Mass home sales hit seven year high


Single-family home sales in July hit their highest sales volume since 2005, and rose 27 percent over July 2011, according to data released August 29 by the Warren Group, the State House News service reported. Condo sales were up 34 percent over last July.

Home and condo sales reflect a willingness of buyers to make major investments and in some cases to lay down roots in Massachusetts, so the new data is viewed as a positive sign for the economy here.

The number of single family homes sold in July totaled 4,979, up from 3,922 last July. The sales volume was the best since 2005, well before the Great Recession took hold and a month when 6,672 homes sold.

The median price of single-family homes remained practically flat, inching up less than 1 percent to $318,000 from $315,000 a year earlier.

So far, 26,596 homes have sold across the state in 2012, up 24.8 percent, according to the Warren Group.

“There are a lot of good signs pointing toward a real estate recovery,” Cory Hopkins, editorial director of the Warren Group, said in a statement. “But we are comparing sales to a very depressed market last summer, so it’s important to step back and realign expectations.”

Condominium sales hit 1,994, up from 1,487 last July. Year-to-date condo sales are up almost 26 percent. The median sale price of condos last month was $295,000, down 0.3 percent from July 2011.

The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS also released its July sales data Wednesday. The association reported that July marked the 13th consecutive month of year-over-year increases in sales. Also, the inventory of single-family homes for sale as of last month was down nearly 20 percent from July 2011, marking the largest single month year-over-year decrease in listings since 2007.

In a statement, association president Trisha McCarthy said, “The probability that home prices will begin a more steady increase is good if the combination of higher buyer activity and lower inventory levels continue. What is needed are more sellers at all levels to insure that price increases happen at a more reasonable pace than during the bubble years.”

Industry insiders are also supporting plans by the Federal Housing Finance Agency to issue new short sales guidelines to their mortgage servicers, Ms. McCarthy said, noting that “anything that can streamline the process and make it faster will help prevent foreclosures, preserve home values in communities across the state, and help the market.”