Massachusetts home sales, boosted by falling mortgage rates, jumped nearly 10 percent in December to post the strongest year-to-year sales increase of 2014, a Boston real estate tracking firm reported Tuesday.
The gain, however, was not enough to push 2014 sales of single-family homes past the previous year, according to the Warren Group. Annual home sales, just under 49,000, slumped 2 percent last year, down from about 50,000 in 2013.
Prices, however, rose in 2014, to a median $330,000, up 2.5 percent from $322,000 in 2013.
Timothy M. Warren, chief executive of the Warren Group described the end-of-the-year sales as “exceptionally strong.” He said he expects the momentum to continue this year.
“We have not seen a bump like [December] in over a year,” he said. “With rates hitting historic lows for 30-year mortgages and strong job growth, I am confident that we will see a strong start to 2015.”
Statewide, home sales were largely disappointing last year, constrained by a shortage of homes on the market. The inventory fell again in December compared to 2013, the 34th straight month of declining numbers, according to the Massachusetts Association of Realtors.
Condominium sales fell slightly in December, down less than 1 percent from December 2013, the Warren Group said. Over the year, however, condo sales rose a bit, to 20,614 from 20,468. The median condo price for the year rose 4 percent, to $310,000 from $298,000 in 2013.
Separately, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors reported similar trends. Single-family home sales rose 5.5 percent last month from a year ago, according to the group, which tracks a slightly narrower swath of the housing market. The median price of a single-family home rose 4.1 percent to about $333,000, up from $319,000 in December 2013.
In Boston, home sales rose 1.3 percent in December but fell more sharply over 2014 than in the rest of the state, according to the Greater Boston Association of Realtors, which includes real estate agents who sell in 54 cities and towns in Eastern Massachusetts. Home sales dropped 5.4 percent last year in Boston and its suburbs, which represented about one-fifth of the Massachusetts housing market, and condo sales dropped 5.7 percent.
“Typically, I’d say that Boston doesn’t have those wide swings regardless of the market conditions, especially the downtown [neighborhoods]. We’re very stable,” said David McCarthy, the association’s president. “We just have limited land.”
Prices rose more locally than in other parts of the state.
The Greater Boston group said single-family home prices rose 5 percent, from $499,900 to $525,000, while the median condo price rose 6.2 percent. Those increases were smaller than in 2013, when house prices rose 8.7 percent and condominium prices rose 6.7 percent.