March 22, 2016

Mass. home sales strong; prices dip

Realtor Tom Rheault stands in front of the triple decker he purchased as a first-time buyer.

Home sales continued their upward climb in February, with huge gains in Worcester County, but sales prices for single-family homes stumbled for the first time in nine months.

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors reported a 24.4 percent growth in single-family home sales and 12.7 percent growth in condominium sales, according to MAR. However, the median prices fell 2.2 and 2.8 percent respectively to $309,000 for a single-family home and $285,000 for a condo.

The Warren Group, which also publishes home sales numbers, reported even more drastic shifts with 2,868 single-family homes sold statewide in February, compared with 2,192 in February 2015. The median price of those homes fell by 4.3 percent in February, according to the group, with condo prices falling by 3.2 percent.

"Though fairly moderate, the drops in median sale prices for both single-family homes and condos bring welcome relief as the state struggles with high housing costs," Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group.

Worcester County single-family home prices remained stagnant for February, while sales grew by 47 percent year-over-year. Condominium sales grew by 58 percent year-over-year in February but median prices were down 14 percent. The city of Worcester not only saw single-family home sales grow by 36 percent year-over-year, but median prices bucked the statewide trend and grew 9 percent in February and 12 percent for the year.

Middlesex County single-family home median prices declined by 3 percent for February, while sales grew by 12 percent year-over-year. Condominium sales grew by 15 percent for the month but median prices went down one percent.

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