Hope Emerges for Boston’s Inventory-Sick Housing Market


After rough series of months for Boston housing market, things may be improving


Creative Commons: Das Nili, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Boston#mediaviewer/File:08_506.jpg

Help may finally be on the way for Boston’s housing inventory ills, which have driven median prices to record highs and affordability to record lows.

According to the latest market report from the Greater Boston Association of Realtors (GBAR), new single-family listings in April rose 12.9 percent year-over-year, finishing the month at 2,531. Similarly, new condo listings rose 11 percent to 1,740.

That’s the first sign in months that inventory may increase, and GBAR is confident that seasonal trends are to thank.

“A proliferation of new listings is expected in most markets across the U.S.,” GBAR’s report stated. “Spring is traditionally the commonplace time of the year that we see some of the most desirable gems polished for eager buyers. Though some Google searches and Twitter posts will blatantly offer pessimism about the state of the housing market, on-the-street evidence does not support bad tidings.”

Sorrows Remain in Boston Housing

Despite that glimmer of hope, April was still a rough month for Boston’s housing market, for a variety of reasons:

•Overall sales activity was weak, plunging 16.5 percent year-over-year; pending sales, however, were positive for both single family (up 15.3 percent) and condos (up 8.7 percent), which suggest the months ahead may be better.

•Housing inventory for both single-family homes and condos declined, falling 17.4 percent for single family and 18.3 percent for condos.

•Meanwhile, prices continued to rise, with median price increasing 6.8 percent for single-family homes (to $470,000) and 10.8 percent for condos (to $440,000). Since 2013, single-family median price is up 12 percent, and condo median price is up 19 percent.

•Unsurprisingly, housing affordability continues to worsen, with GBAR’s housing affordability index falling one point for single family (to 97) and four points for condos (to 104). A lower number means housing is less affordable, and in the last two years, the index has fallen 15.7 percent for single family and 20 percent for condos.

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