Real Estate News

Prices in Greater Boston are still climbing, but not at the breakneck pace buyers have seen and sellers have enjoyed.

Pedestrians walk down Hancock St. in Quincy Center on a Friday afternoon. The median sales price for a condo here in November ($339,950) reflects a 33% decrease. Erin Clark/Globe staff/File 2020

Sales of single-family homes and condos in Massachusetts have dropped, and prices are still climbing — but like a hiker lugging a backpack full of unabridged dictionaries.

The 3,806 single-family sales in November reflect a roughly 29% decrease year over year and about a 35% drop since 2020, according to a report The Warren Group released Wednesday. The 1,663 condo sales in November represent a 22% decrease year over year and a 22% dip since 2020.

Meanwhile, home prices in the state continued their assent amid low inventory and continued competition despite long-term mortgage rates in the sixes:

home type Median home
Price in Nov.
% change
% Change
Condos $475,000 6% 15.9%
Single-family homes $530,000 3.9% 15.2%
The Warren Group

It was the smallest percent increase on a year-over-year basis since June 2022, according to the analytics firm.

“The significant drop in single-family home sales came as no surprise in November,” said Tim Warren, CEO of The Warren Group. “A tightening inventory, higher interest rates, and economic uncertainties have had a big impact on consumer confidence, and real estate activity has taken a hit in recent months.”

“The condo market followed very similar trends to the single-family market in November — a massive year-over-year decline in sales paired with a more modest increase in price,” Warren added. “It’s clear that neither market is immune from current economic conditions.”

The same situation is playing out when we narrow the focus to Eastern Massachusetts, according to the Greater Boston Association of Realtors, which blamed high mortgage interest rates, “40-year-high inflation levels,” and low inventory for the decline in sales.

“Our fall market has been hit by a double whammy of rising inflation and higher mortgage interest rates, which has not only reduced buyer purchasing power, but diminished overall demand, as some have stopped looking for a home altogether,” said Melvin A. Vieira Jr. of RE/Max Destiny, GBAR president. “As costs have risen across the economy, we’ve seen more and more buyers apply the brakes to their home search, while others are taking advantage of the decline in buyer competition to proceed more cautiously, and that’s resulted in a slower, more normal sales pace in recent months.”

The region saw a roughly 30% drop in sales in both the single-family home and condo markets in November, according to a report the GBAR released Tuesday. Things were bleaker for multifamily sellers: Transactions were down about 33% year over year.

The good news is that there are more active listings overall now than there were in November last year. The bad news is that the number of new listings is down about 15% compared with last year, which signals that properties are sitting on the market longer.

Despite this, homes in both categories commanded a record price for November.

home type median sales
price in Nov.
% change
year over year
pending sales
Condo $651,500 4.1% -33.8
Single-family $760,000 1.3% -25.4%
Multifamily $830,000 -3.4% -33.6%
Greater Boston Association of Realtors

The median sales prices were higher in the condo and single-family markets in November, but they were down from their spring peak, Vieira said.

type of home median sales
price high
% change
Condo $715,000 (April) -8.8%
Single-Family $899,950 (June) -15.5%
Greater Boston Association of Realtors

“It’s quite likely we’ve hit the ceiling on prices, at least for now,” Vieira said. “Buyers simply can’t afford as much home as they could just six months ago, and with listings starting to sit longer and become more plentiful, sellers are
having to lower their expectations on property value and even make price adjustments to attract offers.”

The market shows buyers are still willing to pay these prices.

The median sales price for a single-family home in Plymouth County rose 5.5% year over year to $525,500 in November, according to The Warren Group report, and Norfolk County saw a more modest increase, 1.3% to $637,000.

The median sales price for a condo in Suffolk County (home to Boston, Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop) jumped 10.8% to $700,000, but in Middlesex County, it was a smaller gain: $566,250 to 6.8%.

View the latest county-by-county numbers.

Doing a deep-dive into the market in Cambridge, the report finds roughly a 30% drop in single-family homes sales and a 28% decline in condo purchases. The median sales price for a house dropped about 14% to $1,850,000, while the median cost of a condo rose 3.1% last month to $850,000.

Contrast this with sales in the city of Quincy, which were down roughly 39% for condos and roughly 43% for single-family homes. The median sales prices are a mixed bag: The cost of a condo in the “City of Presidents” fell 33.3% to $339,950 in November, while the going price for a single-family home rose about 5% to $650,000.

What is happening in your community? Get the latest town-by-town numbers here from The Warren Group.

Check Boston.com next week for our 2023 real estate market forecast.


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