State House News

Mass. Home Sales Down Sharply In 2022

Source: State House News Service
Author: Chris Lisinski

Single-family home sales in Massachusetts plummeted last month to the lowest November total in eight years while prices climbed to a new high, according to the latest report from The Warren Group.

Across the state, there were 3,806 sales of single-family homes in November, reflecting a 29.4 percent drop from the same month one year ago and a 34.7 percent decline from two years ago, The Warren Group said in a report published Wednesday.

That’s the lowest November total since 2014, raising the stakes in a housing debate that lawmakers have been reluctant to dive into despite many families feeling financially burdened or locked out of the market.

“The significant drop in single-family home sales came as no surprise in November,” said Warren Group CEO Tim Warren in a statement. “A tightening inventory, higher interest rates, and economic uncertainties have had a big impact on consumer confidence, and real estate activity has taken a hit in recent months. The more important development is the slowdown in median price hikes. The 3.9 percent increase we saw in November was the smallest percent increase on a year-over-year basis since June 2020.”

November’s sales slowdown continued a more than year-long trend. With only one month left in 2022, year-to-date single-family home sales are down more than 8,000, or 14.5 percent, over last year, The Warren Group said.

Sales of condominiums also declined in November, falling to 1,663, or 21.8 percent less than November 2021.

Prices for both single-family homes and condos climbed once again. The median price for a single-family home in Massachusetts last month was $530,000, which was 15.2 percent higher than November 2020.

On the condo front, the median sales price rose 6 percent from November 2021 to November 2022 to hit $475,000.

“The condo market followed very similar trends to the single-family market in November — a massive year-over-year decline in sales paired with a more modest increase in price,” Warren said. “It’s clear that neither market is immune from current economic conditions.”

While they have no say over rising interest rates that are raising borrowing costs in housing, Gov.-elect Maura Healey and top Democrats in the Legislature face pressure to make housing production a focus of their work in the 2023-2024 lawmaking session as soaring prices and a lack of available options weigh on families.

Although they approved Gov. Charlie Baker’s push to reform the voting threshold required for local zoning changes and some funding for housing development, lawmakers so far have been unable to significantly address the housing shortage fueling the crisis, a shortage that some critics say is due to local zoning rules.

Healey and Lt. Gov.-elect Kim Driscoll plan to stand up an individual Cabinet-level secretary of housing, splicing that role off from the current combined secretary of housing and economic development, and task that person with implementing a “coordinated housing policy.”

They also said in a campaign plan that the state “needs to be much more aggressive in its efforts to increase housing production,” calling for work to examine use of state land that could be converted to housing and to help local officials develop more homes.

“Maura and Kim will empower communities to enact local policies that best address their own, unique housing challenges, while encouraging regional cooperation and technical assistance. This may include local rent stabilization policies, zoning reforms to allow housing at greater densities, specific housing production supports, and more,” Healey’s campaign said in its housing plan. “Maura and Kim recognize that one size does not fit all and will help municipalities be creative in their solutions to tackle housing, as well as building a larger regional and statewide strategy. They envision a Massachusetts where all residents have access to safe and affordable housing options, regardless of the region in which they live.”