Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Crashachusetts Existing Home Sales and Prices: March 2009

Today, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors (MAR) released their Existing Home Sales Report for March showing that single family home sales declined 4.7% on a year-over-year basis while condo sales dropped 19.8% over the same period firmly indicating that the Massachusetts residential real estate market is continuing to erode.

Further, the single family median home value declined a whopping 19.0% on a year-over-year basis to $255,000 while condo median prices dropped 14.9% to $224,500.

Clearly, the impact of the recent stock market crash (that keeps on crashing) and ongoing economic crisis is bearing down on both consumer sentiment and, more fundamentally, credit availability resulting in a significant pullback in spending on homes and other costly purchases.

It’s perfectly clear now that home sellers that choose to wait out the “down market” did so in vain as the 2008 selling season marked likely the last opportunity to sell any residential property at anywhere near the prices set in the peak boom years.

With confidence depressed and eroding and sale volumes this low, Boston area home prices have nowhere left to go but down.

Of course, the Massachusetts Association of Realtor president Gary Rogers continues his more hopeful tone while embracing government handouts for his industry:

“With the drop in prices, conditions still favor the buyer, especially the first-time homebuyer, and we do expect they will continue to respond well to the first-time homebuyer tax credit that was signed into law by President Obama in February.”

It’s important to keep the following points in mind when considering the impact of the housing tax credit legislation:

  • The credit is for “first time” home buyers only… if you have had ownership interest in any home (including condos) anytime in the last three years you are NOT eligible.
  • The credit has income restrictions of $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for married couples filing jointly.
  • The credit can only be used for principle residence.
  • The credit cannot be applied to the downpayment.
So this is really a very limited program and will very likely NOT result in any noticeable increase in demand in our area.

As in months past, be on the lookout for the inflation adjusted charts produced by for an even more accurate "real" view of the current home price movement.

Today’s Key Statistics:

Single Family results compared to March 2008

  • Sales: declined 4.7%
  • Median Selling Price: declined 19%
  • Inventory: declined 19%
  • Current Months Supply: 12.0
  • Current Days on Market: 156
Condo results compared to March 2008

  • Sales: declined 19.8%
  • Median Selling Price: declined 14.9%
  • Inventory: declined 26%
  • Current Months supply: 13.3
  • Current Days on Market: 158