In latest Boston area real estate data, signs of a return to normal?
As the busy spring home-buying season kicks into high gear, Greater Boston’s housing market is looking, well, kind of normal for a change.
The number of houses and condos sold in the region in March was essentially flat, according to data from the Greater Boston Association of Realtors. Prices climbed, but not at the torrid pace of the last two years. And the number of homes listed for sale — especially condos — is rapidly growing.
It adds up to a market that’s relatively friendly to both buyers and sellers, at least compared with the brutal business of home buying in Boston over the last few years. To be sure, median prices — $595,000 for a single-family home and $550,000 for a condo — are still near record highs. But with mortgage rates hovering at about 4 percent and active listings up nearly one-fifth from last year, would-be buyers are in relatively good shape, said GBAR president Jim Major, an agent with Century 21 North East in Woburn.
“With inventory improving, we’ve seen our eager buyer population react by keeping sales high, as they are taking advantage of modest price appreciation and current mortgage rates,” Major said. “We should expect a robust spring market.”
Data on pending sales, Major said, suggest that closings should also be strong for April and May, and new listings in March ran 12.9 percent ahead of last year’s clip.
Trends were similar across Massachusetts, according to reports out Wednesday from the Warren Group and the Massachusetts Association of Realtors. Warren, a Boston-based real estate tracking firm, said the statewide median price for single-family homes hit a record for March at $377,000, up 6.2 percent.
It’s a reminder, associate publisher Cassidy Norton of the Warren Group said, that the fundamentals of the housing market in a state with strong job growth and tight supply remain stacked in sellers’ favor.
“It’s not surprising to see the median single-family home price continue its upward trend,” she said. “Demand remains high and inventory low; it will be interesting to see if supply will be able to keep up with demand as more sellers begin to list their homes in the coming months.”