condos on the market dropped 30.9 percent. The number of single-family homes that sold was up 4.1 percent, while the number of condos that changed hands was down 13.6 percent.

Eastern Middlesex
BurlingtonMaldenMedfordMelrose, North Reading, ReadingStonehamWakefieldWilmingtonWinchester, and Woburn 

GBAR-Eastern-Middlesex-August-2020

These communities saw a 5 percent increase in the median single-family selling price, from $624,000 in August 2019 to $655,000 in August 2020. Condo prices rose 4.3 percent, from $460,000 in August 2019 to $480,000 in August 2020. Single-family homes spent an average of 23 days on the market. Condos were on for 40 days on average. The number of active single-family listings was down 18 percent, while the number of condos on the market went up 5.5 percent. The number of single-family homes that sold was down 22.1 percent, while the number of condos that changed hands was down 6.6 percent.

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

GBAR-Metro-Boston-August-2020

The median selling price for a single-family home climbed 8 percent, from $733,500 in August 2019 to $792,500 in August 2020. Condo prices rose 2.2 percent, from $645,834 in August 2019 to $660,000 in August 2020. Single-family homes spent an average of 34 days on the market. For condos, that number was 41. The number of active single-family listings was up 16.5 percent, while the number of condos on the market jumped 57.7 percent. The number of single-family homes that sold was down 20.3 percent, while the number of condos that changed hands dropped 18.4 percent.

Metrowest
AshlandDoverFraminghamHollistonHopkintonMedfieldMedwayMillisNatickNeedhamSherborn, and Wellesley

GBAR-Metro-West-August-2020

The median selling price for a single-family home increased 10.9 percent, from $665,000 in August 2019 to $737,518 in August 2020. Condo prices fell 8.2 percent, from $425,000 in August 2019 to $390,000 in August 2020. Single-family homes spent an average of 33 days on the market. For condos, it was 52. The number of active single-family listings was down 38.1 percent, while the number of condos on the market edged up 2.7 percent. The number of single-family homes that sold was down 9.6 percent, while the number of condos that changed hands plummeted 26 percent.

Southern Norfolk County
AvonBellinghamCantonFoxboroughFranklinMansfieldNorfolkNorwood, Randolph, SharonStoughtonWalpoleWestwood, and Wrentham

GBAR-Southern-Norfolk-August-2020

The median selling price for a single-family home rose 10.9 percent, from $495,150 in August 2019 to $549,000 in August 2020. Condo prices went up 13.8 percent, from $362,500 in August 2019 to $412,625 in August 2020. Single-family homes spent an average of 30 days on the market. For condos, it was 45. The number of active single-family listings decreased 35.8 percent, while the number of condos on the market plummeted 28.1 percent. The number of single-family homes that sold was down 15.2 percent, while the number of condos that changed hands decreased 6.4 percent.

City of Boston

GBAR-City-Boston-August-2020

The median selling price for a single-family home increased 5.8 percent, from $652,000 in August 2019 to $689,500 in August 2020. Condo prices slipped 1.3 percent, from $635,000 in August 2019 to $627,000 in August 2020. Single-family homes spent an average of 34 days on the market. For condos, it was 44. The number of active single-family listings was up 38.5 percent, while the number of condos on the market shot up 63.1 percent. The number of single-family homes that sold was down 26.9 percent, while the number of condos that changed hands decreased 18.6 percent.

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