Signs of the Times in Boston Real Estate

by Guy Contaldi.

The bottoming out of the Boston-metro real estate market has happened and it is no longer just anecdotal evidence from fellow real estate agents and my own observations. This is a sign of the past...

And this is a sign of the times.

Proof is in the pudding or the numbers. The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® (MAR) just released their March 2012 numbers and reported that single-family homes put under agreement in March were up 38.8 percent compared to the same time last year (*3,256 homes in 2011 to 4,519 homes in 2012). What an improvement.

March marked the 11th straight month of year-over-year increases. I only expect April and May's numbers to be better as I see the number of sale pending signs going up all over the neighborhoods in Boston, homes for sale in Cambridge and Somerville. Inventory in some price points is becoming very slim pickings leading to many over-asking offers and bidding wars. The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® (MAR) also reports inventory of single-family homes as of March 2012 decreased 6.2 percent from March 2011 (29,141 listings in 2011 to 27,334 listings in 2012). That is an 8.1 months of inventory supply in March 2012. This was the seventh straight month of inventory decreases.

Typically an average market, one which favors neither the buyer nor the seller is six months of inventory. Anything below six months will result quickly in a sellers-market. If things continue to go this way and I see many neighborhoods and price points reaching this point now we may find the market is moving into a sellers' market.

Although I am no fortune teller I can feel it in the air. Traditionally, July has the most closed home sales of the year and I expect that in July we will see only signs that that look like this.
This past week, The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® (MAR) reported that March 2012 home sales were up again. This is the ninth straight month of improvement. It's not just single-family homes seeing gains. Condominium sales and prices are seeing dramatic gains.
There were 3,152 detached single-family homes sold this March, a 19.1 percent increase from the 2,646 homes sold the same time last year.

So while you can never time the market, good signs are there. Buyer’s prices still remain low although inventory is declining. Seller’s homes ( if priced correctly) are selling quicker and getting much closer to their asking price. So if you are in the market to sell or buy it is a win/win situation.
Guy Contaldi serves Ziprealty Boston real estate clients, and has a special affinity for real estate in Somerville MA - his hometown. You can also visit Guy Contaldi’s blog here.