Here's July's 2015s Monthly Indicators report from the Greater Boston Association of Realtors
Boston Real Estate Market Trends
Strong buyer activity in spring pushed closed sales up in July. Supply and demand are pushing home prices up. New listings added to the market are helping increase closed sales.
- July single-family home sales UP +9.0% over last year
- July Single-family median prices were UP +5.0% at $530,000
- July condo sales UP +10.6% and median prices UP +9.8% ($460,000)
- Inventory in July DOWN -13.5% to 3,593 and condominiums DOWN -17.4% to 1,590
- SF listings added to the market in July UP +14.4% over last year (1,714 from 1,498 in 2014)
- Condo listings added to the market UP +1.2% over last year (1,077 from 1,064 in 2014)
Interested In Specific Neighborhood / Area Real Estate Market Trend Data?
The Single-Family Home Market:
- After declining during three of the first five months of the year, sales of detached single-family homes increased on an annual basis for a second consecutive month in July, improving 9 percent, from 1,739 homes sold last July to 1,895 in July 2015. Last months sales volume is the most ever recorded for the month of July in Greater Boston, surpassing the previous record of 1,792 homes sold in July 2004, and also the second highest single month sales total on record, topped only by the 1,922 single-family homes sold in June 2004.
Additionally, on a month-to-month basis, home sales also rose 1.3 percent from an upwardly revised 1,871 homes sold in June.
The strong sales pace in July can be attributed to steady job growth and the overall health of the local economy, near record low mortgage rates, and recent improvement in household formation. This years severe winter weather also delayed the start of the traditional spring market, resulting in a higher than normal closing activity during the past month.
- The median selling price for single-family homes increased for a tenth consecutive month in July, appreciating 5 percent on an annual basis to establish a new record high monthly median price of $530,000. Julys median home price is up $25,000 from the same month one year ago, and also improved 0.6 percent on a monthly basis, climbing modestly from an upwardly revised median selling price of $526,778 in June. The median selling price for detached single-family homes has now increased on an annual basis in 33 of the past 34 months (dating back to September 2012).
The steady rise in median selling prices reflects todays tight inventory levels, improved optimism about the economy and housing market, and pent-up demand from millennials looking to transition from renters to homeowners, as well as empty-nesters looking to downsize and cash in on strong gains in their homes value in recent years. These conditions are benefitting sellers, as the ratio of original list price to sales price increased steadily over year ago levels to 99.1 percent in July, a figure that is just one-tenth of one percent below the record 99.2 percent listing-to-sales price ratio observed one month earlier in June 2015.
As of July, the median price is up 71 percent from March 2009 when home values bottomed out at $309,950.
- After 12 consecutive months of increases from July 2014 June 2015, the average market time for homes sold in Greater Boston declined on an annual basis for the first time in a year during July. Single-family homes sold in this past July were on the market an average of 55 days, or one day less than in July 2014. On a month-to-month basis listing time also shrunk, declining by 5 days from an average of 60 days on the market for homes sold in June of this year. The last time it took fewer days for a home to sell was in August 2013 when homes sold in an average of 51 days.
- Pending home sales rose for a fourth consecutive month on an annual basis during July, increasing 20 percent over the past 12 months from 1,192 homes placed under contract last July to 1,434 homes that went under agreement in July 2015. The 1,434 pending sales recorded this July sets a new record high for the month, topping the previous high of 1,333 homes put under contract in July 2003. On a month-to-month basis, pending sales did decline 23 percent from an all-time record monthly high of 1,867 single-family homes put under agreement during June.
- The inventory of single-family homes for sale continues to trail historic norms, declining on an annual basis by 13 1/2 percent, or over 550 properties, compared to the same month last year. On a month-to-month basis, the supply level also decreased though more modestly so, declining 5.9 percent from an upwardly revised 3,818 single-family properties in June. With 3,593 homes listed for sale as of July 31 the supply of homes on the market is at its lowest level for the month of July in more than a dozen years.
Meanwhile, the number of nw listings coming onto the market in July fell 27 percent, or 650 units, from the previous month, but did improve 14 percent in July from the same month one year ago. Unfortunately, this modest gain will do little to improve market conditions given the current buyer demand, especially since permitting for new homes remains well below historic norms and many homeowners remain reluctant to list their home for sale either because they owe more on their mortgage then their home is worth or they are fearful of not being able to find another home to purchase due to the lack of homes for sale.
Inventory as expressed in months of supply also declined last month to 1.9 months from 2.4 months of supply in July 2014 and 2.0 months of supply during June. In a balanced market 78 months of supply exists, so at the current sales pace there remains an insufficient supply of homes available to meet buyer demand.
The Condominium Market:
- Sales of condominiums increased on an annual basis for a second consecutive month in July, climbing 10.6 percent from 1,196 condos sold last July to 1,323 in July 2015. This follows seven consecutive months of sales declines from November 2014 May 2015. Last months sales total is the second highest on record for the month, exceeded only by the 1,354 condos sold in July 2005, making it the ninth busiest month all time for condo sales in Greater Boston. Meanwhile, the year-over-year improvement in sales activity during July is the largest annual percentage increase in condo sales since September 2013 when sales climbed 18.3 percent from the same month one year earlier.
Demand for condos remains strong, especially among entry-level buyers looking to convert from renting to home ownership, overseas investors, and suburban empty-nesters looking to downsize or relocate to Boston. Indeed, sales activity would likely be higher if not for the very limited supply of condos available for sale in eastern Massachusetts.
- The median selling price for condominiums increased on an annual basis for an ninth consecutive month in July, appreciating nearly 10 percent over the past year from $419,000 in July 2014 to a new all-time high monthly median price of $460,000. That tops the previous record high median price for any given month set just one month earlier in June when the median price was $459,900. This marks the twenty-eighth time in the last 29 months the monthly median price has risen from the same month one year earlier the lone aberration occurring in October 2014 when the median price slipped 0.6 percent from the same month one year earlier.
The last time the median selling price rose by a greater percentage than the 9.8 percent gain between July 2014 and July 2015 was this past April, when the monthly median selling price improved 10.8 percent from the same month one year earlier. Since the monthly median price bottomed out at $259,500 in January 2009 during the last market correction, the median condo selling price has climbed 77 percent.
Like the single-family home market, the condominium market continues to be plagued by a lack of listings to meet current buyer demand, especially at the entry-level end of the market. As a result, sellers are profiting. In fact, July marks the fourth consecutive month the ratio of list price to sale price has stood at or above 100 percent meaning the typical condo owner was able to sell their unit either at or above the full original asking price.
- The average market time for condominiums to sell decreased on an annual basis for a sixth time in the last seven months in July. The typical condo sold in July was listed for 41 days before an offer was accepted, which is lowest average days on market until sale this year, and down by more than one week (9 days) from last June when the average days on market was 50 days. On a month-to-month basis average days on the market also declined from 42 days in June.
- The number of condominiums placed under agreement rose for a fifth consecutive month in July, increasing 7 percent over the past 12 months to 995 condos placed under contract this July. However, on a month-to-month basis, pending sales fell 28 percent from a 10-year high of 1,385 condos put under agreement in June.
- The number of condos on the market decreased for a forty-eighth consecutive month in July, declining 17.4 percent over the past 12 months to fewer than 1,600 condos for sale, and by nearly one-quarter (24%) since July 2013. Like the single-family market, the current inventory of condos for sale is the lowest monthly listing total in more than a decade, and has remained persistently below 2,000 units for sale for much of the past two years. At the current sales pace there is a 1.2 month supply of condos available for sale, which is down steadily from a 1.6 month supply in July 2014 and 1.3 month supply in June 2015. As a result, the on-going shortage of listings continues to put upward pressure on prices and is preventing an even healthier rebound in sales activity from occurring, especially in suburban communities where few new units are being built.