Business & Tech

The number of single-family homes for sale in Mass. dropped again in May

Associated Press/File

Sales of single-family homes in Massachusetts dropped to their lowest levels for the month of May since 2016, underscoring how a persistent lack of homes for sale is redefining what traditionally has been real estate’s busiest season, according to data released Wednesday by a tracking firm, the Warren Group.

The nearly 5,300 single-family homes sold last month in Massachusetts marked a 2.1 percent decrease over the same time last year, according to Warren.

Another set of data released Wednesday by the Massachusetts Association of Realtors, which tracks a smaller pool of transactions, showed a 4.5 percent dip in sales for May.


And with fewer homes on the market, prices continued to climb.

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While Warren reported the median price of a single-family home in May landed just shy of $400,000, MAR data show the median surpassed that milestone for the first time since last summer, at $405,000.

Median prices for condominiums in May were not far off that mark, according to both firms. Warren pegged the statewide condo median at $379,000, and MAR put it at $384,371 — both increases over the same period last year.

Condo sales data were mixed.

Warren’s numbers showed condo sales in the state rose 4.5 percent — the best May performance since 2007. But the MAR’s figures indicated sales were down 2.5 percent over May 2017.


The dearth of inventory continued in May, as the number of single-family homes and condos for sale hit record lows for the month, according to the MAR.

The number of single-family homes on the market fell more than 18 percent year-over-year, while the number of condos on the market dropped by about 17 percent.

Predictably, most homes that hit the market were quickly scooped up. Single-family homes spent an average of 12 fewer days on the market, while condos averaged seven fewer days, the MAR reported.

Looking ahead to June — typically the most active month for home sales — Warren Group’s chief executive, Tim Warren, said there is a good chance the trend of lower sales will continue, while prices will keep rising — a bad-news combo, particularly for first-time buyers.

“The condo price of $379,000 in the month of May isn’t too far from the single-family median of $394,000, so it’s ‘pick your poison’ in terms of what you’re going to buy,” Warren said, adding that rising mortgage interest rates are contributing to the woes of those who are looking to buy their first home.

Katheleen Conti can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKConti.