BOSTON – Single-family home sales in Massachusetts fell for the fourth time in the last five months in March, according to The Warren Group, even as prices rose.
The real estate data tracking firm, and publisher of Banker & Tradesman and The Commercial Record reported that home sales fell 7.8 percent in March to 2,749 units, part of a 2.4 percent decline in the year’s first quarter. At the same time, the median price for a single-family home sold him March increased 8.6 percent to $315,000 across the Bay State, the 18th consecutive month that prices have increased. The median price in the first three months of 2014 was $305,000, an increase of 7 percent year over year.
Condominium sales stood in contrast to single-family home sales, increasing 12.6 percent in March to 1,328 sales, roughly the same increase for entire first quarter. Condo prices also gained in the period, rising 10.4 percent to $291,500 in March and 15.7 percent in the quarter to $290,000.
“The low inventory of single-family homes in the market is the primary cause of the decreasing sales activity,” said Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group. “Motivated buyers, however, are eagerly bidding for the limited supply which accounts for the increasing sales prices. People want to buy homes before prices and interest rates rise further.”
In addition, he said, “As we see from the sales numbers, condos continue to be an attractive option for first-time home buyers or empty nesters. With a tight apartment market and rising rents, condominiums are hot right now.”
The Warren Group also published sales figures for Bristol County, Mass., where March single-family home sales fell 9.3 percent to 196, as the median sale price fell 5.3 percent to $223,000. Home sales increased 1.6 percent in the first quarter to 580 units, as the median sale price fell 0.8 percent to $228,250.
In addition to tracking home sales, The Warren Group reported on financing activities. The number of mortgage loans recorded in March (both purchase and non-purchase loans up to $750,000) increased 11 percent to 2,611. Non-purchase loans (home equity loans and lines of credit, refinancing, reverse mortgages and new construction loans up to $750,000), on the other hand, declined 59.3 percent in March to 6,710. In the first three months of the year, mortgage loans fell 4.8 percent, while non-mortgage loans fell 65 percent.