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Home Values Rise In Boston Area

Great Case-Shiller chart illustrating the 2005 peak and where we are now.

Home values rise in the Boston area

Region’s prices less than 15% below peak; national numbers also show increase

By Jenifer B. McKimGLOBE STAFF

Home values in the Boston area increased by 6.7 percent in March compared with the same time last year, according to data released Tuesday by the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, another indicator of a rejuvenated housing market.

Nationwide, home prices increased 10.9 percent compared with March 2012, according to Case-Shiller, and values increased in all 20 metro areas measured by the firm. Because Case-Shiller measures repeat homes sales, it is considered one of the best markers of the nation’s housing health.

“Other housing market data reported in recent weeks confirm these strong trends: Housing starts and permits, sales of new homes and existing homes continue to trend higher,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

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The increase in the Boston area was less dramatic than in other regions that were harder hit by the housing downfall. Between 2005 and 2009, home prices in the Boston region dropped about 20 percent, but the market has generally been more stable than the nation as a whole. Since 2009, area home values have fluctuated and now are less than 15 percent below their September 2005 peak.

Barry Bluestone, director of the Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University, expects steady but moderate price increases for single-family homes in the Boston area over the next few years, as more people put their homes on the market. Bluestone said he expects prices for multifamily homes and condominiums to rise even faster. “Older baby boomers are going to look to downsize and younger professionals will be less interested in moving into the suburbs and having to put up with long, tedious commutes,” he said.

Jenifer B. McKim can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter@jbmckim.

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NAR Report For February- Prices And Inventory All Post Gains

February was a strong month for real estate. The Cape was effected by 4 weekend snow storms but Boston buyers scoffed at the weather and added momentum to sales in the New Year.

Existing-home sales, prices — and inventory — all post gains

NAR: Tight inventory still a drag on recovery


Inman News®

<a href="" target="_blank" rel=Housing trends image via Shutterstock.” width=”225″ />

Existing-home sales and prices posted strong year-over-year gains in February, while inventory remained tight but eased slightly, according to a monthly report released today by the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Existing homes, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.98 million during February, up 0.8 percent from January and 10.2 percent from a year ago. That’s the fastest pace of sales since November 2009 when the first-time homebuyer tax credit boosted purchases.

The national median existing-home price remained level at $173,600 from January but was up 11.6 percent from a year ago, continuing a 12-month string of consecutive year-over-year price increases not seen since May 2006.

Existing-home inventory rose 9.6 percent from January to 1.94 million units in February but remained tight, at 19.2 percent below the inventory level from a year ago.

With the month-over-month growth, the months’ supply of inventory — the amount of time it would take to sell all homes now on the market at the current rate of sales — rose to 4.7 months, up from 4.2 months in January.

Some analysts view a six-month supply of homes as a more even balance of buyer and seller demand — anything less than that indicates a seller’s market.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said that overall economy is resulting in increased demand, sales and prices. Despite rising prices, however, low mortgage rates are still attracting homebuyers, but tight inventory, he said, will continue to temper the housing turnaround.

The only headwinds (to a housing a recovery) are limited housing inventory, which varies greatly around the country, and credit conditions that remain too restrictive,” Yun said in a statement.

Source: Calculated Risk blog

Existing homes were on the market for a median of 74 days in February — up from 71 days in January and 24 percent below February 2012’s mark of 97 days.

First-time buyers accounted for 30 percent of purchases, unchanged from January.

Distressed homes accounted for 25 percent of all existing-home sales in February — down from 34 percent in February 2012 but up from January’s mark of 23 percent.

Foreclosures made up 15 percent of February’s existing-home sales and sold for an average of 18 percent below market value, while short sales, which made up 10 percent of February’s sales, sold for 15 percent below market value.

All-cash deals accounted for 32 percent of February’s sales, up from 28 percent in January. Investors accounted for 22 percent of existing-home sales in February.

Existing-home sales, February 2013

Seasonally adjusted annual rate 4.98 million
% change from February 2012 +10.2%
% change from January 2013 +0.8%
National median price $173,600
% change from February 2012 +11.6%
Unsold inventory (months’ supply) 4.7 months
Share of all-cash buyers 32%
Share of investor buyers 22%
Share of first-time buyers 30%
Share of distressed sales 25%

Source: National Association of Realtors

All regions saw year-over-year increases in existing-home sales with the South leading the way with a 14.9 percent jump in sales from a year ago to an annual rate of 2.01 million in February on a median sale price of $150,500.

In the Midwest, sales rose 12.9 percent from a year ago to an annual rate of 1.14 million with a median sale price of $129,900.

Existing-home sales in the Northeast were up 8.6 percent in February, year-over-year, to an annual pace of 630,000 units with a median sale price of $238,800.

The West saw February sales rise 1.7 percent from February 2012 to an annual rate of 1.20 million with extremely tight inventory and multiple bidding raising the median price, year-over-year, 22.7 percent to $237,700.



Tight Inventories Effect Growth Prospects.

The Inman News article below provides interesting national context to the extreme lack of inventory in our local markets.

NAR: Pending sales dip from November to December


Inman News®

Tight listing inventories are likely to constrain growth in 2013 home sales, the National Association of Realtors said in releasing a report showing that pending sales dropped 4.3 percent from November to December.

Despite the month-to-month drop, existing homes under contract were up 6.9 percent from a year ago, making December the 20th month in a row to see an annual gain in pending sales.

NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index, which represents existing-home contracts signed but not yet closed, rose to 106.3 in November before slipping to 101.7 last month. In April 2010, when the federal homebuyer tax credit was still in place, the index hit 111.3, but soon dipped back down.

An index score of 100 is equal to the average level of sales contract activity in 2001, the first year examined by the trade group and a year in which home sales fell in what’s considered a normal range for the current U.S. population. Contracts signed in a month typically close one or two months later.

Although NAR is projecting that home sales will pick up by 9 percent in 2013, tight inventory, paired with near-record low new-home construction levels, is an obstacle to more rapid growth.

The month-to-month dip in the pending sales is not a “statistical fluke,” Yun said, but signals a loss of momentum in home sales. The momentum, however, is inventory-related, he said — demand is still high.

New homes, Yun said, are the solution to the inventory challenge. “True relief to the inventory has to come from new home construction.”

Regionally, the West, with extremely tight inventory, was the only region to see a decrease in pending home sales in December from a year ago with a 5.3 percent drop.

December 2012 year-over-year change in pending sales of existing homes index by region

Source: National Association of Realtors

The Midwest, South and Northeast had year-over-year index increases of 14.4 percent, 10.1 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively, in December.

On a monthly basis, only Midwest’s index increased in December — 0.9 percent. The pending existing-home sales index fell in the West, Northeast and South from November to December 8.2 percent, 5.4 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively, in December from November.


Goode & Farmer Report Boston – January 2013

Lack of Inventory remains the challenge.

The Big Number is 23%. Combined, all Boston neighborhoods saw a 23% increase in the number of condo sold in 2012, from 3,544 sales in 2011 to 4,361 sales in 2012. The average sales price of condominiums increased 5% to $563K from $536K in 2011. The median sales price increased 8% to $410K from $380K in 2011. This real estate market is healthy except for the continuing decrease in inventory levels. The number of condominiums for sale in downtown has dropped 46% to 565 from 1050 last year at this time, and that was an extremely low number!

The Back Bay, saw a 24% increase in sales to 537 units from 433 in 2011, while the average price of a condo sold increased by 5% to $1.18M. The number of condos available for sale dropped 49% from 158 last year to only 80 today.

The South End saw a 9% increase in the number of condo sales to 540 condos sold year to date compared to 497 last year. The average price of a condo sold increased 6% to $704K compared with $663K last year. The inventory of condos for sale decreased 30% from a very low 91 last year to a terrifying 64 today. The dearth of inventory is the issue going forward.

South Boston saw a 26% increase in the number of condo sold to 585 in 2012 compared with 466 in 2011. The average sales price of a condo increased by 11% to $423K compared with $382K in 2011. South Boston has the largest drop in inventory of all downtown n’hoods down 72% from 141 properties for sale on this date last year compared to 39  available for sale today.

Inventory remains the problem, but as I have said repeatedly this market is so resilient and so desirable that declining inventory levels have not negatively effected the steady increase in sales and prices. Time will tell if this dynamic continues.


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The Goode and Farmer Report – Boston Q2 Update

The Big Number is 16%. That’s the increase in condo sales in Boston as of June 30. Combined, all Boston neighborhoods saw a 16% increase in the number of condo sales year to date, a 2% increase in the average price of a condominium sold, and a 5% increase in the median sales price. Put together all this good news is more evidence that while not necessarily out of the woods, this real estate market is healthier than most. The one downside to this exceptional sales activity is that inventory levels of available condo’s for sale have fallen 38% to 1,177 properties for sale versus 1,903 at th is time last year.

Boston’s most expensive neighborhood the Back Bay,  saw a 30% increase in sales while the average price  of a condo sold dropped by 11% to $1.162M. The inventory level of properties for sale dropped 31% to 168 condos for sale vs 242 last year.

The South End saw a 24% increase in the number of condo sales to 264 properties and  the average price of a condo sold increased 1% to $684K. The inventory of condos for sale decreased 45% from 208 to 114. Unless this condition corrects itself this will be a factor in market performance going forward.

South Boston, the darling of the my last market report moderated somewhat with a 4% increase in the average sales price to $408K and a 12% increase in sales to 235 properties sold through the second quarter. South Boston has the largest drop in inventory of all downtown n’hoods down 56% from 225 properties for sale last year to 99 available for sale today.

Every downtown neighborhood has it’s own story and most are positive excepting the inventory numbers. Total Boston numbers highlight the good news. Sales volume is up 19% to $1.080B… One Billion, 80 million dollars! Average days on market are down 12% and the inventory of properties for sale is down 38%.  These numbers highlight incredible short term performance but portend serious issues going forward.



Amazing Year-To-Date Sales In Boston

Stunning figures. In all Boston neighborhoods combined, year-to-date as of May 31, the average selling price for condominiums is up 12% to $542K. The number of condo sales is up 19% to 1,443. Total dollar volume is up 20% to $782,000,000. The number of condos available for sale is down an amazing 65% from the same time last year, from 2,132  to 1,293 condos for sale today.

The story continues to be inventory, yet the number of sales in downtown Boston neighborhoods is up markedly or at least even with last year, except in Dorchester where the number of sales was down 17% and where inventory was down 36%.

2 Commonwealth Ave $1.43M


In Back Bay the number of condominium sales is up 27% to 166 sales against 131 last year. The average sales price is down 7% to $1,154K and inventory is down 34% to only 174 condos on the market as compared to 264 last year. The total dollar volume of condominium sales year to date in the Back Bay is $191M.





40 Worcester St, 1B/1B, $439K


In the most popular Boston neighborhood, the South End, the number of sales is up 25% to 186 against 149 last year. The average sales price for a condo year to date is equal to last year at $678K. The unbelievable story in the South End is that the inventory of properties for sale is down 49% to 122 from 241 last year.

The pressure on existing inventory is acute. The fact that we are seeing both a substantial increase in sales units and a substantial decrease in inventory for sale has created an uncomfortable balance between buyer engagement and frustration.




26 Danforth St., 3B/1B, $380K


Jamiaca Plain is experiencing the same dynamic as the South End. The average condominium sale price year to date is $363K, a 4% increase from $348K last year. The number of sales has increased 33% to 120 from 90 in 2011. The number of available condominium properties for sale is 96, a 41% decrease from 162 available last year.





529 E 8th St, 2B/2B, $463K

South  Boston, our “other” hot neighborhood saw a 27% increase in the number of sold properties to 183 versus 144 sold last year. The average selling price for a condominium year to date increased 3% to $412K from $399K last year. The number of available condos for sale decreased 57% to 112 against 261 last year at this time.

In most downtown neighborhoods the sustainability of high sales numbers in light of the huge decreases in inventory levels poses a real challenge for market balance. As always market forces will come into play. We have begun to see this in the increases in sales prices. Barring a substantial increase in inventory this trend will continue.




Pending Home Sales Jump

I love going into the New Year with all the positives we can get. A monthly index that tracks pending sales of U.S. existing homes rose to its highest level in 19 months in November, according to a report  released by the National Association of Realtors.  Pending sales figures are a very good indication of what consumer attitudes and confidence are going into the New Year as they directly correspond to buyers attitudes and confidence.

NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index, which is based on purchase contracts signed but not yet closed, jumped 7.3 percent from an upwardly revised 93.3 in October and 5.9 percent compared to November 2010, to 100.1. That’s the highest index score since April 2010, just before the deadline for a federal home-buyer tax credit program, when the index was at 111.5, NAR said. “Some of the increase in pending home sales appears to be from buyers recommitting after an initial contract ran into problems, often with the mortgage,” Yun said. “November is doing reasonably well in comparison with the past year. The sustained rise in contract activity suggests that closed existing-home sales, which are the important final economic impact figures, should continue to improve in the months ahead,” Yun added.

What we are seeing statewide through December bears these NAR figures out. A more recent Massachusetts Association of Realtors report shows that the number of condos put under agreement in December in Massachusetts was up 13% to 1,179 units vs 1,046 in December 2010.  The number of single family homes put under agreement in December was up 11.7% to 3,227 units vs 2,888 units in December 2010.  Pending sales in my Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage South End office are up 20% December over December. As with the NAR and MAR figures these positive figures are a reliable sign of increased sales occurring in January and February.  Time will tell.