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Bay State Sales Rebound

May 15, 2002

Massachusetts Home Sales Climb Nearly 12%

Inman News Features

Massachusetts' housing market rebounded from a sharp downturn in sales activity in the final quarter of last year by posting double-digit sales growth for both detached single-family homes and condominiums during the first three months of this year, according to the Massachusetts Association of Realtors.

Sales of detached single-family homes increased 11.6 percent to 9,172 during the first quarter, compared with the 8,222 sold during the same period last year. Condominium sales were up 16.5 percent to 3,024 in the first quarter compared 2,595 during the same time period last year.

First quarter sales reflect the largest percentage increase in sales of detached single-family homes and condos in more than four years, dating back to the fourth quarter of 1997 when sales rose 15.4 percent and 21.2 percent, respectively, according to MAR.

Statewide during the first quarter, sales of detached single-family homes improved in six of seven market areas, while sales remained flat in the Greater Fall River-New Bedford area. The South Shore observed the greatest increase in sales, up 17.6 percent in the first quarter over the same period a year ago. Elsewhere, sales gains ranged from 7 percent to 9 percent in West and Central regions to 10 percent to 14 percent in the Cape Cod, greater Boston and Northeast regions.

The condo market experienced improvement statewide during the first quarter, with double-digit sales growth reported in the Cape Cod, Central, greater Boston, Southeast and South Shore regions compared with year ago levels.

Inventory levels rose nearly 7 percent from year ago levels. Statewide, single-family listings have increased from a quarterly average of 28,441 in the first quarter last year to 30,405 in the first three months of this year. Interest rates also improved in the last 12 months, declining from an average of 7.2 percent for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage in the first quarter of last year to 7.05 percent in the same quarter this year.

Home prices in most markets appreciated slower than in years past. The statewide average selling price for detached single-family homes rose 7.4 percent to $309,807 in the first quarter, up from an average price of $288,430 in the first three months of last year and reflecting the smallest annual quarter-to-quarter gain in selling price since the fourth quarter of 1997 when the average price rose 5.6 percent.

Copyright: Inman News Service

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