Interest rates are rising, and the number of potential homebuyers is dwindling, yet home prices surged yet again this spring in Greater Boston. But there are growing fears that potential buyers are priced out of the market, with a slowdown coming soon.
The median price of a single-family home in Greater Boston in May was $875,000, up 15.1 percent from a year prior and up from $845,000 just in April, according to a new report from the Greater Boston Association of Realtors. That’s the highest number GBAR has ever recorded, and single-family home prices have risen steadily since November 2019.
This spring’s rapid run-up in interest rates — the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has climbed more than two points since January — and the ongoing scarcity of available homes have driven prices and sales higher, at least for now, said Melvin Vieira, GBAR’s president, in a statement.
With interest rates forecast to rise even more, buyers jumped in while they still can, Vieira said, prompting a busier-than-expected spring market. Would-be buyers may be looking further afield, or lowering their price point, but supply is so tight that prices keep going up.
“With interest rates rising some buyers have been priced out for now, especially at the entry-level, but others have adjusted their search to lower price points or more affordable distant suburbs and that’s kept the competition heated and led to offers over asking price,” said Vieira, who is also an agent with RE/MAX, in a statement.
Indeed, condos and single-family homes are on average selling for 103 percent and 109 percent of their original asking price, respectively.
Condo prices were up too, with the median selling price at $700,000, up 9.4 percent higher than a year ago. Condominium sales decreased for a sixth straight month, and prices dipped 2.1 percent from April to May.
That, GBAR said, reflects “softening demand among both first-time buyers who are unable to meet today’s higher housing costs as well as older, empty-nester households who would rather stay put in their current home than take on a higher rate mortgage at this time.”