April 24, 2012 | last updated April 26, 2012 3:21 pm

Mass. Housing Market Gains Strength

Two reports released today pointed to continued momentum for the state's housing market.

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors (MAR) said sales of single-family homes rose for the ninth straight month compared with last year. Condominium sales were also up.

"Another month of improved home sales is another month closer to a stable housing market here in Massachusetts," said Trisha McCarthy, the association's president.

The MAR said 3,152 single-family homes were sold in March, an increase of 19.1 percent over March 2011. Compared with February, sales jumped 35.3 percent.
While median prices fell for single-family homes, they were up for condominiums, the MAR said. The median sales price for single-family homes was $267,500, a 2.2-percent drop from March 2011 and the sixth straight year-over-year decrease. But compared with February, the median selling price was up 5.3 percent from $254,000.

In a separate report, The Warren Group of Boston said sales of single-family homes and condominiums in Massachusetts marked their strongest first quarter since 2007. Warren's data yielded numbers similar to the MAR's.

"Starting the year with a strong first quarter is a good indicator of things to come," said Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group. "After such a depressed year of sales in 2011, we're likely to see more positive year-over-year comparisons in months to come. The market has a good head of steam built up right now.

"In studying patterns of previous housing slumps and recoveries, I'm not surprised median prices are continuing to drop," Warren said. "Housing sales will continue to rise, but it will take several more months for median prices to follow."


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