Another month, another record for Greater Boston’s red-hot housing market.
The median price of a single-family home in the region surged to $765,000 in April, according to data this week from the Greater Boston Association of Realtors. Condominium prices climbed too, topping $622,000.
The sky-high prices, along with a historic shortage of homes to buy, reflect a trend that has been building since the COVID-19 pandemic first rattled real estate markets a year ago. Buyers, eager for space and spurred by low interest rates, are scooping up whatever they can find, especially single-family homes in suburban towns. At the same time, many current homeowners are sitting tight, keeping supply off the market.
That dynamic is sparking bidding wars and driving prices upward for what relatively few homes are available. While year-over-year comparisons are tricky because much of the market shut down in April 2020, in the early days of the pandemic, the median price of a single-family home has jumped 24 percent since April 2019, according to the GBAR.
“April’s sales data demonstrates just how frenzied our market has become,” said GBAR president Dino Confalone, an agent with Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty in Cambridge. “There seems to be an almost insatiable demand for housing across our region.”
Indeed, despite the prices, sales volume is up, as well. The number of sales of single-family homes climbed 12 percent from last year and is running 5 percent ahead of the figure for two years ago. Condo sales rose 60 percent and are 40 percent ahead of the 2019 mark, thanks in part to a wave of new inventory that has come on the market.
Still, listings remain relatively tight, and what’s on the market is selling quickly. The real estate website Zillow said the typical home on the market this spring in the Boston area is going under contract in just seven days, and nearly 40 percent of them do so for above the initial asking price.
“This spring’s market has been one the most intensely competitive we’ve ever seen,” Confalone said.
That’s true in other parts of Massachusetts, as well, especially in areas popular with second-home buyers.
Median prices in Barnstable County — Cape Cod, that is — climbed 29 percent year-over-year, according to data from the Warren Group. Berkshire County, in Western Massachusetts, saw prices increase 54 percent. Statewide, the median home price topped $500,000 for the first time in April, Warren Group CEO Tim Warren said, hitting $508,000.
Even the downtown Boston condo market, battered a year ago, is showing signs of improving as the pandemic lifts. Through April, the number of condo sales in the city was up 30 percent for the year, and Warren said he expects that demand will only grow as vaccination rates climb and the bustle starts to return this summer.
“There’s a clearly defined reopening schedule for the city,” he said, “which will help spur activity in population centers that were very unappealing to prospective buyers just a year ago.”