Spring market brings challenges for first-time and prospective homebuyers

by Liz Hughes

The spring real estate market is well underway, but inflation, along with inventory declines and price increases are making homebuying challenging, according to a new Massachusetts Association of Realtors report

Those challenges are being faced by both first-time and prospective homebuyers hopeful the spring market would bring some relief. 

Home sales dropped to a six-month low nationally, according to the National Association of Realtors, dropping 7.2% as buyers struggle to find homes as prices continue to rise and inventory remains at historic lows. Housing starts are up 22.3% from last year, giving hope for inventory relief, but hampered by high construction costs and increased sale prices. 

“While properties might be coming on to the market, they sell too quickly to counteract the lack of housing production we’re experiencing, sustaining strained conditions and frustrations for prospective buyers,” said MAR president Dawn Ruffini. “We still have a shortage of housing – not inventory – but as new listings continue to trickle on, we’re optimistic about the spring and summer markets.”

Last month, the median price for a single-family home was up 13.3% year over year to $549,450. Single-family home listings, meanwhile, were down 6.6% compared to the previous year. 

Condominium prices also rose in March, to $480,000, up 4.6% from 2021, while condo listings fell 1.3% from last year. 

Inventory continues to be an issue, even as the spring market is underway. According to the report, March’s supply of inventory decreased 22.2% for single-family homes and 27.5% for condominiums year over year 

The report also found single-family closed sales fell 12.3% compared to last year, while closed condo sales dropped 18.4%.

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