Mass. housing market off to ‘strong’ start in 2021, trade group says

By |Published On: February 17, 2021|

The Bay State’s housing market saw “healthy” demand from buyers in January, creating a “strong” start for 2021, according to the Massachusetts Association of Realtors.

In its monthly indicators report, the trade group said closed sales this January increased by 7.8% for single-family homes and 9.8% for condo sales compared to January 2020.

The increase in closed sales comes as inventory has plunged: For single-family homes, it’s down 64%, while condo inventory is down 26.1% from January 2020.

The median sales price rose 15.3% to $467,000 for single-family homes, from $405,000 in January 2020. The median condo sales price rose to $419,400, a 3.6% increase.

New listings for condo properties were up 3.2%, but down 17.1% for single-family homes.

“A robust increase in housing starts in December points to an active year for new construction, but higher material costs, especially lumber, and a limited supply of buildable lots will temper the number of new units,” the group said in its report.

The Foxborough-based trade group, which has more than 25,000 members, pointed to January research from the Mortgage Bankers Association indicating that 2.7 million U.S. homeowners with mortgages are in forbearance. Homeowners who work in the leisure and hospitality industries, which were hit hard as the pandemic restricted travel and people gathering in large groups, are particularly facing long-term suffering.

“Some of these homes may eventually come to market, but given the strong appreciation in most market segments in recent years, these eventual home sales are likely to be mostly traditional sellers,” the Massachusetts Association of Realtors said. “However, a modest increase in short sales and foreclosures at some point this year would not be surprising.”

Gintautas Dumcius