Even in the traditionally off-peak month of November, buying a home in Massachusetts continued to be a competitive endeavor.
Home sales were up slightly in November, compared to a year earlier, but a continued lack of homes on the market — a record low for the month — caused prices to rise.
The median price of a single-family house in November hit $384,000, a 4.1 percent increase over the same time last year, according to the Massachusetts Association of Realtors. Median sale prices climbed or remained flat in 24 of the last 25 months.
The association counted 4,799 sales last month, half a percent higher than in November 2016.
The Warren Group, which tracks a larger pool of transactions in Massachusetts, indicated that last month’s 5,124 single-family home sales were a record high for the month of November, a 1.2 percent increase over the same time last year.
Condominiums fared even better last month, with the median price climbing about 8 percent over last year’s to $368,000, according to the association’s figures.
Sales increased more than 10 percent over the same time last year.
“I and most of my colleagues have been pleasantly surprised with the number of individuals who have placed their homes on the market and the number of people who’ve been out looking — it’s stronger than past Novembers,” said Paul Yorkis, president of the association. “But there’s still an overriding concern that the inventory that’s come on to the market are homes that are for resale, not new construction. There’s still a substantial deficit in new construction pretty much across the state in condominiums and single-family homes.”
Separately on Tuesday, the nation’s most widely followed benchmark of home prices, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, reported that home values in the Boston area for October nudged downward by 0.2 percent from September.
But over the past 12 months home prices in Boston are up 6.9 percent, slightly above the US average.
The Case-Shiller gauges track sales of the same properties over time for 20 US metro areas but lag the local housing reports from Warren and the MAR by one month.
November, much like the past couple of years in the local real estate market, was defined by a decreasing number of homes for sale. Compared to November 2016, the number of single-family homes for sale last month was down 27.1 percent, and 26 percent for condominiums, the MAR said. Both are record lows for the month of November.
On average, single-family homes spent eight fewer days on the market in November, compared to the same time last year. Condos spent 10 fewer days on the market.
Yorkis said interest rates are “still very attractive,” making this winter a good time to buy. The benchmark average for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage increased slightly last week to 3.94 percent, according to the latest survey from the mortgage finance company Freddie Mac.
‘First-time home buyers are still being shut out of the market-place.’
But with chronically low inventory, would-be home buyers, from first-timers to empty-nesters, will continue to compete for the same homes on the market, Yorkis said.
“First-time home buyers are still being shut out of the marketplace,” he said. “November numbers indicate to me how much Massachusetts needs to create new housing.”Katheleen Conti can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKConti.