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Sales, median Prices Climb 7% Across Metro Boston in 2013

Sales of detached single-family homes rose steadily on an annual basis in December, improving a healthy 9.3 percent over the same month one year ago, from 819 homes sold last December to 895 homes sold in December 2013.  It’s the highest sales volume of single-family homes during the month of December in nine years, and fifth best December sales total for the detached single-family home market on record in Greater Boston.  The December sales rebound follows a 12 percent decline in sales activity during November, making it the fifth time in the last six months home sales have increased on a year-over-year basis. Somewhat unexpectedly, sales also rose on a month-to-month basis in December climbing 12.4 percent from an upwardly revised 796 homes sold in November. 

Notably, over the final three months of 2013, sales rose a modest 2 percent from the final quarter of the previous year, increasing from 2,507 homes sold during the fourth quarter of 2012 to 2,558 homes sold in the same quarter this year.  In addition, this past year was the busiest for home sales in 14 years, as sales increased nearly 7 percent from 2011 to 11,442 closed transactions, the most since 14,605 homes sold in 1999.     

The monthly median selling price for detached single-family homes increased for a fifteenth consecutive month in December, improving 6.4 percent on an annual basis to $500,000.  It’s the first time since October 2004 – December 2005 that the single-family median home selling price has risen for such an extended period.   Additionally, last month’s median selling price sets a new all-time high for December, eclipsing the previous record high median selling price for the month set in December 2009 when the median price of homes sold was $484,500.  It’s also the highest monthly median selling price for single-family homes in four months, dating back to September, which had a median price of $500,500.

For the three months ending in December, the median selling price rose 7.3 percent, from a median price of $449,000 in the 2012 fourth quarter to $482,000 during the same three-month period this year.  Similarly, for the calendar year, the median selling price for detached homes increased a healthy 7.6 percent, climbing from an annual median price of $459,900 last year to $495,000 in 2013.  That’s the strongest annual price appreciation in nearly a decade, dating back to 2004 when the median price rose 9.6 percent from one year earlier.

In the condominium market, sales in December improved a modest 1.3 percent over year ago levels to 776 units closed in December 2013.  Similar to the detached single-family home market, this represents the highest sales total observed in the Greater Boston condo market during the month of December in nine years, and is the second highest sales volume on record for the month, topped only by the 830 condos sold in December 2004.  Notably, sales activity also rose on a month-to-month basis, climbing steadily by 9.6 percent from an upwardly revised 708 units sold in November 2013.  

Meanwhile, for the entire fourth quarter sales were essentially flat, increasing just one half of one percent.  However, sales rose steadily over the past calendar year, improving 7.4 percent on an annual basis, from 9,655 condos sold one year ago to 10,370 in 2013.  Driven by demand from suburban empty-nesters looking to relocate to Boston, as well as investors, and renters looking to become first-time homeowners, the Greater Boston condominium market experienced its best year since 2005 when 10,750 condos were sold.   

The median selling price for condominiums increased on an annual basis for a tenth consecutive month in December, appreciating 11.2 percent over the past year to $423,250. Significantly, this figure not only surpasses the previous record high median selling price observed during the month of December (set one year ago with a median price of $380,000 in December 2012), but also establishes a new all-time high monthly median selling price for condos in Greater Boston, eclipsing the old record of $420,000 set just six months earlier in June 2013.  Notably, the last time the median selling price for condos rose for 10 straight months on a year-to-year basis was March 2012 – January 2013.

Over the final three months of the year, the median selling price rose a healthy 10.5 percent, climbing from a median price of $378,343 in the final quarter last year to $418,000 during the fourth quarter of 2013.  In addition, for the full calendar year, the median selling price for condominiums increased 6.9 percent, from an annual median price of $379,000 in 2012 to $405,000 this past year.  This marks the largest annual price appreciation in the condominium median selling price in nearly a decade, dating back to 2004 when the condo median selling price rose 7.9 percent.

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.      

 

 

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