Massachusetts Sales Data Shows Fewer Able To Break Into Housing Market

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By Colin A. Young
State House News Service

Opportunities for prospective homebuyers were squeezed even further last month as scant inventory, high interest rates, and record-high prices combined to push Massachusetts single-family home sales to a 13-year low for the month of September.

The Warren Group reported that there were 3,608 single-family home sales in Massachusetts during September. That’s a 26.5 percent decrease from September 2022, when there were 4,908 transactions, and the fewest single-family home sales for the month of September since 2010. Meanwhile, the median sale price of one of those homes climbed 2.7 percent on a year-over-year basis to $565,000, establishing a new all-time high for the month of September.

“There are still a number of hurdles for prospective homebuyers in Massachusetts, and this is reflected in our sales data,” said Cassidy Norton, associate publisher and media relations director at The Warren Group. “Low inventory, record high prices, and rising interest rates have made it progressively more difficult for buyers to purchase homes – regardless of where they’re looking.”

There have been 30,665 single-family home sales in Massachusetts so far in 2023, a 24.6 percent decrease from the first nine months of 2022. During the same time, the year-to-date median single family home price is up 2.7 percent to $570,000.

Earlier this month, state housing secretary Ed Augustus described a 200,000-unit housing gap in Massachusetts that must be closed to keep up with population growth and stem the loss of talented workers. The Healey administration is expected to file a policy-heavy housing bond bill any day.

“Our housing ecosystem in Massachusetts is literally upside down,” Augustus said, using colorful language to outline a landscape where would-be first-time homebuyers face competition from people making cash offers, waiving home inspections, or offering sellers more money than homes are listed for.

“If you’re a first-time homebuyer and a couple of years into your career, you’re getting ready to start your family and you’re trying to get that kind of foothold on the American dream and all that comes with homeownership. Increasingly for folks, they’re finding that that’s just an impossible aspiration,” Augustus said.

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