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An All Time High for August Home Sales

Sales of detached single-family homes rose steadily in August to a new all-time high for the month, climbing 10.6 percent over the past year, from 1,300 homes sold in August 2012 to 1,438 during the same month this year.  This is the busiest August for home sales in nine years, and eclipses the previous August sales record of 1,381 detached homes sold in August 2004 during the height of the last housing boom.  

On a month-to-month basis sales were down modestly by 4 percent from an upwardly revised 1,498 homes sold in July, but it should be noted that last month’s sales total also set a record high for July and is the fifth highest monthly sales total on record for any month in Greater Boston. 

The monthly median selling price for detached single-family homes increased for an eleventh consecutive month in August, climbing 6 percent on an annual basis to $520,000. This marks the first time since January – November 2010 that the single-family median home selling price has risen for 11 consecutive months. 

On a month-to-month basis, the median selling price did experience a small decline in August, decreasing 2.8 percent from an upwardly revised price of $534,900 the previous month, but it should be noted that July’s median selling price set a record high for the month in Greater Boston.  Furthermore, from a historical perspective, this August’s median price of $520,000 is the second highest on record for the month (topped only by a median price of $539,000 in August 2005) and eighth highest monthly median selling price ever recorded in Greater Boston.  At its current level, the median selling price is up 48.6 percent from March 2009, when the median price bottomed out at $350,000 during the recession. 

The average list time for homes sold in August declined by more than one month (39 days) over the past year from 87 days in August 2012 to just 48 days this August.  This remains close to a nine-year low for average market time to sell a home, which was set one month earlier when the average days on market dropped to 47 days in July 2013.  This marks the eighteenth consecutive month in which the average time to sell a single-family home has decreased on an annual basis.  

After falling unexpectedly by 4 percent in June, condo sales rose on an annual basis for a second consecutive month in August, climbing 5.2 percent over year ago levels to 1,267 units closed in August 2013.  This is the busiest August for condominium sales in six years, and the fourth most active August for condo sales on record in Greater Boston, surpassed only by August 2005 (1,394 sales), August 2004 (1,360 sales), and August 2007 (1,294 sales). With last month’s sales gain, condo sales have now risen in 19 of the past 20 months on an annual basis dating back to January 2012. 

Notably, condo sales also rose on a month-to-month basis in August, increasing 1.1 percent from an upwardly revised total of 1,253 condos sold in July.  

The median selling price for condominiums rose steadily on an annual basis for a sixth consecutive month, increasing 9.7 percent over the past year to $416,950 in August 2013.  The median price is also up on a month-to-month basis by 3.8 percent from a downwardly revised median selling price of $401,600 in July. 

Last month’s median sales price represents a new high monthly median price for the month of August, eclipsing the previous record price of $380,000 set just a year ago in August 2012.  In addition, the median price this August is the second highest monthly median selling price ever recorded for any month in Greater Boston, exceeded only by the $420,000 median price recorded just two months earlier in June 2013. 

For the tenth consecutive month the average time it took for condominiums to sell fell by one month or more, with days on the market down 36 days over the past year to an average of 40 days in August 2013.  Although the average market time is up slightly from 38 days in July, it remains extremely low by historic standards offering further evidence that buyer demand continues to outpace the supply of available inventory of condos for sale.  The last time it took less time for condominiums to sell than during the summer of 2013 was 11 years ago in July 2002 when the average market time was 37 days.   

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.