Sunday, December 9, 2012

Demand, prices rise for Bay State homes

With only a month to go before the end of the year, housing trends for 2012 are taking shape.
Demand for single-family homes and condominiums for the first 11 months of the year was up across all price points in Massachusetts, whereas in the same stretch of 2011 higher-end sales, those valued at $1 million and above, helped prop up the market.
The volume of single-family homes and condos in the Bay State jumped 18 percent for the first 11 months of 2012 compared to the same time in 2011, with prices continuing a modest increase, according to data obtained from Multiple Listing Service PIN. The median price of residential homes in Massachusetts gained 1 percent to $292,000 from $289,000 in the year-ago period.
An improving job market and low interest rates are two of the biggest drivers for the uptick in sales volume, but prices are just starting to show a consecutive upward trend this year.
“Tightened credit is a major hold-back to a full recovery in Massachusetts as well as the rest of the country. 2013 will bring a continued steady climb in the housing market with a few stops and starts along the way,” said Nicolas Retsinas, a senior lecturer in real estate at Harvard Business School and director emeritus of Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.
Larger price gains were noted in the Boston market and select suburbs. Sales volume in the Hub was up 27 percent compared to the first 11 months of 2011, and the number of transactions was up 23 percent compared to last year.
The median price for a home in Boston rose 6 percent, from $375,000 to $400,000, according to Multiple Listing Service PIN.
A lack of inventory for new construction, slowed mainly by lack of capital over the past few years and a lack of buildable sites, contributed to Boston’s price increase.
Meanwhile, the pace of sales continued to increase, with properties on the market 84 days for the first 11 months of 2012 compared to 102 days during the same period in 2011.
Statewide, home and condo sales had slightly less rosy numbers, with properties on the market for 123 days in 2012, compared to 129 days in 2011.
Anemic inventory levels across Massachusetts and especially in urban Boston will continue into 2013 as new housing developments just begin to enter the market and homeowners remain reluctant to put their property on the block.
“Sellers are continuing to wait for home prices to rise,” Retsinas said.
Rents will continue to rise as households are driven to the rental market as opposed to home purchases because of strict lending requirements.
“The credit hurdles people face will continue to put a damper on the home buying market in 2013,” Retsinas said.

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