by Doug Azarian
For the third month in a row, the Massachusetts housing market remained relatively stable in April as the number of homes sold and sale prices remained largely unchanged compared to the same time last year.
April is the fourth consecutive month in which inventory has gone down compared to the previous year.
The housing market continued to trend in a positive direction for the month of April.
"While the number of detached single-family homes sold was down, the 1.7 percent decrease year-to-year was the lowest we’ve seen in the month of April for the past three years.”
There were 3,328 detached single-family homes sold this April, a 1.7 percent decrease from the 3,386 homes sold the same time last year.
This compares favorably with April 2006 that experienced a year-to-year decrease of 7 percent and April 2005 that experienced a year-to-year decrease of 10 percent.
On a month-to-month basis there was a decrease of 3.5 percent compared to the number of homes sold in March 2007.
This compares favorably to 2006 when there was 5.0 percent drop in home sales from March to April.
The median selling price of a single-family home this April was $345,000, a 2.3 percent decrease compared to $353,000 in April 2006. Compared to March of 2007, median selling prices edged up 0.3 percent.
While single-family homes sales were down, condominiums actually experienced a slight 0.7 percent increase in the number of units sold compared to the same time last year (1,741 units sold in 2006 to 1,753 units sold in 2007).
On a month-to-month basis, sales volume was down 0.7 percent compared to 1,765 units sold in March 2007.
This drop is smaller than the 3.0 percent decline in unit sales from March to April 2006.
Median selling prices of condominiums went up 2.6 percent in April 2007 compared to the same time last year ($267,600 in 2006 to $274,650 in 2007). Compared to March 2007, the median selling price went down 1.6 percent from $279,000.
The inventory of residential properties (detached single-family homes and condos) on the market decreased 22 percent as of April 30, 2007 compared to the same time last year (from 65,232 listings in 2006 to 50,777 listings in 2007).
At the current sales pace, this represents approximately 10 months of supply, a decrease from 12.7 months of supply in April 2006.
On a month-to-month basis, the average months of supply edged up from 9.0 months in March 2007.
It is considered a balanced market when there is between 7.5 and 8.5 months of available housing supply.
With inventory levels decreasing and interest rates still low, demand should continue to keep prices stable through the end of the spring home buying season.
Detached single-family homes stayed on the market an average of 150 days in April 2007 compared to an average of 127 days in April 2006, while condos stayed on the market an average of 143 days compared to 117 days in April 2006.
Sales and price data from the MAR report reflects transactions through Realtor-affiliated multiple listing services in the Commonwealth, and account for roughtly 80 percent of the state’s real estate sales.