July home sales declined by 28 percent

July home sales declined by 28 percent

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The State House News Service reported home sales in Massachusetts were off in July by 28 percent, the first drop in 12 months and the largest monthly decline in sales since March 2008, according to the Massachusetts Association of Realtors. The home sale volume in July was the lowest in 20 years, according to a separate report released Tuesday morning by The Warren Group.

The median selling price for single-family homes in July was $333,000, an increase of 7.4 percent compared to $310,000 in July 2009, according to the realtors association. It was the ninth straight month of year-over-year price increases and the highest median price since June 2008.

“It is obvious at this point that the momentum from the tax credit has not been sustained through the middle of the summer,” said 2010 MAR President Kevin Sears, broker/co-owner of Sears Real Estate in Springfield, in a statement. “While the market conditions still favor the buyer — with historically low interest rates, increasing inventory, and more affordable pricing — we may have to wait until the natural supply of buyers builds back up.”

The inventory of homes on the market grew for the fifth straight month, up 10 percent in July.

“It’s disappointing to see such a big drop in sales,” The Warren Group CEO Timothy M. Warren Jr said in a statement. “It appears the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit hurt sales volume. Buyers aren’t entering the market as aggressively as they were earlier this year. Whether this is a temporary dip due to the rush to qualify for the tax credit, or whether this is a sign of a declining market for the balance of the year is the big question in my mind.” Year-to-date home sales in Massachusetts are up 15.5 percent, according to The Warren Group.