Home sales reports from state and local Realtor associations concluded that the markets of both Boston and Massachusetts in general underperformed on sheer sales volume, although prices remained strong.
Last month, single-family sales in the Greater Boston area were 12.5 percent below Sept. 2017 levels, while condominium sales fell by 15.2 percent annually. However, median prices for both property types grew yet again to record highs, to just under $600,000 for detached homes and $570,000 for condos, according to the Greater Boston Association of Realtors.
The rest of the state saw similar trends. The Massachusetts Association of Realtors’ September report found a 9.7 percent decrease in total sales from last year. Meanwhile, the median sales price increased 4 percent to $390,000. MAR noted that Sept. 2018 set a new record for the lowest number of active listings statewide since it began reporting the data in 2004. Single-family for-sale inventory shrank 9 percent to just under 16,000, while condo inventory fell by 8.6 percent to 4,500. The number of new listings, however, did increase marginally for both property types, which comes as a good omen to MAR President Rita Coffey.
“Positive year-over-year increases in new listings coming onto the market is always a positive, but we’ll need more changes to truly deal with the inventory shortage,” said Coffey in a press release.
Home sales posted losses at the national level in September as well, according to the National Association of Realtors. Existing home sales were down 4.1 percent annually nationwide, while the median sales price grew 4.2 percent over a year ago.
In a separate MAR report, Realtors around the state still reported an optimistic outlook last month despite sluggish sales in some markets. Price growth and stability under contract was one factor here — nearly three-quarters of Realtors surveyed by MAR last month said their listings were being appraised at the agreed-upon price. Year-to-date, GBAR reported 99.8 percent of homes sold within the Boston area closed at their original price. That’s despite the current sales market and the low-inventory climate.
“We’ve asked this question for several years now and the overwhelming majority have said that appraisals are coming in as expected,” said Coffey. “It is encouraging that the appraisal process is working and not negatively impacting the market.”