By Sue Ellen Woodcock
As area real estate agents get ready for the spring selling season they know that 2015 is shedding a good look on the market. Comparing 2015 sales figures and selling prices show that sales are up and prices are too, especially in the Revere, Winthrop, Chelsea, Lynn, Everett and East Boston.
However, in the Boston neighborhood areas (Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Charlestown, Jamaica Plain, South End/Bay Village, Kenmore/Fenway), figures are showing a mixed bag for single-family home sales, but condominium sales are strong and rising.
The common factor in most areas is that there is not enough housing stock on the market and there are buyers swamping open houses.
“We had 21 offers on one property recently,” said Joyce DiLiegro, of Exit Realty/Beatrice. “There are so many buyers and not enough property.”
Low interest rates and a slew of first time homebuyer programs, including a 1 percent down homebuyer program from Rocket Mortgage.
“People are also looking for multi-families,” DiLiegro said. “People like the added income.”
One trend pushing a healthy real estate market, said Winthrop Realtor James Polino, owner of Highland Real Estate in Winthrop, is that real estate continues to be a good investment.
“There’s no where to put your money today,” Polino said. “You can ‘t put it in stocks, you can’t put it in the bank. Real estate is an attractive investment.”
Fueling a hot buyer’s market in Winthrop is that there is no housing stock. The minute a home is put on the market it sells in days, Polino said. They held an open house on Sunday and they needed to have two agents there because of the number of people who came.
Another trend Polino has noticed in East Boston and Winthrop is “flipping”. Buyers are purchasing properties, fixing them up, and selling them again.
In Revere, sales are good but not as strong, Polino said. Winthrop has a diverse housing population with everything from cottages to Victorians.
In the Boston neighborhoods, a healthy local job market, low mortgage rates and recent gains in household formation led to increased sales and steady price appreciation throughout the local residential housing market, according to data from the Greater Boston Association of REALTORS® (GBAR).
“We’ve seen a pattern over the last couple months of increased sales volume at a normally slow period of the year, which demonstrates the consumer confidence and desire for home ownership that exists in our market,” said GBAR President Andrew Sarno, Broker Associate with RE/MAX Andrew Realty Services. “December capped off a strong 2015 sales year in Greater Boston, particularly in the single-family housing market which had a total sales increase of 7.7 percent on the previous year.”
High demand also increased condo sales prices, as they rose on an annual basis for the 14th consecutive month to a median sales price of $445,000 which reflects a 5.2 percent increases from the December 2014 median sales price of $423,000. Both markets saw increases in their year-end totals from the previous year, as the median selling prices of single-family homes sold increased by 3.7 percent in 2015, with an increase from $458,000 to$475,000.
The condominium median price experienced annual price growth of 8.4 percent from $415,000 to $450,000 in 2015.
In the Boston neighborhoods while pending sales rose steadily, inventory in both markets has continued to trail historic norms and declined on an annual basis. As a result of the strong buyer demand, single-family market inventory dropped has dropped a bit.