What direction is Massachusetts real estate headed in 2010? To judge from the conflicting statistics published this week by two highly-respected real estate tracking firms, the current state of home sales in MA seems highly confused.
But the apparent muddle in MA real estate stats may derive from the different data sets being reported on by the two organizations. Hopefully the data will present a clearer, more uniform picture by the end of the spring Massachusetts home selling season later this year.
The bad news from the Case-Shiller Boston Index
The S&P/Case-Shiller Index for the Boston metro area has now fallen for the sixth month in a row after staging an encouraging 6.9% rallyduring the spring and summer months of 2009. (Index results for February 2010 are the most recent released by Standard and Poors.)
Metro Boston home sale price slump
As tracked by Standard and Poors, MA home sale prices in the metro-Boston region for February are now up only 3.8% from their March 2009 lows and are a paltry 1.8% higher compared to one year ago.
Upbeat view from The Warren Group
One day after the release of the rather gloomy S&P/Case-Shiller Index for Boston, The Warren Group, publisher of the influential MA real estate trade publication Banker & Tradesman, trumpeted some new, upbeat Massachusetts real estate market stats.
The Warren Group reported that the median sale price for single-family homes in Massachusetts rose a healthy 7.8 percent in March 2010 (to $275,000) from $255,000 in March 2009. The Warren Group noted that it was the fourth consecutive month that median home sale prices had risen over prior year levels.
The Warren Group also reported that the median single family home sale price for the first quarter of 2010 was $276,750, an 8.5 percent increase compared to the first quarter 2009’s $255,000 median price figure.
MA home sale volume soars
The Warren Group also released very bullish Massachusetts home sale figures for March 2010.
Massachusetts single-family home sales rose 27.6 percent to 3,162 in March from 2,477 in March 2009. Home sales in the first quarter jumped 17.5 percent to 7,310 from 6,223 in last year’s first quarter. It was the first increase in first-quarter home sales since 2004, according to The Warren Group.
“We’ve seen a significant turnaround in the local housing market. Monthly home sales have been increasing year-over-year since last July and that has propped up the median selling price statewide,” said Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman. “The homebuyer tax credit has been a wonderful impetus for the housing market. We hope that it has been a strong enough factor that consumers will continue entering the housing market.”
Clearer picture coming?
As we’ve seen, the S&P/Case-Shiller Index publishes with a two month lag. We may see the Boston Index show an uptick in prices once the Index readings for March and April are published.
If that happens, then there will be some much-needed congruity in the real estate data being published by Standard and Poors and The Warren Group.
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