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Home, Condo Sales Post Sharp Gains in October

Following a modest 3.2 percent decline in September, sales of detached single-family homes rebounded in October, climbing 28 percent on an annual basis over the same month last year to nearly 800 homes sold.  It’s the largest percentage increase in year-over-year sales growth this year, topping the 33 percent jump in home sales that occurred in February, and marks the fifteenth time in the past 16 months that single-family homes sales have increased on an annual basis.  Furthermore, the 793 homes sold this October is the most for the month in eight years (dating back to 2004 when 899 homes were sold), and the seventh highest sales total for the month of October on record in Greater Boston.         

Condominium sales rose to their highest level for the month of October in three years, increasing 36 percent on an annual basis to 698 units sold.  It’s the largest percentage increase in monthly condo sales on an annual basis since April 2010 – during the midst of the federal home buyer tax credit program -- when sales rose 51.8 percent over the previous April.  This marks the fifteenth time in the past 16 months that condo sales have improved on an annual basis, with double-digit sales gains observed on a year-to-year basis during all 10 months of 2012.  Empty-nesters, dual-income echo-boomer households, and investors are all helping to drive demand for condos in the current market. Historically, last month’s sales total ranks as the fourth best on record for the month of October in Greater Boston, topped only by October 2004 (746 condos sold), October 2005 (742 units sold), and October 2009 (727 units sold).  

The strong sales activity reflects pent-up demand that has been growing within the local housing market, and was triggered in part by escalating rents, a sudden jump in home prices this fall, and new inventory that came onto the market in September.  October’s sales gains also occurred despite a rise in the state’s unemployment rate during each of the past four months, but because jobs have been added consumer confidence has not been significantly weakened during that period.

To access monthly data by community, check out our Local Market Update reports, and our Monthly Market Indicator Reports for comprehensive regional housing market data for the GBAR/GBREB jurisdiction.