For the past year, Bay State homeowners and potential home buyers competed in bidding wars as they targeted a dwindling supply of properties for sale. Massachusetts' housing market rebounded strongly in the first two quarters as the median sale price for single-family homes and condos jumped at double-digit rates and sales reached levels not seen since 2006.
But has the market cooled with mortgage rates up by a full percentage point over the past four months? And if so, what will the fall and winter markets look like?
Many economists expect the strong price increases to moderate as interest rates rise.
"We are now in the third phase of a housing recovery, which began in spring 2013, after inventory bottomed in January and mortgage rates started to rise in May," said Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia. "Both are making their climb after reaching historic lows, while price gains are slowing down."
Sales have continued to push forward this year, with 43,913 single family and condos selling in the Bay State compared to 40,291 during the same period in 2012. And, tight inventories of homes for sale have pushed prices higher. During the first eight months of the year, the average price of a home in Massachusetts rose from $375,814 to $402,127 compared to the same period in 2012, according to information obtained from MLSPIN.
While demand is only part of the equation, some real estate agents say the biggest drag on sales continues to be the lack of homes for sale. "There are just not enough inventories to justify price declines, especially in the Boston market," said Beth Dailey, principal real estate broker of Boston Realty Sales and Services.
Boston's housing inventory is down to anemic levels with only 1,078 single-family homes and condos on the market for sale, down 10 percent from the same time in 2012 and down a whopping 84 percent from the same period in 2012. The Hub is almost below 1,000 housing units for sale, something that hasn't happened since the 1990s.
But there will be hundreds of new condos for future home buyers to choose from in the next two to three years as new developments are constructed.
o The Millennium Tower in Downtown Crossing will include nearly 450 luxury condos, all of which will range from one- to four-bedrooms.
o Carpenter & Co., along with its residential partner the Pritzker Realty Group, received approval to build a 58-story building at the edge of the Christian Science Plaza that will include 170 condos.
o Gary Saunders of Saunders Hotel Group and 40 Trinity Place, has proposed a 33-story glass tower with 115 luxury condos in addition to 227 hotel rooms and three restaurants.
o National Development has included an 83-unit condo building at Traveler Street and Harrison Avenue in addition to the 392 apartments that will go up as well in the "Ink Block" project.
o The Chevron on Tremont has all five units under agreement. The Parisian-style flats withunique 2,500-square-foot single-level living spaces have three bedrooms, a den and 21/2 baths, private elevator access to an underground garage and European amenities.
Any new developments in the city have had a tremendous track record, especially smaller townhouse or boutique-style developments. Most usually sell out before the project is complete, said Dailey.
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