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Report: Home sales in Greater Boston are winding down, but prices are still winding up

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South-Boston-Skyline-David-Ryan
The median sales price for a condo in Boston in November was $638,500, according to a reporter the Greater Boston Association of Realtors released Tuesday. David L Ryan/Globe Staff

The median selling prices for single-family homes and condos hit record highs for the month of November and show no signs of abating, even as the real estate market slips into its usual winter lull, a report released Tuesday suggested.

The $700,000 median sales price of a single-family home was nearly 17 percent higher last month than it was in November 2019, and the median condo cost, $579,000, was a 2.5 percent year-over-year jump, according to the Greater Boston Association of Realtors.

“There’s a lot of upward pressure on prices right now, especially in the suburban starter and trade-up home markets where listings are at a premium — many homes are selling at or above asking price because buyers are competing with multiple offers and paying top dollar to get the property,” said Jason Gell, association president and an agent with RE/Max Unlimited in Brookline. “When you factor in an increased propensity for larger homes among today’s buyers and the fact that lower mortgage rates provide the opportunity to buy more home, there’s good reason for the steady appreciation in selling prices we’re seeing in much of the market.”

BGAR-Nov-2020-Greater Boston

Sales of condos and single-family homes were up 5.1 percent and 15.6 percent, respectively, as the delayed spring-summer selling season stretched into the fall.

“This has been one of the most active fall housing markets we’ve ever seen locally,” Gell said. “With the economy on the rebound, mortgage rates still very attractive, and strong demand from both millennial first-time buyers as well as those looking to trade-up for more living space or a home in the suburbs due to the pandemic, we’ve seen more buyer traffic than normal between Labor Day and the beginning of the holiday season, and that’s led to near-record sales levels.”

But the frenzy is easing. Single-family home sales were down 15.6 percent month to month in November, and condo sales fell 8.4 percent. 

In a not-so-surprising twist that’s good news for buyers, the number of condos on the market in Boston proper and its urban core has risen for the fifth consecutive month, according to the report, climbing 42.4 percent on an annual basis. But it’s still not enough to meet the demand.

Neither is the supply of single-family homes on the market. The number of active listings is down nearly 31 percent year over year, and the months’ supply of inventory is down roughly 43 percent.

“The downtown Boston and Cambridge condo markets, as well as the immediate suburbs, offer some of the best home-buying opportunities at the moment, as prices have stabilized and even declined in some communities as inventory has risen sharply over the past year,” Gell said. “In much of the market, sellers continue to hold the upper hand, but a property’s location alone no longer guarantees it will sell or command the highest dollar. Homes need to be priced right, in good condition, and have a desirable location to attract the most interest from today’s buyers.” 

In the multifamily home market, the median selling price for two-family properties rose 11 percent, from $691,750 in November 2019 to $767,500 last month, while the median price for a three-family crept up 1.3 percent, from $947,500 to $960,000.

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

BGAR-Nov-2020-Central-Middlesex

These communities saw a 14.9 percent increase in the median single-family selling price, from $740,000 in November 2019 to $850,000 in November 2020. Condo prices rose 8.4 percent, from $484,500 to $525,000. Single-family homes spent an average of 43 days on the market. For condos, it was 39. The number of active single-family listings dropped 43.2 percent, while the number of condos on the market fell 28.3 percent. The number of single-family homes that sold was up 41.7 percent, while the number of condos that changed hands was down 28.3 percent.

Eastern Middlesex
BurlingtonMaldenMedfordMelrose, North Reading, ReadingStonehamWakefieldWilmingtonWinchester, and Woburn 

BGAR-Nov-2020-Eastern-Middlesex

These communities saw a 5.3 percent increase in the median single-family selling price, from $610,000 in November 2019 to $642,500 in November 2020. Condo prices slipped 1.8 percent, from $450,000 to $442,000. Single-family homes spent an average of 27 days on the market. Condos were on for 34 days on average. The number of active single-family listings was down 36.3 percent, while the number of condos on the market rose 7 percent. The number of single-family homes that sold rose 3.1 percent, while the number of condos that changed hands fell 11.9 percent.

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

BGAR-Nov-2020-Metro-Boston

The median selling price for a single-family home climbed 17.8 percent, from $675,000 in November 2019 to $795,000 in November 2020. Condo prices rose incrementally, from $645,001 in November 2019 to $648,688 in November 2020. Single-family homes spent an average of 37 days on the market. For condos, that number was 48. The number of active single-family listings was up slightly, 2.1 percent, while the number of condos on the market jumped 66.9 percent. The number of single-family homes that sold was up 14.7 percent, while the number of condos that changed hands increased 6.2 percent.

Metrowest
AshlandDoverFraminghamHollistonHopkintonMedfieldMedwayMillisNatickNeedhamSherborn, and Wellesley

BGAR-Nov-2020-Metro-West

The median selling price for a single-family home in this area increased 23.5 percent, from $587,000 in November 2019 to $725,000 in November 2020. Condo prices dropped 6.8 percent, from $520,000 to $484,500. Single-family homes spent an average of 32 days on the market. For condos, it was 58. The number of active single-family listings fell a whopping 42.6 percent, while the number of condos on the market dropped 24.2 percent. The number of single-family homes that sold was up 23.1 percent, while the number of condos that changed hands rose 12.5 percent.

Southern Norfolk County
AvonBellinghamCantonFoxboroughFranklinMansfieldNorfolkNorwood, Randolph, SharonStoughtonWalpoleWestwood, and Wrentham

BGAR-Nov-2020-Southern-Norfolk

The median selling price for a single-family home here rose 19.8 percent, from $466,000 in November 2019 to $558,500 in November 2020. Condo prices rose a respectable 5.4 percent, from $380,000 to $400,500. Single-family homes spent an average of 29 days on the market. For condos, it was 41. The number of active single-family listings plummeted 41.4 percent, while the number of condos on the market also fell, 26.2 percent. The number of single-family homes that sold was up 8.3 percent, while the number of condos that changed hands increased 6 percent.

City of Boston

BGAR-Nov-2020-City-Boston

The median selling price for a single-family home increased 12.5 percent, from $600,000 in November 2019 to $675,000 in November 2020. Condo prices, however, slipped a little bit, 0.2 percent, from $640,000 to $638,500. Single-family homes spent an average of 39 days on the market. For condos, it was 55. The number of active single-family listings was up 40.8 percent, while the number of condos on the market rose a whopping 62.8 percent. The number of single-family homes that sold decreased 12.3 percent, while the number of condos that changed hands rose 8.1 percent.

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