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Mass. single-family home sales fell in March

A shortage of homes for sale slowed the volume of Massachusetts single-family home sales in March as prices continued to rise, the Warren Group reported Wednesday.

On a year-to-year comparison basis, Bay State single-family home sales dropped 7.8 percent to 2,749 sold in March, said the Warren Group, a Boston firm that tracks local real estate activity. It was the fourth time that sales have fallen in five months.

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Meanwhile, the median price for single-family homes sold in March rose 8.6 percent to $315,000.

“The low inventory of single-family homes in the market is the primary cause of the decreasing sales activity,” Warren Group chief executive Timothy M. Warren Jr. said in a statement. “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.”

Last month, 1,328 Massachusetts condominiums were sold, up 12.6 percent on a year-to-year comparison basis, the Warren Group said; the median condo price was $291,500, up 10.4 percent.

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The Massachusetts Association of Realtors also issued a monthly report of its own Wednesday. Although the association uses a different methodology than the Warren Group does, the results of the association’s report were roughly in line with those of the Warren Group’s.

According to the association, March single-family home sales were down compared to the same time last year. Median prices were up for the 18th straight month. Both condo sales and median prices were up compared to the same time last year. And while inventory continued to be down, new listings to the market were up.

“While the market still needs more homes for sale --- including both existing homes and new construction --- the increase in new listings in March is a good sign,” association president Peter Ruffini said in a statement. “With home values on an upward trend, it gives homeowners the opportunity and incentive to take advantage of the current buyer demand and list their homes for sale.”

Chris Reidy can be reached at reidy@globe.com.
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