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Regional Spotlight – Massachusetts Home Sales Climb 12% in July; Price Decline Smallest in Over a Year

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RISMEDIA, August 26, 2009-Bucking a six-month trend of falling home sales, Bay State home sales shot up nearly 12% in July 2009 year-over-year while the decline in median home prices narrowed, The Warren Group reported.

“This is a much-needed boost for the state’s housing market,” said Timothy M. Warren Jr., CEO of The Warren Group, publisher of Banker & Tradesman. “We haven’t had a double-digit gain in monthly home sales since last October. And the declines in home prices have been getting smaller every month.”

Warren said low interest rates, reduced prices, the first-time homebuyer tax credit and improved consumer confidence helped fuel buyer interest in late spring which led to an increase in closed sales in July.

“We started to see a trend toward moderation in June and it looks like that continued through July,” Warren explained. “Still, we’re not out of the woods yet. We have to see consistent gains in sales going forward for home prices to stabilize.”

Single-family home sales jumped 11.8% to 4,977 from 4,453 in July 2008. It was the first increase in monthly home sales year-over-year in 2009. Year-to-date sales are down 6.3% to 21,524 from 22,974.

The median selling price for single-family homes dipped 4.7% to $305,000 from $320,000. Monthly median home prices fell by double-digit percentages year-over-year in the first five months of 2009. But in June and July, home prices slipped by only single-digit percentages. The median price for homes sold through July retreated 11.4% to $280,000 from $316,000.

There was some improvement in the condominium market as well, according to The Warren Group.

“Condo sales remained fairly flat in July, but that’s a significant step up from prior months when sales sank by 20 to 30%. And the decline in condo prices in July wasn’t as steep as it has been,” said Warren.

Statewide condo sales totaled 2,190 in July, slightly lower than the 2,227 sales in July 2008. So far this year, condo sales are off by about 20%. A total of 9,653 condos traded from January through July, down from 12,065 a year ago.

The median condo price fell 4.3% to $276,000 in July from $288,500 last year. July’s 4.3% drop was the smallest so far in 2009. In the first five months of the year, price declines exceeded 10%. The year-to-date condo price is off about 10% to $252,100 from $279,900.

For more information, visit www.thewarrengroup.com.

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