Single-family home sales decline slightly in Massachusetts in September

Economic Indicators Associated Press

A slight drop in the number of single-family homes sold in Massachusetts last month compared to the year-ago month and a stabilization of median prices are positives for the housing market , the Massachusetts Association of Realtors said Tuesday.

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The Waltham-based group reported a 3.3 percent drop in sales in September, the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year sales decreases.

The Boston-based Warren Group reported a drop in sales of less than 1 percent.

The Realtors reported that median prices remained unchanged in September at $325,000, the first time in almost two years that median prices did not increase. The Warren Group reported a 1.5 percent decrease in median prices, to $320,000.

The organizations use slightly different figures in their calculations.

"Massachusetts is a high-cost housing market and the trend throughout the year has been increasing prices, so seeing prices stabilize is good for the market and good for buyers," Realtors' President Peter Ruffini said.

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Low interest rates and increasing inventory is expected to spur the market, he said.

Year-to-date, the median selling price is up, The Warren Group reported.

"When we look at the increase in the selling price of single-family homes year-to-date, it is clear that the housing market is still dealing with low inventory and pent-up demand," said Cassidy Murphy, the organization's editorial director said.

Condominium sales were down 5 percent and median prices dropped slightly in September, the Realtors said.

The Warren Group reported a steeper drop in condo sales of more than 9 percent year over year, and a median price increase of about 3 percent.