Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Housing Rebound Less Dramatic in Boston

Boston shows only a mild case of the pick-up in housing and condo sales reported for Massachusetts by The Warren Group.

Single-family home sales in Massachusetts increased last month over October of 2008 by 17.2%, with the median price falling by 2.8 percent. For condos, the sales were up by 12%, with prices down by 8.1 percent.

In Boston, home sales for October were up by 7.41%, with a slight increase in the average price, at 1.91 percent. Among areas with more than five transactions this year, the largest increases in the number of sales were in Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Roslindale and Hyde Park. Percentagewise, sales prices were up by double digits in Hyde Park and Mattapan, though none of these neighborhoods had more than 12 sales. The prices were also up for single-family homes in Dorchester, by 36.90%, though the number of sales was down this year by 44.44%, from 18 to 10.

For condos in Massachusetts, The Warren Group reports sales were up by 12%, while the median price was down by 8.1 percent. In Boston, the fall-off in price was almost as high, at 7.39%, but condo sales increased by less than one percent.

In neighborhoods with at least five transactions, the largest jumps in the number of sales were in Hyde Park, East Boston and West Roxbury, followed by Jamaica Plain and Brighton. The largest decreases in price were in Allston (54.64%), West Roxbury (27.06%) and downtown Boston (26.60%). One of the few areas with a substantial gain in median price was Roxbury and the South End, at 31.29 percent.

Like other observers, The Warren Group’s CEO, Timothy M. Warren Jr., attributes some of the increase in sales to the temporary tax credit for first-time homebuyers. He also calls the increase in condo sales a “significant reversal” after double-digit declines earlier this year. If the October figure for Boston is well short of a reversal, it’s still quite different from earlier this year, when monthly condo sales were down by more than 20 percent.