Eileen McEleney Woods
April 22, 2020 6:16 pm
For the third month in a row, the median price for a condo in the state is higher than the cost of a single-family home, according to a report The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman, released Wednesday.
Even amid Governor Charlie Baker’s stay-at-home order, the market kept breaking records for prices. The median single-family sale price increased 6.5 percent year over year, hitting $402,000, according to the report — a high for March. The median price for condos broke the record for any month: $429,000 — a 19.2 percent increase.
“The Massachusetts housing market continued its record-setting streak in March, just as the severity of the coronavirus pandemic was beginning to hit home,” said Tim Warren, CEO of The Warren Group. “From open houses and appraisals to mortgage lending and job security, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the local housing market and economy. The great irony is that all indicators were pointing to an excellent Spring real estate market.”
The number of single-family home sales was up 2 percent year over year, but the number of condo purchases slipped slightly (0.5 percent).
“The median condo sale price has now increased by double digits on a year-over-year basis for three straight months as a flood of new luxury condo units reached occupancy,” Warren said. “What is uncertain is whether other new units already under contract and ready for occupancy in April – and beyond – will close despite the looming recession.”
In Greater Boston, home prices rose despite “sharply declining inventory,” according to a report the Greater Boston Association of Realtors released Wednesday.
“The high volume of buyer traffic combined with diminished inventory helped boost the median sales price of single-family homes for a fifth consecutive month, while the condominium median selling price rose for the fifth time in the past six months in March,” according to the report. The median price for a single-family home climbed 6.8 percent year over year to $640,000. In the condo market, the median price jumped 12.7 percent year over year to $619,950. Both markets set price records for the month of March.
“The fundamentals of the housing market remain strong, and that’s evident in the willingness of so many to pay top dollar to own a piece of the American Dream,” said Jason Gell, GBAR president and an agent with Keller Williams Realty Chestnut Hill in Newton. “The challenge going forward remains the severe listing shortage we face, which coupled with steady buyer demand continues to put upward pressure on prices. To keep prices from rising further we must produce more housing to increase the supply. So, we urge local and state lawmakers to amend zoning laws, pass the Housing Choices bill, and create incentives to build more homes.”
The number of active listings dropped dramatically. Single-family home listings declined 25.7 percent from the same month last year, according to the report, while the number of condo units on the market fell 22.8 percent.
“The spring market was looking pretty promising until the virus hit about a month ago and access to properties started to have an impact on showings and sales,” Gell said. “We certainly could have benefited from a larger inventory of homes to sell, but activity was brisk for much of March, with large crowds of buyers at open houses and listing time shrinking.”
“Certainly, the health and safety of all residents has to be the priority right now, but understandably that’s taken most of the air out of the market,” he added. ” From stay-at-home orders, to restrictions on business and access to housing, and all of the economic uncertainties associated with the pandemic, it’s no surprise the market has slowed considerably.”
What are condos and single-family homes selling for in your area? Here’s the Greater Boston Association of Realtors’ breakdown for 64 communities:
These communities saw a 19.6 percent jump in the median single-family selling price, from $690,000 in March 2019 to $825,000 last month. Condo prices rose 13.6 percent, from $397,725 in March 2019 to $452,000. Single-family homes spent an average of 38 days on the market. For condos, it was 55.
These communities saw a six percent increase in the median single-family selling price, from $580,000 in March 2019 to $615,000 last month. Condo prices jumped 14.5 percent, from $415,000 in March 2019 to $475,000 last month. Single-family homes spent an average of 28 days on the market. Condos were on for 47 days on average.
The median selling price for single-family homes climbed 13.8 percent, from $716,875 in March 2019 to $815,500 last month. Condo prices rose 16.1 percent, from $626,000 in March 2019 to $726,500. Single-family homes spent an average of 33 days on the market. For condos, that number was 36.
The median selling price for a single-family home rose 12.2 percent, from $606,250 in March 2019 to $680,250 last month. Condo prices increased 17.2 percent, from $392,500 in March 2019 to $459,950 last month. Single-family homes spent an average of 33 days on the market. For condos, it was 53.
The median selling price for a single-family home edged up 0.4 percent, from $478,000 in March 2019 to $480,000 last month. Condo prices shot up 23 percent, from $335,000 in March 2019 to $412,000 last month. Single-family homes spent an average of 36 days on the market. For condos, it was 60.
City of Boston
The median selling price for a single-family home rose 3.6 percent, from $630,000 in March 2019 to $652,500 last month. Condo prices jumped 17.8 percent, from $611,000 in March 2019 to $720,000 last month. Single-family homes spent an average of 38 days on the market. For condos, it was 41.