Massachusetts home prices set new records in 2021

by Liz Hughes

As buyer demand continued to outpace inventory levels, prices of single-family homes and condominiums in Massachusetts hit new records in 2021, according to a new Warren Group report.

The Warren Group’s Massachusetts Sales Report for December 2021 found single-family home sales fell 13.4% to 5,588 from 6,453 a year ago. Compared to December 2019, however, home sales were up 12.1%. 

The median sale price marked another all-time high for December, at $500,000, up from $457,000 a year earlier and up 25.4% from December 2019’s $398,750 price. December was the ninth consecutive month the median single-family home price was above $500,000. There were 62,195 single-family home sales in December, a 0.8% increase from 2020. 

In 2021, the median sale price rose to $510,000, up 14.1% from 2020, which according to the Warren Group was the first time the median year-end price exceeded $500,000. 

Warren Group CEO Tim Warren said last year was a wild ride for Massachusetts and “not necessarily one I would want to be on if I were in the market for a new home.” 

“The year-end median sale price of $510,000 is a strong indicator that the lack of inventory is increasing competition, pushing prices up and stretching buyers’ budgets thin,” Warren said in a press release. “Higher mortgage interest rates may moderate the increases in home prices, but they will keep monthly mortgage payments sky-high. Demand remains high as buyers eagerly await the spring market for a wave of new homes coming to market. But many current homeowners are opting to stay put, which is compounding the inventory issue.”

Condominium sales also declined in December, falling 15% to 2,176, compared to 2,561 a year earlier and up 3.1% from December 2019. Last month, the median condominium sale price rose 7% to $438,500, a new high for the month. The median condo price was up 15.5% from December 2019. 

Warren said the condo market was strong in 2021, as COVID anxieties continued to wane and demand continued to grow. 

“Even when comparing activity on a two-year basis, it’s clear that there is strong demand for condos, which are typically concentrated around urban centers, close to public transportation and jobs,” he said. “The median full-year sale price of $454,000 marked an all-time high for condos, and as inventory in the single-family market continues to dwindle, this could yield even more competition in the condo market in 2022 as buyers look at condos as an alternative for single-family homes.”

There were 28,488 condo sales in 2021, a 17.7 percent increase from 2020. Last year’s median condo sale price was $454,000, up 9.4% from 2020’s $415,000. 

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