Distressed Sales Defy National Trend, Rise in Massachusetts


Over the last year, distressed home sales have become far less prominent in Massachusetts’ housing market


Distressed sales throughout Massachusetts comprised 13.1 percent of all home sales in May, an increase from the 12.2 percent market share of a year ago, according to RealtyTrac’s May 2015 Residential Sales Report.

A detailed look at the nation’s housing market, the Residential Sales Report noted a nationwide drop in distressed sales, which fell to their lowest level since Jan. 2011 (the earliest date for which RealtyTrac has data). Massachusetts increase, therefore, was very much against the national trend.

The graph below shows the market share of distressed sales in both the U.S. and its most populous states:


All-Cash Sales Return to Historical Averages

RealtyTrac’s report also noted a decline in all-cash transactions, though the drop in that sub-market has been less pronounced. For Massachusetts, all-cash sales rose in dramatic fashion, spiking from 19.2 percent a year ago to 37.1 percent in May.

The graph below shows RealtyTrac’s all-cash findings:


Although many distressed sales are purchased all-cash, quite a few affluent consumers (and international clients) also forgo financing and purchase conventional properties with cash. That explains why all-cash sales did not fall at the same rate as distressed sales, and why in some states, all-cash sales increased year-over-year.

Still, the national all-cash average of 24.6 percent is not only the lowest market share for all-cash since Nov. 2009, but is also consistent with the long-term average for all-cash sales, which is 24.8 percent.

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  • Marilyn Messenger says:

    Interesting that distressed sales have increased in MA but there are homeowners who are still under water. I just signed up a short sale listing (going on the market next week) for a townhouse in Maynard where prices are still a ways from where they were at the peak.

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