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Greater Boston Home Sales Slip in January

Sales of detached single-family homes declined on an annual basis in January, slipping 6 percent (or 36 units) over the same month last year to 561 homes sold in January 2014.  This marks the second time in the past three months that sales activity has dropped compared to the same month the previous year, which equals the frequency with which single-family sales volume decreased during the 12 months prior to this past November when sales slid 12 percent.  Still, it was the third busiest January for home sales in the past 10 years, and eleventh most active January for detached single-family home sales on record in Greater Boston. The sales slowdown is the result of softening buyer demand due to rising mortgage rates, higher home prices, and a depleted inventory of homes for sale, which has persisted now for more than two years.

Sales also declined on month-to-month basis, decreasing 37.5 percent from December.  The decline was not unexpected since housing demand traditionally drops from December to January as a result of holiday-related activities and the seasonal nature of the New England housing market.  In fact, the decrease in sales last month is comparable to declines in the five prior years when sales fell 36%, 35%, 32%, 29% and 27% in January from one month earlier.

Condominium sales rose on an annual basis for a second consecutive month in January, albeit modestly, increasing roughly 1 percent over year ago levels to 518 units closed in January 2014.  This marks the highest January sales volume in seven years and is the fourth highest sales total on record for the month of January, topped only by January 2005 (655 units sold), January 2007 (638 units sold), and January 2006 (531 units sold).  Similar to the detached single-family home market, sales activity fell on a month-to-month basis, decreasing 34 percent from an upwardly revised 788 condos sold in December. 

To access monthly data by community, check out our Local Market Update reports, and our Monthly Market Indicator Reports for a comprehensive overview of Greater Boston housing market data for January.