November record breaker for state housing market

State House News Service
Thursday, December 28, 2017

BOSTON — More homes were sold in Massachusetts last month than in any previous November on record and the median price of those homes rose for the 20th straight month, according to The Warren Group.

There were 5,124 single-family house sales recorded last month in Massachusetts, a 1.2 percent rise over November 2016, according to the real estate analysis firm. Through 11 months of the year, there have been 55,968 recorded home sales, up a slight 0.4 percent compared to 2016.

“Despite decades of data points showing a significant slowdown in real estate transactions during the fall and winter months, the Massachusetts housing market continues to perform at an impressive rate,” Cassidy Murphy, editorial and media relations director of The Warren Group, said in a state ment. “As we’ve seen in previous months, the state’s unique dynamic between supply and demand continues to push prices to record highs.”

The record sales numbers come as many Massachusetts residents struggle to afford housing and as Beacon Hill officials weigh housing policy bills — a major housing bond bill is expected to gain momentum in 2018 and Gov. Charlie Baker recently offered legislation to spur cities and towns to build more housing.

Continuing a trend that began in April 2016, the median single-family sale price rose 5.7 percent in November to $369,000, up from $349,000 a year earlier. The median sale price rose 2.5 percent from $360,000 in October 2017.

Despite the record number of transactions last month, six counties — Barnstable, Dukes, Franklin, Middlesex, Nantucket and Norfolk — saw their total number of transactions decline last month, according to data provided by the Warren Group.

Reflecting on a positive year for the Massachusetts housing market on a podcast, Murphy was asked whether 2018 might be a tipping point at which housing inventories shift in a way that benefits buyers.

“I doubt it,” she replied quickly. “It’s just not something I think can be addressed with the market the way it currently is ... there’s just not enough housing for the people who are already here, who want to live here, and there’s not enough places for people to move into. If a seller lists their house then they better be moving out of the state ... because there are no houses for them to buy.”