State House News

Mass. Home Sales Up In Back-To-Back Months

Article Source: State House News Service
Author: Colin A. Young

Prices Rose In May But Market Activity Outpaced May 2023

For the second straight month, the number of single-family homes sold in Massachusetts in May was up compared to one year earlier, but the increase in sales did not take any pressure off the pricing side of the equation as a backlog of demand among house hunters keeps prices hovering at or near all-time highs.

The real estate market analysts at The Warren Group reported Tuesday that there were 3,887 single-family home sales in Massachusetts last month, representing a 7.5 percent increase over the 3,616 sales recorded in May 2023 and just the fourth time in almost three years that home sales were up from the same month a year prior.

But even as sales were up, so too were sale prices. The median single-family home sale price was up 7.9 percent year-over-year basis to hit $636,000 in May, a new all-time high for the month.

“Remarkably, during the same period, the median sale price climbed almost 8 percent to reach an all-time high of $636,000. Typically, increased sales would temper price growth, but the pent-up demand from homebuyers is redefining market dynamics,” Cassidy Norton, The Warren Group’s associate publisher, said.

Sales volume was up last month in every county except Bristol, Plymouth, Franklin and Nantucket counties. In both May and through the first five months of the year, Berkshire County saw the greatest percent increase in single-family home sales. The county’s 112 sales last month were up 31.8 percent over May 2023, and the 399 sales there so far this year represent an 11.1 percent increase over a year prior.

Berkshire County was also one of two (along with Dukes County) to post a decline in the median sale price from May 2023 to May 2024, dropping 1.5 percent from $325,000 to $320,000. On Martha’s Vineyard, the median sale price dropped nearly 25 percent from $1,600,000 to $1,216,250 in May.

The sharpest price increase so far this year has been recorded on Nantucket. The median price of the 35 single-family home sales on the island so far this year stands at $2.95 million, more than $1 million more than the median price of $1.9 million through the first five months of 2023.

Through May, there have been 14,005 single-family homes sold across all of Massachusetts in 2024, a 2.1 percent increase over the sales volume of the same five months of 2023. Meanwhile though, the year-to-date median single-family home price has increased 9.3 percent on to $590,000.

On the condominium side of the market, there were 1,922 sales completed in May 2024, a 4.3 percent increase over the 1,843 sales in May 2023. The median sale price meanwhile climbed 4.6 percent on a year-over-year basis to $550,000, a new all-time high for the month of May, The Warren Group said.

So far this year, there have been 7,016 condo sales in Massachusetts, a 0.5 percent decrease compared to the first five months of 2023, while the median sale price has risen 6 percent to $530,000.

Home sales across Massachusetts fell to a 12-year low in 2023 and housing here is inaccessible or unaffordable for many residents. Gov. Maura Healey last year identified housing as “the number-one issue facing this state” and said there is a shortage of 200,000 units across the state.

The House this month expanded Healey’s housing bond and policy bill to pump it up to a $6.5 billion and five-year plan that now also includes a $1 billion expansion of the Mass. Water Resources Authority in eastern Mass. The Senate is expected to consider its own version of that bill next week, though that branch has not yet unveiled its specific plans to encourage badly-needed housing production.

Another snapshot of the housing market and the struggles that homeowners and renters face is expected on Thursday, when the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University plans to release the “State of the Nation’s Housing 2024 Report.”

“On the for-sale side, millions of potential homebuyers have been priced out of the market by high home prices and interest rates, while the number of renters with cost burdens has hit an all-time high,” the center said in an advisory last month. “However, a surge in new multifamily rental units is slowing rent growth and accelerated single-family construction is starting to life for-sale inventories.”